if you have read this blog, you know that i have little tolerance for stupid/mean people. well, big surprise they are at it again. just so you know the following things should never be spoken:
- it is none of your business how many children someone has. you have no right to comment on this, you are not their medical professional
- for those of us availing ourselves of medical science to have our families, we are sharing our pain/joy/confusion, you are to sit there nod your head and have compassion. we do not need to hear that a dog is a good substitute.
- surrogates are not machines, they are women with bigger hearts than you can comprehend. if you think they should hand you the baby and go away, then do a closed adoption. or better yet wait until a machine is invented, you probably need the time to learn manners and compassion. yes, yes, i know that was mean.
i just do not understand everyone's need to voice their opinions. whatever happened to keeping you mean, nasty thoughts to yourself? just because a child is involved, does not give you the right to verbal diarrhea. fact is you obviously should not have an opinion on raising children, if you can not master the most basic rule "If you do not have anything nice to say, then do not say anything at all."
if you want to tell your friend she looks awful in a particular outfit, fine, this is doing her and society a favor. if you want to tell the same friend that she needs to raise her child X way, or that i was not meant to be for her to have children, pinch yourself really hard, and repeat, "I will not say stupid, mean, or hurtful things that make me look like a jacka$$"
i am going to get off my soapbox, but this just really bugs me. i just do not understand why people feel the need to add to other's pain, and why so few try to look at how the other person may be feeling. just think before you speak.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
if you have read this blog, you know that i have little tolerance for stupid/mean people. well, big surprise they are at it again. just so you know the following things should never be spoken:
i got my first check as a freelance photographer (all but saturday 2). let me just say, that this would not have been my first choice of jobs, but a check is a check.
my favorite subject has and always will be children from birth to about six; these are the only humans who you do not need to coax out of self-consciousness. my favorite pictures of those i love, are those taken when they are not aware of the camera, those are the photographs who are really them.
taking photographs, for me, is about capturing pieces of personality, nonmanufactured and real. years later, that posed smile photograph will show the outlines of a figure, a photograph of personality will trigger a thousand feelings and memories. when i used to work at a mass photo studio, all the parents wanted that perfect smile picture, because they were paying an arm and a leg for them. the whole reason i quit was because i wanted these parents to have that pouty, on the verge of tears picture, along with the sweet smile. the sweet smile will last much longer than the face they made on the verge of tears for those three months.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
writing a profile, urgh, i have to write a profile, what do i say? what if they hate me? what if i say something weird? what if i am just a freak, and when they read about me they go blind and deaf from the terror that was my profile? will i be charged more for that? uh, can i just write about someone else? maybe i could pull that off. no, i am not that good of an actress. wait i don't even know who i am. this is grown up stuff. adults know who they are, i am the female equivalent of peter pan.
okay, i will think of this as the getting a bunch of shots. i'll just close my eyes and get it over and done with really fast. oh, this is going to hurt, but if i just do it, it won't be that bad.
my stomach is in knots over this. we'll just get it done.
wait they want pictures too. i take the pictures. do i have any other than one or two? are those good ones? you know they are going to judge how i look.
the more i think about this, the more it feel like jr. high. those were not my best years. it is so hard to see in myself what others see. everyone tells me i am going to be a great mother, but i question that. i know that i want this more than anything, but what if i get it and i can't do all those things you are supposed to. what if i fail?
in reality this will be fine and i know that. these are just the things that go racing through my mind. these are the things i fear, that often paralyze me. this time though i can't let that happen.
i am going to go start on this profile. i'll update to let you know how it goes.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
so now i have all these brand new shiney friends. joebob will be so happy, he is no longer the only person for me to talk at (he doesn't respond, or if he does i am talking over him).
speaking of the husband. in my previous post i talked about the things he had bought for the baby. when i told him, he wanted to know if i had taken pictures. really, you think i should take pictures? he wants his first triumph as a dad to be thoroughly documented, and i really can't blame him. so here are the pictures of what he did.
before we get to the pictures, we have decided to give the kiddo a blog name. JELLY, we decided on this cause first it is cute, and second it combines our favorite boy and girl names.
so... jelly this is your daddy's first accomplishment as your daddy.
