Newborn Feet

Newborn Feet

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Different family, same wish.

When I started my journey I knew I needed a totally different family type than I had last time.  I had such a wonderful  time I didn't want to compare - that would be unfair to who I end up getting matched with.

So I have been thinking about where I was and where I am at right now......

My first family (legally) was a single, gay, Jewish man from California.  Now I am looking at working with an infertile husband and wife from Germany.
Totally opposite.   With the same wish.  A baby.

The yearning to be a parent has no boundaries.  Black or white.  Gay or straight.  Young or old.  Jewish or German.  Man or Woman.

You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back.  ~William D. Tammeus

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Family Approved!!!!

The family from Germany has accepted my profile and we have the 'family approval'!!!   YEAH!!!!!!!!!!! 

I just got the phone call while I was in the shower - 3 phone calls actually all within about 45 seconds on 2 different phone - and Zeyon brought the phone to me.  The phone call was from my surrogate coordinator telling me that my profile had been looked over and it was a 'definite YES'!  

*It is always nice to know you are liked by others.*

So again, we are in a hurry up and wait pattern....... Mark and I need to go to LA for our screening (probably between the 12th & 19th of February), but we can't go until I start my cycle.  I told you this blog was going to be full of wonderful information!  You will know more about me than you ever wanted to.   ;-)

So anyway, long story short - I got approved to work with the family from Germany!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My quote for the day -

The Vatican is against surrogate mothers. Good thing they didn't have that rule when Jesus was born.      ;-)    


Update is that the agency hasn't heard anything back from Germany.   Apparently they don't check email very often (which is how my profile was sent) and so the agency will try calling them to alert them to mail in their In Box.

More waiting.   I was advised to 'sit tight'. 

On a positive note, the Daddy from my 1st/2nd surro family called me today so he could tell me in person how awesome the thinks it is that God has given me the ability and strength to give the gift of life to another family.  He said he very seriously considered my offer to be THEIR surrogate again if they wanted one more.... and he was thinking about it.  Until they visited friends with a young baby and they decided that they really liked being past that stage.  I don't blame them!

He also asked for the potential IP's email so he could tell them they are NUTS if they don't choose to work with  me. 

Looks like the family will be home during the dates Mark and I might be down in LA for our screening so we'll get to visit.  He also said we could stay with them if we wanted to....unless we wanted to enjoy an evening alone in a hotel with out anyone else around.   ;-)
I love that family!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Out of the office -

That was the email response I got back when I emailed my IP liaison today - "Out of the office".  AUGH!

Fortunately there are lots of great people working in the office so I was able to get some of my more recent questions answered, but no update on the potential IP's. 

Depending on when my next AF arrives Mark and I will probably be traveling to LA around the 12 or the 19th of February.   We will probably have to leave early in the morning and have both our psych screening and our medical screenings all done in one day then spend the night (ALONE!) and head home early the next day.   Not only will this be a long day for Mark and I it will also be a challenge for who ever ends up helping us with the kids.  Sheridan has *never* been left over night alone.   While I am sure she will be fine, I am sure there will be a few tears shed.  Mark also isn't too fond of flying......

Oh yes, and I have to wait until all 8+ of my OB's, MW's & RE's have gotten all my records mailed/sent/faxed to the agency so my insurance can be approved so I can do my screening.   Praying that the final two will come through before the beginning of February! 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saying a little prayer

I am saying a little prayer that I will get an update tomorrow.  

....that's all - short & sweet.  G'Night!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not....

Just to let you know, the wait to find out what the Germany couple thinks of our profile is killing me.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Baby Steps

I have spent a better part of this weekend tossing and turning over working with an international couple.   I suppose the part that bothers me the most is that the family would be SO FAR AWAY.   If I had a woman carrying *my* child I would want to be as close as possible.   However, one thing in my profile I asked for was trust.  I need the family to trust me.  I know it is hard to trust someone before you love someone, but this is a case where I need there to be trust.

The profile I received of the Germany family wants to be involved.  They want to be at the transfer.  They want to be at all the important appointments.  They want to be at the birth.   This is exactly what I am looking for.  I don't expect someone to come to every single appointment - my first surro family wasn't able to make it to every appointment either.  So why NOT an international family?

It would be a wonderful learning opportunity for my children, and for Mark and I as well.   We get the opportunity to learn about a new culture.  A different country.  How exciting!

