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Jane Face to Face!

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

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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.

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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!