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CCRM One Day Workup

2/23/17 was the big day, but also one of the last hoop’s I must jump through to get cleared. The previous two day’s I had come down with a head cold that took all my energy and left me in bed with a 102.6 fever. I knew I had to rest as my CCRM appointment was coming up. However, I am also mom and have mommy duties. I am so grateful that I could do my mommy duties, but my amazing wife took over most of them to care for Lexie so I could get some rest in preparation of my appointment.

Thursday started off super early as Mariah set her alarm for 4:10 am to get showered and whatnot. My alarm went off at 5 am because I always wait until the absolute last minute that I must get out of bed. I was still feeling a little froggy. I did start to feel faint like when I was trying to put on make-up and that was more likely because I had taken Nyquil that previous night and did not give it enough time to wear off before I woke up. Mariah got Lexie up and ready a quarter till 6 am. We decided to take Mariah’s new car as it got better gas mileage as well as, I was not feeling so hot. I am glad that Mariah offered to drive. Knowing it would be a long day, we grabbed breakfast to go from McDonalds.

We got to CCRM way ahead of schedule at 7 am. We realized the building was unlocked so we went inside to get out of snow that Colorado was trying to give us. My first thought when I walked in was, “wow this place is fancy.” I felt a little under dressed and we more likely looked like a hot mess walking through the doors trying to juggle the kid and the diaper bag among the small stack of papers we had. The receptionist got us checked in right away. She asked us if we had been here before and of course, I reply that we had not. She took us towards the back of the building and through a door. There we were greeted by another receptionist named Nicole and were placed next to her desk with an arrangement of five chairs. She gave me a clip board of papers to fill out. She told us that we both need to do a urine test and to let her know when we are ready. I told her I could go now so I could get it over with. I was taken to a bathroom with the needed supplies and given instructions. Of course, Lexie had to come help me too. After I was done I went back to the small waiting area where I tried filling out the paperwork. Mariah was taken back to do her urine sample too. Before Mariah could return, the ultrasound tech came to get me. Of course, Lexie came too. I was in another small room with instructions to get undressed from waist down and to cover up with the pink, crinkly paper… I mean cloth. Lexie was so excited to see mommy’s tummy on the screen. The tech took maybe 15 minutes’ worth of many angles of the whole inside of my uterus. Yes, this was a vaginal ultrasound. When she was done, I cleaned myself up and got dressed. When heading back to the waiting room the tech realized she forgot one shot so back to the room I went. She was so sweet as she apologized. She was telling herself, “I do this a million times a day and yet I forget this one shot.” I told her it was no big deal. She was very quick on getting her last scan. Once we made it back to the waiting room, it was time for me to do my PAI testing. Keep in mind, I am still juggling the clip board trying to fill it all out. I was only allowed in the room to take the test so Lexie had to stay behind. I could not tell you how long the test took as it felt so long and boring. I felt like I was staring at the computer screen for a good 20ish min’s if I had to guess. The PAI test consisted of 344 repeated questions. It felt like that same questions rephrased. They were questions like: Are you going to kill yourself? Do you think of suicide? Do you see or hear things that are not there? Do voices tell you do to things? Are you sad? I mean there was more to it, but you get the idea. There were also positive questions about my feelings, but there was also a lot of double negatives that made me think. Once the test was over, I went back to the waiting room. The next thing to do was to see the psychologist. We all went to see the psychologist. She was a very nice lady. Her voice was oddly calm, but soothing. The three of us sat on a couch as she asked us questions about ourselves, childhood, religion and our relationship. I do not know how long we were in there. As soon as we were done she took us back to the waiting room to Nicole. After 15 mins, the psychologist asked me to come back to the room as she forgot to ask me a question. So, I got up and we went back to the room. She re-questioned me about a previous medication I was thought to be on. I told her about this misunderstanding as we have told them what seemed a million times already. She told me that all should be fine and no big deal. Once, I was back in the waiting room I finished the paperwork. It was found that I needed to redo my urine sample as the first sample was too concentrated. I was given a bottle of water. The lab lady came to grab us