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.

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Different Kind of Wish

This is the time of year we hear about wishes. We hear children wishing that they get presents from Santa, people wishing to be home for the holidays with their families and everyone wishing everyone else a happy new year. All of us in the surrogacy community are wishing for happy, healthy babies too. But let's not forget all the soon-to-be parents out there going through adoption and their wishes too.  For an unknown amount of time they hope that their phone will ring bringing them the news that their baby is on his or her way not knowing if they'll have 4 months or 4 days to get ready.

I recently wrote a blog talking about how lucky I felt to have twins on the way. Too many amazing, caring, wonderful people have not had the success I have had in this crazy process of having babies. This process is so random and a lot of luck is involved. My friends Kirsten and Marty are still holding their lotto tickets hoping that their lucky number will come up.  My wish for this year is that someone is able to help them achieve their dream. 

Marty and Kirsten are looking to adopt a newborn. You would think such an amazing couple would have been picked by a birth mother long ago. Kirsten has been a great friend of mine for about 8 years. She is intelligent, compassionate, very giving and a great actress who played my sister in a show and has since become like a sister to me. She is one of those rare people in this world who really values quality over quantity. She chooses to use her time to work on valuable projects and social justice and I know if she becomes a mom she will dedicate her time to her ultimate role as a mother while instilling quality values in her child.

I have known Marty almost as long as I have known Kirsten and he has been a wonderful, caring provider and a loyal friend who is always willing to lend a hand and give support. He has a gift of looking at a situation and seeing all sides while using both rational thinking and compassionate emotions. He has dealt with adversity and always managed to confront it with a smile.

Kirsten and Marty have learned that one of the best ways to adopt a child is through networking. They have asked me to publicize their webpage and Facebook page among my small but growing number of blog readers who understand the strong desire to become a parent. It doesn't matter where you live—they can adopt from any U.S. state. Please check out their beautiful website and spread the word to help a lucky child connect with some amazing parents-to-be in one or more of the following ways...

1) Email them your contact names at kirstenmartyadopting@earthlink.net. Their counselor tells them that the best referrals are OB/GYNs and family doctors.  If you have the names and contact information for any of your doctors, they’d be really grateful to receive those names or other leads. They’ll send the doctors a nice letter introducing ourselves, and then no pestering them after that -- they promise.

2) Visit and share their updated website: http://www.kirstenmartyadopting.com/ Can you think of 3-5 people with whom you could share this link? Good choices would be people with large networks of friends/family, and people who regularly come into contact with young women (the typical birthmother in successful adoptions is in her early 20’s).

3) “Like” their Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kirsten-and-Marty-Adopting/175460612502343?sk=info%3E, and share the page with your Facebook friends.

Thanks in advance for any help.  I know 2012 will be a great year for me.  I hope 2012 is a great year for Kirsten, Marty and all of you bloggers out there.  Some of you recently got your wish, some are like me and are waiting for the wish to arrive, and for those of you still wishing, I hope you have the opportunity to wish again and it comes true this time.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Need an Interpreter

One thing that you should know about me before you read this posting is that I am an interpreter. I spend my days running around the city interpreting anything and everything you could imagine. Seriously, you imagine it, I've probably been asked to do it or I've actually done it. I have interpreted high school and college classes in every subject imaginable, training for people who do taxes, 12-step recovery program meetings, discussions on transubstantiation and world religions, traffic court and mediation meetings, psychological assessments, and even a couple classes in Spanish even though I'm not a Spanish interpreter. Very little phases me any more. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, psychologists, rabbis and anyone else can throw out terminology and I've probably heard it or can deduce the meaning and provide an accurate interpretation.

Then I went shopping for baby strollers and car seats. I needed an interpreter. Here's what happened...

On my stroll through the city to run some errands and head to work I passed a couple of baby stores. I went in one because I wanted to see if they had that bed that grows with your baby I've heard about. Sure enough they did. Well, the saleslady told me that ordering a crib can take 10-12 weeks. I was taken aback by that since the babies are probably coming in about 15 weeks. Maybe I was in a state of shock and that's why my brain wasn't working when I went into the next store to discuss car seats and strollers.

The salesgirl at that store talked so fast my brain couldn't keep up. There was one sentence that was all gibberish to me. All I remember was hearing something that sounded like

You can use an InfantRoundaboutBSafeConvertibleAdvocateMarathon
CombinationBoosterClickAndSafeHarness and put it in your GracoTrekkoMountainBuggyDuoGliderWheelCityMiniTandemSportSnapAndGoBritaxDoubleWideDeluxeSwivelSideBySideBugaboo in silver, blue, onyx, paisley, cavalier, gray, navy, cardinal, crimson, red or cowmooflage."


Really? Cardinal, crimson AND red??? Do babies even care? (I know...it's the parents who care.) And just what the heck is cowmooflage? You know designers spent years coming up with just the right Holstein cow pattern worthy of being called cowmooflage.

Oh...and it's only $600 if you don't want any of the attachments.

Years ago, before we had all these laws and choices, kids were rolled through town in a wheelbarrow or rode on the back of a mule or were strapped to the back seat of a car with duct tape? (Kidding!)

Luckily my friend with twins (who is an interpreter) invited me over to her house to meet her kids and talk about parenting twins. She helped explain the stoller and crib situation. Whew. Hopefully I won't have another breakdown until I try to put together the crib or install the car seat. I've heard you need a degree in rocket science to do those.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Award Winning All-Star Broadway Musical Which Will Be a Blockbuster Movie and (Maybe) a Mini-Series

If you've been reading my blog from the beginning you'll know that I started out joking that my story would be the next "Julie and Julia" entitled "Michael and Michaela". "Michaela" has been going through surrogacy too and I'm thrilled to say that yesterday she became the mother of a baby girl. I couldn't be happier for her and her husband.

Since you can't make it through this process (or any pregnancy) without a little humor, "Michaela" and I (with the help of some Facebook friends and now YOU) have been writing this Broadway musical/movie/mini-series. The descriptions of the songs are from the writers and you can see who gets credit for each song. This will be updated periodically as the cast and song list change and hopefully it will be completed at the birth of my children. Please feel free to make comments and suggestions for casting and song titles.


