How could you? This is a question I am asked many times in a given week. How could you just have a baby for someone else? How could you just be able to hand over a baby and not blink? How could you not have a bond with that baby? How could you do that? I see the look of anger on their faces as they do not understand the reality of what is to come with the journey I am in. I see the look of confusion as they do not fully understand what surrogacy is. I stand there and look at these faces; trying to explain to them what is going on and how the process works. I try to tell them that this baby is not genetically related to me in any fashion. I try to tell them it’s like extreme babysitting. I try to tell them that even though I am pregnant I go into this knowing it is not mine. I know that with every doctor appointment, every hurdle of morning sickness or even feeling the baby kick that I am not bringing this baby home. I will not go through the motions of bringing a baby home or preparing to being baby home. It’s as if you work for a daycare. You love all your daycare kiddo’s, but at the end of the day you know they must go home to their parent’s. I try to tell them any analogy to help get the point across as I know everyone learns and understands differently. Do I love this baby? Of course! Would I do anything for this baby? Absolutely! I would also do the same for my brother or sister, but do I feel like I am their mother? Not for one second. I never know how to fully answer this question. I have not had my surrobaby so I do not know what to tell them. So I try to help put them in the shoes that IP’s walk in everyday. The shoes of hope and joy. The shoes of nervousness and being a complete mess. The shoes of happiness and outright hopelessness. The shoes that have no idea where to walk to as their path has been derailed. The shoes that some have been walking in circles in for years. No one could ever fully understand the shoes IP’s walk in everyday as everyone has their own story. No one can truly know what it means to wear those shoes until they are on your feet. I see the shoe’s in forums: “looking for surrogate,” “transfer day!,” “My family is not complete,” “…another failed transfer.” The shoe’s that are scared to name their child even though the surrogate is 35 weeks. The shoe’s that are scared to have a baby shower as they are afraid to have hope. The shoe’s that worry about HCG levels and numbers. The shoe’s that worry when the next appointment is and if you made it on time. The shoe’s that will do anything to have that perfect little baby. The shoe’s that lost it all and need a little hope to keep going. That is what I tell people. The moment I hand that perfect, sweet baby over to its parent(s), is the moment that I’ll know that this is how I could. I imagine the surrobabies birthday all the time. I even dream about it. It won’t be a moment of sadness and regret. It’ll be a moment that I will never forget. I imagine seeing the parents looking and holding their baby for the very first time. A smile of hope. The tears of joy. The breakdown of reality as their baby is finally here after so many years. I know that baby will be loved without a doubt. I know that surrobaby and it’s parent(s) will be ok. I know that I have a beautiful and loving little girl of my own at home. I am happy to see my intended parent(s) get the baby they have always wanted for so long. I am just honored to be apart of their journey for their baby. That is how I know I could.
Short update: If you have not figured it out already, surrogacy is a hurry up to get things done and then wait process until it is time for the next step in my journey. We are waiting to start the mock cycle. I was expected to start my monthly cycle last week on 3/16/17 with the mock starting on 3/18/17. However, we cannot control what will or will not happen. It has been a waiting game to when we will start the mock. We cannot start the mock until my March cycle starts. My cycle came on 3/23/17. I was so happy. I text Jen and Jane to let them know. I also emailed our donor nurse to let them know so I could get my schedule of what to do during the mock. I start the medications on 3/25/17 per my chart that I must follow. I am getting my lab draw on 3/31/17 which works out because I am off that day. I get my ultrasound and second lab draw on 4/10/17 which also works out because I am off that previous night at work so I will be able to drive to CCRM with no issues as I am to be there between 7 am and 9:30 am. The purpose of the mock cycle is that on the day of the ultrasound, my uterine lining goes from a 4 to a 7/8 or more. It is important to have a thick lining to ensure that the embryo will implant to the uterus wall. The donor doctor, Dr. S, is not worried that I won’t be thick enough, but CCRM rather be safe than sorry so that is why we are doing the mock. Fingers crossed for a thick lining when we do the ultrasound in a little over two weeks.
Here is what my schedule will look like for the next few weeks:
Prior to the big day, I was so nervous. I was texting Jen asking her questions on what I should or should not do. I was so emotional that day that I was crying on and off as I was imaging seeing her for the first time in person. I was so worried about that first impression. Since I knew she would be coming over to our house, I went to Walmart to get some new house décor. I truly wanted her to be a little impressed. As my apartment is not the Ritz, I still felt like I could bedazzle it a little. It worked out because I do like the things I bought and it does make the apartment look so much better. Overall, my stress of having her over at the house played out well. Even though Jen told me not to worry about. I am sure my apartment was fine the way it was, but I was so nervous.