So I emailed my agency this morning to tell them if I am limited to working with an international couple in order to help a heterosexual couple then my next priority would be a close relationship.  Now I am not looking to be invited to Thanksgiving dinner every year, but we are going through a deeply emotional, high stress, very personal journey.  We are helping to create a family - I want to be treated like a family member (2nd cousin twice removed is FINE!).  I just don't want to be treated like a rented uterus.  I am more than that.   {I was forwarded a profile that gave me the impression this is what they were looking for - that isn't what I am looking for!} 

So what is the next step?   My profile is being sent to Germany!   The German family (I'll be excited when I can use names/initials and not just general references - permission pending of course) will review MY profile and then they will decide if they want to move forward with meeting me and Mark.   They don't have to accept me.  If they don't feel like we would be a good fit, then I would rather them pass me on by than let me get emotionally and physically invested in working with them.

..... we also still need to get our screenings done.....

Baby steps.  Hurry up and wait.   One step at a time.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Not really "Ah-Ha"!

Mark and I were able to look over the profile of the couple from Germany last night.  It wasn't an 'Ah-Ha!' moment when we read through it, so we are asking to look at a few more.  Since our main goal is to help someone become parents we have been leaning towards a couple that didn't have any children already.  That being said, we have talked it over and we would consider working with a couple that has a child/ren if we felt the match was right.

We don't want to completely rule out working with the Germany couple.  I love that they are open to having an involved relationship even though they are overseas.  I also think it is great that they have a 10 year old son, just like us.   It just didn't seem like the profile had very much information in it.   Not too much about who they are or what they do in their lives.

We were also informed that all their heterosexual couples live overseas at this point...... so looks like we will be working with an international couple no matter what.  Brings up some interesting challenges for the future  - we'll deal with those as they come up.

So - back to waiting.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Would I be willing to work with an international couple? 

A couple from Germany with a few failed pregnancies looking for an experienced surrogate. 

Germany - a country where surrogacy is illegal.

Is there a reason I decided I wanted to get my passport last year?   I wouldn't need to travel overseas to become their surrogate, but I might after to see the baby.  Ya never know.

I have posted a few questions back to the agency.   Then I will talk it over with my husband.  Pray.  Think.   Decide. 

Here are the questions that popped up right away - - -

Are they American citizens living in Germany or are they citizens of Germany?

Legally what are the challenges we would face being international?  Ie – Citizenship for the child(ren), birth certificate etc

Fresh or frozen embryo’s?  

IM’s eggs or are they using an ED?

Do they speak English?

I said things could move quickly, but I thought I would be screened first, but obviously they (the agency) have been thinking about who(m) I should be matched with.   I'll let ya know!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Q & A part 1

I am sure as I continue in the process I will get asked questions.   That is fine, I would rather have friends/acquaintances that are knowledgeable about what I am doing rather than 'think' they know.  

This will be the first part of Q & A to answer some of the early questions that I have been asked either in person or in some other format.   When I am pregnant I am sure I will get many more - and those are the FUN ones!!

If you have questions, feel free to ask.  A lot of questions I might not have the answers to yet - others might change.  I'll do my best to keep you up to date.

Are you doing it for the same family as last time?
I wish!   No, their family is complete although I did give them a heads up that I was available again if they were interested.   ;-)  We have no idea at this point who we will be matched up with.

What are you waiting on right now?
Currently they are reviewing my application and ALL the pages that go with it - maybe I'll share the types of questions I get asked....   The agency is also doing a background check on Mark and I as well as credit checks.   Once we pass (I am being optimistic) we will wait for my next cycle and then we will travel down 7 to 14 days later for our medical screening and psych evaluations (MMPI).

So you are using an agency?
Absolutely!  I know there are plenty of surrogates that go 'independent' (ie - no agency), but this is not something I would legally want to take a chance on.  I used a wonderful agency out of LA last time and I plan on using them again.  I know them.  I trust them.  Even famous people use them - like Sarah Jessica Parker!   Woo-Hoo!   If you are interested, check out

Do they pick you or do you pick them?
Yes.   We will get one to three profiles to look through of potential IP's.  I can accept or reject (and ask for more) the profiles we get.  If I accept then *my* information will get sent to them for review.  If they decide they would like to continue then we will have a "match meeting".  Think of this as a blind date where you know you will get knocked up probably by the 3rd date. 

When are you getting pregnant?
Wish I knew!  It would sure make planning my summer a lot easier. 

How much does it cost?
The IP's need to put money into a trust that would pay for everything for the entire pregnancy.   This includes:  Medical screening for them and the surrogate, travel fee's (airline, hotel, food), psychological screening, all the fee's at the RE's office ($10k a pop!), medication for the surrogate, life insurance, medical insurance, lost wages for surrogate and partner, fees to the agency, surrogate's compensation, egg donor fees (if applicable), lawyers for the IP's and surrogate, and any other fees that I can't remember or come up during the course of the journey.   Is it expensive?  Yes.  Is it worth it?  You bet!  Is the family buying their baby as some would want to imply?  Did you just read that long list of things that are required?  Absolutely not!

