Wednesday, May 31, 2006

# 3?

I've been asked by my husband and my best friend if I'm going to do this again. (surrogacy)

While I'm not necessarily going to seek it out, if an opportunity arose, I'm pretty sure that I would like to do this one more time.

Of course there's things that I'd change, or look for in a third attempt.

I would prefer to:

1. Go the independent route.

I've found that the agency wasn't worth the money they were paid, and if anything they may have made things a little more difficult than things needed to be.

2. Carry for second time IPs (already have a child/ren though surrogacy)

A) They realize what surroogacy is all about, and I won't have to walk them through the process like I have for these last two surrogacies.
B) Since this will be my last surrogacy I won't be available to do "a sibling project". Most second time IPs won't be looking to go through a third surrogacy. They're more than finished after two successful pregnancies/surrogacies.
C) It would be wonderful to be able to talk to their surrogate from their first time around. References are always a good thing.
My IPs from 2005 offered to speak to any potential IPs about me that wanted to contact them. I would hope to be able to do the same thing (talk to their surro) if I was considering working with second time IPs.

3. IPs that have frozen embryos.

The rollercoaster of cycling kills me. Synchronizing our cycles, waiting to see if the IM's E2 is rising, how many follicles she has growing, how many eggs are retrieved, how many fertilize, how many make it day three or day five... All of that is so damn hard. I'd love to skip all of that. To be able to do a FET? Sounds like heaven to me.

4. IPs that don't live close.

I would re-consider this if Sally & Don, the first couple I worked with, decided they wanted to cycle again. But only for them.
I've realized that a little space is good.

I would insist on:

1. Sticking to a TWO embryo transfer. Let me tell you, that's what I put in our contract, that's what we agreed to, but once I got the slightest pressure to add the third embryo, I caved. And then I shit my pants from the high beta until our first ultrasound. Not going to do that again.

2. An increase on parts of my compensation. Some things I was too low on, some things weren't included. I didn't want to ask for too much at the beginning. Now that they're not a part of our agreement, I wish I'd have spoke up. Feeling used isn't good. Ask for what you think is fair. I have a better idea of my needs this time around.

So far, that's what I'm thinking. Going to give it some more thought.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The "big" ultrasound- 18 1/2 weeks

All measurements look great. Perfect. Well 90% of them. I have to go back in two weeks to get a couple shots of the heart, and I think one of the kidneys. Other than that, the babies look gorgeous.

Overheard during the ultrasound.

Tech to Baby A.

"Move baby. Move. Stretch out. Agh! Why are you all curled up like that? I can't see what you are!" (trying to find out the sex) Repeat.

Very skilled ultrasound Tech to Baby B.
Same thing. (trying to find out the sex) Repeat.

Then they made me go for a 5 minute walk to get the babies to move.

Then, Baby A, the one I've told Carly time and time again was a boy because he's rambunctious and kicks the crap out of me, opened it's legs.
The Tech froze the screen and said, "Ok, don't scream OK? Promise?"
We nodded. I could already tell what it was.
Carly said "It's a Boy?" (but she wasn't sure)
The Tech said "You're right!" We kinda screamed anyway. Not tooo loud though. The Tech (and her student laughed) I started crying because I'm a big sap.
Then the Tech quickly zoomed over to Baby B. I've told Carly she's a girl because her movements feel gentle and quiet. ;)
Right away the Tech got her shot, and froze the screen again. I didn't even have time to check out the screen before the Tech said, "Now this time, you PROMISE not to scream?" We nodded again, and Carly said "It's a girl?" with hope in her voice. The Tech said "Yep!"
I sat up like a rocket, and Carly started hugging me getting ultrasound gel all over her.
It was a great moment.

OK- have to go re-bandage Allen. (who is doing better day by day)
No time to spell check.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Surgery Update

Allen's surgey went well. It was 3 1/2 hours long. His surgeon took out 14-16 inches of bowel that was "severely diseased, spots were attached to his insides, but the rest looked great."
His incision runs from his belly button straight down to his pubic hair line, about 5 inches long.

When I went to visit Allen after surgery in the recovery room, he was in severe pain. He was moving his legs all about and moaning in pain. He was supposed to have an epidural and be numb from bellybutton down. The epidural didn't work.
I was pissed. The kept giving him morphine, and dilodin? (sp) They said they were giving him enough to numb a horse. It wasn't working.

There was also blood filling his catheter bag along with his urine. I guess they may have "done a little damage when putting in the stints for his catheter"
It was bleeding the entire time he was in recovery, one more reason why he was in there so long.