On March 13, 2017 was the moment I have been waiting for. I finally got to meet Jane in person face to face. That morning I had an 8 am work training. It went by so quickly thankfully. After my work training, I decided that I needed to make a great first impression. I wanted to give her something to remember this day. I stopped by Walmart, I know of all places however it was last minute, and got her a small bouquet of flowers and a bracelet. The bracelet had ‘Celebrate Life’ engraved in it. I thought it was a great bracelet since this meeting was our first-time meeting in person. Due to the circumstances of having a baby in the end, I thought it was the perfect fit. We are celebrating the life that is to come.
We met at Sonterra Grill which is a Mexican restaurant in downtown Colorado Springs. Honestly, Mariah and I were not the biggest fans of it, but to each their own. Of course, we did not have Lexie at this time either as she was with her daddy. Ellen, a lawyer in Colorado Surrogacy LLC, met with us for our first meet up. Which I am glad she did for I have not meet her yet. Prior to everyone arriving to the restaurant, I text Jen asking her to text Ellen asking her to get a picture of the first time we met up as well as, to let us know when they got their first so we could show up second. It was a little after 1 pm when we found parking and decided to go in. We were still the first one’s there after we scooped out the place to see that they had not arrived yet. We requested a more private area so we could visit. They took us to the back in a cozy booth. Jen text me telling me that they were a few minutes behind. Ellen walked up to us first with her camera ready after we all gave hugs as Jane was putting on some last-minute lip gloss. When I first saw her, I just knew that this was going to be perfect. She even came with a present for Lexie and I. Lexie got a book about San Francisco and a bunny for Easter. I got a little spa kit with a face mask, eye mask and aloe socks. It was a cute little present. She told me it was to soothe me as we await the mock cycle to start. I felt so bad for our waiter as we were just so excited to just talk and look at each other that we kept asking him to give us time as we were not in a hurry. He was able to get drinks out of us right away. We got appetizers and had lunch. We shared stories about each other and backgrounds. We talked about the past and the future. We stayed till 3 pm when Ellen had to get back to Denver. I also turned in a huge stack of paperwork that entailed the legal contracts that outlined the arrangement of surrobaby to Ellen
Jane, Mariah and I had planned to go to my house to show her where we lived then to go to Manitou Springs to waste some time until 6 pm. We got to my house and started talking about which OBGYN we would use. We were stuck between two doctors, but after 30ish minutes of talking we decided to use Dr. O’Connell at Academy Woman’s Healthcare Associates who delivers at St. Francis Medical Center. It was also, decided that we are going to do one embryo transfer per transfer due to my age due because if they do two the odds of twins is much higher as both may stick. Before we knew it, it was already 5:30 pm and we had to get going as we had an appointment to tour the hospital at 6 pm. We got so lost in conversation that I was just not watching time. It was worth it though, as much as I wanted to show her the small town, I am glad that we spent the talking and getting to really know each other.
I took a wrong turn getting to the hospital as I drove us in my car. We only arrived 5 minutes late. I used my work badge to get us on the faster elevators and to get better parking. We toured the hospital and that took roughly 30 to 45 minutes. It is an amazing hospital and we are glad that is where we settled on. The delivery rooms are so big. There is no number on how many people we can have in the room when it comes to birthing surrobaby. They will be able to get Jane her own room when we are all in the hospital until we are all discharged. Jane, surrobaby and whomever else in Jane’s family comes will have their own room. Then I will be put in my own room for recovery. Jane is happy that the hospital has a level 3 NICU for just in case. Jane asked about birthing classes and other classes the hospital offered. Jane and I briefly talked about doing classes a month before due date to help prepare her for what is to come. I am honored to take the classes with her and to help her along with this journey as much as she has been a great help to me. Overall, we are very happy from what we were told about the hospital and from what we saw. After the tour, Jane had to get back to Denver for she had an appointment early the next day at CCRM.
In synopsis, after our awesome day spent together, Mariah and I were very happy with Jane. We feel so lucky to have her as our IM. We got so lucky to of been matched with such a strong, inspirational woman. We are very ecstatic to see where this journey takes us as all individuals as well as, how it will build our relationships (Mariah and I, Jane and I). Also, to see where it will take Jane on her journey of becoming mommy.