as it was time for our blood draw. I was put on the stand first. Mariah kept telling me to watch her do it, but I do not like that. I just kept giving her the ‘shush it’ face. They needed 12 vials of blood. I was doing ok until the last few were needed. I started to feel light headed. She got the last few and laid me back in the chair. Mariah was making fun of me and calling me weak. Lexie was asking me if I was ok. I sat back up drank some juice and laid back down. That has got to be one of the worst feelings ever. I switched seats with Mariah and she got her 5 vials taken. While that was happening, I had to go to the restroom. I stupidly forgot that she needed another sample as when I got back Nicole questioned me if I went pee. I just told her nothing happened and it was a false alarm. After that I only was taken back into another room where the hysteroscopy was going to take place. The MA took my vitals and did a finger prick to check my iron. Then she proceeded to tell me what to expect. She told me I was be getting an annual exam with a breast check. Then once that was done the doc is going to thoroughly check out my uterus by pumping carbon dioxide into my uterus to blow it up so she can look all around it. Then she would also do a trial run of the cath placement to see how easily it will go in and how far they will need to put it in for when they do the actual transfer. Of course, you know me, my only question was, “when I sit up am I going to queef?” She was redder than red and laughing hysterically. She told me through her laughing that it would not happen as my body with absorb the gas. She took me to the exam room where I undressed and got up on the table and waited for the doc. The doc came in and told me about the process again. She told me that the gas could cause discomfort in my shoulders or lower ribcage. She said it is normal but uncomfortable. After all was done, I got up and sure enough the shoulder pain hit me hard and it was unbearable. I got dressed and complained about the pain and that it did not give me any time before it hit. I was taken to a small room where Lexie and Mariah were waiting for me. This is where the doc came in to tell me all the risk of surrogacy. As if I did not already know, but I was glad she was just doing her job. This is also the time I decided to re-leave my urine sample. Back to the waiting room we went, were Nicole gave her millionth ‘Welcome Back.’ Nicole gave us vouchers for lunch at their little stand and told us to come back in 20 minutes or so. We got sandwiches and sides. Lexie was so talkative as she greeted every person that came by and questioned them on what they were doing. Between my shoulder pain and still feeling faint like from my blood draw, I found myself laying on the couch as time passed. Once lunch was over we went back to the waiting room. We seem to be in this area a lot. Our nurse, Shawna, took Mariah and I back to a room where she went over the whole program, medications and instructions, did some more paperwork on the computer and my results from the day. Other than my uterine lining, all looked well. I passed all the screenings and test for the day. My lining was only measuring at a 4.5 out of 7… whatever that means. She said it is more likely because I am only a week out from my last period. To be on the safe side, I must do a mock trial (which I will blog more info about when the time comes) when my next cycle starts. I was place on an antibiotic as preventative care from the hysteroscopy to ensure I do not get any infections. Also, since I was showing signs on low vitamin D, I was placed on 5000 Vitamin D a day.

We are estimating the mock to happen March 16th. Overall, if all goes as planned, we are expecting to do the first transfer end of May or early June. That would put surro baby’s arrival March 2018 roughly. As I stated earlier, I will do a separate blog about the mock trial as well as, all the medications I will be on and that process. Jane is debating on doing our in person meet on March 13th instead of earlier since she has a CCRM appointment herself on the 14th. It all works out for me. It was a long day. We got home about 2 pm and we all took naps.ccrm-1ccrm2

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Jane emailed me

So, to add to all the excitement that yesterday had brought, Jane, my intended parent emailed me. It is official that we are now allowed contact with each other. This is a huge step and milestone because that means we are getting closer and closer everyday. It means that Jen has faith in that all will go well in the one day work up (or at least in my eyes). In the email enclosed her phone number, so of course, I immediately text her! Here is the introduction email that she sent me:

Dear Ashley,

I am soooo thrilled that everything worked out with CCRM and to start this journey together. The pic you sent was too cute! I’m working on coming out to Colorado Springs in the next few weeks (march 7-8) and excited to meet you in person 😊Jennifer said that you were available the 7th.

