Newborn Feet

Newborn Feet

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010


I have tried to be optimistic that I would already be pregnant during the summer.  Now it looks like the earliest we could try to get pregnant would be summer, and that is just *my* guess if everything goes smoothly during the contact/legal stage.

I like wearing bikini's during the summer.  I know I shouldn't, especially since I have given birth 5 times, but I like to.   I bought a few new suits in anticipation of being pregnant this summer....   It would make me feel better if my belly full of sergeant stripes at least held onto someone's little miracle.  The way it is looking I will be sporting the stripes but no baby.  Now I'll just look fluffy.   :(  Dang it!

The trust has to be fully funded before we can start our legal contact and I can start any meds at *least* until our contract is going (technically I should wait until ALL contracts are done!!).  Since AF is due to arrive early next week again it looks like I won't be able to start any type of meds - until May.  That seems soooo far away.  The only meds I would start would be BCP - birth control pills - so that we can regulate my cycle better so it is easier to sync up with the cycle of the ED.  I am not looking to do anything crazy, just BCP.   But nope...... gotta wait.

Apparently it is more difficult to wire money overseas and that is what is taking so long. What?   I thought people wired money to off-shore accounts all time, how is this any different?!?!   :)  Just kidding!!

So, if you see someone looking 'kinda pregnant' with a bikini on, just know that she is probably just waiting and hoping for that little miracle.

Now that I think about it, if I actually do get pregnant this summer I will probably look like a junkie with all the needle marks in my butt from all the hormone injections........... GREAT!!!

Not my butt, but the bruising looks very familiar!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wee bit o' Green

I finally got out all my 'Green' this evening and wanted to share it with you!  Ok, this isn't all of it, but my recently acquired.... 21 pairs of socks (I wanted enough to last me the entire 2WW!), 3 shirts, PJ pants, flip-flops, 1 ring, 4 necklaces, 2 pairs of earrings, 1 bottle of green nail polish, a deck of cards, 2 pins, 29 tattoos (Ti borrowed one for St. Patty's) and my tiara/cowboy hat!   Hmmm, I know I have one pair of green underwear, but I might need to keep my eyes open for some more.....   ;o)

Monday, March 15, 2010

A few Lucky Charms

Good Luck  - whether you consider it chance, accident, superstition or faith, luck has widespread global appeal and good luck charms are represented by human, animal, botanical and inanimate objects.

While tackling infertility people often use good luck charms to help further their chances of conceiving a child.  Truly it might not help, it can't hurt to try.  During my first two journeys we wore yellow which is one of two colors that are supposed to be considered the color of fertility and therefore good luck.

I want to share some things that are considered Lucky Charms not only in the US, but also in other countries......         

Rabbit Foot
Red Bats
Chimney Sweepers
Saint Christopher
Dream Catchers
Red Chinese Lanterns
Pot of Gold
Nautilus Star
The Number 7
Four Leaf Clover
A Wishing Well
Stray Eyelash
Falling Star

For my upcoming pregnancy (transfer date still undecided at this point) I have decided I am going to go all out with GREEN!   I have been shopping some great St. Patrick's Day sales and I am stocking up.   I have decided that I want to wear something green from the time I go in for my transfer until I get a positive (or negative) BETA or pregnancy test.  That is about 2 weeks.   Yeah.... quite a while.  Luckily I have a washer and dryer. 

My mom was able to go to Target before I could so she picked me up a bunch of socks including 8 that say 'got lucky' on them.  Oh yeah, I am gonna have fun with this.  *hee-hee*  I have also picked up a couple shirts - at least one that says 'got lucky' on it.  I have purchased green nail polish for those times when I really can't wear anything green...... I also purchased flip-flops with clovers on them, a deck of cards with clovers, a light up ring that is in the shape of a clover, a pair of PJ's pants with Elmo, rainbows, clovers and 'tickle for luck' printed on them and just the other day while out for my husband's birthday a green cowboy hat.  Oh yea!  Not just any cowboy hat, it has a built in tiara - (being that I am a fairy godmother and all) and the tiara lights UP!  How cool is that?!?!  Imagine the looks when I go into our hospital room wearing a hospital gown, green striped knee high socks, a 'Got Lucky' shirt and a light up cowboy hat on!!!  LOL!   Oh..... yeah, the doctor is gonna love me!   The lights will probably be a little distracting while he is doing his very detailed work of getting the embryo's into their comfy home called my uterus, but I'll still wear it, I'll just make sure the lights are turned off!   