Update on all going on. After talking with Jen, it was decided to go ahead and start doing contracts before I start my mock cycle. I received an email from my lawyer (the lawyer was set up by the agency) with the possible contract as well as, their terms and conditions of their services. I find it funny of the agency they use for the lawyer as it is the same agency that I had contacted in the past to go over the legality of Mariah and I having a baby. If anyone ever needs a good, reasonable priced lawyer (who is very LGBTQ Friendly) for such things contact Elephant Circle. The contract was 24 pages of small font so it was a lot to read and to comprehend. I just took it page by page, line by line to make sure that I do not miss anything important. There truly is not anything I would change on the contract. It is straight forward overall. I replied to my lawyer’s email to set up a date so we can go over it together and start the signing process. I told her I was available this upcoming week so we shall see what will work for her. I also, have had a benefits package from Colorado Surrogacy that Mariah and I need to get initialed. It is very similar my contract, but goes a little bit more in depths of the different pays and what would make me eligible for added payment to me. I get my based compensation for being a surrogate, but if I were to have more than one baby, have any of the number of babies reduced, a mock cycle fee, a medication injection fee, embryo transfer (per attempt) fee, a c-section fee, a hysterectomy fee (I hope it does not come to that)… I mean the list goes on, I would be paid for such services on top of everything and each service is paid different amounts. The benefits package just goes over it all. I am excited to be in this part of the process. It means things are moving and we are getting closer to our first transfer.
I received a letter in the mail today from my CCRM doctor, Dr. S, telling me some of the results from my one day work up. My pap came back normal and my herpes testing came back negative (not that I was worried), so just even more good news and nothing holding me back so far in my journey. Last week I received a phone call from the IVF pharmacy to go over my mock cycle medications. I will be receiving my medications on March 8th with my expected monthly cycle to start, hopefully, on or around March 16th. It is good that I will have my meds on hand and ready to go once my monthly cycle starts.
To answer the question that a few have asked, what is a mock cycle? According to Growing Generations:
A Mock Cycle is when a doctor will put a surrogate on full or partial medicines and monitor her as if she was planning to transfer with the clear intent that she will not transfer an embryo. This can be ordered for a number of reasons with the most common being that the doctor wants to observe how the surrogate’s body responds to a certain medication.
A mock cycle allows the doctor to ensure that the body, most specifically the endometrium lining, is capable of reaching levels that will support pregnancy and make implantation likely without the cost of preparing an egg that could potentially be lost to unfavorable conditions. At the conclusion of the mock cycle medicines or dosages may be changed or fine-tuned in order to create optimum results in the real cycle.
When I went for my CCRM work up, it was found that my uterus lining was measuring a 4.5 out of a 7. The nurse told me this is more likely because I was measured one week after my period and have not had a whole lot of time to rebuild my lining. To be on the safe side, we are doing the mock cycle to ensure that my uterus can build a lining and be ‘sticky’ enough for the embryo transfer. How the mock cycle works, is on my first day of my period I am to call my nurse. On day 2 or 3 of my cycle, I will start a Vivelle .1g patch (which is a form of estrogen). I am to change the patch every other day for 8 days before I am schedule to get my blood drawn to check my levels. I will continue to use the patch with an increase in patch on day 10 to 2 patches, then 3 patches on day 12, then 4 patches for 4 more days. Then I will be scheduled to get my blood drawn again as well as, to go to CCRM for another ultrasound to check the thickness of my lining. We are expecting the cycle to be done by April 3rd. Once the ultrasound is done, I will continue to use 2 patches as well as, 1 200 mg tablet of Prometrium (which is a progesterone) to be taken vaginally 3 times a day. I am to take my patch off once my 3rd pill of the day has been taken. I am to do this repetition of the patch and the pill taken vaginally for 10 days. Which means during this time I will not be able to be sexually active. It’ll be a busy month of keeping up with my medications.
Jane and I are prepared to meet on March 13th at 12:45 pm for lunch. We are still deciding where to do lunch. Ellen, who is Colorado Surrogacy’s lawyer, will be joining us for our first meet up. Of course, Mariah will be with me in the process as well. Lexie will be with her dad during this time. Jen has also set up a hospital tour at 6 pm at St Francis Medical Center that same day. This will be good so we can check out the birthing center as well as, figure out how we will all manage the day of surro baby(s) entrance to the world. Sometimes, if there is room, hospitals will give their surrogate their own room and the IP’s their own room to be with baby until time of discharge. I am ok with sharing a room as I hope we are only there for a few days before discharge. As it will not be fully fined tuned, we will at least have a good sense of what to expect during the birthday.
I am super excited to meet Jane in person. As it has only been a few months since we started the process, it has been a long 3 months. Becoming a surrogate is not as simple as just showing up to get pregnant or anything that you see in the movies. There is so much paperwork involved and appointments to attend. I am just glad that I was matched with Jane since day 1. I was able to get around the whole waiting around during the matching process to find the right family that would be good to work with. Jane and I have clicked since day 1 and for that I am thankful. Stay tuned for the next blog which will more likely be a little after my lunch with Jane.