CAST LIST

Michael: Me!
Michaela: Amy Adams
Derek: Neil Patrick Harris
Aaron (Michaela's husband): Matthew Broderick
Michael's first egg donor: Mayim Bialik
Michael's second egg donor: Lea Michele
Michael's third egg donor: Natalie Portman
Chloe (Michael's surrogate): Jennifer Hudson
Lisa (Michaela's surrogate): Ashley Judd
Dr. K. (Michael's doctor): Hugh Jackman
Nurse Ratchet: Glenn Close
Michaela's doctor: Judy Greer
Michael's friends: Kathy Griffin, Jason Bateman & Eva Mendes
Michaela's friends: Ryan Reynolds and Tina Fey
Michael's parents: Carol Burnett and Martin Short

CREATIVE TEAM

Director: Steven Spielberg
Music and lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Choreographer: "Michaela"

SONG LIST

"Makin' Babies in the 21st Century" - A song featuring porn, pipettes and petri dishes. (written by Michaela)

"Matchmaker" - A cover from Fiddler on the Roof with all new lyrics about finding the right egg donor and surrogate for Michael and Michaela. (written by Michaela)

"A Game of Telephone" - The joy of contract negotiation between two strangers via two lawyers in which messages are hilariously misinterpreted (written by Michaela)

"I'll Leggo My Eggos For You" - Several of Michael's absolutely amazing friends all offer him their eggs to help start his family. (written by Michael)

"Shootin' Up" - A raucous, western/country-esque song sung by Michaela and the egg donors and surrogates about the process of producing eggs and getting ready for the transfer. (written by Michaela)

‎"Circles of Life" - A song about the round shapes of eggs and the Life cereal Michael's friends ate for him and Derek. (written by Allison O.)

"It's a Hard (To Get) Knock(ed Up) Life" - The cover from "Annie" sung by Michaela's doctor. (written by Michaela)

"One" - An uplifting and exciting tap number about the great odds of only needing one egg to stick. Of course, there will be sparkly hats. (written by Allison O.)

"Somewhere That's Fertile" - A song sung by fetus as it dreams of fertile uteruses (uteri?). There will be fog and projections of a fetus gallivanting joyfully through uterine lining a la fields of daisies! Too gross...? (written by Allison O.)

"(It's all about) Pluses and Minuses" a duet/power ballad sung by Michael and Michaela as they await the results of their many pregnancy tests, while also contemplating the pluses and minuses of surrogacy and questioning whether or not they will ever become parents. (written by Michaela)

"Nobody Puts Baby (or Michael) in the Corner" - A sensitive and climatic power ballad that comes right before intermission and communicates Michael's determination to have a baby. Of course, since it's right before intermission, the entire cast will slowly enter and join in the song a la Fame's "Hard Work Reprise". (written by Allison O.)

"The Wicked Witch of the Womb's Lament" - Michael's nurse's song showing her true, inner feelings that's sure to win the hearts of the audience as well as a Grammy. (written by Michael)

"It's Not Over 'Til It's Ova!" - a second-act, buck-'em-up rousing song. (written by Thomas S.)

"Grooooooooow Baby" - Chloe's tender ballad hoping that the eggs stick. (written by Michael)

"Baby's Goin' to Beauty School" - Derek and Michael's duet realizing the babies can't go to Harvard because this process is draining their college fund. (written by Derek)

"Out There"- The fetus' song where they dream of what's beyond the goo. (written by Thom S.)

"Pushin' Real Hard" - a revival-esque gospel number about the birthing process sung by Chloe and the whole cast. (written by Michaela)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Wee-Wee or Hoo-Ha Appointment

I hadn't seen my surrogate for almost 6 weeks. She had mentioned to me that she was showing. She had to order the pregnancy uniform for work because she was showing so much. When she walked into the waiting room on Wednesday she didn't look that big. She certainly had a baby bump, but it wasn't huge.

Then we entered the ultrasound room and she raised her shirt. Her stomach was big. I don't know what a typical 21 week stomach looks like, but it was bigger than I thought would be.

Yes...I know it's twins. I know she is going to get big. But at only slightly more than halfway through I'm concerned. I'm afraid she's going to be on bed rest by week 30.

The ultrasound technician, who I really liked and who will be the ultrasound tech for us for the rest of the pregnancy (and might even make a cameo in the Michael/Michaela musical/movie/mini-series/Broadway blockbuster) asked if Derek and I wanted to know the genders of the babies. We said no. Well, I had said from the start of the while process that I didn't want to know and Derek is OK with that. I wanted to make sure they each have 10 fingers and 10 toes, a couple of arms and legs each and a healthy spine, brain, heart and all those other important body parts. I couldn't care less about the wee-wee or the hoo-ha. (Those are the official terms. I'm a medical interpreter so I should know.) The technician said if it were a singleton baby the 20 week ultrasound would be the last one, but because it's twins we'll have ultrasounds every 4 weeks to make sure they're growing appropriately. I could ask for the sex during a future ultrasound, but I'm 99% sure I won't.

I got to work after the ultrasound and some co-workers were looking at the pictures. I told them I hadn't asked to know if the babies were boys or girls or one of each. One friend said, "I'll look!" As she looked through the pictures she asked, "Where are all the crotch pictures??? Did you tell the tech to avoid the crotch?!?!?"

So instead of knowing, I'll let you all vote. On the right side of my blog is a game to cast your vote. Or, if you're a fan of guessing, you can click on the link for ExpectNet and then click on "Enter a Guess" to guess the babies' due date, length, weight, and gender. I'll even give you some pictures to help you decide. Are these boys, girls or one of each?


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I've Won the Lottery

Well, I didn't really win the lottery. I don't have a million dollars. But I do feel like I've won the lottery.

As I've gone through this process a lot of my friends have confided in me that they are going through similar struggles to start a family. Their reasons for not being able to have a child the "traditional way" are varied. It pains me to see some of my friends -- who would be amazing parents -- struggle as I have and not succeed. Anyone who has dealt with an infertility problem, for any reason, understands how high the highs are and also how low the lows can be.

Sometimes I wonder why I was the lucky lottery winner. I wonder why I was blessed with enough finances to pursue my dream. I wonder how I got the right combination of egg donor, sperm, surrogate, doctor, embryologist, lawyer, and agency. I wonder what I did to be blessed with twins. It's not that I doubt myself; I just wonder why luck can't hit every deserving person the way it hit me. Like a lot of things in life, this lottery isn't fair and it's unfortunate the game doesn't always reward hard work and good hearts.

I sincerely hope this entry isn't like pouring salt into a wound of those who are still waiting to see if their lottery ticket is a winner. I know sometimes it can be hard to celebrate a friend's success when you want to achieve the same dream and it hasn't come true yet. Maybe I'm writing this as a reminder to myself to be grateful during those days when I want to tear out my hair as the kids are screaming or talking back to me. Maybe I'm writing this to let my friends know that I understand what they are feeling and that I am there for them as they have been there for me. Maybe I'm writing this because someone on the internet will stumble across this posting and gain some hope. Who knows. For now I guess I'm just writing this to say thank you to all those people who helped me feel grateful this year.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This Is the Audience Participation Portion of the Blog

Here we go, people. It's time for all of you "lurkers" (as you like to call yourselves) out there to get in the game. I know there are a lot of readers out there (10,244 hits so far) but not a lot of comments. Well, here's your chance to help me out with comments, suggestions, advice, etc. The babies are due April 11th and will probably arrive end of March because twins usually come early. Let the preparations begin!