In the meantime, maybe we can chat by phone or you can text me on my cell at 6xx-xxx-xxxx anytime.

See and speak to you soon!

Jane

How exciting! I was thrilled to receive this message from her. Due to the fact that it was later at night, our text conversation did not last too long. However, it was just enough! In our text conversation we shared the excitement of ‘we are making it and I cannot believe we are here.’ We shared the emotions of being super excited to start this journey together as she stated, “This will be quite the journey I’m sure!” She is correct, this will be such an amazing journey filled with so many emotions. This is just the start. We are three months into this process already; which has been adventurous to say none the less. The conversation was mostly us sharing our emotions of how we are ‘tickled pink’ and having been filled with so many emotions already such as, being excited, scared and nervous all at the same time. I can only imagine how she is truly feeling in the inside. This is a journey she has been on a little longer than me, so for her to finally be at the point where we are only a few months of the first transfer… I am at a lost of words of how nervous and happy her heart is. We are both pretty ecstatic that we will be getting to meet here in person in about 3ish weeks roughly. Even though it has been three months in this process, it has been a long and stressful process. For us to be to the point where we are scheduling a in person met, its an amazing feeling knowing we have made it this far. I also in my text made sure she had access to my blogs. I want her to know that she is able to read about my half of the journey as well as, able to share my blogs with her family and friends.

Update on CCRM: I have called CCRM 3 times this morning.  I finally did leave one voicemail on the nurses line. I even sent an email to my nurse. I am in high hopes that they return my message before the end of the day so we can set up my one day work up appointment. I may try to call again this afternoon if I do not hear from them. Fingers crossed!

 

 

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Why I choose surrogacy

When I was pregnant with my daughter, it was the most amazing and most frustrating time of my life. My head was filled with all the questions and irrationality’s that a new mom could possibly think of. What is the gender? I hope it is a girl. I hope it is a boy. Do you like this name? What about the middle name? How will I know I picked the right name? What will the baby look like? Oh my, the baby is the size of a lemon this week! Guess what, we are more than half way done. Does birth hurt? How will I know when I go into labor? What breathing technique do I use? What did the lady say in the birthing class again? You get the idea as the list goes on. No one could have prepared me enough to have my daughter. No one’s pregnancy or birthing experience is the same or less/more difficult than the other. We are all created to have babies and are built with natural instinct’s that will guide us through our own individual experience of what it takes to have a baby. I say this knowing there is a lot of gray with that statement as we know not everyone can have babies naturally. Whether it is the mother or the father that is incapable; no one is to blame when it comes to infertility issues. At the end of the day you will still love your spouse no matter what. Sometimes at the end of the day, you realize that you are meant to be a mom or a dad; even if that means being a single mom or dad. There are couples who’s relationship is defined in a way that they are just not able to have a baby because there are two daddies or two mommies. Overall, in some people’s world’s having a baby means making a baby a little different compared to the ‘natural’ way of conception. To me that is ok.

When I was pregnant with Lexie, my pregnancy was overall pretty amazing. She grew accordingly, and so did I. We had no health issues or concerns. When it came to the big event, it was the best experience of my life. The only issue we had was the fact that I had to be induced to prompt labor. I was only in labor for 7 hours total; even with the help of potassium and an epidural (which are known elements to slow labor down). The room was filled with jokes and laughter; even in-between pushes. The point I am trying to get at is that I am good at being pregnant and having a baby. When I held Lexie for the first time, when I took her home those first few nights, that first bath, the first smile, the first everything… those were the moments that were priceless. Those were the moments that make life worth it. I would hold her every night and look into her big blue eyes. She would stare back at me. I knew that her life was in my hands and that I am responsible for this tiny human.  Those moments were moments that I could not imagine not having. I choose to do surrogacy because I had to give a family those big blue eyes to look at each night. I choose to do surrogacy because I could not imagine a life without my daughter, so why should anyone else not have that privilege?