here is your first concert shirt. the actual show took place before mommy and daddy were born, but you won't be able to read, and it isn't that important, you'll look cool.
mommy has a turtle obsession and daddy has a grateful dead obsession, thankfully the dead combined the two many years ago.
so there you have it, jelly. your daddy can buy you clothes and mommy can take pictures of them, what else do you need. we can't wait to dress you and take your picture.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
this is one of those nights where sleep has eluded me, so insomnia you win. this also means that i have sat in the dark, alone with just my thoughts, because nick at nite needs to change their lineup. so i have been looking for more women like me. i know that they are out there, but apparently you have to know some secret handshake, because every time i apply to one of their groups i get told i am blocked. i have no idea what i have done to rank this banned status, frankly i have done nothing. this just makes me mad.
the majority of the support seems to revolve around the surrogates, which is great, but i need people too. my family and friends are wonderful, and they try so hard to be supportive and understand what this is like. just like i will never know what it feels like to be pregnant, they will never fully know what this feels like.
to all those who control access to your secret world of support:
i am not some crazy stalker, i am not trying to sell you anything, i am not a secret agent, i just need a place where people who know what this is like will listen to me from time to time. i will send you references, all my friends think that i am a good person. at times, rare though they may be, i have even been known to be insightful and supportive.
you would think that this would not be so difficult. i have read blogs of women who belong to these groups and they all seem nice enough. all i want is a place where i can talk about stuff and actually have people understand.
i know i sound pathetic at the moment, but i just can't take the rejection anymore. i was that kid no one wanted to play with, i have been the outcast and freak for so long, and 15 years after i had gotten over that, here i am again. only this time this is serious. these are real adult issues.
oh well, i have held my own before, and i have an amazing group of women who would walk through fire for me. honestly i could not ask for more understanding friends. i am amazed at this group of people who love me. i probably should not say this, but if i had to go through this with me i might have walked already.
over the past year i have become a crazy woman on one mission, to become a mother. my mom would tell you that i was born on that mission, and she would not be wrong. i have wanted a family from the moment i understood the concept. over the past year though there is an urgency, as compulsion, a drive to have a child to raise.
joebob asked me the other day why i wanted a child. my response was to look at him and shrug my shoulders. words can not be used to describe what i need, this is no mere want, i want to be a size 2, i need to be a mother. he wants to understand this, it is just a bit beyond his realm of comprehension. this in no way implies that he does not want a kiddo, he just is not compelled to have one. he gets just as crazy about this as i do, the other day he ordered baby clothes. i had no idea he even knew babies needed clothes, this is the man who wants a legal document absolving him from ever changing a diaper. but there they were, baby clothes, in baby sizes ordered by my husband, i know this because i asked for identification. then at the bottom of the box, baby bottles, bottles one would use to feed a baby, bought by joebob himself. i love this man.
with all the crap that infertility throws at you, there are also these small gifts. through this awful process, that tears me apart and makes me want to pull mine (and at times other peoples') hair out. i have fallen in love all over again with this man who has stood beside me through all of this. he may not understand why i am so crazy about this, he may get annoyed, feel pushed aside, and wonder who this woman is who ate his wife, but he is always supportive. i have heard people say that building a house will tear a couple apart, well constructing a domicile is nothing compared to constructing a child through surrogacy.
Friday, June 20, 2008
the primary reason that i started this blog was to get some information out there about surrogacy, from the viewpoint of an intended mother. in reading my posts, i realize that i have not done a very good job at meeting this objective. this process is very emotional and brings up issues that you never even thought existed. this post though is going to be about the process. so
fasten your seat belts, this is going to be a bumpy ride:
first, you have to become infertile, this can be voluntary or involuntary, and for the purposes of this discussion, it does not matter. in my situation it was being born with a bleeding disorder (von williband's disease) combined with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
this will give you the magic combination for marathon periods. at the age of 12, was hospitalized because my blood pressure was 60/40, i had my first blood transfusion and my first d&c at this time. i was put on 3 birth control pills a day, which after a couple of months quit working. lucky me got to graduate to estrogen and progesterone. by the time, i was 13 i was on the highest dose of estrogen made. i will not bore you with how terribly awful this is for a child, or anymore boring details. this whole process was repeated over and over, until i had had ENOUGH. i finally got to the point where i had no quality of life. therefore, at the age of 31 i had an endometrial ablation because i could not take another 3-6 month period and the hormones were making me so sick. this was the hardest and best decision i have ever made. this is not to say that there have not been moments when i worried that i had made a mistake. once i came back to reality though, i knew that there was no other option, and my quality of life has greatly improved.
