Newborn Feet

Newborn Feet

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Road Block

We have hit a road block.  A big one.   
I will update in a few days -

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Two Weeks

Ok, so the picture looks a little scary but we only have TWO WEEKS until Sophie & Pépe arrive in Oregon!!  I am getting really excited while they are running around trying to finish last minute things at work and getting their house ready for the exchange.  I can't even imagine letting someone come stay in my house without me being there, but really, what a great idea!   The cost of lodging can be so expensive and if you have access to a  kitchen you don't have to eat out all the time - I think it is a great set up!  Oh yes, and they are getting excited too!

Our contracts still aren't signed, but that really isn't our fault - just waiting on the lawyers to move a number or a word here and there and then we will be signing.   Woo-Hoo!!  That will be a nice step to be done with!  Lawyers just give me the Heebie-jeebies!  Unless of course they are my friends.   :) 

The lovely little Witch should be arriving in the next couple days and I am hoping soon there after we will get a tentative calendar with transfer dates on it.  That also means meds will be arriving - it's kind of like getting presents at Christmas!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Feel the love

You always make me smile - I can't wait to 'get to the good stuff' and carry your child and make you a mother.   Your laughter is infectious and your positive outlook is so wonderful!  But for now, I am enjoying getting to know you and Pepe!

I am so blessed to be on this journey with you!!!!

Thank you!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Everyone is pointing fingers!!

I have to say I am really glad to be dealing with all of this NOW instead of after the fact but *seriously*!??!?!?

Why can't anyone take responsibility?   

Why does everyone have to keep pointing the finger at someone else?

Why does everyone keep deferring to another person?

Do we need to sit down and all have a conversation so that EVERYONE is on the same page?  

I know that all the people I am dealing with are talking to each other.   The agency is talking to the insurance people.  The lawyers are talking to the agency.  The agency is talking to their Executive group.  The insurance is talking to their CEO.   The agency is talking to me.  The insurance is talking to me.  The lawyer is talking to me.  BUT, I get word from one giving me an answer.  Then the next day I get an answer from someone different saying we are still working on it.   Seriously people!!!!!!!!!!!  AUGH!!!!!!!

So right now as it stands:
    Insurance said: As of now the home delivery and the mid-wife would not be covered under the policy.
    Lawyers said:  "Agency" has approved all of your requested revisions except for your request for a homebirth.
    Agency said: ...even though you and the IPs are in agreement, there may still be an issue as this is outside of the program guidelines.   We are following up with "Insurance" as well to ensure that the proper coverage would be in place. 

So who is really making the choices?    My thoughts are:  The agency has 'rules' in place because that is how most clients want to deliver (in a hospital), but S&P would like to approach the birth with a little calmer transition and do a homebirth.   They actually found a surrogate that is in total agreement and would *love* to do that for them.   Since it isn't the 'normal' thing for the agency they are freaking out.  I just don't get how it is THEIR concern if the surro and the parents are in agreement.   The insurance was fine with covering a CNM but now they know that one could possibly attend a homebirth they are scrambling.   Insurance was always told it was the agency that would allow it.  The agency said it was a rule because the insurance won't allow it.      ...and somehow the lawyer is involved and 'asking permission' to add things to our contract that WE have agreed upon!!! AUGH!    *deep breathing*   *deep breathing*

I know since I have been around long enough that the agency owners also have ownership in the lawyers we are using and also with the insurance that we are using.  I guess that is a complication you run into when you put all your eggs in one basket.  Instead of all acting on their own they all go running back 'mommy & daddy' for help and guidance so they don't get in trouble.

Sorry I am venting, but I need to.

The midwife that we can have insurance coverage for has agreed to see me for all prenatal appointments but they don't feel comfortable coming so far for the birth.  GREAT!  My local midwife has said that she will work out an agreement with ME without involving insurance.  We would still use the insurance for everything *but* the actual birth.   I was told by my agency in the beginning that if I chose a midwife I would have to pay out of pocket.  Okay, I am okay with that.  It is worth it to me.   Then last week I was told by my insurance that 'plenty of other clients' just pay for the midwife out of pocket and everyone is happy.  Great!  That will totally work for me.   We would still be utilizing the insurance that we need and would have 'just in case' and I could still utilize a midwife to catch the baby.

