Category Archives: Getting Started

Making It Legal

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Quick update: My agency introduced me to my attorney today (via email)!!! 🙂

A quick google search revealed that she’s a topnotch attorney and an expert in family law (including surrogacy and international adoption), which left me feeling relieved! My attorney said as soon as she has contract from my IFs we will schedule a meeting and go over it!

Samantha said they (IFs) hope to have contract by tomorrow!!! Fingers crossed it’s in good order so we can get it official ASAP and get me on meds!!!

I’m scheduled to have all four wisdom teeth removed tomorrow, so I know I’ll be out of it most of the weekend. :-/ Fingers crossed for quick recovery!

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Wonderful, Whirlwind Week

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photoThis has been a whirlwind week. I feel a lot like Dorothy after she woke up in Oz. My head is spinning and I’ve been asking myself, “How did I get to this amazing place?”

I first applied with the new agency less than two weeks ago. The owner and I emailed back and forth as I sent her all of my paperwork and records. One week ago she and I had a phone session to discuss the process with her agency, my questions, etc.

As we were talking, she told me she had a set of IPs she’d just thought of that she’d like to “earmark” me for even though my profile wasn’t scheduled to go active until a few days later.

I gave her the go ahead to do that. Later that day she sent me their profile and told me to let her know if I was interested. As soon as I saw their smiling faces and read their profile I knew I had to “meet” them. With my permission, she sent them my profile and they they liked me, too! We set up a Skype call for a day-and-a-half later. (See, whirlwind!)

They are an international couple, so I was at first concerned about the language barrier. It turned out to be a non-issue because we have an amazing interpreter (who is also their friend and works in surrogacy) and they are able to communicate in English some as well. Samantha* (name changed for privacy), the interpreter/friend, led our conversation and helped translate as needed. She was such an asset to the conversation because of her knowledge with surrogacy and the extra steps involved with an international match. She was also very kind and I loved her right away. I feel very lucky to get her as a package deal with the guys! 🙂

My partner and I both ADORED the IFs. They had been through a lot to get to this journey as well as having recent disappointment when their planned GS had a family issue that resulted in her having to walkaway from surrogacy at this time. They appeared nervous, but they also appeared hopeful. They tugged on my heartstrings, especially since they are also a same-sex couple which is what I’d originally most hoped to work with.

Richard* did most of the talking for them, I think partially because he is able to speak English the best and it also may be just his personality. It was mesmerizing to hear him speak in French. Adam* was very quiet, but he had these incredibly soulful eyes (I had time to notice when Samantha was translating what my partner said to them.) that seemed warm and made me feel like I could trust him. They were both polite, asked good questions and appeared to care about us having a healthy experience and being respectful of our family.

As soon as we finished the call my partner and I discussed our feelings and we were both in agreement to move forward with the guys.

I had this feeling of absolute sureness in my head and heart that I realized I’d been missing before.

I emailed Jesse (owner at my new agency) and let her know it was a match for us. She emailed me back shortly after and told me it was a match for them, too! She also gave us phone numbers/emails for each other so we can begin openly communicating as we feel comfortable. That really surprised me because it was very different from before. I really liked it though! I hope to keep a friendly, open communication with the guys throughout the process so they can feel as involved as they like.

Jesse emailed to let us know my records had been sent to the IFs’ fertility clinic for review. I prepared myself to begin another session of weeks of waiting. I was very wrong! Within a few days I received an email saying my records had been reviewed and I was approved to move to screening and then the next day (today) the clinic called with my med screening date (October 14th!!!!!).

To say my head is spinning would be an understatement! In less than two weeks I’ve gone from submitting a preliminary application with the agency, to matched and a medical screening appointment set.

I feel like everything has led me to this point. I’ve learned so much, including patience (well, sort of, ha!) since first beginning my journey towards surrogacy back in May. I know there could still be plenty more bumps in the road, and I am prepared to face each one. My IFs are precious and the thought of giving them the child they’ve dreamed of for so long is a feeling I can’t put into words.

In 17 days I fly to Las Vegas for my medical screening! I want to pinch myself just saying that. Did you do anything to prepare for your screening like taking vitamins? Any suggestions are welcome! 🙂

Trust

Beginning Again

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Sometimes the only way to get started is to begin again.

During a surrogate support call I attended, and from an email from the agency, I learned about some unexpected financial complications my journey with the agency would create for my family. I spoke to several people about the issues to see if there was any other remedy to the issues. There wasn’t.

As committed as I was to working with this agency, I made the difficult decision that it was not going to be a viable possibility at this time.