once you have determined that you are unable to carry a child and are prepared to turn this over to someone else, you need to find people to help you navigate this minefield. this is a lot easier said than done, in my experience there is not a ton of information floating around. i am one of those people who trusts about 5 people on the whole planet and none of them could carry a baby for us. we have all heard the horror stories about surrogacy, and there is an element of risk inherent in this process just as there is in any endeavor. i hire people to do my taxes and take care of my lawn, so why would i not hire someone to guide us through this?
we had a false start with our first attempt to find an agency, but that is what happens when you are finding out how this works. the best advise i can give here is to do what feels right to you. emotions have to stay out of this, which i know is much easier said than actually done, but you have to try if you do not want to risk much worse emotional harm later. i would do anything to be a mother, except risking all that i own, or compromise my integrity.
remember you have never done this before so there is going to be a big learning curve. interview people, ask a ton of questions, and wait until you find someone who makes you feel comfortable. these people are going to make your pure will into a baby.
at the agency interview, you will be given a ton of information. i probably only remember about 5% of what we were told in this 4 hour meeting. nervous does not even come close to what i was feeling. take notes, and remember that you can always ask questions later, when you are not scared to death. most of what they go over is procedure, agency history, and a general overview of the process. then there are the questions that none of us really want to answer.
do you want to do amniocentesis?
if the results of the amniocentesis are not good, what actions will be taken?
in the case of high order multiples would you want selective reduction?
for me at this point i wanted to crawl under the table, who wants to think about these issues?
this is the point where you need to put on your big girl panties and be brutally honest. we all want to think that these issues will not affect us, but they do happen. in the perfect world, we would be immune from this and could deal with them only if they arise. here in the real world you are asked these questions so that you are matched with someone who has the same views as you. you should not feel judged by the answers you give. better to get over this part now than when it happens and you find out that you and the surrogate have different feelings.
next, there are all kinds of fertility tests, psychological evaluations, drug tests, and paperwork. the most difficult part of the paperwork for me has been putting together a profile. this is what prospective surrogates first see about you and your partner. i guess it is like putting together something for a dating service. personally, i have never used one of these services, but i imagine that is what it would be like, only about you as a couple. this part of the process is a lot like being in jr. high and liking a boy/girl. you pass notes through your friends (the agency) and a lot of worrying if they (the surrogate) are going to like you back.
this is as far as we have gotten, so the rest of this is what i have been told.
next, it is the big meeting. we will go with our agency representative to meet the surrogate and her partner in person. this is after we have all approved each other’s profiles. at our agency, this woman and her family will have been approved before we meet them. from what i have heard, this is not always the case. if we all agree to working with each other then we start drawing up the contracts. you learn fast that there are soooo many lawyers in this process, which is good b/c everyone needs to be protected as much as possible. there are so many pitfalls that spelling it all out is important.
at some point, she will become pregnant. here there are all kinds of numbers and terms i cannot even begin to understand. at this point, i am not concerned with them. chances are though if you have made it this far you have been through the fertility ringer, so the majority of this will not be unfamiliar; you are just adding another person. the one major difference is that you are going to have to synchronize your cycles so you go on birth control at the same time.
once she is pregnant, you will go to various doctor's appointments together, or at least talk to each other and the ob/gyn if you live far away. in a perfect world she would live down the street, in reality for us at least she will most likely live very far away. thankfully, they can now e-mail you the heartbeat and the sonograms, is not technology nifty.