How is this not okay with everyone after everyone said it was okay?!?!?!

I know that I am being stubborn and still fighting it, but I am just not the type of girl to just lay down and surrender.  Maybe one of these days I will post the letter I wrote to MY insurance company after they denied my homebirth/midwife..... let's just say - I got a letter and a check shortly there after to help pay for it.   :o)  I am stubborn!

This is the summary on my thoughts:
   ~ S&P would like to use a midwife and are totally comfortable with a homebirth
   ~ I would love to give birth in the comfort of my own home
   ~ Insurance will cover a midwife
   ~ I have an insurance covered midwife that has agreed to see me for all my prenatal appointments
   ~ I have a midwife that has agreed to come catch S&P's baby in my home that *I* am okay with paying out of pocket for because it is that important to me.

Sometimes I just feel like screaming at my computer, instead I breath deeply many, many times.  Sometimes it helps.  

Ok, back to the finger pointing. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I am no longer hiding.  

I am coming out.   

I have decided to share my blog with Sophie & Pépe.  I figure since I have been talking about them and sharing about them I would give them the opportunity to at least read what I have been writing.

I have two thoughts to this - One is that if I kept it private I could continue sharing and not worry about sharing my true feelings and possibly hurting theirs.  Two is that I don't really think I have anything to worry about and I would love for them to be able to follow along with how I am doing and how I am feeling.  They will also have a great tool to share with their family & friends how *I* am doing.   The "crazy woman" on the other side of the world that is planning on carrying their baby.   I hope this will allow their family and friends to see me as a real person - one that cares about what I am doing and is thrilled to be able to help S&P become parents!

So please help me give a warm welcome my wonderful partners in crime - Sophie & Pépe!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ant's moving to July

Today was a very important day.  Sophie called me from France just to talk.  The one and only time that we have spoken on the phone was during our match meeting.   We have been emailing back and forth almost daily but it is so nice just to hear someone's voice.  Way back when I used to work for the airlines and we taught all the new hires to let the customer 'hear you smile'.  She still had her nervous little giggle that my husband just thinks is so stinkin' cute.   I am sure you could tell that we were both grinning ear to ear.

We talked about normal every day stuff.  How boring.  Yet how incredibly wonderful!!!  She shared.  We laughed.  I explained.  We planned.  We have such an incredible journey coming up and we are both so grateful to be on the same page with all the *important* things.

Sophie reiterated that they are totally fine with everything we talked about during our contract negotiations - even if there are other people that have issues with it.   :)   She also said how much her and Pépe thinks that a homebirth would be the best thing for me in our situation.  So much less stress for me, so much calmer for the baby etc.  The whole conversation made me smile.

...well almost all of it.   S&P have decided that they don't want to do the transfer while they are here on vacation.  I get it - I totally understand.  They want to relax and enjoy their vacation instead of rushing off to LA for a whirlwind trip to get pregnant.   Rather they would like to spend time just hanging out with my family.  No need plan sight-seeing trips or anything like that.   They will be renting a beach front cabin about 10 minutes from my house for a few nights during their trip.  That will give us a wonderful opportunity to let the kids run and play at the beach while we just enjoy our time and grow our relationship.   I actually am very glad that they want to meet my family and spend time with us.  I didn't expect anything less, just wasn't sure when we would fit it all in.  Now we know.
For months now I have been collecting fun, green stuff to have for our transfer.   So now I'll just have to put together their care package ahead of time so they can have it when they go home to France.

I also thought it would be fun to watch a few older movies filmed in Oregon while we were hanging out on bedrest -

*Free Willy
*Kindergarten Cop
*Short Circuit
*Point Break
*Stand by Me
*The Hunted
*and many, many more!

So I am a little bummed out that they won't get to be with me since it looks like we will be transferring in July now.  I was just looking forward to it........  In July we celebrate the 4th of July - our Independence Day.  Kind of appropriate that France gave the gift of the Statue of Liberty to the United States - I'll return the favor and give a Little Roo back to France.