So do you get paid?
I do get compensated.  Is it a lot?  Well, what is your definition of a lot?  Since I am a stay at home mom not making any money, sure.   The extra money will open up a few possibilities for our family.   Is it my main motivator, absolutely not.  I could get a job and make more money.   BUT - this way I still get to stay home with my children and still be able to afford a few little 'extras'.  Surrogates with my agency are screened to make sure that money is not a main motivator in deciding to help a family.  Remember, they have run credit checks on us and have verified that we are not on any type of public assistance (that would disqualify you).  I don't need to post the amount I will be getting, if you are that interested you can go look it up.  :)  
A quick statement here - when we decided that I was going to pursue another surrogacy Mark and I discussed what we wanted to do with the money.  A goal of mine has been to go back to school after the kids all going to school - it would coordinated almost to Mark being eligible to retire.  With the money that I will be receiving we plan on setting it aside so that I can pay for a good chunk of school without going into debt.  Perfect!

Is it (referring to the baby I am assuming) going to be related to you?
Absolutely not.  I am a gestational carrier/surrogate - that means that I am using someone else's eggs - either the IM or an ED.  I will not be related in any way, shape or form to the baby.

Ok, that is good for now - I'll continue another time!

Surrogacy Acronyms -

Surrogacy & Fertility have their own language.   In order for you to read and understand a lot of what I am going to be doing and going through you will probably need a little 'translator'.

I hope this will help you in future posts.  :)

Some of the most common acronyms you will see/hear me us are.......

IP's - Intended parents
IM - Intended mother
IF - Intended father
AF - Aunt Flow  ;-)
AI - Artificial insemination (shouldn't happen to me!)
DPO - Days past ovulation
RE - Reproductive Endocrinologist
GS - Gestational surrogate - like me!  (not using their own eggs)
TS - Traditional surrogate - using their own eggs
HCG - that hormon that turns the tests +!
ICSI - (in English) - they inject a single sperm into an egg
IVF - In Vitro Fertilization
LMP - last menstrual period
M/C - miscarriage (let's hope I don't use this one!)
"O" - Ovulation
PG - Pregnant
PIO - Progesterone in oil (this will be injected)
SM - Surrogate Mother
SO - Significant other
FET - Frozen Embryo Transfer
TTC - Trying to conceive
EDD - Estimated Due Date
2WW - 2 Week wait
POAS - Pee on a stick
HPT - Home pregnancy tests
BFN - Big fat negative
BFP - Big fat positive

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Introduction letter-

Along with pages and pages of very personal questions regarding our medical backgrounds, our financial background, our criminal background, our psychological background etc - we are supposed to introduce our family to potential IP's in a way that would make them interested in working me us, me specifically.

The agency screens the IP's and the GS (me!) for thing such as how many children we would be willing to carry, what type of family do we want to work with, views on selective reduction, how much contact do we want on and on and on......... once they have narrowed it down the surrogate is given a couple profiles (or one if they feel it would be a great match) to look at. If after looking through and reviewing their information I want to move forward they will then forward my information to the IP's. If they agree to a match then we have a face to face get to know ya meeting in LA and then we move forward. If either of us decides that we don't feel comfortable and any point *up to signing contracts* then we can request a new profile to look at.

One part of my profile this is a letter - I am attaching the 'letter' part of a hardbound book that I put together along with lots and lots of pictures of our family doing our normal everyday things.

Here is that letter:

As a parent we are often defined by our children. I no longer have my own identity. ….if I do, it is somewhere at the bottom of the laundry basket. When I go to the grocery store, holiday bazaars, or church I am labeled as “Tilor’s mom” or “Zeyon’s mom” or “Sheridan’s mom.” If I stop by my husbands work I am “Mark’s wife.” Am I bothered by this? Should I be? Absolutely not!

I am honored to be the wife of a loving, dedicated, hard-working man who has enabled me to live out my dream of being a stay at home mom. Since I was a young girl my answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” has always been “a mom.”
I have been blessed - giving birth to and raising three happy, healthy children. My dream has been fulfilled!

Since my pregnancies and births are ‘easy’ I want to return the gift given to me. I want to help another mom and dad to become a family. For others, getting and/or staying pregnant isn’t always easy or possible. I know I am not the only one with a dream of becoming a mother. My husband was a ‘late in life dad’ and wasn’t sure he would ever have children – now he can’t imagine his life without them.