depending on the laws of the state in which she lives, not where you live, remember this. the custody thing will work one of two ways, with possible variations. if your husband's DNA has been used, he gets to go on the birth certificate automatically. the law has not gotten to the point where they recognize the DNA of the egg, so the mother is going to have to adopt the baby regardless of whose DNA was used. this is a stepparent adoption so it is not the grueling process of a stranger adoption. you are going to have a simple home study, they are much easier when you are married to the father, and the surrogate will sign away her rights. just like any other adoption, you will be the parent with all the rights and responsibilities. this is where the variation comes in, some states will let you do this in the second tri-mester, or you will do this after the birth. the only real difference here is the timing.
at the hospital you will have this all worked out before, but you can be there for the birth. now here is the tricky part, you know those plastic bracelets; well in they come in 3 packs for maternity, 1 for the baby, 1 for the woman giving birth, and 1 for the partner. due to the high security of maternity wards, you will only be able to get the baby from the nursery with the magic bracelet. some facilities will give you and your family their own room provided there is an empty one. they are not going to leave some poor woman out in the hall to give birth just so you can coo over your baby in your own room. in this case it will make it easy, if not though whoever has the bracelet is going to have to be there to get the baby, or the surrogate is going to have to get the baby. all this really means is there will be little rest for the person with the bracelet.
now here is the part that makes many people uncomfortable. this is my opinion only!!! the amazing woman who has just given you the greatest gift in the whole world needs some time to say good-bye to this parasite she has been hosting for nine months. i have read some very sad stories about surrogates who felt pushed aside once the baby was born. i figure i have waited years to take my baby home, another 30 minutes is not going to hurt. some people worry that doing this is going to make her want to keep the baby, and in some cases, it might, but these women go into this knowing they are helping you have a baby. this is not like an adoption; in most cases, she does not have any biological connection. so please give her those moments, it is the least you can do, because there will never be anyway that you can thank her for what she has given you.
most people work out the level of contact they want after the birth. there are some people who go home and send a few pictures and cards and never talk again, and then there are others who become family. this is up to you and your surrogate, and you will know what feels right. chances are though it will not be what you thought you were going to do in the beginning.
who are the amazing women that are willing to lone you their bodies for well over nine months? our agency requires that they have at least one child and encourages them to be finished having children for themselves. women sometimes loose the ability to have more children during the course of pregnancy. you will have to pay extra if she looses her uterus, but no amount of money can replace her ability to have more children for herself. personally, i could not live with myself knowing this had happened, so that i could be given this amazing gift. economically, they have to be sound. i am not going to pretend that the money is not a nice bonus for these women, but it is not the primary reason that they are doing this, fact is they are not being paid that much for what they are doing. from what i have read many of these women have some personal experience with infertility in their family, or are just love their children so much that they can not imagine not helping someone have the same joy they get everyday.
this is what i know for now. it is a lot to take in all at once. this whole process is a lot to digest. remember this is your labor process. the way i see it, i may not be carrying this child in my body, but i have willed him/her/them into being, by my desire to bring them into this world.
Monday, June 16, 2008
don't forget that your life is still happening: hubby and i went to dinner last night and in the course of our conversation he told me that i have become a woman obsessed by this process. it is so easy to make having a baby the center of your universe. the leap to making it all that you are, is more of a tiny hop than a leap. i try to keep a balance in my life, and usually fail. my personality lends itself to becoming consumed by things. you know that person that calls 15 times a day, until you finally pick up? well that is me.
hubby (who will now be referred to as joebob) said that he was feeling pushed aside already. i think that this is his biggest fear, about us, when it comes to having a kid. we have a relationship that is super focused on each other, we have friends, but 90% of the time it is us focused. our lives have been held together by strings at times, but we have always had each other. so how is it that this new life is going to fit? are we going to be those people who wake up one day and realize we no longer have anything in common? not if i have anything to say about it.
so now i have to focus on us and how we are going to make this all work. becoming parents is going to turn our little corner of the world upside down, there is nothing that will change that fact. we get to do this thing together, and there is no one in the world i would rather have this adventure with. i just have to remember that this is an addition to this incredible life we have made for ourselves.
infertility takes over your life, simple fact. i know soooo many people whose relationship fell apart when faced with the reality of infertility or childlessness. to us though, this is only a minor speed bump, we have been way more battered than this little thing. i just have to remember that it is we.
