Monday, March 30, 2009

DNA Experiment

If I seem to be a little detached from the situation, it is because I am. There is nothing that I can do about the whole thing. It is either going to be the bonus or we are going to go back to the way things always were going to be. This is weird, I feel that I should be excited about all this, but I just cannot be. I bit the bullet and went to see the genetics people. It was a surreal experience to say the least. Over the years, I have been in a lot of doctors’ offices, way more than I care to admit, but this one was among the weirdest. First, there was the singing receptionist that was annoying to say the least. I do not even know what she was singing but it was annoying. Here I am sitting there waiting to find out if there is any way that I can possibly be the biological mother of my child so to say that I was nervous is an understatement and she was sitting there singing. Second, the office of the genetic counselor looked like an office of someone who was running a scam. You know how in the movies those offices are always clean and neat but there is nothing in them. There were two chairs, a desk, a computer that was off, and that was it, not a picture, nothing. At first, I thought it might be one of those shared offices, until I realized that her name was on the outside of the door. Okay, so that is fine. Then there was the lady who took my blood. She knew that I was there because we were trying to create a probe to test our embryos with; I know this because the genetic counselor told her so while I was standing there. The whole time we are waiting for the blood to fill the tubes, which took forever, she told me all about her sister who did not have any children. Many of you know that when someone finds out that you are infertile or seeking treatments to be fertile, you hear some strange stories. While I have heard most of them, this was a new one. I heard all about how wonderful her sister’s life was, living in San Diego, sailing on the weekend, and taking vacations at a moments notice. Only problem is, I like living in seasons, I get seasick, and do not have time for vacations. I guess she was trying to make me comfortable, or make herself comfortable. It is always that way; people do not know that it is fine to just not say anything. To tell you the truth I thought I was way past this point. I just sit there and smile, there is nothing that I say; I know that all that talk is just other peoples’ way of handling an uncomfortable situation. I just never thought that I was going to hear it from someone who works with infertile people most of the day. Whatever, it is just part of this whole thing. I go back into the strange office and talk to the doctor, who just happened to be a resident as a pediatrician, and just happened to train under my pediatrician. One of those small world things, but then again I do not live anywhere near where I grew up, so a bit stranger.
It is going to be another 9, long weeks before the results come back. There is nothing more we can do but wait. I guess I should get used to that concept.
While we are waiting, we are getting the contracts out of the way, since it does not matter who the genetic mother is for that purpose. At least this way we are not going to be thrown off schedule too much, if at all.
There are things that you learn along the way in IF, never get your hopes up, because what looks like the best thing in the world will come back to bite you in the butt if you let it.

Now for the experiment part. The fabulous Sabrina has a little project going over on her blog. Go over and see what it is, and then come back here because I am helping her in this endeavor. If you have any other ideas, please let us know. Think of it as economic stimulus you actually have a say in!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

birther of dreams

A little over a year ago, we were sitting in the office of a surrogacy agency; the place that we believed would be our salvation. No decision we have ever made about creating our family was ever taken lightly, every turn we have taken has been calculated and thoroughly researched and debated. In truth, this is how we live our lives; we deal with highly emotional situations by taking them to a very cerebral level and working everything out while standing outside the whole ordeal. It is called protection, without this method I would have been nothing more than a bundle of nerves in a padded cell years ago. The agency turned out to be a bitter disappointment, an utter train wreck of a situation. One that almost made us make the decision to live the rest of our lives childless, we just could not deal with that type of pain again. The fact is that we were being taken advantage of because we were in a vulnerable situation, and to me there is nothing lower than those who seek their fortune on the backs of others desperation and misery. That was over a year ago though.

Now life is so incredibly different, we are in a good place, which frankly is even more frightening. I know disappointment and failure, they are very good friends, so good in fact they are on the Christmas card list. We know how to fail, it is success that we are uncomfortable with, and it is just something that we never really learned to excel at because we were always so much better at failing. This is no ones fault but our own, we constructed our lives to ensure that failure was always the outcome.

I wrote a post some time back about how lonely this world of surrogacy can be. We are out on the third rail, in the place where we have given up and are not doing anything that appears to be for the common good of humanity. I understand these feelings, I have had these feelings, but at the end of the day we made our decision. In writing that post, something amazing happened, something that I would have told you was impossible a year ago.