During the time between applying with my first agency and now, I learned SO much more about surrogacy and different agencies. I had no idea there were so many agencies when I first decided to pursue my dream. Based on the new knowledge I have, I am able to choose an agency that will still be as wonderful as the first but that won’t create an undue burden on my family.

I decided to apply with an agency based in Wisconsin. It is smaller than the first, but just as reputable and experienced. I sent an email to the owner of the agency and she quickly replied back with information and an application. One benefit of the frustration I faced getting my medical records the first time was that I had them readily at hand. I completed the application and sent it and everything else requested back to the owner.

The owner is reviewing everything I sent and promised to be back in touch soon.

It’s scary to leave the comfort of the unknown and begin a journey again with someone new. I’ve learned this journey takes patience and faith. It also requires you to go with your instincts and make hard decisions. Leaving my first agency was beyond hard. I was actually fighting back tears as I sent the email. It was a necessary hardness, though. I am choosing to have faith that this journey will eventually lead me to the destination I’m meant for… I know I’ll be able to handle whatever that destination is.

Thank you for continuing to follow me on this incredible journey!

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Sweet Jealousy & the Waiting Game

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Jealousy

I’m not usually a jealous person. Okay, sure, sometimes I do envy Carrie Underwood’s amazing legs…. and I MAY have been known to covet my sister’s wardrobe a time or two… BUT, in general, I am a very content person. I am blessed with so many wonderful people and things in my life.

Still, since my match fell through, I’ve found that little green monster trying to creep into my thoughts.

I see others posting about their upcoming match meetings then a few days later exuberant over a match, and I feel a twinge of jealousy. Why not me? Where’s my perfect match? This really is a VERY quick twinge. It’s almost immediately replaced by complete happiness for them. I genuinely want all of my surro sisters to have an amazing journey. It also made me stop and think about how my own postings about my first quick match might have left others with a visit from the green monster.

A friend reminded me this week that the quickest match isn’t always the best match.

I’m striving to focus on those words this week while I wait, (not too) patiently for word from my agency about parents. Throughout my time with the agency, they continue to be amazing. Jill has been just an email away and empathetic to my feelings. I just have to continue to believe that this journey will get going when the time is right.

In the mean time, we are staying busy with school, work and church. I was just promoted at work and am now enjoying a raise (yay!). I have to send a copy of my new paystubs to the agency as soon as I get them so my file can be updated. My kiddo is LOVING third grade. It’s a big change from second grade, but her teacher is wonderful and they do lots of projects and educational trips, which is perfect for Miss P.

I’m also enjoying the things I won’t be able to when I (hopefully) am able to carry for IPs… sushi is a favorite and so is strawberry and spinach salads with bleu cheese. Yummy! 🙂

What “off limits while pregnant” foods do you miss the most?

I’m Offically Un-Matched :-/

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WhyAll weekend I tried to stay positive. All weekend I had a nagging feeling that something was wrong. I anxiously awaited the call from my case manager, Jill, scheduled for Tuesday morning following the Labor Day Holiday to see what our revised timeline looked like.

The call finally came.

When I hung up the phone I sat on my bed in shock. I was left with a dozen different emotions whirling around inside me. Confused. Upset. Sad. Anxious. So many emotions all at one time that I never saw coming.

Jill broke the news that my IPs had made a decision NOT to go forward with surrogacy at this time.

She said she honestly wasn’t sure why they made this decision so, unfortunately, she wasn’t able to offer me any type of closure or explanation. She was as surprised by it as I was because they had seemed excited and eager for our journey to be in motion based on her interactions with them.

This information caught me completely off guard. I kept thinking back on our Skype meeting and picturing their smiling faces. They had seemed so eager, so motivated, so excited to get this process going to the next step and have their precious baby.

Did I somehow miss something?

Was there some sign I missed? Hesitation in their eyes? A too-bright smile? An overly enthusiastic attitude? The unexplained ending of my journey with them makes this even harder. Did it end up being too big of a financial burden? Were they too afraid to risk their last embryo right now? Is someone sick? Is their marriage facing problems? Are they moving? I guess I’ll never know.

I do know this: I with them nothing but the absolute best. They seemed like such good, kind people and I hope the ending of our journey together is the result of a positive, happy change in their life.

So, where does all this leave me?

Jill said the the Directors at my agency were already working to find me new potential IPs to meet and be matched with. She was encouraging in her positive attitude. She said she felt confident I would be matched again quickly. We both hope she will get to continue to be my case manager.

While this unexpected “bump in the road” of my journey knocked the wind out of my sails, it will not keep me down. I still believe with my whole heart this is the path I’m meant to be on. I will continue to trust the process and have faith the “right” IPs will come along.

