Sunday, October 30, 2005

Overwhelming and Wonderful

I'm spent. The trip was both overwhelming and wonderful. It was more than I hoped for. Sugar was very warm and quirky, just as I suspected. Carly was pretty, friendly, funny, sweet and more than I expected. Ben seemed just as great, although he and I didn't get to talk much. He and my husband hit it off and they talked to each other while Carly and I ran off at the mouths.
Our lunch lasted 3 hours.
I am really really happy, and really really tired.
More tomorrow and yes, we've already decided to work together.
Our first meeting was that great.
What a whirlwind two days.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

It's time to meet!

We'll be leaving for the Big City that I've never been to, in about an hour. My stomach is flipping around like there's a lake trout in there. We won't meet Carly Ben and Sugar until tomorrow morning but our adventure is about to begin. Wish me luck please. I'd love to see who's been coming by. Won't you say hi?
I'll post again Sunday night or Monday morning. I should have a lot to tell you!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Random thoughts

Last night I had a hard time falling asleep. I layed awake for about an hour, getting more and more nervous at the thought of meeting Carly, Ben and Sugar next weekend.

Here is the unedited version of what's been going through my mind lately.

What am I going to wear? What says "I'm warm, approachable, trustworthy, and capable of caring for your child in my body for 9 months?"

What if they don't like me?

What if conversation is stilted or uncomfortable? I hate when that happens.

What should I order for lunch? It's going to be hard to eat and discuss something so personal, so important...and I'm supposed to eat during this conversation?

What if I don't like them? I really want to like them...but what if I don't? I have a hard time letting people down. (not that we have to decide at lunch)

I'm really, really not looking forward to Sugar getting out "the list" and discussing a run down of fees and expenses. This is one of the major reasons I went with an agency for surrogacy attempt #2. I thought that the agency went over the related costs with the couple on their own. NOT over lunch with me present. If I wanted to discuss compensation with the couple, I would have gone independant again. I'm really bothered about this one.

Hair? My hair requires a lot of fussing to look decent, and when I'm nervous may turn out a wreck. I'm really a pony tail/ballcap kind of girl. A ballcap probably isn't the best look for a first meeting. What the heck am I going to do with my hair?

How do I keep from looking and sounding nervous? There is no doubt that I will be, my voice gets this little shake to it, and sometimes my hands shake too. I don't want them to think that I'm a complete wackjob. Meeting people for the first time is always a little nervewracking for me.

Is my husband going to be his charming self or his introverted self? It could go either way. He is either completely charming and sweet and funny, or he is a total hermit crab withdrawing into himself. My husband is a fantastic guy, but sometimes he clams up, which makes him seem distant and hard to read. I really want them to know that he is 100% supportive, and I want them to like him. I just hope he is comfortable enough to show them his warm, sweet self.

I could go on and on. Needless to say, I bet the meeting will turn out just fine. It's the waiting that makes my mind go crazy. I'm getting nervous!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Passing time- Updated with answers

Well, there's nothing going on over here. I'm just waiting until next Saturday when we leave for Big City. I'd love to have something to write about, but I've got nothin' for ya. How about this? You guys are free to ask anything you like, and I'll do my best to answer it. I can't promise the most exciting answers, but if I answer I'll be honest. I'm a very open person. Ask about surrogacy or anything else for that matter.

Ok, Questions # 1, 2, 3 and 4 come from Cat. Thanks for asking some questions and not leaving me hanging!

Question# 1

What are your biggest hopes and your biggest fears about surrogacy?

My biggest hope is comprised of a few things. To achieve and complete a healthy pregnancy first and foremost. My dissappointment from Surrogacy attempt #1 (Jan-May of this year) has left me with a very strong desire to conquer IVF. I want another shot. I know how invested Sally, Don and myself were. We wanted it to work so damn bad. I hated seeing them dissappointed and leaving them with their dream of a child unfulfilled was terribly hard for me. I want to make someone a Mother- and a Dad! My very biggest hope is to beat the odds.

The rest of what I want is icing on the cake. I think that will be covered under your question concerning the relationship I hope to have with the baby's parents.