I know that going into my surrogacy journey that I am helping a family create a family and giving happiness and every other emotion to a family. I understand that this pregnancy things are going to be a little different. When I say a little, I mean a lot different. I know that the baby inside me is not genetically mine or even related to me. I know in the end when I give birth the baby will be handed over to its intended parent(s). I know that I will be carrying this life inside me for a possible 40 weeks and I will go home after my hospital stay empty handed. See that is the thing, to me, I am not going home empty handed. I am going home with a big heart knowing that family got the baby that they had been dreaming of for however long. I am sure the will be apart of me that will be a little sad, do not get me wrong. I mean I have no idea how I will feel in the end. I can only imagine that my eyes will be filled with tears of joy as I see my intended parent(s) hold that baby for the first time as their hearts are filled with so much love for that baby. I know that I am a strong enough woman to have a baby and be able to give the baby to its family. That does not make me a cold hearted person or less of a person when it comes to emotions. I know in the end that I did the right thing and that I was able to create and give life to a family that could not of done it without me. How awesome is that? How awesome is that technology has come so far that the village it takes to raise a baby can also be the same village to help make babies? I think it is pretty damn cool if you ask me.

I know for me during my journey I want to keep my intended parents as much apart of it as possible; even if they do not live in the same state. If they can they will be at every baby doctor appointment (in person, via skype, or me sending them a video of the appointment). I will send them weekly reminders of how big the baby is. I will send them picture or videos of my belly and how big I have gotten. My belly is now their belly so touching is not limited, but encouraged. I want them to know that I have a pair of head phones that go over my belly so if they want to sing to the baby, read to the baby or even just talk to the baby that they have that privilege. I will let them know how I am feeling and when I feel the first kick. I want them to be just as involved as if they were the one pregnant. This is just as much of their pregnancy as it is mine. It is not about me anymore. I have prepared myself to add my intended parent(s) to my life for the duration of my pregnancy and however long they want to stay in touch with me. I want them to be comfortable enough to call me at 2 am because they had a bad dream about the baby or they had a good dream about the baby and they want to share that with me.  I want them to be comfortable enough with me so that they know their baby is safe. I am an open book and I will go above and beyond to make this journey for them just as remarkable as it will be for me. I will make it just as remarkable as it was when I was pregnant with Lexie. I had every privilege given to me when I was pregnant so why should my intended parent(s) have anything less? I am not saying this journey is going to be easy, but I am also not saying it will not be hard. I am sure it will have its bad moments as I am sure it will be filled with many great moments. Tears will be shared, moments will be shared, feelings will be shared.

It is important for me to become a surrogate mother for a family because I want to help make a dream a reality for a family. I want to give my 110%. Every step of pregnancy is remarkable; From the doctor appointments, to the test, from the heartburn and the nausea, from the pants got to tight and every sleepless night, from the I am eating for two to the I really do not need another piece of cake, from the tears of joy and the tears of fear, from the hormones of mixed emotions of watching She said Yes to the Dress all of it is worth it. As the surrogate mother and the intended parents to be, we all have one mission: to deliver a healthy baby, or babies, to make one cohesive family.

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CCRM Email

Wow! So today has been an exciting day. I woke up to an email from CCRM. It was from the nurse that is working on Jane and I’s case. The email was basically telling me, Welcome to CCRM! She sent me a link to set up my online account with them and the steps to do so. Also, Mariah will be setting up an account too. Believe it or not, my partner is just as liable in the surrogacy as I am. Meaning she has to undergo evaluations and screenings too. Here is the first email that I received from my CCRM nurse:

Hello Ashley,

The instructions for creating an account for yourself and Mariah are below.  Please reply to this email once you have finished the registration process so I can confirm it came through on my side.  Please call (303) xxx-xxxx or email with the first day of your next period and we can schedule your one day workup between cycle days 5-13.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Regards,

Nicole

The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine utilizes an electronic medical record system and your registration via our internet portal called MedFusion is an important first step in establishing your secure medical record with us. Please follow the steps below to complete your required new patient registration.