S&P and I have agreed that if they can't make it to a transfer that I will be able to take a travel companion with me, so at least I won't be hanging out for 2 days at a hotel with NOTHING to do.    ....maybe I'll look into those movies after all!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Home sweet home

I have been telling you about my desire and the desire of Sophie & Pépe to give birth to their baby outside of  a hospital I want to share this list I found on line with you (it is not *my* list) - - but let me paraphrase this by saying I know homebirth isn't for everyone and that is okay.

35 Reasons to Give Birth at Home (in no particular order):
1. Home birth is safer - Your house is a lot less likely to be a source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and it’s not full of sick people.
2. Your chances are getting a C-section are reduced with a home birth.
3. It’s cheaper - A midwife’s fee is much less costly than a hospital stay.
4. You don’t have to go anywhere.
5. The food is way better at home. Organic food? Vegan? No problem.
6. You don’t have to have strangers at your birth (unless you want to).
7. Your home is always more comfortable than any hospital room.
8. Everything you need is there.
9. You can be as green as you want. Hospitals aren’t known for natural soaps, cleaners, or recycled-content anything.
10. You control the environment at home. If you want to dim all the lights or open a window, you just do it.
11. Birth is a sacred experience. What better setting could there be?
12. It’s so much quieter at home. There are no cabinets full of blinky lights, fans, and humming devices. Well, maybe some of you have that… But probably not in your bedroom. And you can power them down if you want.
13. Home birth is just more fun!
14. Your older kids can be a part of the birth.
15. Your pets can attend. Seriously. Pets are family, too.
16. Giving birth at home is an exceptionally empowering experience. We can take back birth from The Man.
17. No silly hospital gown is necessary at home. Wear whatever you want, or wear nothing.
18. You don’t need an ID bracelet for the mother or the baby when you birth at home.
19. You can choose the room for your birth, or change rooms in the middle. Not an option at the hospital.
20. Giving birth outside is an option with a home birth. Our first home birth was in our front yard, in a birthing tub, and our second in a tipi in our yard. It’s probably not an possibility for most city dwellers, but our second home birth was just on the other side of the fence from a public school (and recess ended just as active labor came on…)
21. No paperwork is necessary at your home birth.
22. You can cut the umbilical cord when you are good and ready. The speed at which they want to snip our newborn’s lifeline is unbelievable.
23. No gadgetry on the mother: A home birth midwife doesn’t require you to wear a monitor or get an IV started “just in case”.
24. You don’t have to sign out when you leave your house.
25. Your family doesn’t have to negotiate a giant parking lot and endless hallways to visit you.
26. A heating pad does not cost $50 to use.
27. You can have as much sage, incense, candles, whatever, as you like.
28. There is no pressure to circumcise, vaccinate, or apply for a Social Security number for your baby right after a home birth.
29. You don’t end up with a “gift bag” (marketing samples) from big corporate America, full of disposable diapers, formula, baby wipes, shampoo, soaps, and brand propaganda.
30. Your baby’s placenta does not become a biohazard. We left our placenta at the hospital, but we planned to bury it, so I drove back, all bleary-eyed, and asked for it. They weren’t going to give it to me, even though we had our name on it in the fridge (just like lunch…) We had to call the OB and have her sign off on the release, and then I had to sign about four different forms, and then they finally gave it to me in a bag with “Biohazard” all over it. Sheesh.
31. The dad has a bed at home. Sleeping on a foldout cot next to the hospital bed sucks.
32. Nobody comes in, wakes you up, and checks your vitals every half hour at home.
33. You can stream the live video of the birth to all your friends (Pay-per-view home births?) OK, I’m kidding.
34. Having a home birth is different. Different is cool.
35. The hospital is open 24 hours, so if you need it, it will be there.

I know that it isn’t for everyone, but if you feel at all drawn to home birth, I say, “Go for it - it’s not as mysterious as it sounds.” It’s the way women have always given birth. Only recently has birth become the domain of the doctor and hospital, the insurance company and the pharmacy and in our case - the agency.

One of the things that keeps coming back to me about what a wonderful experience homebirth can be in our situation is that Sophie would have the opportunity to be right there to help catch her baby, remove her shirt and start the skin to skin bonding contact that all babies crave.   The adrenaline/hormones will be going full force as they watch their baby be born - what an incredible sacred time this could be for a woman to take over as the mother in all sense of the word!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ruffling feathers

Well, in not so many words it appears as if I am ruffling a few feathers.

