Their Lovin, My Oven

My Journey as a Gestational Surrogate

Turns out, I’m not crazy! January 30, 2011

Filed under: Gestational Surrogacy — Danielle @ 1:00 am

Wednesday morning I made the long (and full of traffic) trip to Thousand Oaks at the butt crack of dawn for my medical and psychological screenings. I arrived at Fertility and Surgical Associates of CA about 10:05 for my 10:30am appt. After waiting quite a while, I got to meet Dr. Kumar, the RE that will be handling our case and doing the IVF. He was SO nice. We sat down and discussed my medical history and some details of the transfer. E & M want to transfer one embryo at a time, so, our risk of twins is only about 1% (*happy dance*) LOL. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing awful about being blessed with two babies instead of just one, but, a singleton pregnancy has far less risks and complications all around.

After our little talk, we went in and I had some tests done, and an ultrasound. Apparently, I’m an “egg machine,” his words, not mine haha. He also said that my uterus is “pristine” and that he doesn’t see anything that would complicate the IVF procedure. We even did a mock transfer. They stick a tiny catheter in and transfer the embryos directly into your uterine wall. It really only felt like a standard pap test, nothing more. Once the Dr. was done, I had my blood drawn for some more tests and then went to see Dr. Kumar’s nurse. She started me on birth control pills to suppress my cycle and asked me to start back on prenatal vitamins right away. After all was said and done there, I headed off to my psychological screening.

I spent about 45 minutes speaking with the psychologist. She asked me to use words to describe myself, The Hubby and the girls. I had been using all positive words when she stopped me. She said “I have to be honest with you. It sounds a little like you’re trying to get me to believe that your life is perfect and everything is wonderful.” It really caught me off guard. That wasn’t my intention at all. I explained to her that, no, my life may not be perfect. No one’s life is perfect. I have a wonderful husband, and no our marriage isn’t always cupcakes and rainbows, we have our moments, but we always make it through. We have two beautiful, intelligent, amazing little girls. We have a beautiful house in a wonderful neighborhood. So, no, life isn’t perfect but what more could a girl really ask for? After that explanation, we talked more about the surrogacy specifically. She asked if I was sure that I wouldn’t become emotionally attached to the baby (or babies.) I answered that I most certainly would get attached – It’s inevitable and unavoidable. I would be carrying this baby (or babies) and taking care of them just as I would take care of my own child. However, my role (in my eyes) is that of an aunt. I will love and care for the baby until he/she is well enough to be given to his/her Daddy’s. I have not a single doubt that E & M are going to be amazing daddy’s and therefore I couldn’t be more comfortable giving the baby to them once he/she is born. 🙂

I got word from my case manager on Thursday that I passed the psychological screening! We started life insurance paperwork (the IPs pay for a one year life insurance policy for the surrogate just in case) and by the time that is approved, we should have the results from all the tests that were done at the RE’s office! As soon as that all comes back we are good to finalize a contract. My case manager let me know that as long as everything continues as it has been, E & M are planning on coming back here in MARCH for the embryo transfer!!! Depending on when in March, they might be welcoming a Christmas or New Years baby!! Yay!!

I can’t believe that everything is moving along so quickly – And, I couldn’t be happier about it. I know I’ve said it so many times, but, I am so absolutely thrilled to be helping E & M complete their family. Hopefully I’ll have even more good news next week! 🙂

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Ultrasounds, Needles & Interrogations: Oh My! January 24, 2011

Filed under: Gestational Surrogacy — Danielle @ 8:35 pm

My case manager emailed me on Friday. I got the go ahead to schedule my medical and pyschological screenings! As soon as I got her email, I called over to the RE (Reproductive Endocronologist) to schedule the medical screening. As far as I know, this will be the doctor that will handle all my meds, IVF, etc. I was fully expecting for the appt to be at least 3-4 weeks out… You can imagine my shock when his scheduling coordinator said that they had an opening on Wednesday! Yep, Wednesday January 26th! 10:30am! I’m not exactly sure what the screening involves. The nurse was a little vague. She said they would do some bloodwork and then the doctor would probably want an ultrasound of my baby oven aka uterus.

Once I’m done with that appt, I will head on over to a psychologists office about 5 miles away for the psychological exam. From what I have read on other blogs, it is a VERY long series of random and sometimes completely odd questions LOL.

The results are supposed to take about 2 weeks to come back to my case manager and we’ll go from there.

I can’t wait to finish this next step in helping E & M become Daddy’s!!! 🙂

 

Our Journey Together Begins!! January 17, 2011

Filed under: Gestational Surrogacy — Danielle @ 2:36 pm

This morning I received the most exciting email!!! Here’s a little excerpt from it:

“I have good news…You are matched! M & E are so excited to be moving forward and have selected you as their surrogate!!!”

My new case manager (who we met at our meeting with E & M) will be contacting me within the next couple of days with referral information to schedule my psychological and medical screenings!!