I left out the step by step instruction on how to register, but you get the idea of what is going on. So for us, this is a huge step making it this far in CCRM to get to the one day work up. As the hardest part is over (passing medical), it is still nerve racking not knowing if I am going to be fully accepted or not. I am grateful for my awesome intake coordinator Jen who has helped me through this whole process and has been my support as we are advancing into the next steps. After talking to Jen the one day work up is going to be a full day from Mariah and I. She believe the appointment starts around 7:30 am. Which CCRM is located in Lone Tree (near Denver) which is roughly 1 hour and 4 mins away (57 miles). The appointment will consist of both of us getting out blood drawn. I am assuming they will be testing from STD’s, tobacco and other drugs. I will also undergo a ultrasound. Then Mariah and I will both undergo a psych eval. Jen believes that the day could last until around 2 pm, but is not quite sure. Once, I have more information about what the one day workup consist of, I will be sure to post more about the eventful day. As you saw in the email, the one day workup cannot be scheduled until I start my next period. Which, conveniently, I started today (2/16/17). I attempted to call my CCRM nurse, but it was after 5 pm. So, I will call them first thing tomorrow. The appointment is to be scheduled between 5-13 days after the first day of my period. So, the appointment will be between the dates of February 21st till March 1st. Once, I have the one day work up, it could take 7-14 days before we have the final answer on if they are going to fully pass me or not. This will be the last long wait on the CCRM acceptance process.

I also found out that Jane’s eggs are about 6 weeks out from being ready for the first transfer. This means we are right on schedule with the timing of everything. Her eggs are being tested and will have grown in a little dish for a few days (well, I am not sure how long they are grown for) then they will be ready to be transferred to me. They will pick the best match out of the bunch and we hope that sticks. If all goes right with the timing, we are assuming the first transfer will take place in sometime April. Jen emailed Jane today with the picture that I took yesterday along with the news that I have passed the hardest hurdle. They are looking at their calendars to see when Jane can come out to meet me in person (since she lives in California). It looks like Jen will be back in Denver (because she technically lives in Alabama) March 7/8th. I am off that week from March 6-9th, so that works out perfectly. Fingers crossed on meeting Jane and Jen in person within the next 3ish weeks.

I’ll be calling CCRM tomorrow telling them the news that I have officially started my period. Hopefully, I can post after I get off the phone with the CCRM nurse on when I will be scheduled for my one day work up as well as, more information on what events will be taking place that day. Stay tuned!

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CCRM Interrogation!

On February 15, 2017, I was awoken to another phone call from CCRM. It was a lady from the psychological side of things. After assuming we passed the medication mishap, she called me to re-question me about it. I told her the same thing that I told Jen and the same information that Jen and I dug up. The lady was worried because if I was epileptic that I could potentially harm myself and my future surro baby. It felt like we were talking in circles. I told her that I understand her concern, but I do not have that problem. She told me that she is going to give me temporary permission to continue to move forward in the CCRM process and that someone will contact me to draw up my 1 day blood work up. The lady also told me that I will have to undergo a psychological review to make sure that I am safe enough to be a surrogate (in which every surrogate has to do that, so I do not know why she made it a point). I just told the lady that I fully understand and that she can do whatever needs to be done to ensure that all is golden. I told her I have nothing to worry about.

After the phone call, I text Jen to call me. I told her CCRM contacted me again and I gave her the news of getting the 1 day blood work up. Of course, she was annoyed that they yet again call me first. She was so happy because overall, this meant we have passed the medical review hurdle and that I was going to be able to move forward. She told me that CCRM was do the blood work up 13ish days after my next period cycle; which is soon. Jen told me after the blood work up, the next step is the psychological screening with CCRM psychology department. After that screening, we will fully know if CCRM is going to accept me as a surrogate in their program since Jane has partnered up with them.