It isn’t always mommies and daddies who make families – it is love that creates them.

Hi! My name is Heather and I would be honored if you wanted to give me another label – the label of ‘our surrogate’.

I am not a stranger to surrogacy – along with my own three children I was able to help a couple add two little boys to complete their family. Now that my husband and I have decided our family is complete I have made a very thoughtful choice to help another family grow by adding children. This isn’t just a baby for you. There are probably aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and lots of friends waiting for a bundle of joy too!

My surro-babies that I gave birth to are now 8 & 6 years old. My children are 10, 5 and 2. I had a baby at 21, 23, 25, 27 & 29. My goal had always been to be done having babies by 30 and I had made it… then I realized that 30 really isn’t that old at all! 

When my husband Mark and I first started seeing each other I tried to convince him that he didn’t want to date me… I was going to be getting pregnant (with my 2nd surro-baby) in 3 weeks. He told me that it wasn’t scaring him away. So, our first year of dating I was pregnant and we had a *great* time playing around teasing everyone about his not being ‘our baby.’ Mark told the skeptics: How many guys get a trial run at their girlfriends being pregnant? Wasn’t that the truth!

He supported my decision to be a surrogate because he saw how happy it made me. He saw the incredible bond I had with my surro-family – one that is still very strong today!

I had a 3 ½ year old little boy from my first marriage when Mark and I began dating; 14 months after giving birth to my 2nd surro-baby, Ethan, we welcomed our own little boy Zeyon. Mark and I have a 17 year age difference between us, and he has very traditional ideas and values. When Zeyon was 6 months old I quit working to stay home and be a full time mom. Shortly after, he proposed and we were married in October of 2005. Ok – so we did that part a little backwards.

Ever since I was in high school I said I wanted to have 4 boys – between my 2 boys and my 2 surrogate boys it happened! So when I got pregnant with my 3rd child we didn’t know what to expect. Our family was complete with a little girl born in October 2007.

I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Yes it rains a lot but that is why everything is so green. So clean. So breathtaking. Maybe you have heard of or even tasted Tillamook Cheese. The cows outnumber the people and we get frustrated if we get stopped by 2 or 3 stoplights. The only time there is a traffic jam is if you get stuck behind a tractor. It is a small town; where everybody knows your name. When I graduated high school 15 miles north of here I swore to never come back – there was NOTHING to do….. Yet, I returned as I realized it is a wonderful place to raise a family.

Our home is on 19 ½ acres overlooking the Tillamook valley in Tillamook, Oregon. We frequently have wildlife around our home including coyotes, deer, elk, bobcats, bear, raccoons and so much more. Although we live in a farming community most of our acreage is timber.

My mom, Michelle and my step-dad, Tom live about 10 miles away from us. My grandpa lives even closer. My in-laws might call us after 10pm if they can see we still have our lights on. My dad, Rick and step-mom, LeAnne and my brother, Jason all live in the Portland area. I have 7 brother & sister in-laws that also live within a couple miles and another 4 that live ‘in the city.’ Family is obviously important to us.

One of our favorite ways to spend time as a family is to go camping. Until this past summer we have always tent camped. Unfortunately because we do live in Oregon and it does rain a lot we couldn’t go camping as often as we wanted. So we finally caved and bought a used 25’ trailer. Yeah!!

Movie nights, playing games, taking a bike ride or a drive are a few other ways we enjoy spending quality time together. Since Tilor is older now we also spend a lot of time at sporting events. Fishing and hunting are also fun things to do when daddy is off work.

I know there is much more to me that this, but it is a short summary of me and my family. As we continue on our journey I am sure we will all learn much more!

Just for fun I’ll leave you with this:

I love….