I got an e-mail. Just a simple note from a complete stranger asking me to be part of a support group. She was someone whose blog I had commented on, someone who gave me hope that surrogacy was not as frightening as I once believed. I cannot recall how long it had been between my finding her and her finding me, but I know it could not have been that long. The night that I found her, I read every word she had written. I had found someone who took her job of being a surrogate very seriously and still managed to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing. This is tough on either side, and if you are unable to laugh, you are going to lose your mind. Sabrina did this with such ease that I was in awe. I mean, who tags themselves as "like the tooth fairy only fatter"? This was the kind of person that I needed by my side, and I was prepared to do whatever it took to keep her there.

I joined the group and watched as she grew two beautiful babies for P-Daddy, and at the same time grew their relationship. I was envious I wanted that relationship with my surrogate. After all, this woman and her family are going to forever be a part of my family. When she gave birth to the princesses I cried, P-Daddy was now a daddy and Sabrina was officially the "birther of dreams."

We e-mailed, talked on the group, and became facebook friends. She did not know that I had made the decision that I would wait forever for her to carry my child. I would have walked through fire to have the honor of having her care for my child while I was unable, and at the same time I felt that I would never live up to P-Daddy. Let's face it, I am not a single man, and carrying another woman's child is a whole other ball of wax, than carrying a child of a man who is not your husband. This was something that I have always understood. Us women come with complexities that men do not, there is the obvious jealousy that is bound to show up and then there is the whole micromanaging. Face it, when women get pregnant they TALK and TALK about everything and I have heard more dos and don'ts of pregnancy that I should have at least ten kids following me around. Then again, none of this is me. I started this process knowing where my feelings belonged, they belonged to me and were not anyone else's problem and I have no right to go around throwing these feelings all over someone else.

I was just grateful that Sabrina was going to be there to walk down this road, helping me to navigate our surrogacy adventure.

Wait, what is this, a facebook message with Sabrina's number. What an honor, I was going to speak with Sabrina, the woman who had most likely unknowingly, pulled me out of a hole. I was actually in such a hurry to talk to her that I did not even bother to read the rest of the message. We talked forever on the phone, and while she knew all my crazy to an extent, she really learned just how nutty I really am. We talked about it all and then some. It was one of the best conversations I have ever had with someone, and at the same time one of the strangest, we knew each other and yet this was the first time we had ever heard the others voice.

A week later, I was cleaning out my e-mails, and there is was the words that stopped my heart. Sabrina had offered to be our surrogate. She had chosen to go through another pregnancy so that we could be parents. I had not asked, she had just offered. Now what was I going to do? I had spent hours on the phone with her and not once mentioned that I would love for her to be our surrogate, that it was my dream, that I would have given the world to have her carry our child. There was no one else in the world that I could even imagine doing so. Of course if she had not wanted to that would have been fine and I would have found another wonderful woman. In the end, I would still have Sabrina in my life and at the end of the day that is what mattered. So I called her again, with monster sized butterflies in my stomach, I thought she was going to say no. I mean I cannot even finish reading an e-mail what would make her think that I was going to be a good parent. I told her that I felt like an idiot and that we would be honored to have her carry our baby. I know that she said yes a millisecond later, but it felt like a million years.

So here we are!!! The amazing Sabrina is our surrogate. We are aiming for August to do our transfer. I say aiming because I make no firm plans when it comes to baby making. There is nothing that means more to me than becoming a mother, and no one else that I would rather have to carry our child than Sabrina.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

and i thought the week before was crazy

We found a new RE. As for the other RE, it was not him personally; it is the stupid state of Alabama. It just happens to be something that is not allowed, then again maybe not prohibited, but no one will do the transfer. Which is fine, we are just going to move the show to Texas, where my parents live.

As you can imagine a new RE brings all kinds of new things. I have come to expect this. If you want easy and uneventful do not go through infertility. All the things that have blown me away during this process do not even come close to what happened at 2:05 on March 5th. It is three days later, and I am still not sure that I have gotten over the shock. In fact, I know that I have not because I am still having a hard time believing this whole situation is real. I am still waiting to wake up with everyone laughing at me.

What is the big news you ask?

First, a little background information so that this all makes a bit more sense. I have a bleeding disorder (von Willebrand's) which is genetic. I have a very mild form, which has still managed to wreak havoc in my life. Potentially, I could pass this on to my child and it is possible that they will have a worse type. It was a no brainer that we would use an egg donor. Never have I had a huge need to be the biological parent of my child. To me, biology is such a small part of being a parent that is just never mattered. You can imagine my shock when I learned that it might be possible to use my own eggs, and we could screen the embryos before we implanted one.

