Grooooooooow babies!!

How 2 men + 2 women - sex + science = 2 babies!!

This is the funny, heart-warming, tearful, inspiring, and shocking truth about my journey to have a child.

How a man, another man, a woman, another woman, a couple lawyers, a few doctors, a psychologist, a couple social workers and some agencies make a baby.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Just a Little Dab of Super Glue

It's interesting how different waiting rooms have different types of magazines. I go to a barber (yes, he even has the turning barber's pole outside his shop) and the magazines are all Sports Illustrated and Money. When I go to my dentist in Lincoln Park there are a lot of Time and Newsweek magazines. Then Derek and I go to the fertility clinic and we see Vogue and Cosmo. We found out how to know if you're good in bed and what men on the street's sexual new year's resolutions will be. I'm amazed these magazines have been around for so long. Maybe next time Derek and I can take an "Are You Compatible?" test since we all know those tests are accurate.

"Well this is frustrating," the doctor said as we started our meeting.

Yep. The doctor was right. That's pretty much how I felt. And, to add to my anxiety, I just found out I had to think of some sexual new year's resolutions if I wanted to be a "man on the street."

The doctor really had no explanation as to why this hasn't worked yet. I get that this is an art, not a science, but I still was hoping for an explanation. I did get an answer to one of my burning questions.

"So, you can take one egg and one sperm and isolate them," I said. "You can crack the shell of the egg. You can make an embryo grow in a dish for 3-5 days. You can freeze and unfreeze my sperm. You can watch the embryos enter a uterus on a monitor. Why the heck can't you just make an embryo stick to the uterine wall? C'mon...just shove it in there and make the surrogate lay on her side for a couple days. Am I right, doc?"

"It doesn't quite work that way, Michael," the doctor says in his awesome accent that I think is South African but I'm not sure.

Curse the limits of science. (Shake fist in the air.)

"If I touch the uterine lining," the doctor continues, "the lining gets irritated and won't accept the egg. And if the egg does stick but the body doesn't want it to stick, it will just lead to a miscarriage down the line."

"Even if you use a little dab of Super Glue?" I asked hopefully.

OK...I didn't really say that.

Then I asked the question every doctor hates to hear. "If you were in my shoes, and I know you can't really tell me what to do, what would you do?"

"I'd get another egg donor," he said quickly.

Wow! A direct, confident answer from a doctor. Nice. Not really the answer I wanted to hear...but I'm glad he felt confident about a decision. We talked about how the eggs are a major part in the success of surrogacy. My sperm looked fine from what they could tell (remember my five...yes FIVE vials!) and a healthy embryo can be put in a 40 year old surrogate and have no problems. The biggest factor that should be changed with my specific situation is the egg donor. So the doctor strongly recommended I find a donor who has either already has a child or has donated eggs that have resulted in a successful pregnancy. My first donor didn't already have children and it's possible that she is infertile and her eggs will just not result in a pregnancy. We're jumping to a BIG conclusion, but when you're in a situation like mine and it costs time and energy and money for every attempt we want to reduce every unknown possible.

I have been looking at donors over the last week or two since I only have one embryo left I knew that starting with a new egg donor was a distinct possibility. I found one woman who I like. She has actually donated 5 times before and the limit is 6 according to some governing board. If I pick her she'd have to retire. How cool to say she retired at 26! I also saw that the woman I was considering months ago who I couldn't use because someone else picked her is available to donate again. I'll have to check if her donation has resulted in a pregnancy.

When I mentioned I needed a little more fun in my entries someone suggested we go all "Survivor" or "American Idol" on this blog and have people vote for their favorite donors. Every week I could post a new fact about the donors to help people decide their vote. I'm sure there is something totally unethical if not illegal about disclosing information like that on a blog and that is clearly not a way to pick a donor. But the idea made me laugh. Picking the right donor is hard.

Meanwhile, back in the casting department, the doctor will most likely be played by Hugh Jackman. He's got a nice accent.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Friend Michaela

I wanted my next blog entry to be something funny and uplifting. I looked at what I wrote a few days ago and it was so depressing. I talked about all the signs I had in my life showing me that I wasn't going to have a baby. That's clearly not doing me any good. So, after failing to find the humor in all that I've gone through, I want to talk about something positive: my friend, "Michaela."

Michaela and I realized a few months ago how our lives have intertwined in such a unique way.

Picture it: Columbia College. Summer of 2001 (I think). A hallway. A young girl comes up to me and says...

Girl: Is your name Michael?
Me: Yeah. (She looks up to me because she's a newbie and I'm about to graduate.)
Girl: Is your last name H*********?
Me: Yep. (She knew me because I was such a phenomenal interpreting student!)
Girl: Did you go to Northwestern?
Me: I did. (Hmmmm...what's going on?)
Girl: You majored in theater, right?
Me: Ummm...yeah. How'd you know? (Should I be calling the cops?)
Girl: You graduated in 199...7?
Me: OK...why are you stalking me???

Maybe that last line didn't really happen.

Michaela was a dance major at Northwestern and she was two years behind me in school. She worked as a performer for a few years and finally decided that she might want a career change. Michaela, like me, wound up looking into interpreting. I'm a big believer that people enter and exit your life for a reason. At this point I didn't know why we connected again.

Michaela and I kept in touch for a while and then she moved out of state. I think we lost touch for a year or two but, through the magic of Facebook, we found each other again.

As I started this blog in February Michaela told me that she was getting close to her own surrogacy journey. As she went through the process and I blogged more and more and told her how wonderful this blogging had (and has) been for me Michaela decided to start her own blog.

Michaela's blog has been so helpful to me. She finds humor in pain like I can't do. She finds hope in adversity which I can't always find. She finds happiness in a frustrating hand that life has dealt her. I have definitely used her texts and calls and blog to help me through rough times.

She is about to find out if her surrogate is pregnant. She'll know in a couple days. I want nothing more than to read those magical words on her blog saying "SHE'S PREGNANT!" It would restore my faith in this process. Plus, Michaela and her husband just plain deserve it. So, as a little favor to me and my friend, please wish her good thoughts.