I get the feeling that I am being viewed as high maintenance or a trouble maker.   Which, I have been called more than once in my life....
Without going into too many details with Sophie, Pépe & I requesting an out of hospital birth is causing problems.  My agency doesn't allow them.  They don't allow them because insurance doesn't allow them.  But *if* I selected the right provider I could have her cover my birth and as long as there wasn't any 'facility fee' it wouldn't be a problem. *midwives don't charge me to use my own house. ;-)*  Since it is a request of the parents my case manager is now taking all of my documented emails between the parents and I to the executive board.   

We have also been working on contracts........  When S&P decided to add in a few special requests they gave me a heads up and it was very much appreciated.   When I had modifications I extended the same courtesy.  I was asking for a few things to have a higher fee (most were hypothetical, but I felt strongly enough to ask for more) and still others I was waiving fees on.  Give a little, get a little.   It is negotiations, right?  Well apparently by me talking directly to the parents I can get in trouble.   I obviously ruffled my lawyers feathers today 'cuz around 5pm I got an email saying that I could "affects someone’s ability to say they are signing a contract 100% voluntarily".  Mine or theirs.  I need to stay at arms distance to avoid that possible problem.   Ok fine.   No one ever told me that before....  Here I thought it was a good thing if we could come to an agreement on issues.  Apparently the lawyers feel they aren't doing their job or something - I dunno.  So right now my lawyer is waiting to hear back from the agency as to whether or not I am 'allowed' to modify my contract.  Isn't that what I have a lawyer for, to protect me and my interests?

I am also waiting to hear back from insurance regarding a few 'what if' situations.  They will also be talking to my agency.   Ahhh........ they are going to be so glad to get rid of me when this journey is done.    Did they forget that the pysch eval said I was a bit rebellious?

Wish I could just call the Agency owner directly and talk to her.   

Maybe I will.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Behind the scenes

 Behind the scenes Sophie, Pépe and I have been working on a few important details of our journey.   I got our first draft of our contract on Friday and I went over it many times this past weekend crossing, questioning, adding and deleting.   Since I have been down this road before and I have an idea of what needs to be done and what I am looking for.   Some things are pretty basic/standard others are a little more unique to our situation.

So many of the things that go into a contract are 'just in case'.  For example you never expect to have a hysterectomy but if I did it is written into my contract.   How far from home I am allowed to travel after 24 weeks - it was set at 50 miles, which if you know where I live is a little ridiculous!  When you print off the document it is a little daunting how long and detailed it is....

 We all want to make sure that we are covered.  The parents don't want to be financially drained but they want to make sure that all the basis are covered.  I don't think that financially my family should be negatively affected  and I don't want to inadvertently have a breach of contract so we are all just covering our bases.

I have talked to S&P about all the modifications that I am looking at making so that we keep an open dialog between all parties.  Then I talk to my lawyer, he changes it and then sends it off again.

Now for the EXCITING part!!!   I mentioned earlier that we were on the same page regarding not vaccinating but it has gone one step further........ they would like me to use a midwife for delivery and have given their blessing to have a homebirth!!!!   I am so, so excited!

I am excited for me because while I had geared myself up for having another hospital birth I *loved* giving birth at home.  I am also excited for S&P because I really believe that by having a homebirth they will be able to be much more involved in the birth and afterbirth then they would be allowed to in a hospital.   I can picture Sophie hopping into the tub with me to help support me and maybe catch their baby while Pépe is anxiously awaiting to announce the sex and cut the cord.   Since the baby isn't whisked away to be weighted and measured they will get those first precious brand new minutes/hours with Little Roo.  When it is time for the newborn exam they will be right there helping measure and asking questions and observing.   I can't wait!   I want this to work.........