I still cannot believe that I am able to write that sentence, and it is true. My eggs, my genes without the scariest bad part, a child that may have my eyes, someone in my life that is actually genetically related to me. These are all things that I could never imagine and I was fine without. Now that they are a possibility, I am a little freaked out, a lot excited, and completely guarded. I have learned, a thousand times over, not to get my hopes up when it comes to infertility treatments. Many things still need to be figured out, none of which I fully understand. All I know is that I am going to be stuck with a needle a lot and spending a lot of time in the doctor's office. I just never thought that this would ever happen to me, things like this just do not happen to me.

Then I keep coming back to the whole idea that none of this ever mattered to me. So what are all these new feelings? Where did this excitement come from? I know that part of it is not having to tell my child that I am not genetically related to him/her, and having to help him/her work through all the feelings and issues that come along with that revelation. It was something I was prepared to do but certainly not something that I was looking forward to doing. The main reservation had to watch my child wrestle with all the feelings that were so hard for me to reconcile for myself. Personally, there was the fact that I was going to have to do a stepparent adoption, which always just felt so wrong to me. Yes, the child would be mine once he/she was born; there was just something about being called a stepparent that always bugged me. Not that there is anything wrong with being a stepparent, one who I consider my parent plain and simple raised me. It was just in this particular situation. We will have been married for at least nine years by the time the baby arrives, and if it had not been for my hard work the baby would never exist, so being called a stepparent in a legal document just seemed to negate my roll in this whole situation. That is all behind us now, in theory.

I know that one day, like at the birth, I will be able to relax and be happy about this completely new development. Right now, though I am still really freaked out by the idea. Which also makes me feel bad, because I know, there are so many people out there that would love to get this news and most likely never will. I am going to sit with this new development and be as happy as I can about this amazing new experience that we are going to have.

Merrill part 2

She came home from the hospital on Thursday, and is doing great. The doctors think that she had a delayed reation to her MMR. I am just so happy that she is better.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Miss Merrill

My cousin's daughter, Merrill, is in the hospital. She is running a high fever that seems to have no known cause. Please keep them in your thoughts.

At the speed of light

Remember when I said there was still A LOT to be done, well I tried to do it all in a week. Suddenly, I have lists of things to do and I never make lists. Most of the time I am flying by the seat of my pants, it is a good day when I get out of the house with matching clean socks and all my junk. I know enough to know that surrogacy cannot be accomplished by doing things on the fly.

My RE, who I loved, told me that he would not do the transfer. I was so angry at him for going back on his word. Then I realized that it was better for everyone to have a doctor who was comfortable with the situation. It is easy to forget just how unique surrogacy is in the world. Being in the middle of the process, which is so all consuming, can make you lose perspective fast. Having others put this fact into perspective makes me want to fight them, until I realize that we are doing something that does not happen everyday. Further, we are doing something that many people do not even begin to understand.

I had to find us a new clinic and fast. Luckily, I have many wonderful people in my corner that helped me do this. I contacted the clinic on Friday and we have our phone consultation on Thursday. There is a ton of paperwork to fill out and most of it is complete. As much as I hate paperwork, this was better and worse all at the same time. I got to the "mother/wife/female partner" section and just started filling it out, I have filled out so many of these forms it was just natural. Then it hit me, they really do not need my information, other than why I cannot carry, all of my medical history is irrelevant. Wow, that was a huge moment. A year ago I would have sobbed for hours over that realization, now I am just happy to move on and that it takes a lot less time. The sting was there for a fleeting moment and then it was nothing but happiness and knowing just how fortunate I am that such wonderful women exist.

Lawyers, my favorite subject. We have the contracts, to write the contracts. These go out tomorrow. This decision was not hard, meeting our attorney was the only good thing to come out of the whole bad agency insanity.

Then one thing I was sure was finished suddenly needed to be redone. We had finally decided on an egg donor, after almost a year. I called the agency to let them know that we had our surrogate. They in turn informed me that our chosen donor had been diagnosed with Hep C. Therefore, it was back to the drawing board. Surprisingly, we have found two strong possibilities and it only took us a day and a half.

I feel like I really got a lot accomplished this week. This is funny because I also know this will look like nothing a month or two from now.

On top of this I turned 33 on Saturday. Helped write adoption policy and procedure where I am interning. Best of all I got accepted to grad school. The program that I am doing will be finished by the time the baby is born, because I got advanced standing. Plus, it will keep me so busy that I will not have time to sit and wait for the baby to be born, you know kind of like watching water while trying to get it to boil.