Also, Jen decided to take a precautionary step of asking me to get an OB clearance due to the fact that CCRM has now made that a new rule to their process. So she wanted it to have on hand so when they ask for it she already has it. I thought no problem. I called my OBGYN and told them I needed this letter. They said they would pass it on to the doc and he will write and sign it for me. I got a phone call a few hours later from the MA telling me that the recommendation was to wait 2 pap cycles of getting 2 normal paps to be 100% cleared. I told the MA that the NP did not see an issue with me becoming pregnant and that I do not have 1 year to wait to get 2 normal paps (each pa is done 6 months apart). She put me on hold to review the abnormal pap. When she came back to the phone she told me she will call me back shortly. The next phone call was from the NP herself. She told me that she had my OB doc look everything over and that his recommendation is to get retested in 1 year (aka my annual exam) and that I would be fine to become pregnant. The Np was happy to write a letter on the doc’s behalf. She told me I could pick it up later that evening before they closed at 5pm.  I did just that and faxed the letter and all lab results to Jen. So after one heart attack after another, we are still in the clear and we are moving forward. Jen told me that she was going to tell Jane of the good news. Jen told me that since we have passed the hardest part (basically I should be good to go for CCRM standards) that it was time to tell Jane all the good news. This is when I decided to make Jane a pre-pregnancy announcement that my uterus was hers. I sent the pic over to Jen and she will tell Jane first thing in the morning. 

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CCRM Phone Interview!

On February 2, 2017, I got a surprise phone call. IT was perfect timing because I had just text Jen asking her if she has heard from CCRM on if they are going to move forward with me. She told me she had not heard anything. It was maybe 20ish mins after our text conversation that CCRM called me. I forget the ladies name, but she asked me if I had 10 mins to conducted a 45 question phone interview. I told her yes, when in reality I was wrapped in a towel because I had just got out of the shower. I sat on the couch as I listened to each of her questions. They were basic questions of Mariah and I; if we had any STD’s, been out of the country, our address and phone numbers, etc. I mean the list goes on. At the end of the interview, I had asked her if the questions seemed fitting and what the next step was. She told me that she just ask the questions and my CCRM nurse will review them. She told me that CCRM will be contact with me in the next week.

After my phone call,  I text Jen telling her that CCRM contacted me. She was very happy, but annoyed at the same time since CCRM is suppose to contact her first. Overall, she was excited to know that I had the phone interview because that means I was passed medically. She wanted to hear the news from CCRM before jumping to conclusions, but you could tell that she was happy for the phone interview is the next step in CCRM process. Fingers still crossed as we are moving forward!

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Medical Record Mishap

Having a medical record mishap is such a huge struggle. This had been an on going issue for about 3 weeks. It was indicated in my previous records of having Lexie that I was on a medication for epilepsy as well as, it could be treated for depression. If you know me, I do not have epilepsy and I have the same amount of sadness as everyone else does. Colorado Surrogacy did not have an issue at the time of the medication, but CCRM wanted to know the who, what and where of it all. This is when Jen and I started to dig. Why is this on my chart and how did it get there. My first assumption was that I was put on it after I had my miscarriage and that was prescribed to me by my OBGYN at the time. We called the office to find out that he for sure did not prescribed it and that it was indicated as previous medication. So, who prescribed it? I called Walgreens, as they have been my pharmacy since I have always live in Colorado. They had no indication that I ever filled this medication and had no doctor. Jen and I were at a brick wall and we did not know what to do. Jen decided that she was going to type up a medical deceleration stating all health issues I have had and all medications I may have been on in my adult life. It was also stated in the deceleration that I had no indication of where this medication came from and this is was a misunderstanding. She advised me to print out the form and to go have it notarized. I did just that. After having some issues with the fax machine, I was able to get her the signed copy by going to Kinkos. The only conclusion that Jen and I were able to come up with is that at times my thighs get chaffed and I will add this footpowder mixed with calamine lotion to help the friction. The footpowder and the medication are almost identical in spelling. After chasing this wild goose, I am led to believe that we have satisfied CCRM. We are still waiting to hear back from them on if they are going to approve me medically or not. Fingers crossed!