I was only allowed to go back and see him once an hour, 15 minutes at a time while he was in recovery. He stayed in recovery from 11:30am until almost 9pm.
It was hell. I was trying my best to keep my shit together and not cry.
I just couldn't stand to see him in that much pain.

I finally had to leave, Allen still knocked out, but grimacing in pain in his sleep. I had to get home to the kids. They had school the next day. I was exhausted from spending almost 14 hours in the hospital waiting room by myself.(and limited time in recovery)
So when I left he still wasn't settled in a regular room. That upset me quite a bit.

The only thing that made me feel OK going home, was knowing that the surgery went really well. Now it was all about pain management and recovery.

He was brought to a regular room sometime after I left Tuesday night.

The next day they took the catheter out and the bleeding stopped. Allen got a morphine pump, and they gave him enogh drugs to keep most of the pain away.

Yesterday and today he's ben up walking (shuffling) the halls, per Drs orders.

This evening he got pudding and broth and tea for dinner. (full liquids)

He may come home by tomorrow evening.

Thanks so much for all the great feedback on my last post about Carly and our recent issues.

And the well wishes for Allen are much appreciated.

18 1/2 week ultrasound this Monday morning!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Can't sleep

Allen is having surgery in the morning.
We have to be at the hospital by 5:30am. 4 1/2 hours from now, and I'm not in bed yet. Well, I was in bed, but it was no use. Couldn't sleep.

He's having a major section of his sigmoid colon removed, due to his diverticulitis. The hospitalization he had back in December. It's finally surgery time.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now. Lots going on.

Carly and I haven't been speaking as much, and for now, that's a good thing.
I'm having a hard time with her right now. Lately it's been due to compensation, and her questioning me over the most simple of things, things that were drawn up in our contract, and she acts like she's totally surprised when she has to pay for them. And she ask me about it, which makes me uncomfortable. And I've told her that before.

One mistake I made was that I agreed to let her pay my compensation by month, rather that her having to put the total amount into escrow up front.

So, each time something comes up, my agency has to contact her to send money to the account, so things can be covered.

Carly constantly mentions to me that she hates the fact that the agency always calls her about sending more money. Well, if she would have put a lump sum in the account up front, she wouldn't constantly hear from them. They would just send me the compensation, and send her an updated statement each month.

Last week, she asked me why she was paying me .xx cents per mile to the Dr.s office.
I reminded her that it was her request that I go to her OB-Gyn's office, and it is 40 minutes from my house, about 30 miles. Roundtrip that is 60 miles, and is not considered local travel. Anything over 25 miles roundtrip (or something to that effect) she's required to give me gas money/milage.
This is clearly stated in our contract.
As a matter of fact I specifically remember her telling me this a few months ago. " I just appreciate it so much that you're willing to travel out of your way, to my Ob-gyn. I don't mind having to pay your milage. I've been seeing him for almost 20 years, and I'm just so happy that you'll be under his care"

The thing that pisses me off is this.

1. The things I've asked for are fair, and totally standard. Don't act surprised about any of it. Didn't she read the contract before she signed it? (more about this to follow)

2. Don't talk to ME about it! Talk to the agency. She knows I don't want to deal with that aspect of our relationship. It makes me feel cheapened in some way.

3. Don't complain about a favour you asked of me! I'll BE GLAD to go back to seeing my female ob-gyn whom I adore, She's FIVE minutes from my house. That way, she won't have to pay me a dime extra.

Let me share a little something from back in January.

It is very common to get a transfer fee. Mine was average, compensation wise.

When we went through our contract stage, Carly called me asking me if I would go over our contract (compensation part) with her. She said she had some questions that she needed clarification on.
In the section about the transfer, it said "D will get compensated $xxx for each embryo transfer"
Carly asked me if that $XXX was for EACH EMBRYO, because then that amount would be double if I accepted two to be transferred etc. I said no. That ment that amount for each embryo TRANSFER, the transfer itself, no matter how many were tranferred.
Make sense?
Ok, so she asked me if we could have the wording made clearer. I said sure. And I made sure it was changed.
Now, here we go.

The night before our transfer, I got a call from Carly. She was freaking out. Telling me how she had just gotten off the phone with Sugar (our agency owner)
That she DIDN"T KNOW that she had to pay $XXX for the transfer! And she told me all about how she was "screaming" at Sugar, and how she was "so loud, Ben heard me in the house and I was in the closed garage" and how she was so mad at Sugar, it was Sugar's fault for not explaining the contract with her.
She had me in tears, as I was so upset that she was making such a big deal out of this. To me, she was already arguing about $ and was making me feel that what I was doing wasn't worth compensating.
It was no ones fault but hers that she didn't understand. Of course I had just explained the transfer fee to her a few weeks before.
You know, I really don't care if I say how much it was.
It was $500.