My biggest fear. Oh God. There are a few.
Not achieve pregnancy after multiple cycles.
Achieve a pregnancy and miscarry, or it doesn't progress normally etc. God, I don't want to have any more heartbreak happen for the couple I am carrying for.
For the couple to treat me like a paid employee.
For them to cut me out of their life after their child arrives.
For people in my life to disrespect what I am doing. (although most of my immediate family know about me pursuing surrogacy and every single person I've told thinks it's wonderful.)

Question #2.

Do you hope to have a long-term relationship with the parents and the child?

Absolutely, although I know it doesn't always work out this way. (one of my fears)
In my application information, this is something that you write about. This is one area that the agency uses to match you with a couple. They ask about the amount of contact you'd prefer during your cycling/pregnancy and about contact after the birth.
I wrote that what I would expect in terms of contact during the process is a lot/often. I enjoy talking on the phone and emailing, and daily contact would be great. Along with the parents being physically present for as many Drs appts as they'd wish, or are able to attend if I become pregnant.
After the birth I wrote that I'd expect to be treated as any friend or extended family member. If they're sending out a mass email to their friends and family with a picture of the baby eating their first solid food, or first steps- please include me! They don't need to call me any certain amount, or invite me to Sunday dinner- but please don't cut me out of your life like I never existed. Even in Gestational Surrogacy, you'd be surprised how many couples refuse to acknowledge their surrogate once the baby is placed in their arms. Promises to remain in contact vanish, along with updates on the new family and child. It is very hurtful to the surro, and I will go so far as to say disrespectful in my mind. ( unless "no-contact" was specified between the parties during the contract phase)
Maybe every few months, or a couple of times a year, give me call just to say "Hi".
Ask how my family and I are doing. Let me know how you guys are doing. Just like you would a friend that you don't get to see often. Basically, I want to be a lifelong friend of the family. I'll be proud of what we did, and hopefully the parents will be too.

As for my relationship with the child. Wow. That's almost surreal to think about.
The best way I can explain it is like this.
I want to be thought of as someone who did something special for them. Like a kidney donor.
They're not indebted to me in any way, I'm just a person out there who did something special for them because I wanted to. Their parents needed help to bring them into this world, and I was there to give it to them. I just hope that they think that I'm pretty cool.
A big hug someday would be the ultimate.
Ok I'm crying now. Thanks Cat.

Question #3

Do you know anyone who's done this before?

No, but I frequent a couple of great surrogate mom boards and I think of those ladies as friends just like you guys. My heart is invested in their lives/stories.


Did you have really easy pregnancies yourself?

Yes, I really did.
Pregnant first month trying with both of my children, full term healthy babies.
First child, girl, 1992, 9 hour labour, no meds , vaginal delivery, 8lbs 9 oz.
Second child, boy, 1997, induction, 12 hour labour, epidural in the 11th hour, born 20 minutes later, vag delivery, 7lbs 2 oz.

Great questions Cat. Thank you so much for asking.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Aaaaand they're off!

We're off and running.

In the last 3 hours:

I've talked with Sugar probably 4 or 5 times.
We set the 30th as the date to meet.
I called my husband and we decided to drive in Saturday night and stay at a nearby hotel.
Sugar called Carly and told her to go ahead and book the 9am flight.
Sugar and I discussed hotels for my husband and I, and she said she'd call me back.
She called me back to say that she booked us a room at the Hilton in the airport, and that she was paying for our room. Also, I need to go to Yah00 maps and send her the directions with the distance in miles roundtrip. She's covering our milage as well, and will give us a check when we meet.
I called my husband at work, and he took the 29th off of work.
Sugar called again and asked me to make a master list for her with all of my "fees".
The list will make it easy for her. She told me that we'll be discussing the costs of this surrogacy with Carly and Ben during lunch. I'm not looking forward to that part.
I'm very fair and average in what I'm asking, but, it's still uncomfortable for me to discuss money.

I'm probably forgetting something.

AYIEEEE! 12 days and counting.

Attack of the nerves

Things just never go how you expect them. I've been patiently waiting to get Carly and Ben's picture in the mail, yes? Sugar told me that she wanted me to have ALL of the info (including the picture) before I make my decision about working with them. She told me yesterday when we talked, that she did indeed mail out the photo on Saturday, and I should have it by Tuesday.