I received such an outpouring of encouragement and support from my amazing Instagram “surro family,” for which I’m extremely grateful. Thank you to everyone who’s shared an uplifting comment or a personal experience with me already.  It helps to know others have been where I am and were able to move forward and help a different family than they first envisioned.

Now, I wait again. Fingers crossed A or D will reach out to me soon with a new family to meet!

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Disappointments & Duffel Bags

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I’ve been flying high in my surrogacy bubble ever since I was officially matched with my amazing IPs on August 8th.

Unfortunately, that bubble got a little deflated this evening. :-/

My case manager, J, emailed me to update me on the progress of my journey. When last we spoke we went over the anticipated timeline for this process, so I’ve been anxiously awaiting the phone call from the RE’s office to schedule my med screening. With each passing day I got more anxious. I’ve always found it harder to wait when there’s not a specific date that you can look forward to.

J said in her email that there was an unexpected delay with the IPs in regards to a few more items they need to submit. It was very disappointing news because I’ve been mentally preparing myself all summer to get this show on the road and then being matched happened so easily for me.

True to the positive person Jill is (or at least that’s the impression I have of her because she rocks!), she put my mind at ease and said we will be moving forward again very shortly. She also apologized for the extra wait, thanked me for my patience and promised to give me an update and a better timeline by Tuesday.

See? I told you she rocks or she’s at least got a lot of experience in “customer service” because she hit all of the highlights: Apologize. Empathize. Take Action.

I’ve said from the beginning this journey would teach me patience or leave me crazy & I’m holding to that. Im a glass half full type of person, though, so I’m choosing to believe this small disappointment is helping to prepare me for the bigger challenges down the road.

Shortly after that e-mail I was channel surfing and landed on QVC. It happened to be while they were showcasing Vera Bradley items… Long story short, in about a week I’ll be the proud owner of a gorgeous, new VB travel duffel bag! I thought it would be the perfect size for the overnight trips for med screening, transfer & delivery. (See screenshot below, but I got it in a different pattern.)

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Having something tangible that I plan to use in my journey helped to brighten my mood. Maybe it’ll be my new lucky bag?! 🙂

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What did you do to keep yourself motivated when your journey hit road bumps? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Moving Forward & Feeling Offical!

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indexI received an awesome e-mail from a case manager at my agency last night!

Jill introduced herself to me and told me she would be my case manager through my surrogacy journey. I’ve had a wonderful experience with everyone I’ve talked to at my agency, but it was exciting to finally have my own designated case manager. It made it feel very official! 🙂

She sent me several documents to review and/or complete and return such as my escrow information, release form for fertility center, W-9, etc. I fired those straight back to her this morning.

J and I are going to have a Skype or phone session next week to “meet” and go over the next steps.

I believe all I’m waiting on now is the escrow account to be set up and then they’ll be able to facilitate my medical screening appointment with my IPs’ fertility clinic!!!

In the meantime, my own little family is heading to the beach for a few days. It’s been a very long summer and I think this mini-vacation will be a great chance to relax and reconnect before all of the craziness of school and surrogacy really kick in! 🙂

I like you! Do you like me?

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A few days after “A” and I spoke about the IPs who were interested in me, she e-mailed me to finalize plans for our Skype meeting. The e-mail came on Monday and the Skype call was set for Wednesday… that meant I had roughly 48 hours to finalize my list of questions and plenty of time to be nervous and excited!

I don’t think I slept more than a few hours both nights. My brain just wouldn’t get quiet!

Wednesday arrived and I rushed home to freshen up and get ready for the call. I made my partner change shirts. Twice. First impressions matter, right?!? 🙂

We logged on to Skype and awaited the call. “A” messaged me to let me know the IPs were running a little behind. I was thankful for a few extra minutes to calm my nerves.

The call connected and there on my computer screen were two nervously smiling faces. It felt like a blind date. We had all of the same emotions I imagine. Anxious. Hopeful. Scared. Nervous. Excited. Hoping to make a good impression. Wanting to be liked… to be chosen.

They had an advantage over me in that they’d already had access to my full profile so they knew a lot more about me (and my partner) then I did about them. It was a humbling feeling to know this couple had read all about me and were interested in me carrying their child. I wish I was also allowed access to the profile. It would be fascinating to see what exactly it says about me!

After the initial introductions, “A” did a great job of leading us in conversation. We started off with the basics: Jobs, families, hobbies. It was a good ice breaker for all involved. I could feel nerves subsiding somewhat.

Then we moved on to the harder topics: Selective Reduction, desired involvement/communication throughout and after surrogacy, expectations, thoughts on labor, etc. A lot of these topics ended up being  “none issues” for us because the IPs will only be able to transfer one embryo.