1. The question I've been thinking about for a while is: What do children with two dads call their dads? Dad and daddy? Daddy 1 and Daddy 2? Daddy Michael and Daddy Derek? Brainy dad and brawny dad? (Derek and I decided on our second date he was the brains and I was the brawn because he beat me at a trivia game at Dave and Buster's and I beat him at skeeball and a snowboarding arcade game.)

2. Derek and I are looking to connect with parents of twins to learn more about what twins need. My big question is about the stroller. Anyone know good strollers for twins? Should we get the side by side kind or the front and back kind? Or should we just buy a large, loyal dog and strap the babies to the dog? Maybe a St. Bernard? What's the maximum weight a St. Bernard can carry? Is it worth investing in a miniature pony instead?

3. Should we buy stock in Pepridge Farm or General Mills? Will we go through more Goldfish crackers or Cheerios? Will it make a difference if we have boys or girls since boys use Cheerios as a target during potty training?

4. I have a long last name. How frustrated will a child get if he or she has a 16 letter hyphenated last name vs. a 10 letter last name?

5. Derek and I will most likely become regulars at Babies 'R Us very soon. What should we definitely get? What was a waste of your money? Do you know of a good brand of car seats? What about those beds that grow with your baby? How many binkies do we need? And why on earth does no one use the word pacifier anymore? And is it a binky or a binkie? Inquiring minds want to know.

6. Derek keeps talking about matching outfits for the twins. I say no. Pick a side. Take a stand. This is like toilet paper rolls going over vs. under, Team Jennifer vs. Team Angelina or Team Edward vs. whatever that vampire guy's name is. (Wait...is Edward the vampire? I don't know and I don't care. I don't have a teenage daughter.)

7. Now that the twins can hear, Derek got us a lullabelly and our amazing surrogate said she would use it. While Derek and I have our own favorite childhood stories we want to read, we'd love to know your favorite stories too. What books should we read to the twins? Goodnight Moon? The Hungry Caterpillar? Samuel L. Jackson's Go the F**k to Sleep?

8. Lastly, but still an extremely important question, what can I do for my surrogate after the babies are born? I know every surrogate is different and has a unique relationship with her IPs so it's hard to know for sure what to do. Does anyone have any ideas? How do you thank someone for doing this? Any advice from IPs or surrogates? My surrogate and I both had said, at the start of this process, that we hope to be in touch and be friends. That is what is happening. We care for each other but we don't go out for lunch and call each other every week. I do hope to stay in touch with her after the babies are born and I think she would like to stay in touch with me. I've read surrogate blogs and the women are thrilled to see their IPs' dreams come true, but some have had a little bit of mixed emotions seeing their journey end. If you could tell your IPs anything, what would you want them to know?

I know my questions were silly and funny, but I really am looking for advice.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Better Half

I was just looking at the title of my blog and realized that I wrote it has taken one man and two women to make these babies. Well, I think I need to make a little amendment: it's really TWO men and two women.

If you have read my blog you have seen me mention Derek from time to time. Hopefully he won't mind me talking about him, but he's as much a part of this as anybody so I want to introduce you to him.

In December of 2009 Derek and I met online and I wasn't interested in dating. I was getting close to putting down my deposit with the surrogacy agency. After 10ish years of dating men who always said, "Those kids are so cute but I'm glad I don't have one" or "I love being an uncle so I can give the kids back to their parents at the end of the day" I had resolved (or maybe resigned?) myself to being a single parent. Derek had emailed me to say he was moving to Chicago and asked where he should live. Being the nice guy that I am, however, I emailed him back by answering his question. Done. Case closed. I wasn't going to date.

A few months later I got an email from him saying he was in Chicago. By this time I had already started with the surrogacy process and it was right around the time I got matched with my surrogate. I was even less interested in dating than when Derek had first contacted me. I wasn't going to date.

Well, this man kept emailing me. I would respond because he seemed like a nice guy and I didn't want to be rude. Plus, I am a sign language interpreter and it was great to see in his profile he is fluent in American Sign Language, but that alone wasn't enough to meet him. I wasn't going to date.

After two months of him "bothering" me I agreed to meet him so we could eat dinner, realize we weren't a match and finally he would stop contacting me. We had a great time and he asked to see me again. I still wasn't going to date.

We went out a few more times. He was nice. He was cute. He was smart! I didn't know if we were starting a relationship or not. I was resistant. Maybe I was going to date.

My birthday was three weeks after we met. That morning I emailed Derek and told him I was getting together with friends and he was invited to join us for dinner. He accepted. Thirty minutes before dinner I thought, "Oh *$#@!!! Someone is going to ask me how the baby making process is going and Derek will have no idea what is going on." So I asked to meet with Derek before he came into the restaurant. I told him of my plans to have kids. His response was, "I think that's wonderful." I said he could leave now before dinner and never call me again. Or he could eat dinner and then leave and never call me again. He stayed. Hmmm...maybe dating was a possibility.

For weeks I didn't believe he was OK with this twist in our relationship. I questioned if he understood what he was getting into. I worried that he didn't really want kids and I was wasting my time. I worried that he only wanted kids and didn't want me. I worried about anything and everything. (You all know me by now...that's just what I do!) And yet he stayed. We became closer. He told me that he had wanted to be a dad for a while. I think I could date him.

Over the last 18 months, as I've gone through the process, Derek has been added into the mix slowly but surely. At the beginning the kids were 95% mine, then 90%, then 80% and it has slowly worked its way down to 50/50. I entered this process alone and needed to protect my babies. Derek has now proven himself time and time again. He has been there for me through all the ups and downs. He helps coordinate doctor appointments and wakes up at 5 a.m. to go to transfers. He holds my hand as I hold my breath during ultrasounds. The babies are ours now. There are moments that I freak out realizing that I'm not in control all the time and I may have to make compromises about how to raise the babies, but I know these babies will be lucky to have both of us in their lives raising them together.