I woke up this morning anticipating the mail. I was then planning on calling Sugar and setting up a day for everyone to meet. While TJ ate his breakfast, I check my voicemail. Low and behold there was a message from Sugar.
" Hi, this is Sugar. I spoke with Carly and Ben, and they want to know if you could meet them on Sunday Oct 30th. They're planning on flying in to (airport) around 9am and I'm going to pick them up. So maybe we could meet somewhere in the area around 10:30 or 11am for breakfast... or is that too early for you to make it? They're so excited to meet you. Give me a call and let me know. Bye."

I was so surprised I had to play the message twice. here's what went through my mind as I listened.
1. What the? Why is Sugar calling me?
2. Sugar, you said I couldn't set up a meeting until I saw their picture?
3. Yay! they want to meet!
4. Oct 30th? Agh! That's my daughter's 13th birthday. sigh.
5. How the heck are we supposed to make a 4 1/2 - 5 hour drive by 10:30 or 11am? Get up at 4am?
6. Yay! They want to meet!

I called Sugar and left her a message. I'm waiting for her to call me back.
I think if I can get them to make it a lunch meeting (12ish) that would be good.
We'll see what happens.

Friday, October 14, 2005


I received the fax at 10pm.
The picture of Carly and Ben was completely black. (no big deal)
Sugar is sending picture by mail, in the morning.
She wants me to look at their info over the weekend, and when I get their photo early next week, I'm suppsed to call her and let her know if I'd like to set up a day to meet with Carly, Ben and her. Of course, I'm going to set up a meeting no matter what they look like in their photo.
So, as soon as I get the picture next week, a date will be set to meet. Exciting!
It's been a long day for me, I'm heading to bed.
P.S. I learned about 3 or 4 new things in the sneek peek. Most of it I've already ferreted out of Sugar over the last few weeks. ( names, ages, occupations,location, hobbies, reason for pursuing surrogacy, religion, etc) But I needed to get this to be able to take the next step. That's why I was so eager to get this formality out of the way.

Tonight's the night

Well alright! Finally! I called Sugar this morning at 10am and she answered the phone. She reiterated that she had their consent, their check and that they were very excited about me getting to see their profile and picture. Sugar told me that Carly said "we're not movie stars (as in their looks) I hope she doesn't mind!" That made me laugh. Sugar said she told them that I'm not that kind of person, and that I won't judge them based on their looks. How silly is that? I guess they are just as nervous and excited and unsure as I am! (You were right Lynette!)
So, then Sugar says "I'll get this out to you right away" and I reminded her that she was going to FAX me the information pages and picture. "Oh, right!" she said. " But the picture might not come out so well over the fax, it will probably be too dark" she hedged.
"I don't care what they look like Sugar" I said, " Just send the information you have. I'm not going to judge them on their picture anyway. I just want to read their answers to the sneek peek questions ( 3 pages or so) and I plan on setting up an in person meeting no matter what. That's what I'll base this match on. I need to meet them in person."
I mean come on. I already know why they're pursuing surrogacy, their ages, where they live. I know that they've already seen my picture, all about me and my family, my feelings on IVF, surrogacy, my compensation... what could I see in their profile that would stop me from wanting to at least meet them? I would hope to God that there aren't people out there that would base working together on the other person's looks. (and I don't mean health, I mean looks)
Surrogate or couple.
Anyway, Sugar said that she is going to be in meetings all day again today, out of the office, but she will send me the stuff by fax " as soon as I get in the door tonight, sometime after 7 or so."
So that's the word.
More tonight!

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I missed her call. I went to check out a new kickboxing class. My daughter called me on my cell and said "Sugar called, she wants you to to call her on her cell tomorrow." (probably thinking I wouldn't be home for a while) I was only 10 minutes from home, so I called her cell as soon as I got in the door. No answer, so I left her a message that said if she wanted to call me, I'd be up until 11. I doubt I'll hear from her again tonight. Crap.