all too often i think that men get lost in this process. we think that b/c they get the "easy" tests that they don't suffer right along with us. fact is that they do, they pick us up when this is overwhelming, endure hours of endless babbling, feel all the disappointment, and are there through every moment. so, i have to learn to not forget that he is there and he deserves all my attention. i couldn't go through this alone, and it just isn't fair not to acknowledge that we are going through this as a couple.
so from now on i am going to remember that there is already this amazing, wonderful person in my life. even though he wants to use the stupid name of joebob, and pulls crazy stunts in target, i wouldn't change a thing; because he is also the man who held my hair while i vomited and he can just wrap his arms around me and reduce my pain. i can't imagine my life without him, craziness and all.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
today hubby and i go to our local chain bookstore to get frozen hot chocolate. it is steaming hot here and we wanted to cool off. in their intelligence, the idiots are not selling frozen hot chocolate, because "that is a fall and winter drink". hey moorons (southern for morons) fall and winter is when we want regular hot chocolate, summer is when the frozen variety would be appropriate. so i finally get over the disappointment, i realllly wanted my super yummy frozen hot chocolate. there is a 4 year old quality to my tunnel vision on this particular subject.
by this point genius hubby is now engrossed in a quest for a book he has not yet read; there are so few that he can spend hours searching. i on the other hand use books as sleeping pills, so i just read whatever it was he bought a few years ago. i am off on a quest to find a surrogacy book that i saw on amazon. okay, yes i know it is ridiculous to look in a southern bookstore for a book about something so distasteful, i might has well have been looking for a playboy.
i go up to the help counter, where some high school kid, whose parents made her get a job is standing two feet above me. this is to make her feel important or something that i don't begin to understand. now here is the question: do is ask for surrogacy and have to explain or fertility and get the dirty look because i am talking about S-E-X? i decide to go with fertility. "uhm those are back in the children's section."
really that is where you decided to put those, with all the books about children, pregnancy, and childbirth. you retched assholes are really going to make me walk through kiddie land to get to books about how i can't have children. wow, now that is some real planning on your part. you have an entire section, 12 whole rows of christian books, but you can't put the books on fertility and miscarriages anywhere else in the store.
i take this walk, the one through the death chamber, to look through the selection. of course the book i want isn't there and i knew it would not be, but i just had to check for the same reason people have to look at train wrecks.
i just wish people would use their brains for more than 30 seconds a day. then again just because you own a bookstore chain doesn't mean you are literate.
oh yeah BRING BACK MY FROZEN HOT CHOCOLATE!!!!
needless to say I came home and bought the book on amazon where they don't make me walk anywhere to find what i want. hubby bought a couple of books that he read years ago, so i guess he has forgotten what happens in the middle.
Friday, June 13, 2008
this is really happening, no i am not dreaming, this is really going to work. we found an agency!!! a real live agency, and they are wonderful, responsive, and open to all our many questions. i can finally breath again and i didn't even know i was holding my breath. after what we have been through with the other agency i was scared of getting too excited, but i am starting to really trust that this will happen.
after the falling out with the other agency, i was beginning to believe that i was holding onto a dream that really was out of my reach. the pain of getting burned like that doesn't go away easily. it has made me more skeptical about the goodness of people, if that is even possible. from the first conversation with the director of the new agency though really did start to heal some of those burns.
what makes me feel so much better:
- every question i have asked has been answered
- i haven't been treated like a number
- all my concerns are taken seriously
- everyone at the agency are available to me whenever i need them
most importantly i feel that they are working for me, and not just taking my money and handing over a service. this doesn't feel like going to the furniture store, this feels like joining a team that is going to work to make this a reality. i am confident that this bumpy road will be navigated with partners that truly want the best experience for all of us embarking on this journey.
i know this sounds hokey, but i can't describe it any other way. this is a frightening adventure at times, and then there are these moments when all is right with the world. my fears are a bit calmer and i can allow myself to feel a little piece of happiness.
dealing with disappointment is learned the hard way when traveling down the infertility highway. happiness is something that you tend to forget. all in all though i think that i have managed to keep a good balance. i am a bit less trusting than i used to be, and part of that is just growing up and some of it is dealing with all the ick that comes along with infertility.
on another note. to the people who said i was voluntarily infertile. i have been telling myself everyday that i am fertile, and for some reason i still don't have a uterus and the PCOS is still there. i know this b/c i went to my annual appointment and my dr. assured me that this was the case. it did however make him laugh, which isn't that easy. you would think an obgyn would need a sense of humor, but he lost his. if you happen to find an extra let me know.
so now i've got a ton of new paperwork to fill out. then we have to find someway of putting our profile together. i'll let you know how you tell someone all about you in seven pages, or how i am going to manage to fill seven pages. truth is we just aren't that exciting.