I love you, Derek. I can't wait for us to meet our babies.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Amazing Facts

There's not a lot going on right now. I guess this really is the honeymoon trimester. Isn't that what people call it? We've made it past the scary first trimester and we're not at the "I-need-my-cell-phone-with-me-24/7-in-case-something-happens-at-3-a.m." phase. My lovely friend Michaela had a scare like that. Her surrogate thought she was in labor a month early and Michaela got on a plane only to find out it was a false alarm. But it was a good trial run. And in true Michaela fashion - since she always finds the bright side in this crazy journey - she said "next time, when it's for real, I'll remember to bring pajamas." Hope she doesn't mind me telling this story to you all.

Since I don't have much to say but I gotta keep all my internet fans out there entertained, here are some fun facts about babies, pregnancy and everyone's favorite topic of sex.

1. The largest cell in the human body is the female egg and the smallest is the male sperm. While you can’t see skin cells or muscle cells, the ovum is typically large enough to be seen with the naked eye with a diameter of about a millimeter. The sperm cell, on the other hand, is tiny, consisting of little more than nucleus.

2. On any given day, sexual intercourse takes place 120 million times on earth. Humans are a quickly proliferating species, and with about 4% of the world’s population having sex on any given day, it’s no wonder that birth rates continue to increase in many places all over the world.

3. The three things pregnant women dream most of during their first trimester are frogs, worms and potted plants. Pregnancy hormones can cause mood swings, cravings and many other unexpected changes. Oddly enough, hormones can often affect the types of dreams women have and their vividness. The most common are these three types, but many women also dream of water, giving birth or even have violent or sexually charged dreams.

4. Your teeth start growing 6 months before you are born. While few babies are born with teeth in place, the teeth that will eventually push through the gums of young children are formed long before the child even leaves the womb. At 9 to 12 weeks the fetus starts to form the teeth buds that will turn into baby teeth.

5. Babies are always born with blue eyes. The color of your eyes depends on the genes you get from your parents, but at birth most babies appear to have blue eyes. The reason behind this is the pigment melanin. The melanin in a newborn’s eyes often needs time after birth to be fully deposited or to be darkened by exposure to ultraviolet light, later revealing the baby’s true eye color.

6. Babies are, pound for pound, stronger than an ox. While a baby certainly couldn’t pull a covered wagon at its present size, if the child were the size of an oxen it just might very well be able to. Babies have especially strong and powerful legs for such tiny creatures, so watch out for those kicks.

7. A fetus acquires fingerprints at the age of three months. When only a small fraction of the way through its development, a fetus will have already developed one of the most unique human traits: fingerprints. At only 6-13 weeks of development, the whorls of what will be fingerprints have already developed. Oddly enough, those fingerprints will not change throughout the person’s life and will be one of the last things to disappear after death.

8. Every human spent about half an hour as a single cell. All life has to begin somewhere, and even the largest humans spent a short part of their lives as a single celled organism when sperm and egg cells first combine. Shortly afterward, the cells begin rapidly dividing and begin forming the components of a tiny embryo.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Astrology

I'm not someone who really is into astrology. Years ago someone made my astrological chart. It was the really detailed kind of chart based not only on my birthday, but the time and the location of where I was born. I thought it was about 50% accurate and 50% totally off base.

My weekly emails about the pregnancy gave me a fun website to try. It tells you how parents and kids relate based on their signs. Do I really believe it? No. But it's fun to see what it says. Check out the link below to see your relationship with your child.

http://www.babycenter.com/horoscopeCompatibility.htm?r=pnc&sign1=gemini&sign2=aries

The twins' due date is April 11th or 12th (we've heard both) and twins usually come about 2-3 weeks early so I can pretty safely assume they'll be Aries. The website says this:

Your fun-loving spontaneity is the perfect foil for your Aries child's brash, independent spirit. You'll never tire of watching him meet, greet, and challenge the world in his inimitably courageous way. You both love bouncing from one attraction to the next, so getting out of the house is a must -- think bright, noisy places filled with lots of different people and diversions, like amusement parks, fairs, and other family fun centers.

On the rare occasion that you're home together, you can still let your little Aries explore at his own fast pace. With your energy, you should have no trouble keeping up! But you should pay attention, because this little one may be prone to burns and accidents. In general, some grounded energy is in order here, and you may need to rely on someone more levelheaded and practical to keep you two on a schedule.


Great. "Prone to burns and accidents." Like I didn't have enough to worry about already!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Nicest Email

Yesterday was a crazy day at work. My co-worker was absent so I was pulling double duty and it was a busy day. By noon I was already exhausted and there was no end in sight. I still had plenty of running around to do.

About 3:00 pm I got the nicest email from my surrogate that just made me happy. She replied that she liked the doctor we just met and was OK staying with him which was good to hear since we needed to decide on a doctor, like, two weeks ago. That's one more thing off my to-do list.

The next part of her email made me relax so much more about this whole process. It gave me such insight into what "Chloe" was thinking. Here are the couple of lines from that email...

"Yeah, Im excited. This process- the spawning of life- is so cool to me. Seeing them move around so much is also exciting and very reassuring, especially since I cant feel them yet. I know you thank me all the time for doing this for you, but I thank you for allowing me to do this for you. Its like the longest, coolest, most important babysitting gig ever!!!"

I think I'll be calmer now knowing that she is so excited for me. It's sometimes hard for me to understand how a woman can do this for a stranger, but I'm glad that she is happy with her decision to be a surrogate and happy to work with me. The other surrogate blogs I have read have helped me see the emotions involved from their side too and I'm glad to know my surrogate feels similarly. Chloe also has a sense of humor about what's happening. Here's something else she said...

"I just got my "Your Pregnancy:15 weeks" email from BabyCenter and they said around this time the babies should be 2 1/2 ounces. These babies are 4oz already! I'm not scared yet, but geez. That's almost double. Well at least we know they arent malnourished."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Baby's Beautiful Bladder

On Monday Derek and I went to the new doctor we picked with our surrogate. I liked him. More importantly, we got to see the babies again on an ultrasound. The technician was good and gave us information about what she was seeing. We saw a brain. Can you believe it? A freakin' brain including clearly delineated hemispheres! I was amazed. We also saw spines, arms, heads, fingers, legs, a stomach and a "beautiful bladder" according to the technician. In about 14 years, when the baby has become a typical, surly teenager, I think I might have to bring up what a beautiful bladder he/she had in front of his/her friends. ;-)

The big question was the genetic testing. I could go into all the pros and cons, but I won't. I'm a very (and I mean very) indecisive person. But I also make a decision and never look back. I'm 99% sure that I'm not going to do the genetic screening or testing for a bunch of reasons. There's still the 1% of me that wants to do it, but I'm hoping that will go away in time. It's also Derek's preference to not do the testing. It's nice going through this with someone. Although there are things that I will have to compromise having added an unexpected (and very welcomed) partner in all this , it's nice to have someone there to help make some tough decisions.