I am over the moon. I can’t stop smiling at the thought that these two amazing people have chosen ME to help them complete their family. I’m so honored! I’m so excited and can’t wait to get things moving!! =) =) =) =)

 

The Waiting Game… January 11, 2011

Filed under: Gestational Surrogacy — Danielle @ 7:45 pm

Just a quick update.. I got an email from my surrogacy coordinator on Monday…
E&M are having their physician review my medical records! 🙂 I’m hoping that’s good news in regards to moving forward.. 🙂
*Fingers Crossed* Until the next update….

 

My Surrogacy Journey Thus Far… January 8, 2011

Filed under: Gestational Surrogacy — Danielle @ 10:26 pm

Might as well just jump right on in. I’ve decided that a blog will be a great place to share my journey as a gestational surrogate for friends and family and perhaps even for people who just like me, thought about where to begin once upon a time.

Let’s start with the basics. There are two types of surrogacy. A gestational surrogate (GS) has no genetic relationship to the surrobaby. The intended parents (IPs) will use an egg donor, sperm donor or both and a reproductive specialist will fertilize the eggs. Once they are considered viable, the eggs will be implanted into the surrogates uterus through In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF.) I am registered with a wonderful agency, Fertility Miracles, as a gestational surrogate. The second type of surrogacy is traditional surrogacy (TS.) Though it does happen, it is more rare than gestational surrogacy. In a traditional surrogacy, the eggs of the surrogate are used with a sperm donor.

I have seen people who I know personally have a child through the wonderful gift of surrogacy. A lot of people immediately wonder why people turn to surrogacy vs adoption, etc. Adoption isn’t easy. It can be a huge let down, and the number of requirements to even begin the process are staggering. There are so many people out there that truly want and deserve to be parents, and can’t for one reason or another. Here’s where surrogates step in.

My motivation for becoming a surrogate is simple. Being a mother is hands down, by far, without a doubt the best part of my life. My children are truly gifts from God and I can’t imagine my life without them. They never cease to amaze me. If I can be a part of sharing that gift with someone else, that is a blessing to me. It would be an honor to help someone realize their dreams of parenthood. I first looked into surrogacy when our oldest daughter was about 2. I signed up with Fertility Miracles, filled out a long application, had phone interviews, etc and my profile was posted for potential IPs. Shortly after I began the process, we were blessed with a pregnancy of our own (after two miscarriages) and put surrogacy on hold. Our youngest daughter is now almost a year old and so I contacted the agency to let them know I was ready for my profile to be made public again.

The first time I spoke with a potential IP was about 4 months ago. I spoke with a woman who was unable to carry a child of her own due to cancer. She and her husband were high school sweethearts and longed to have a family. They already had fertilized embryos frozen. We seemed to “hit it off” during our phone conference and I waited for news. At first I was told that all the necessary paperwork hadn’t been submitted and the agency was waiting on that. Later I would find out that the couple wasn’t as committed to surrogacy as they thought. It was disappointing, but, I knew that it must not have been meant for me to carry their baby for them. About two weeks ago the agency contacted me again – They had another couple that wanted to meet me – This time in person! On Thursday January 6th The Hubby and I drove down to Beverly Hills. Since we don’t know for sure if we will be officially matched with this couple, I’ll call them E & M for now. E & M are a gay couple that currently reside in Italy. E’s family is originally from Costa Rica so they frequently travel there to visit. Before our meeting, they took the time to write me a letter and send me some photos of the two of them. One picture was of them with their niece and in that photo they look so…. Happy. Ecstatic. Comfortable. They look wonderful with a baby in their arms. I wrote them a letter in response, particularly because I wanted them to know how much it touched me that they took the time to send pictures and write a letter. The meeting started out even better than I could have hoped. We didn’t walk in to handshakes and cold hellos.. We walked in to hugs and air kisses (one on each cheek, just like in Italy! LOL!) Right away, the nervous energy that I had built up over the last two weeks started to dissipate. E & M admitted that they too were nervous, understandably so. Surrogacy is a huge choice, a journey that will forever intertwine the lives of people and hopefully result in an amazing family not only for the IPs, but for the surrogate as well.

We began by talking more about their lives, where they’re from, their families, etc. We spoke about my motivations for being a surrogate, how amazing it was that Hubby was there to support me, etc. At some point, we got down to the “nitty gritty.” How did I feel about carrying multiples? Selective reduction? Bed rest? Contact during the pregnancy and after delivery? Etc. The most amazing part was that we agreed – On everything. Every little detail. Everything that I could ever hope for in IPs, E & M are. I know that someday, whether we take this journey together or not, E & M will be amazing fathers. We closed the meeting with more hugs, more air kisses, and a promise to talk soon. And now? Now, we wait. I am hoping to hear news from my surrogacy coordinator on Monday… I’m trying so hard not to get my hopes up because I don’t want to be disappointed again…

I’m open to answering any questions that readers (whether they be friends, family or strangers) might have about my journey or surrogacy in general. All that I ask is that you keep an open mind and remember that this is MY journey. It is MY choice and something that I believe in whole heartedly. If you have a negative opinion, you’re of course free to express it, but know that it won’t waver my committment to helping create a family for another person(s).

Happy Reading! 🙂