By the end of the conversation I knew in my heart that these were the people I wanted to help. Their story tugged  at my heart. They had faced such difficulties to try and create and then build their family. Despite all of those struggles, they appeared to be so full of hope and positive energy.

They were kind, down to earth, funny and just seemed like genuinely good people. I felt a strong connection to them and it seemed mutual.

“A” told us she would reach out to us both in 24 hours so we each had time to discuss and think about it with our partner/spouse and make a decision. We ended the call and my excitement and nerves were back in full force.

I immediately e-mailed “A” and told her I knew I had to wait 24 hours but that I LOVED the couple and wanted to be their surrogate if they chose me. She said she felt confident they would but that we would wait the 24 hours and then make our final decision.

I didn’t sleep that night except for a few hours on and off. I kept thinking about all of the things I wished I’d said or said differently or didn’t say at all. I had a million thoughts running through my head and was feeling such emotion.

For years I’ve known this was something I wanted, but after that call it became real. I’d actually “met” people who I might be helping. There were faces and names and details that colored in all of the vague mental pictures I’d had of surrogacy.

Prior to this experience with them, I’d spent a lot of time thinking about what surrogacy meant for a surrogate. The physical, mental and emotional toll it takes on a GS. The time investment it requires. The shots and medicine you take. I’d thought about it all.

Of course, I’d also thought about the IPs. That’s why I wanted to be a GS. To help them. To contribute to their family. To give other what I was blessed to be able to have so easily.

But, I hadn’t really THOUGHT about them. It occurred to me during our conversation how frightening it must be for them. I stress and worry when my daughter is with a new sitter for a few hours. What must it feel like to have to trust someone who is essentially a stranger with your baby for nine months? What courage and hope and faith and LOVE that must take.

That realization was very powerful for me. It made this journey I am on seem like even more of a miracle in the making. I desperately hoped that I could be the one to try and bring their dreams to life. repay you quote

The day after our Skype session I checked my e-mail religiously as I waited for a response from “A”. Finally, FINALLY I got an e-mail from her just as I was packing up to leave work.

It said: “[IM] and [IF] absolutely loved you and [my partner] and definitely want to work with you!  They are anxious to get things going as soon as possible.  Are you on board??”

I e-mail her right back and said, “Yes, yes, YES!!!…” 🙂

So, I’m officially matched now! It’s a very surreal feeling. Less than three months ago I submitted that first preliminary application and now I’m matched with an amazing couple.

There’s still a lot that has to be done before we actually (hopefully) get to the “fun” part. Legal contracts. Medical screenings. Medicines and blood work and the dreaded shots! I’m ready for it all, though, now that I know who this is all going to be for.worth it quote

I’m eagerly awaiting word back from “A” on where we go from here. I especially can’t wait to get to know the IPs better! 🙂

How did you feel about your IPs after that first meeting? Tell me about it in the comments!

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match!

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Have you seen the 1971 musical Fiddler on the Roof?

No? Why not?!? You’re missing a classic! That point aside, there’s a song in it about a matchmaker making (marriage) matches for the characters in the movie. Part of it goes:

“Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match, Find me a find,
catch me a catch
Matchmaker, Matchmaker
Look through your book,
And make me a perfect match”

Now, why am I telling you this? Because, I got a call about a possible MATCH today! 🙂 The song has been in my head ever since then and I think it’s very fitting.

Granted, I’m not looking for a marriage match, but it still seemed really perfect because I’d been waiting impatiently for seven long days to hear about a match.

I’ve heard it can sometimes take take a while to find a good match between IPs and the GS. With that in mind, I really wasn’t expecting to hear back so soon from Alicia, who is one of the directors at my agency. Today only marked exactly one week since my profile went active.

“A” said the couple she was calling about LOVED my profile and were very interested in working with me. They live in the Southeast like me. I won’t share too many other personal details, especially at this point, for privacy reasons. I will say that they sound awesome and I’m excited to learn more about them!

One part of my surrogacy profile with my agency talks about my pregnancy experience with own child(ren). It’s sort of an informal “get to know me” section for the IPs. One of the things it asked about was my pregnancy cravings and I said I really only craved OJ, BBQ Pringles and peanut butter M&Ms. Well, apparently the IPs are also crazy about all things peanut related! So I guess there were excited and thought this was a sign or something. 🙂  mnms

A and I talked about my schedule next week and she will be calling back soon with a date and time for her to facilitate a Skype meeting between me, my partner and the IPs.

I’m trying not to get too excited in case for some reason the match doesn’t end up working out, but it’s REALLY hard not to be ecstatic!

Any tips or words of advice for the session? Things I should definitely ask? Help a Surro out! 🙂