Here's what's new. Yesterday, (Wed) I hadn't heard anything from Sugar. Since she told me it would be Tuesday or Wednesday that I should get to see the sneek peek info, I didn't think it would be bothersome of me to call. I waited until 8:30pm. (she's called me as late as 10pm)
There was no answer. I left her a message.
" Hi Sugar, I was just wondering how things were going, and if you had received Carly's mail yet. (as in- you said you'd fax the stuff to me once you got the consent and you know, a few thousand dollars from them to get started) I'm heading to the gym, but if you could call and leave me an update on what's happening I'd appreciate it." or something to that effect.
When I got home from the gym at 10pm there was indeed a message from Sugar that said " Hi, yes, I just got their mail today. Everything is good, and I'll be out of the office tomorrow all day, but I'll call you when I get in. (her office is out of her home)
Ok. So.
This means that she should be calling anytime now. It's almost 8pm. We'll see.
I hate waiting. Could she just send me the fax already?
More when I know more.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Moving right along

They like me! They really, really like me!

I just got a phone call from Sugar. She was calling to let me know that Carly had called her and said that her and Ben had definitely decided to use Sugar's agency, that their enrollment check was in the mail along with their consent form, and that Sugar should receive it sometime Monday or Tuesday. Sugar also told me that Carly and her husband wanted me to know that they really liked me, they thought I sounded sweet and was pretty. They want me to wait for them, and please give them consideration first. I said "what?" when Sugar told me that. "Yep" she said, "I sent them your sneek peek information and your picture when I mailed their consent form. They think you're adorable."
(Now I don't know if those are their words or Sugar's, but that's what she said.)
By the way, the sneek peek info has my picture, my stats like height, weight, age, location, marital status, how many children you've had, ethnic background, religion, compensation, my feelings on IVF procedures like selective reduction, the amount of embryos that you're comfortable transferring etc, the amount of contact during pregnancy you desire, and you are asked to write a letter to the prospective intended parents. So you can see that it is a little nerve racking knowing that a couple is reading about you and trying to decide if you'll be a suitable match to carry their child. Of course I take this as the highest compliment you could give someone. To entrust your child to another person's care 100%.
I was very happy to hear that they want me to look at their sneek peek info (not sure what they had to fill out) because they liked what they saw in me, and that we may be a potential match. I should get the info by Tuesday or Wednesday next week. If I'm also interested in them, I call Sugar and let her know. The next step will be for us to meet. Wow. Things are moving right along.

Now, I just noticed that I had a comment from Thalia, asking me what drew me to surrogacy. Since this journal is so new, I haven't really touched on it yet.
It basically comes down to this.
I first considered it when I was 27. I had read about gestational surrogacy, and it struck a chord within my heart. I thought, "what an incredible thing to do." I knew that it was something that would be fulfilling to me as a person. I knew it would be something that I would be wonderful at. I am a very open person, I love to talk and share with other people. I really enjoyed my pregnancies. I had already given birth to my two children, and knew that I was finished with building my family. My husband is a wonderful guy that didn't bat an eyelash when I told him about it. I think his reply was something like "Yeah, that sounds like something you would do." I started researching surrogacy and how to become one.
I learned that the state in which I reside is not a "surrogacy friendly" state. It popped my bubble. I looked around for quite some time, but couldn't figure out a way to make it happen in my state. I thought I would have to put it on a shelf until maybe a time when I didn't live here, or the laws changed in my area.
Last year something happened to a friend of mine online and she was going to look into gestational surrogacy. Once again, my interest was fueled. I started digging in deeper. I found some surrogacy message boards and I started asking questions. I found that with the right help, anything was possible. I offered surrogacy to my friend, and learned that she had already found a surrogate. But I was really wanting to do this. I decided to post an independant advertisemnet on SMO. I got many replies. I ended up in contact with a couple that lived only 40 minutes from me. We sent a few emails, and then decided to talk on the phone. We got along great on the phone and decided to meet. We met the first week on January this year, by February we had a contract and were cycling. In March' 05 ( I'll call her Sally) had her retrieval, and affter being on high doses of stim meds for 22 days, they retieved ONE degenerated egg. We were all devastated. No eggs to fertilize= no embryos=no transfer. They decided to do another cycle. By the way, they had no IVF coverage, this was all out of pocket to them.
Cycle two. May '05
Highest doses of stims our clinic allows for 19 days for Sally. Her E2 just wouldn't rise. Retrieval resulted in 4 eggs. 2 immature, two mature. Both fertilized, both transferred. Neither took. Was it a embryo quality issue after being on 900 units of Gonal F plus Repronex for that long? Probably.
Sally and Don were crushed, as was I. I went so far as to offer Traditional Surrogacy to them. (after talking to my husband of course)
We had grown very close in the 5 months we'd been together. Sally was willing, happy even, to consider it. Don on the other hand told her he just wasn't happy with the idea. He was very set on having their child be biologically related to both of them. Sally was quite sad, as they were no longer able to continue cycling due to the lack of coverage.
Sally and I still email, and she says she hope that I continue on the surrogacy path and that I have a success story one day. God, I wish it would have worked for them.
As you know, IVF is hard to let go of. Once it has it's claws in you you'll do it again and again, if financially possible, to get that postive outcome. I refuse to give up. Going to all of the monitoring appts, taking all the pills and patches and taking all the shots in the ass is hard, but getting that negative is MUCH harder. I want to help another woman achieve motherhood more than anything. I decided to continue on.
In June I decided to enroll with an agency. Doing all the legwork is tiring, and this time I wanted someone else to do the screening of a couple, and all of the legalwork for me. I had all of my required paperwork (and BOY is there a TON of it) completed and sent to the agency of my choice in August. My story picks up in my journal from there.
I hope this answers your question Thalia. Please ignore all spelling mistakes, I've got to go help TJ with a science kit. No time for editing. Nite guys.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Fax me baby