The other nice thing that happened was that "Chloe" said that she was scared of doing an amniocentesis. The contract is a little vague about whether or not I could compel her to undersgo the procedure. Regardless of what the legal is, I'm thrilled that she felt comfortable enough to voice her feelings to me. I don't know if other IPs feel this way, but I'm always trying to make sure Chloe feels appreciated and treated as a person, not an object in the contract. I think we're doing OK together. She was willing to rearrange her schedule a little to make sure Derek and I could make it to the ultrasound appointments and at the end of the appointment she gave me a hug. It's the little things like that that make me feel good about her taking care of my children. It makes me feel she is invested in me just as I am invested in her.

My blog has been kind of deep for a while so I've been looking to make a fun entry. I have been searching the web for a site with surrogacy cartoons and jokes and haven't found many. If anyone does find some jokes feel free to send them my way or write a comment with the link. For now, I just have one cute story from the "America's Funniest Surrogate Stories Contest"...

"I have been on Lupron for a week now, and it is my 4th time around, so my kids are used to seeing me inject myself. Well, the other morning, my son was being incredibly slow getting ready for school, and just ignoring everything I was saying to him. So I started yelling at him. He got to school late and upset, and I am yelling at him to hurry up and get to class. Just before he walked into the room, of course I gave him a hug and said I loved him. He looked at me like I was some sort of alien. His teacher asked to speak to me after school concerning something he had said. He told his teacher that I was sticking needles in me, and that I was acting funny again....oh my!! I envisioned CPS coming to my house to arrest this lunatic woman on drugs. I explained to his teacher, and we both had a good laugh, but for a brief second, I was worried!!!!"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The First 100 Days

I've been looking at the numbers on my baby counter at the top of the page and saw that we just passed 100 days. That's a lot. (For those of you privy to that joke, I hope you laughed a little.)

There are 179 days to go. Although in my world I always take off about 20 days since twins come about 3 weeks early. So we're down to about 160ish days. Some days that seems so far away. Some days it seems like I have no time at all before the babies get here. Today I watched a Tivo'd episode of "Parenthood" in which one character gave birth. I just cried as I thought, "I want these babies to be here now!!!" So today is a day when they can't here here fast enough.

This past week I completed my will as part of my requirements with the surrogate contract. Tomorrow or some time this week I'll be starting the paperwork to petition for parental rights. It's good to feel like I'm getting things crossed off my to-do list. Tomorrow we meet with a new doctor who should be qualified to deal with twins and surrogacy. Hopefully Derek and Chloe and I will all like him and his practice. We need to pick our doctor soon. Plus we get an ultrasound tomorrow so I'm excited to see Baby A and Baby B again. I hope they wave at us.

Since I'm feeling more relaxed about this whole process, I'll introduce you to Baby A and Baby B. Here are there first pictures.


August 17th, 2011


August 25th, 2011


September 6th, 2011 Baby A

September 6th, 2011 Baby B

Monday, October 10, 2011

Medical and Legal Blah Blah Blah -- The Most Boring Posting to Date I Believe

There's always something new, right? The first trimester is done, but now there is genetic testing, finding out the sex (which I'm hoping not to do), delivery options, fear of the twins coming early, buying things for the nursery, baby proofing the home, finding a new home that accommodates everyone, etc., etc., etc. And this is before they even come! Lord knows how stressed out I'll be when I have to take them to their first day of school, put them on the bus to sleep away camp or let them get drivers licenses! I don't know how parents do it.

But you all would be proud of me. I'm accepting things as they come along. We had a little bit of a problem last week. Because my surrogate had spotting a couple weeks ago and ran to the doctor to get checked out we got off the normal check up schedule. Plus, her doctor wasn't the right doctor for a twin pregnancy so we had to find a new doctor and a new hospital for delivery. All of that made getting routine testing go off track. Now we're at week 13 and a half and, long story short, through a series of unfortunate events we are not able to do the nuchal translucency test (which is done on twins) because we waited too long.

At first I stressed out about this. After some time I realized that
1. The test only tells you the chance of a problem, it doesn't actually diagnose a problem.
2. There are a lot of false positives and false negatives so the test isn't very accurate.
3. Considering my history and age and the egg donor's history and age there is a very low chance of a problem.
4. Would knowing even make a difference to me? I'm not sure.

So we missed the window of opportunity for this test and there's nothing I can do. Derek and I have been talking about the miracles technology can do but also the curse of knowing too much. Sometimes it's best to just let nature take its course. We'll be able to do a blood test in another week or two and get mostly the same information.

Meanwhile, I have to start my application for parentage. I thought I was mostly done with the legal mumbo-jumbo, but no. My lawyer is going to make forms for the doctor to keep on file which basically say that I am the father and the birth certificate will say "gestational surrogate" where the mother is usually listed. I get copies and my surrogate gets copies too in case she delivers in an unplanned location and we need legal proof that the babies aren't hers. Illinois has some of the best laws protecting the parents (so my lawyer says) but it still is a pain to go through more legal stuff and it costs another $500. I've also been told that in IL we can do a second parent adoption even if the second parent is the same sex. Or, more likely, Derek and I will do a civil union. The laws are pretty murky, though, because everything is still new. I also have to have a will made in a few days as part of the agreement. I stumped my lawyer a little bit as he tried to find language to describe my relationship with Derek which is basically a husband and father to the kids without the legal rights...yet. If the stupid politicians would just grant equal rights to everyone these documents would be so much easier! But that's a posting for another blog.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Strange But True

Before I write today's entry I just wanted to say to everyone that I appreciate you listening to my fears about this process and letting me get out my little neurotic outburst. After hearing from surrogates telling me how seriously they take their role and hearing from parents that they got their nails done and ate chocolate every day instead of broccoli and wound up with good, healthy kids I'm feeling much calmer now. As I think I've said once or twice before, I do like and trust my surrogate. I'm not saying my fears won't pop up again, but it's good to know with venting and support I can calm down.

I will say, too, that a couple weeks ago my surrogate had some spotting. She ran to the doctor to get checked out and then emailed me to say that she didn't want to scare me so she waited until she was examined by a doctor and everything was OK. I'm sure some people would have wanted to know right away, but since I am the worrier that I am it's probably best she handled it and told me later. That made me grateful that she was concerned enough to feel something was wrong and wanted to have a doctor see if everything was OK.

Plus, according to the baby calendar, we are starting the second trimester today. That is exciting and it's allowing me to get more excited about the process.

After I write a "heavy" entry I like to write something fun. So today's entry is all about the weird world of births.