Yeah. She has a surrogate that has agreed to let her pay monthly, not upfront, (so I don't have any kind of safety net if she quits sending compensation)
I agreed not to go back to work this year, I don't have a loss of organs fee, or MANY other fees that a regular contract has.
I was feeling very used at that point, like she was trying to rip me off.

I had been through 2 months of contracts, doctors appointments pills, and shots, and really up to that point in a surrogacy agreement, there isn't a lot to be compensated for. This was the first thing that I would receive $ for. And she was trying to fight it? And I had to explain to her what it was for? Like I was trying to fight for my worth. It was terrible. Once I started crying and explained it to her, she said she felt bad, and agreed to pay it. We transferred 3, 5 day blasts the next morning, and within the week we knew I was pregnant.

Here's the kicker. A couple of weeks later, Carly slipped (I forget how) and told me that SUGAR had payed me my transfer fee, out of her own pocket. (the agency owner)
And Carly let her.
All because Carly flipped out on her, saying she should have explained the contract better to her.

THAT my friends bothers me.

So you see now why there's been stress on my part with Carly. And that isn't all of it. But I'm tired now. And I'm not spell checking this vent.

Allen's surgery is in a few hours.


*edited to add*
I just read this though ( I'm still not going to fix all those spelling and grammar mistakes!) and I need to add something.
Before you think that maybe Carly is freaking because they don't have the money for this surrogacy, they do.
They just took a week long cruise in December, and they just got back from an 8 day stay in Las Vegas- 2 weeks ago. She's a full time high school teacher, and has told me that she's at the top of the pay scale. (she even told me her yearly salary, why? I don't know)
She also teaches college 2 nights a week. Ben is a stock trader, and she's even told me what he makes every day.

She comes from a wealthy family. Trust me.

She also has prided herself on being able to get bargains whereever she goes, getting discounts etc. She recently (last week) called herself "Discount Carly" to Ben, while I was on the phone.

End of story.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Different is good.

Tell me something that you like to snack on. Preferably something interesting.

Lately, I haevn't been able to eat a full meal. I start to feel sick, and my stomach hurts after eating just a little bit of my meal. So I've started snacking.
Whole wheat toast with peanut butter. A mug of homemade soup. Etc. But I'm getting bored. I need new ideas.

It doesn't have to be way out there, just something that the general public doesn't eat, or that I probaby don't eat on regular basis.
For example, I like to eat small curd cottage cheese with tons of pepper, on top of a thin cheddar rice crisp. So very good.

Please make it something that's easy easy for me to buy or replicate.
Don't tell me about this awesome thing that you eat, available in Alaska.

Monday, May 01, 2006

This morning was our Ob-gyn appointment.

My BP pressure was slightly elevated, but not enough to concern them.

I had trace amounts of protien in my urine but not enough to raise any eyebrows.

The nurse said I was up 8 pounds, which I know is bullshit. I've gained maybe 2 pounds sine my last visit 4 weeks ago. I weigh myself daily, my digital scale goes in .2 increments. There's nothing wrong with my scale. I think the nurse wrote it down wrong last month.

Carly asked for a look at the babies, and our sweet Dr. said "sure". They looked so great! We just got a quick peek at each of them, 2 minutes total, but we got to see them moving their arms and turning their heads. I even saw little fingers today.

Both baies are laying across my abdomen. Their heads are near my right hip, and their feet are towards my left hip. No wonder I'm feeling so much movement on my left at night! I have 4 feet kicking me there!

I asked our Dr if he would be the one performing my c-section, should it be needed. He said yes.

I asked him what his policy was regarding how many could be in the OR. He said he doesn't mind 2 (Carly and Ben) and then if I wanted Allen to come in to sit with me for the remainder of the surgery after the babies are out, and Carly and Ben could leave the OR with the babies that he wouldn't mind. BUT it depends on who else is working that day, we are going to be in "their house" and whatever the hospital people say that day, we have to abide by. But he also said that "They're human and they can sometimes be persuaded."

I asked him if he is comfortable letting me attempt a vaginal delivery if the twin closest to the cervix was head down, and the other wasn't. Would he let me deliver the first one and attempt turn the second one.
He said no. Unless BOTH babies are head down going into labour, I'll be getting a c-section.

I think that's about it.