I couldn't wait for her to call me today. I called Sugar this afternoon. I called her under the guise of "I just wanted to make sure you received the fax I sent you with my health card" etc. Yes, she's got everything she needs now. Then she proceeded to tell me that she had the phone consultation with Carly and Ben last night. (score- that's the info I was really calling for! *grin*) They plan to enroll with her agency. Sugar said she is mailing them their consent forms tomorrow. (Oct 6th) Then, as soon as Carly and Ben send in their "enrollment fee", and fax their signed consent form, Sugar will send me their sneek peek. I went ahead and asked her if she would just fax me their info once she was ready, instead of mailing it. "Absolutely." was her answer. So, that's the newest news.

I finished the second coat of "Laurel Leaf" in living room. It looks wonderful. Allen and I bought new trim to put up around the ceiling, and he painted it white. Tomorrow night he and the neighbour are going to put it up. Then I start the kitchen. Whew. Lots of work, but it is SO worth it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

All work and no play

For the last two days I've been prepping and painting. My living room is going from a grimy white to a sagey green. How I love this new colour. My kitchen is going from white to yellow. I have brand new white cabinets. The cabinets are going to look fabulous against the newly painted walls. I'm not finished in either room yet. The living room needs a second coat of paint and the new trim put up. The kitchen hasn't been started. (minus the prep work and I painted a test area)
I may post pictures when it's finished.

On the surrogacy front-
Sugar never called after her phone consultation with the potential couple last night. She told me to call her, or she would call me. So, I called. And left her a message. I do expect her to call today. I'm thinking of asking her to fax me the sneek peek info when she's ready, instead of mailing it. It's only 3 pages long plus a picture or two. Think she'll do it? Or should I ask? It's a minor thing but I don't want to bug. I'm just getting excited. IVF and surrogacy is such a hurry up and wait game. You're constantly waiting for something. It's definitely difficult if you are a person who likes to dive in and get things going like me. Plus, I'm so ready to do this again. I have all my ducks in a row, and now it seems I'm just waiting on everyone else. I just want it to work this time. Isn't that the IVF mantra for repeat offenders? "I just want it to work this time."

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Another step forward

Sugar called me this morning with some more information. She set up the phone consult between herself and the parents for Tuesday. They are thrilled to hear that I live less than an hour from them. I also found out that she has her Masters degree in Math. The father-to-be is in a sports related field. He is 42. They were also surprised and happy to hear that I share their RE. I know both of their first names now. I will call her Carly and him Ben.
Sugar said either I can call her or she will call me Tuesday night after their phone consultation. As soon as they send Sugar their retainer, we will be setting up a day to meet. Things are moving now. I'm so excited.