1. One woman gave birth to twins who were each in a separate uterus. The statistics in the article don't really add up. It says there have only been about 100 cases worldwide but it affects one in every 2,000 women and one in every 5 million births. I know that there have been more than 500,000,000 births considering we currently have 6-7 billion people on Earth now. Maybe a statistician can explain what I'm missing. Well, whatever the numbers really are, it's kinda cool.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/20/andreea-barbosa-twins-uterus_n_971911.html?ref=healthy-living-health-news&ncid=webmail4

2. This next one is a story of a woman who gave birth to two sets of twins. Each time one was black and one was white. How amazing is genetics?!?! It's so rare there are no statistics on how often it happens.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/20/andreea-barbosa-twins-uterus_n_971911.html?ref=healthy-living-health-news&ncid=webmail4

3. Finally, we have a bunch of different stories that you just have to read 'em to believe 'em. I won't summarize them. Just click on the link. You'll enjoy them like I did.
http://socyberty.com/society/six-unique-births-recorded-in-the-books-of-history/

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Online Family

First of all, I know I haven't written in a while. When people in my life have asked about the pregnancy I've told them, but I've been hesitant to blog about it more. It's funny how the prompt to start writing came from total strangers. "Mike and Tony", whom I have never met, wrote a comment asking what was going on. It's amazing how this online family has started to feel more like a family. I feel like I've been through horrors of injecting lupron, the ups and downs of delivering triplets, the boredom of bedrest and more with my online "family" of surrogates and IPs. We all are pulling for each other and it's amazing to know that "Mike and Tony" (and others I'm sure) are invested enough in my life to want to know how my journey is going.

So here is the update...

I never thought I was very superstitious, but I'm learning that I really am. I recently saw an episodes of "Hoarders" in which a guy felt he couldn't throw out his dog's hair because it was like killing part of the dog. While I am more than happy to throw out and donate anything and everything I can, I can't judge the dog owner because I do silly things that I know aren't helping the babies grow, but I feel better knowing I do them.

1. I now have 3 ultrasound pictures and I won't take them out of my bag until the babies are born.

2. I have been nervous about blogging because we haven't made it through the first trimester yet but I'm happy to finally update my friends in the cyberworld because I know you've all been wondering what is going on.

3. I have a little wooden cat I bought a year and a half ago. I was in Epcot a couple months after starting my surrogacy journey and was waiting on line in the Japan store to buy something and saw these cats. The red cat was to bring luck for a healthy child. I bought it. Yes, Disney suckered me into it. I carry that cat around with me every day (when I haven't misplaced it...it's really small, y'all!).

4. I've already received a few baby gifts but they are with stored friends. Jewish superstition says you can't have a baby shower or buy baby gifts until the baby comes home. (In 2011 it's a little impractical but I don't plan to have anything in the house until we're well into the third trimester.)

5. I really want that cool "days left until the baby is born" countdowns some blogs have. How do I get that? (I'm already not as good as other parents. I can't figure out how to do that! LOL)

6. I wonder how I'll ever make it through parenthood if I'm this anxious already! :-)

I also bought my surrogate a pregnancy massage. I was hoping she could use it before the transfer but because of timing she wasn't able to do so. She tried to redeem the massage recently and was told she can't get the massage because twins are considered a high risk pregnancy. To get a massage she needs a note from her doctor. From what I've read, massages aren't a great idea in the first trimester. I'm hoping the doctor tells her to at least wait another month or just wait until she's close to giving birth. And my surrogate mentioned somthing about getting a manicure. While I know I can't control everything she does and I have to trust her, I've read that while a manicure isn't the worst thing, there are chemicals that are used that can be dangerous to a fetus. However, there's also the positive of feeling good and taking care of one's mental health. I'm sure if manicures were awful then we would have warning signs and no manicurist would be able to work for 9 months. So I'm concerned, but not super worried.

We're in week 10 now so we still have a month to go before I'll feel safe. But then we have testing and I'll worry about how they're growing. And in the third trimester I'll be worried that they'll come too early. (Are you all laughing at me and my neuroses yet?)

I'm wondering if a couple surrogates reading this blog might be able to answer a question. If your IPs asked you to do something/not do something (like take fish oil supplements, not get manicures, etc.) would you feel like the IP was micro-managing your life? Would you feel insulted? Would you be open to discussing the requests? Or maybe some IPs can talk about how you felt giving up control of the pregnancy to someone else. Overall I do trust my surrogate. I like her more and more every day and she has proven herself to be wonderful time and time again. I am thrilled to be matched with her. But as we get further along I worry more and want more control. That's just who I am. Of course every IP-surrogate relationship is different so I know there's not one right answer. Any thoughts from anyone could be helpful.

My surrogate contract does have a paragraph saying that the surrogate has to follow the doctor's orders and do things to not harm the baby. It's a very general statement. It also specifically states a few things are forbidden like changing kitty litter, but of course a contract can't address every situation that pops up in life during nine months. After reading an amazing article in Time magazine about how what happens in the womb can affect a person's life (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2021065,00.html -- read it if you're an IP who is not a worrier like me or if you want to be a surrogate who impresses her IPs) I want my surrogate to eat only organic broccoli and live in a bubble of purified air and have a magical unicorn as her best friend. (Hey...let me have me dream, people!)

I'll stop babbling. You get my point. I guess I just want to know how a surrogate might feel if I mentioned something about pedicures, hair dye, getting a massage, etc.

And to answer Mike and Tony's original question. The babies are fine, thank you again for asking. They have good, strong heartbeats and when I figure out how to add pictures to this blog I may be able to get some ultrasound pictures online.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Congratulations!

I think my new favorite word in the English language is "congratulations." That's the word the nurse said when she left the message telling me that my surrogate was pregnant.

On Friday, August 5th, a nurse from the fertility clinic called to let me know the news. She left a message because I couldn't get to my phone when she called. I was working at my hospital when the message popped up so I called Derek and put him on speaker phone. I said I knew that the nurse had called and I didn't know if I should listen at that moment or wait until I was done with work. My amazing and supportive co-worker said that if I wanted to leave early I could so it was up to me if I wanted to hear the news at that moment or not. I vacillated for a minute or two and then decided I wanted to listen right away. So, my co-worker, Derek (who was on my work speakerphone) and I listened to the message on my cell phone (on speakerphone) and celebrated together. My co-worker was great and let me stop working for an hour or so while I processed the great news.

Now I'm going to try to remember these numbers but they may be wrong. I was never great with math. Math homework might be Derek's job.

My surrogate had an hCG (the pregnancy hormone) level of about 1,200 on Friday August 5th. The nurse said Chloe would have to go in again on Monday to make sure her hCG level kept increasing. The number should double approximately every 24-48 hours.