There are just a few things in our way.  I am *very* restricted on who I can use for a midwife.  I have to use a CNM (certified nurse midwife) that is approved by my insurance.   It gets even more restrictive when we started looking for one that would deliver at home.... very restrictive.  So far we have only found one.  When I called her office I was told based on my previous delivery times (45 minutes to 4 hours) that I was too far away.  We have been going around and around about how we can make this happen.   I have 2 options left at this point before resorting back to a hospital birth.   We are currently waiting for a meeting on Thursday at the midwives' office to see if they would be willing to be my primary care providers and then use my previous midwife (who isn't covered by insurance or I would be using her as my primary!) as my emergency backup until the primary midwives arrive for delivery.  They have never had someone 'help' them so this would be all new, then throw in a surrogacy and it is all out of their 'zone'.... I just have to pray that everything will work out as it is supposed to.   I have gotten so much more out of this surrogacy already than I ever thought!!  I appreciate S&P being so open to a more 'natural' pregnancy and birth even if the getting pregnant part isn't so natural. 
My last resort option would be to use the CNM & my midwife both and then just know that the CNM won't come to catch.  I would just have to pay my previous midwife out of pocket.   Time will tell!

I am glad that behind the scenes things are going well.

Fairy Godmother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day.   My husband was at work, but my 3 children brought me breakfast in bed - 

Yes, that is peanut butter toast, a tall glass of ice cold skim milk, an apple, a vitamin C pill and my gift served up on a cookie sheet.   So very, very thoughtful!!

Around lunch time I got the phone call that I wait for - the call from my surro family.   My FIRST family, my Boyz!   I know they don't need to call me, I am not their mom, but the fact that they remember to call me always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.   There are many surrogates that don't have contact after the birth and I am so happy that I am still a part of the entire family!   I was serenaded by Daddy & Da-Da singing "Happy Fairy Godmother's Day!"  I talked to both of the boys and Grandma Harriet too.....   Ahhhh - Grandma.   She has that title because she now has grandchildren.  Because I was a surrogate.   :-)   That is pretty awesome!  

We go into surrogacy and you think "I am going to help someone become parents" but there are so many more people that are effected.   With my first family I helped two men become Dads, but there was also a couple grandmas, a grandpa and many aunts and uncles - some for the first and only time!

Here is a picture of my Boyz from last June taken during my visit.
Harrison (7), Scott, Ethan (5), and Gary

Thank you for allowing me to have the title of Fairy Godmother and thank you for still including me in your life and your family!   Love you all!!   XOXOX

Monday, May 3, 2010

Just perfect

I know that from the outside it doesn't seem like there is much going on with my journey right now, which is only partially true.   From the outside, not much is happening.  On the inside Sophie, Pépe and I are emailing back and forth at least once a day and sharing pictures of our home, sharing stories and just all around getting to know each other.   I am so happy with where things are at right now.

On a technical aspect (TMI alert!) I just started AF this past Friday which is wonderful!  That means I will be due again on May 28th and from there I start my meds in preparation for a mid June transfer.  My case manager told the nurse with Ringler's office (RE) to get my calendar going.   That is a wonderful step!!

Sophie & Pépe have the first draft of the contract with them now and they are adding a few modifications to it, their lawyers will review it, send it to my lawyer for review and then if it is okay I will get it.   I already know that I have a couple modifications for 'just in case' situations that I want to address.  Then the paperwork will make the return trip:  Me -> my lawyer -> their lawyer -> back to the parents.   We are keeping modifications and expectations in open dialog.   The have 2 requests for me - not to have any dental work (such as fillings) that will put any toxins (ie - mercury) into my body and also not to have any vaccines that contain the preservative Thimerosal such as the flu vaccine.  Perfect!

The flu vaccine and H1N1 I am sure will be pushed on by the OB's me since I will be pregnant, but with all the media hype on both sides of the issue I know what my choice is for me personally, but if I was pregnant with my own child it would be a bit more of a decision.  Being that I will be pregnant with someone else's child would have made the choice much more difficult for me.  I am glad it is a decision I don't have to make!   :)   S&P have done their research on their two requests and I am glad to accommodate their requests.  Along with them doing their research, their previous surrogate miscarried shortly after having the H1N1 vaccine (they were in their 2nd trimester).   This was obviously a devastating outcome for all involved.

If you know me personally you know that my younger two children are being raised vaccine free.  I know it isn't for everyone, but it is what works best for MY family.  Everyone has to do what works for them - at this point our two families are on the same page with choices for our pregnancy.

That is perfect.  Just perfect.