....on the other hand, I wonder what the Intended Parents will think of me.  Actually, Zeyon and I made green and white beaded necklaces for myself, the IM, the IF and the future big brother to wear at the transfer.  I will make sure the the IM has a pair of 'got lucky' socks that match mine and I also bought green and yellow earrings for us both to wear.   Should be fun!

I was also advised I should have pineapple before the transfer and McDonald's french fries after.... the pineapple has some vitamin in it, but I think the fries just taste good.   ;-)

I know IVF is science, with God overseeing all aspects, but I am going to do all that I can to make sure that we have a successful pregnancy, and well, that starts with 'getting lucky'!  I think I am doing 'stocking up' on green, but if you see something that is a 'must have'.... let me know!  Although, as another surrogate so nicely pointed out - the horseshoe around my uterus would be a little cumbersome!

The process of getting pregnant with a surrogate is such an emotionally trying experience, I just want to make it as enjoyable as possible.  Even if that means being a little silly and having some fun.   That is just the kind of girl I am.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Let's talk about.......


No one likes talking about money.  Money is a *huge* taboo topic in our culture.... that is probably one reason I didn't think I should talk about it.  However, I have been thinking about it and one of the main goals of my blog is to share openly ~all aspects of surrogacy~.   So let's talk!

Surrogacy is expensive.  However surrogacy is something that I wouldn't want to skimp on.   There are HUGE risks on the surrogate side as well as the Intended Parent side if things don't go according to plan.   Some surrogates choose to go independent and try to keep the costs as affordable as possible for the families they might be working with.  Some times this works out wonderfully.  Sometimes this is a train wreck waiting to happen.  The financial security of my family is something I don't want to jeopardize to help someone else.  My family is my priority, as it should be.  Therefore I will do everything in my power to make sure that everything is done legally and on the up and up. 

Since I only have experience working with one agency I will use their information - something that you can find by a couple clicks on their website.  My agency requires that all the money that will be required for the entire surrogacy journey is put into an escrow account before we get started.  At this point in my journey that is what my couple is in the process of doing.... they have 10 days to fund their trust account.   This is something that is thought out, planned out and budgeted for.   My agency estimates that it will cost $115,000 - 150,000.   If you are curious about a few things that IP's are responsible for paying for you - can read about it here.  

When I started researching surrogacy over 10 years ago I didn't realized you could actually get paid to do it!  That was a huge bonus.  "You mean I get to be pregnant, and carry someone's baby for them and they will pay me for it?!?! Wow."  There are other surrogates that have gotten into it just for the money, but I read something awhile a go that made me rethink my thoughts on this......

As a soldier, I was paid for my duties, that didn't take away from my honor. Some of my fellow soldiers joined because they wanted the financial security and the benefits, that didn't take away from their honor either. It's the same for a surro. If she gets interested because of the money, I don't think it degrades her honorable intentions of helping someone in the process.

If you are not someone that is in 'need' of the money - ie, 'I need to do this or I am going to lose my house', but rather a want, I guess that is okay.  I used to have big issues with it.  The soldier clip really gave me a good perspective.  There are many wonderful things that the extra money could be used for.  Maybe you want to put a down payment on a house, start a college fund for your children, open a new business adventure or take a once in a lifetime vacation.  I know of one surro that is doing a journey so she can afford to buy a service dog for her disabled son.  Should we look down on a surrogate because she wants to help out her family?  I don't think so...  Remember we were required to have a credit check in the initial application process and we cannot be on any type of public assistance.  When I grow up I want to go to college to become a nurse or a midwife or something along those lines.   I think it would be wonderful if I didn't have to go into debt.  The money I receive will be a great way to let my family afford to do that.  So the money is not a need, and since I'll be getting it anyway, it is a nice Bonus! 

There are also huge risks involved in being a surrogate (why do you think I have to have an additional life insurance policy?), but financially it shouldn't cost *my* family anything to help someone else achieve their dream of adding a child to their family.  I have read too many stories of surrogates that let their heart lead instead of their head and they ended up declaring bankruptcy because of medical bills that IP's left unpaid.  I am hoping that I am protect my family at the same time of receiving a bit of financial bonus and a whole lot of emotional bonus. 