On Monday August 8th I got another call about 10 minutes before I was supposed to go into a job. I decided to answer it and heard the news. Chloe's hCG levels were up to about 3,800 so things were definitely going well. Then the nurse said something else to me. Chloe also had a sonogram that day and the doctors saw two sacs. So it looks like Chloe is pregnant with twins!

I was excited. Then scared. Then more excited. Then a little nervous. Then totally thrilled.

The nurse then explained that my doctor likes to do a third hCG test. So once again I had to wait for more results.

Yesterday, Thursday the 11th (which is my mother's birthday, by the way), I got a message saying Chloe's hCG level is up to almost 14,000. It was great that I could call my mom with such good news that day. And it was a relief to hear that everything is still progressing in the right direction.

I am starting to understand why people don't announce a pregnancy for the first few months. It's still so scary to get through this time and every time the phone rings I'm still holding my breath and praying for good news. But my lucky streak is still in full force. Soon Chloe and I will go in for an ultrasound and see what we can see. In the meantime, I really have to get around to buying that lottery ticket. I'm still having good luck and I'll need the money now that it looks like I'll be having twins.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Should Go To Vegas

This cycle has gone so well. I think I'd even dare to say phenomenally well. The numbers have been so good. Maybe I should go to Vegas or buy a lottery ticket since I'm on a lucky streak. The 15 eggs from the retrieval were a pretty good number. The fact that 13 of the 15 were mature was very good. The next stage was unbelievably amazing. I still can't get over the fact that all 13 fertilized. Five days later I knew I had five viable embryos which was a good number. It was the same I had last year. Only two embryos didn't make it the five days and six were still growing. I was hopeful that I would get one or two more from those six.

Well, yesterday my lucky streak continued. Out of those six that were borderline the embryologists were able to freeze four of them. And one of those even grew into a 4AB which is the second highest quality. The others were 4BB, 4BC and 4BC.

So from 15 eggs that were retrieved a total of nine survived. That's unreal. There is usually a 50% attrition rate for the fertilization stage and another 50% attrition rate during the five days between retrieval and transfer. I was thinking if I got four embryos I'd be satisfied. But nine is so much better!

As I said before, two embryos were transfered so I have seven frozen and one frozen from my donor last year. I'm feeling pretty good. I don't know when my surrogate's pregnancy test is. I didn't ask and part of me doesn't really want to know. I know approximately when it will be but I'm happy to just make it through this week and I'll deal with the pregnancy test in a few days when my nerves have calmed down.

In the meantime, I think I had another sign. The fortune cookies haven't been as good to me as they were last year. But last night I had a callback for a show. There were 10 sides I had to prepare. Everyone got to read two. I was assigned to read Adam in my second scene. Adam is arguing that freedom of speech is only in theory and never really happens. It went like this...

Austin: Youre' saying exactly what you want right now and nobody's stopping you.

Adam: Yeah...well...that's because I'm white...

Austin: What?

Adam: ...and a male when I'd rather be black and a woman and feel my belly swollen with my baby, and be able to sing like Aretha Franklin! That's what I'm talking about, man. R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

It's like I'm Chloe! She's black. She's a woman. She wants to feel her belly swollen with my baby. She wants to sing like Areth -- well, I don't know about that one. But if this story is made into a musical Chloe needs to belt out a big song during birth so hopefully she'll sing like Aretha. I think this is a sign I'll have my baby and my musical too!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Science Lesson

"Good news."

That's what the embryologist said when Derek and I first walked into the room. I told her that I liked hearing that. Here are the numbers...

Out of the thirteen eggs that fertilized and became embryos five of them were good to go. Two didn't make it. Six of them are still too early to tell. They're classified as morulas. The embryologists will wait until Wednesday to see how they're doing and then make a determination if they are viable or not. What's a morula you might say? (I know I said that.) I have no idea. I tried to get a good definition and here's what I found...

1. a solid ball of cells resulting from cleavage of a fertilized ovum
2. a solid mass of blastomeres that forms when the zygote splits; develops into the blastula
3. a solid, spherical mass of cells resulting from the cleavage of the fertilized ovum in the early stages of embryonic development. It represents an intermediate stage between the zygote and the blastocyst and consists of blastomeres that are uniform in size, shape, and physiologic capabilities.
4. a cluster of organisms appearing as an inclusion in the cytoplasm of circulating leukocytes infected by Ehrlichia spp

And the one that kind of makes the most sense for those of us without PhDs in science

5. an animal organism in the early stages of growth and differentiation that in higher forms merge into fetal stages but in lower forms terminate in commencement of larval life

So basically it's a "maybe baby."

The embryos - well, technically I think they're called blastocysts now - were decent quality but not quite as high as the ones I had last year. They range from 3BC to 4BB. The number can be 1-4 and represents the expansion of the blastocyst. I asked the embryologist to explain what that means and she said "Y'know...it's how it expands." Nothin' like using the word expand to explain expansion. I asked for a better explanation -- an expansion on the definition if you will -- and she showed Derek and me a picture. Her explanation of the picture was "See how it expands!"

"Yeah," I said, not really sure.

Derek and I later decided it basically means that it gets to the point that you can't count the cells any more because there are too many of them. That's the definition we're sticking to.

The first letter refers to the placenta and the second letter refers to the fetus. It can be either A, B, or C. I didn't ask what makes them an A, B, or C. I'm guessing it has to do with the quality but my head was still trying to expand so I could understand the first ranking.

I had talked with Chloe last night about the possibility of three embryos being transfered. She is concerned about carrying triplets. I am too. I'm concerned for her health, the health of the three fetuses, my wallet and my sanity having three infants. I didn't want her to decide last night because I wanted doctor input but I wanted her to figure out how she felt about that. She said she had thought of it too.

After talking with the embryologist we found out the statistics...

Transfering 2 embryos
singleton: 65%
twins: 20-25%
triplets: 3% (if one embryo splits)

Transfering 3 embryos
singleton: 65%
twins: 30-35%
triplets: 15%

So the chance of pregnancy is the same but the chance of multiples is higher. Twins would be OK, but the 15% chance of three babies was a little too much to handle knowing it didn't really improve the overall chances. So we settled on tranfering two 4BB babies.

Now we wait. And pray.

And Wednesday we'll see how many of the six can be frozen but so far things are still going well.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Breathe, Michael, Breathe!

This week is all about holding my breath, then breathing, then holding my breath, then breathing, then holding my -- well, you get the idea.

The breathing is going pretty well so far. We all know now that the doctor retrieved 15 eggs from the donor. That number was good, but there are still so many more hurdles to jump over.