I love laughing ‘til I cry, hot bubble baths, kissing babies, reading a book I can’t put down, ‘skinny’ jeans, cribbage, sunsets at the beach, comfy sweatshirts, creamy peanut butter, a man that will hold my face to kiss me, Tillamook cheese, walks with my family, sunrises from my deck, watching deer play tag, carving pumpkins, Dr. Pepper, smiling, brown eyes, my teddy bear, inside jokes, Google, butterfingers, skim milk, ‘my shows’, late nights talking, funky socks, family dinners, wet wipes, living in Oregon, smoked salmon, sitting in front of the fire, dancing in the rain, hugs, belly rubs, being sarcastic, tattoos, massages, date nights with friends, nursing my babies, ketchup, single tall decaf 8 pump vanilla breve lattes, long hair, clean floors, camping, Fuzzi Bunz, Target, vanilla ice cream, being a stay at home mom, rootbeer floats, getting flowers, simple jewelry, facebook, getting a good deal, MOPS, church, being forgiven, BUNCO, opening my stocking at Christmas, toilet paper to go over the roll, staying at hotels, photos, the color orange, traditions, the Vikings, kind of green bananas, watching my children play together, sunshine, listening to my family sing together at the dinner table, shopping for Christmas presents, raspberry jam, Readers Digest, long hot showers, freckles, open minded people, Trinity, baby kicks, hearing “i wuff you’, cheese cake, my hard working husband - Mark, my reliable son - Tilor, my sensitive son – Zeyon, my daring daughter – Sheridan, being ‘kind of’ granola, giving blood, French fries, my parents, family get-togethers, power outages, ponytails, smell of a campfire, my Poppa, BBQ’s, wind storms, rats, squirrels, oldies music, comfy PJs, best friends, romeos, Converse, our house and property, sleep, wishing on a star, baseball, being a surrogate, being a mother, being a wife, making a difference, being ME!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Let's back up a bit -

I know that not everyone will agree with what I am doing for one reason or another, but I also know that there are many more people that will support my decision and encourage me.   Those are the ones that I will look to when I start thinking "why did I decide to do this again"?   :)

Deciding to do another surrogacy was not a decision we made quickly - it is something that *I* have thought a lot about and then once I decided I wanted to reconsider it again I brought my husband into the decision making process.

Do I want to be pregnant again
How will my children feel?
Do I want to go through all the hormone injections, patches & pills required for gestational surrogacy?
Do I want to have to deliver in a hospital after loving my homebirths (I am required to deliver at a level 2 NICU or better)?
What kind of IP's do I want to work with?   (IP - Intended parents)
Will I have the support I need to get everything done in my own family?
...... there were many, many more - but this is just a few of the ones that popped into my head just now.

When Sheridan was a year old I contacted the agency that I had previously worked with and inquired about *maybe* doing another one in the future and I was encouraged to reapply when I decided I was serious.    Fast forward another year with lots of prayers, and talks with my husband - I filled out the initial online application and was informed that they would hold my application for processing until I was done nursing.  I knew this when I applied (same thing happened when I had applied 10 years ago when I was nursing Tilor)  and informed the 'gate keeper' that I was just getting my name back in; that I was interested.

The first time I applied I was their youngest surrogate, and I was informed this time around by the owner that I now will hold the record for the longest period of time between surrogacies.   During my first surrogacy I also helped them "tweak" a few of their policies - such as No piercings or tattoos while you are working with them.  We learned this the hard way and got a 6 month delay.  Ooops.  Leave it to me.   :)  Always the trouble maker.      Anyway, I digress..........

There are many, many pages of applications now that I am wading through.   Nothing is hidden.   I have to share *everything* about our family, medical, physical, psychological, financial, criminal etc.   Life insurance and health insurance has been started, finding an approved OB and hospital that will work with me as a surrogate (Tillamook OB's flat our REFUSED to work with me the last time around...but whatever!). Criminal background checks have been signed off on.  We are an open book now.  I am finished the 18+ pages of medical questions at the same time I am telling the agency what 'family type' I am looking to work with.

Since I had such a truly wonderful experience last time I really don't want to compare this one and the last one, so I am looking at getting a different 'family type'.  My request will be to work with a husband and wife that have not had the blessing to have children yet - I hope to bring them that miracle finally!

So after this journey is done, will I do it again?   Nope.   Mark and I have finished our family and  the agency that I work with allows up to 6 births - since I have 5 'under my belt' already, this current one will be my LAST birth.  I know that going in and I will be okay with it.   When I am done I'll work on getting in shape and planning my trip to the Bahama's.  ;-)

So that is a bit of background.......... as my journey continues I'll share more.  More decisions that are being made, more preferences that are being shared and more of the ups and downs along this journey.

Drum Roll Please...........

I know you have been awaiting my *big* announcement of what "Operation PJ" is........

I have decided to do another surrogacy!!!!

.... so yes, for those of you that said I was getting pregnant, you were right, just a little off.

I have never done a blog before, but I really want to be able to journal about my journey and I figured this would be a fabulous way to share without clogging up the rest of my life and facebook!

So, as the days go on I will post more including why, when, who and all that good stuff.

One thing I would like to point out is the name of the blog - I am basing it off of a book about how to talk to your children about surrogacy.   It is called "The Kangaroo Pouch" -  I have bought it for my children to reintroduce to them why I am choosing to do what I am doing. 

Until then... thanks for anxiously waiting with me and supporting me!   I still have a long way to go, I am still buried in paperwork, but I know it will all go quickly once it starts rolling!