Something else that I have heard over and over is that even if the surrogate originally set out with the financial part leading her decision she will often times face many, many trials while trying to achieve a healthy pregnancy for someone.  They might face termination, miscarriage, negative betas and canceled cycles.  Somewhere during that journey you create a bond some intimate and so raw with emotions that ultimately all you want to see is the joy of the family with a baby in their arms and most surrogates are willing to give it all up just to make that happen.

People will often times hint that they want to know how much I make.  (I like to consider it compensation for pain and suffering....)  Let me just say that how I respond to this is often determined by why I think they are asking.  If you are genuinely interested in learning about surrogacy or if you are a close friend I don't mind sharing with you.  However if it is because you think I am make HUGE amounts of money off this, you are mistaken.  I think the perfect response would be:  "Why don't you tell me how much you make and I'll let you know if you should keep your day job."   :-)  I don't go around asking people how much money they make..... and if you think about it, at least if I was working I would get most holidays and evenings off, my weekends would be free, I wouldn't be restricted on what I could eat and drink, I could go with my kids on the roller coasters at the fair and I could relax with my husband in the hot tub.  When I was working I also wasn't required to inject multiple hormones into my body, I wasn't asked to abstain from sex for weeks at a time and didn't have to bring my work home with me.  I didn't work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, puke my guts up for weeks at a time or gain 40lbs.   I am not complaining - I knew all this going into it... at least after the first time anyway.   I just want *you* to realize that I am not just getting pregnant.  It takes a lot to get there and it takes a lot to sustain the pregnancy physically and emotionally.   I am honored to be able to do this.  I know not everyone is cut out to be a surrogate.   I know I am.   And yes, I am compensated for a job well done.  Nothing wrong with that!

...and no I am not going to say how much I receive.  It really doesn't matter.  If you want, you can go look it up.  It is published out in cyber world.   :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Green Light - GO!

So I couldn't stand it any longer and since I was awake anyway, I called GG to get a status update (there is a perk to the time difference!) -

"They *loved* you!"  

.....that was the response from Heidi at GG.    

Which means we have the green light so we are officially matched!!!!

There are financial things that need to happen on the IP's side of things now and once that gets rolling then we will share contact information so we can start communicating and bonding and growing our relationship!!   So exciting!

Around the 22nd of March we will probably begin the legal aspect of everything for our contracts.   For now, I just get to sit back and relax.

Off to do another **Happy Dance**!

Feel free to comment

Just wanted to let my readers know that I have opened up the comments section so anyone can comment, you shouldn't need to log in.   I would welcome thoughts, opinions and questions from anyone.  

I actually have a map on my page that gives me an overview of where people are visiting from when they read my blog and it is REALLY cool!  I got the idea from a surro-friend (a surrogate from, not just a fill-in friend) who has one on her blog.   I have people from other countries reading my blog!  Ok, some only read it once, but - CRAZY!   I am excited to see where people visit from and curious as to what brings them to *my* blog.

So anyway - feel free to post comments!  No log-in necessary anymore!  :)


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Phone call recap -

Our phone call lasted close to an hour and a half with Heidi from GG 'hosting' and guiding our conversations.  Since I have not been given permission to use names or initials yet I'll still be calling the Germany couple IM or IF. 

I started off by giving a little bit of background about what brought me to surrogacy in the first place and why after 6 years I was going to do it again.  The IP's have a 10 year old son, who just like our son is in the 5th grade.   So unlike many couples looking for a surrogate they have 'been there, done that' and have survived so far.  One of the things that they really enjoyed in the paperwork I submitted was that I acknowledged the fact that having a baby isn't always FUN.  There will be snotty noses to wipe, tummy aches and cries for Mommy and Daddy in the middle of the night but if they were willing to do that, then I was willing to go through morning sickness, heartburn, insomnia etc.   IM really appreciated that honesty - being  parent isn't always about the fun little bunny feeties, the wonderful scent of a freshly washed baby and cute gurgling noises.  Being a parent is hard work!     ....and they still want to do it again!  Can you blame them?

After I had to discuss my last 5 pregnancies and births and talking about any complications that came up during the pregnancy or delivery (none).  My summary - the first three were all born in a hospital with pitocin and absolutely NO pain meds, longest was 4 hours start to finish (1 & 3) and the shortest birth was 45 minutes (#2).  The last two were born at home with a midwife in a planned waterbirth - both born within 7 hours of their due dates and everything natural.