Monday, June 9, 2008
this is the story of my life, just when i get to that place where the end is barely in sight, someone moves the line. currently it is my elusive college degree. yeah, i have taken my sweet ass time getting there, but i thought that i was almost finished. let me backtrack, i haven't graduated from anything since the fourth grade, and i'll be dammed if i am not walking across that stage and getting this degree (2 degrees) that i have slaved over for 16 years. yes there have been detours, i like the scenic route, it is much more fun.
so all this planning has been shot to hell. as things stand i will finish next august ('09). so no big graduation for me. i am sure some of you just did your happy dance, i can't say that i blame you, but i deserve this. i deserve to have my 15 seconds of acknowledgement and i am going to figure out some way to get it. this was going to work out so well, hubby would still be in grad school and i could have time to get my masters before we blew this popsicle stand. we would have our baby and life would be good.
i should know by now that my plans aren't meant to work out. i have apparently pissed off the planning gods, this has been going on since the day i learned to plan after all. so i guess it is confirmed, i am officially insane, b/c i keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. or possibly b/c hubby married me, that is all i get, and that is wonderful and amazing, but really is that all i get?
yes, yes, i know that i have to be flexible, and i am, i have no problem letting things happen. just once though, i want something to go the way that i planned. having a kid will throw plans out the window, but i am an adult living with another adult, so shouldn't i be able to plan something? urgh it is just so frustrating. one day it will, maybe, but i won't plan it, b/c that just guarantees it won't happen. hey, maybe if i plan the opposite that will work. check back and i'll let you know.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
tonight my parents came through town, which is part of their annual exodus from the broiling hell that is summer in texas. we always have fun, even though they are exhausted from driving, and this time the husband and i were worn out from work and school.
somewhere in the process of talking about daddy's speeding tickets, can you blame the guy he is running away from a summer of many many consecutive days of temps over 100 after all. the conversation turns to my prowess at crying to avoid tickets.
hubby: "Jaymee just cries her way out of it"
daddy: "I am sure that the officer is afraid of the howling"
to be fair i have been known to crack glass
the conversation somehow turns to spankings
mom: "Do you remember 'Please let me hug you one more time before you spank me' "
me: "I don't know how you ever had the heart to spank me, I was so damn cute"
mom and dad "Sure you were"
dad: "I hope your kids do the same thing to you"
me: "I think you just got bored and it was for entertainment"
mom: "Yeah that is what we did."
me: "Great now does this mean that you are going to tell my kid this. I am never going to be able to spank or discipline them, cause you're going to have them pulling that on me."
mom: "You bet I am"
god, payback really is a bitch. they are really making me rethink this baby thing, or at least letting them alone with their grandchild, they know way too much. not to mention the fact that they video taped almost every embarrassing moment of my life. how am i ever going to get away with "You have no idea how easy you have it....", when there is video evidence. parenting is going to be a lot like small claims court, and the kiddo is going to have all the evidence they need. my one saving grace is the hubby's parents weren't that obsessive, so maybe we can leave all that up to him.
disclaimer: my parents are great and they never beat me. i was an awful kid at times, i was stubborn and hard headed (that hasn't changed much) and wouldn't listen to anyone.
it was a great night, and i am so happy that i got to spend the time with them. in fact i think that this whole surrogacy process has really brought my dad and i together.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
so many times surrogacy gets a bad name in the press, be it surrogates fighting for custody or worse intended parents rejecting the child because they were the wrong sex. here is a story, sad as it is, that shows how supportive the majority of the people in the world of surrogacy can be for each other. please read haily's story, it is worth the time. being in the weeds of this process can cause a drop in one's faith of the kindness of others. when i see that there are people out there so willing to give of themselves i just have to share.