Mark was asked to give HIS version of my births - 'Heather says everything was nice and easy, why don't you give us your version.'  I was very impressed with his openness to talk about my births.  He started off talking about the first birth he ever witnessed 'live' which was for surro #2 while we were still dating.  Then talked about how quickly our youngest son was born at home.  He said something to the effect of - I was actually very surprised and how easy it is for her to delivery - she does a wonderful job.   I know that watching me give birth to surro #2 was the reason he was so on board with *us* having a homebirth for our children - it was just so easy.

The IM described why they decided to come to the US to pursue surrogacy (it is illegal in Germany) and how they decided to use Growing Generations.  They have shared their plan of surrogacy to have another baby with very close friends and family members, but like anyone struggling with fertility you don't want to announce it to the world.  Then everyone would be asking you questions all the time and making the 'waiting' that much harder and longer.

Now comes the nitty-gritty part of the conversation where our case manager starts quoting legal things and we have to be specific in our answers because it will be the beginning of our contract should we choose to move forward.

Contact.  Contact during the meds. Contact during the pregnancy.  Contact after the baby is born.

I know that can't have the relationship that I had with my boys for the first and second journey.  I know that all couples/families are going to be different.  Yet I also know that I don't want to be a 'rented uterus' and tossed to the side when their child is delivered.  I also don't want them to continue a relationship that they don't want to be in.  I want them to want to have a relationship with me.  I want to have updates on the baby for myself and also for my children.  They will be going through this with me - watching my belly grow, rubbing it, talking to it and playing with it.  I want them to know that the baby just didn't disappear.  On my bedroom wall is a family photo of the first family I carried for.   Even my 2 year old knows them.  Knows who they are.  We talk about them, we have visited them, we look at pictures of them.  They are a part of our lives, and they always will be.

So yes, contact after the birth is important for me.  Contact while we are getting started is imperative to getting a trusting relationship working right off the bat.  They need to trust me, but what a HUGE thing to ask of someone that is so far away.  I would look forward to growing and bonding during that 'waiting' phase.  While I am pregnant I would hope that they WANT to know what is going on with their baby.  This time around I am working with a mom who has already carried and given birth to one child.  She knows what it feels like to get that positive pregnancy test.  She knows what it is like to feel the first flutters of the baby she is carrying.  She knows what it is like to hold a newborn baby in her arms...... yet she is putting her trust in ME this time to share with her all the important milestones.  What a blessing she is giving to me to share this special time with her and her family!

When the IP's were asked to respond with what they envisioned for our future relationship contact after birth - the IF who has been quiet up to this point (mostly because the IM is better at speaking English) - said something to the fact of:  "That is exactly what we are looking for."  IM followed it up with saying how she can't believe that anyone could just say 'thank you for the baby, goodbye'.   She hopes that we can be like a second family and get our families together.   AMEN!!!   Seriously?!?!  This is great.........

We had to discuss a few more questions about prenatal testing, would I be willing to undergo a c-section (if medically necessary), how many babies I would be willing to carry, under what circumstances I would consider reducing and how I felt about therapeutic abortion.  I think we are all on the same page - we don't want to transfer more than two embryos and we both want to avoid any type of reduction.   *sigh*   This match is looking very positive.

We did have one extra question - Tilor wanted to know if their 10 year old son, in the 5th grade spoke English.  If we ever got to meet, Tilor really wanted to be able to play with him and talk.  The answer was Yes - he has been learning English since Kindergarten and can spell better than his parents.  :)  Tilor is thrilled!!

After we got off the phone I asked Mark:  "Well?"  His response (typical male) - "Well what?"

He made the comment about "I told you that you shouldn't go out looking for the close type of relationship like what you have with your first family, but it actually looks like that is what they want - and that is great!"  He was very happy that we were all on the same page about how many babies we would be willing to carry and all the things that go with that.... so he said he was in.

I got called away 10 minutes later to go officiate a wedding (dirty jeans and a t-shirt, but hey, they didn't care!) so when I got home I sent the agency an email letting them know we didn't need until Monday to make our decision.  Mark and I were 'IN'!

*I haven't proof read this, so I apologize now if there are any typos or grammatical errors!*
...but I wanted to get it posted for you to have our update.  :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sigh of Relief

I feel like I have been holding my breath and I can finally let out a sigh of relief.   Phew!

The conversation went well.
Important things were ironed out. 

We laughed.
We shared stories.

We have to let the agency know by Monday if we want to move forward with working together. 

I'm ready!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Friday at 4pm EST my telephone will be ringing.
My stomach will be in knots.

Although I have never been on a blind date, I image this is what it would feel like.
My life for the next year could be revolving around this phone call.   The words that will be said, the thoughts that will be verbalized, the emotions that will be shared and the details that will be discussed.

My life could forever be changed from this phone call.

Mark and I will be having a conference call between:  Us, the Mother, the Father and at least one representative from Growing Generations.

This phone call is a critical step in deciding whether or not we move forward.  At the end of the conversations we will each let the agency know how we think the conversation went and if we want to proceed working together.

It could be the end.
It could be the beautiful beginning.

The phone match meeting should last approximately one hour.  During that hour we will have some very important things to talk about. Somethings can be negotiated, some of them could be deal breakers.  For example -

Medical/ethical issues:
• Number embryos
• Number cycles and/or timeframe
• Selective reduction (number, circumstances)
• Termination (circumstances, adoption option)
• Choice of provider
• Travel restrictions
• Genetic testing
• Life support
• Celibacy
• Lifestyle restrictions (diet, medications, weight)
• Privacy concerns at delivery/appointments
• Breastfeeding/pumping

Personal issues:
• Contact during pregnancy
• Contact after pregnancy
• Confidentiality
• Contingency if parents divorce/die

We have a general idea on where the Intended Parents stand based on the initial paperwork we received on them.  They know my thoughts as well based on the profile they got on me.  On paper we don't agree on everything.  There are things that need to be talked out.   I am optimistic that we can come to an agreement that everyone will be comfortable with.  Legally it will all be worked out in our contracts, but we don't want to wait that long to find out if we aren't compatible.

With my first family we had a face to face meeting and then after we went and had lunch and got to know each other even better.  I remember very clearly that we went to the Farmers Market by the office of Growing Generations in Hollywood.... Tilor wasn't even a year old and I remember him laying him down in the grass changing his diaper.   *LOL*  Apparently you just don't DO that in LA!   But, that was me.  I was a mom that did what needed to be done.   When you hear the story from the family - it is even funnier!

It will be a little more challenging trying to 'get to you know you' over the phone, but I am sure we can make it work.   So tomorrow at 1pm my time - say a little prayer for things to go well!

Time for the Happy Dance!

Monday, March 1, 2010

TAG You're it!

TAG - You're it!  At least that is what I keep hoping for.   My case manager and the IM seem to be playing phone tag.  Playing phone tag is hard enough, then you throw in a 9 hour time difference (at least in my case) and playing tag gets just a little more difficult.    

At this point we are waiting for a match meeting.  As I said earlier it will either be telephone interview or we might be asked to fly to New York.  I don't mind either way, just as long as the important questions are asked and we are able to feel like we 'click'.   It is a HUGE thing on the IP's side to trust someone to carry their child.  On my side it is a huge thing to know that the terms that are talked about in the beginning will be followed through as the journey and pregnancy continue.  You want to feel connected.  You need to have trust. 

One of my 'biggies' is that fact that I would like to have contact after the birth.  I have read so many stories/accounts of Intended Parents promising the moon to their surrogate and then dropping them as soon as they walk out of the hospital.... my last family was so, so wonderful to me!  They promised me the moon and brought a bunch of stars with it.   I am blessed to still be part of their family and I proudly hold the title of 'Fairy Godmother'.  They gave me a tiara to prove it!  :)  

CFP said they could start me on BCP's with my cycle coming up if all three parties (SM, IP's and ED) had contracts signed or were close....... but we aren't.   At this point the earliest I could get pregnant would be May.  Guess I won't be huge pregnant this summer, I'll just be 'fluffy'. 

In the mean time I am stocking up on all things lucky.   I have been scouting out green everything!   Next time I get a chance to go to Target I am stocking up on St. Patty's day socks!  I even bought a bottle of green nail polish the other day and a green shirt off the clearance rack.  If only I could find some cute green shoes like this:  GREEN.   All in due time, all in due time......   

*Doesn't mean it isn't driving me crazy though!!*