On Thursday the nurse who is my contact for the egg donor left a message. She started out by saying it was good news. I was happy to hear that. But her idea of good news and my idea might be different.

The first number I heard -- holding my breath -- was that out of the 15 eggs 13 of them were mature -- breathe! That is a good percentage. I was happy to hear that.

Now I had to inhale again and hold my breath. There was another number I had to hear. The second number was how many eggs fertilized. This time the nurse said there was very good news -- hurry and say the number since I'm turning blue! Out of the 13 eggs we got all 13 fertilized!!! That was very good news. How exciting. I think my swimmers really outdid themselves this time. I am thrilled to -- wait...exhale first! OK. Better.

So things are good. Very good.

Today, about 5 minutes ago, I got a call saying it would be a 5 day transfer. I asked how my 13 embryos are doing and the nurse said she had no information about them. We'll all just keep praying that they're dividing and dividing and becoming stronger and healthier every day...or hour...or minute. I don't know how fast these things divide.

The big question now is how many embryos to transfer. Two is pretty common. But in my head, I'm starting to be open to transfering three. I won't know much until we get in on Monday and I learn more about the quality of the embryos. I'm OK with twins (and Derek is excited about twins) but triplets really increase the risk of health problems for both the babies and the surrogate. Plus, Derek and I would be outnumbered. No playing man-to-man defense. It would have to be zone defense. I'll have to find out about the chances of triplets and how Chloe would feel about that and how I would feel about it too. I hope to talk to her this weekend so she has time to consider it and we won't have to make a decision in five minutes on Monday morning.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I could be Octo-dad...TWICE

The nurse recently called me to give me the egg retrieval number. She said they got 15 eggs! Of course I was hoping for more, but I'll try to not be greedy. It's a good number. It's a couple more than I got last time so things are already going well. Tomorrow I get the number of how many of these eggs are mature and how many fertilized.

Oh...and I did eat eggs for breakfast today. I just couldn't not do it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Plagarism and the Egg Update

So there's good news and there's bad news. But don't freak out...the bad news isn't so bad.

First, the good news. I got an update on the egg donor on Saturday and again yesterday (Monday). Things are going well. The news is that she has 16 follicles that are 15mm or bigger so those have a good chance of having a good egg. I forgot to ask but I'm guessing she still has 24 follicles. From what I understand follicles don't just disappear. It's just that the other follicles are smaller and have less of a chance of getting a good, healthy egg. But you never know. And the donor still has time for a little more of the meds to work. The retrieval will be on Wednesday (tomorrow). Here's the schedule...

Wednesday: I'll get a call letting me know how many eggs were actually retrieved and how many are viable. The fertility center will then fertilize the eggs with my sperm. They still have plenty left from my first, manly donation. (Ha!) I thought I blogged about it but when I just looked for the number I couldn't find it. I vaguely remember the clinician telling me that my sperm was in the 80th percentile. So my swimmers better do their job well since they're so robust! (Although I think that percentile was mostly related to quantity.)

Thursday: I'll get a call from the clinician's letting me know how many eggs actually fertilized.

Friday: I'll know more about how the embryos are doing and if we'll do a three day transfer (on Saturday) or a five day transfer (on Monday). There are a lot of factors that determine which one will happen but my surrogate was told to most likely plan for Monday. I believe a 5 day transfer is better for a few reasons, but a 3 day transfer isn't the end of the world.

Then we wait and get the happy news a couple weeks later. Just want to say that again...then we get the happy news a couple weeks later.

Meanwhile, I saw a musical called "Surrogates." Yep...someone stole my idea! (Shake fist in the air!) It was written as part of a musical theater class/workshop that started last fall. So this blog is proof that I had the idea first. (Hmmm...I wonder if blogs are admissible in court. I'm sure they are.)

The musical was only about 10-15 minutes long. It was the story of a gay couple who wanted a baby. They asked one of their sisters to be the surrogate and she said no because a baby should have a mother and a father. The brother was angry and asked why he was good enough to be a babysitter to her kids and pick them up after school but not have kids of his own.

The couple decided to interview some (crazy) surrogates. The first was a southern military wife who seemed good until she realized the two men were a couple and didn't have wives. The second was a very type A personality who wanted credit checks on the men (that actually seemed pretty reasonable to me). The third was a strong German woman who was excited to help increase the master race. Yikes!

The couple had a private conversation saying how much they loved each other and tried to accept that maybe things just weren't meant to be. The sister overheard the conversation and realized that they should have a child and agreed to be their surrogate.

It was good. It made me laugh and cry. But where was the "I'll Leggo My Eggos For You" egg donor song? Where was the funny sperm donation scene? Where was the drama of contract negotiations and the hot doctor with the cool accent? Where was the mean nurse who surpises the audience with her heart of gold? Clearly this musical has nothing on "Michael & Michaela." If we open the same year mine will definitely win the Tony award.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Can You Sprint Through a Marthon?

This is a marathon. We've all known that. But now I feel like I've been sprinting the last few days. Everything has been a crisis. At least I see the end in sight. Well, it might not be the finish line. Maybe it's a mile marker or a table with people passing out Gatorade.

Financial: I finally got in contact with my account manager at the fertility clinic. He was very nice about working out a payment. He told me that I could pay part today and part on either Saturday or Monday. After a while he said, "Just pay it Saturday...I'll make sure nothing is held up." Whew. I still want to talk to someone in the billing department. I think it's a little ridiculous that I get a bill for thousands of dollars and am expected to pay it within 3 or 4 days.

Legal: My lawyer is out of town until Monday and her assistant wasn't calling me back. I wound up calling my surrogacy agency and she got some answers. Apparently my surrogate's lawyer is part of the big power outage and hasn't had an office for days. She is trying to work through her Blackberry. Yikes! My surrogate mailed the signed contract extension on Thursday so it's in transit. The assistant called me today and said she's sending over the papers with my signature only and an email from Chloe's lawyer saying Chloe signed the papers and her signature is on the way. The donor won't donate until at least Monday so the very earliest we need the surrogacy extension is Thursday...and that's pretty unlikely.

Medical: We have some good news. The fertility nurse called me Thursday while I was walking through Costco to update me on the donor and Friday to tell me about the surrogate. We have some good news. The donor is stimulating nicely. She has 24 follicles total and 19 are between 9 and 21 mm. That's a good number. My surrogate went in today and her uterine lining was at 9.4 cm and we want it to be at least 7 cm. So things are looking good for both of the women. Today I'm supposed to get another call with more news about my donor and a (probably) definite day of the retrieval.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Who Are You and What Do You Want???

Ugh. That about sums up my feelings right now. Wait...maybe "double ugh" or "blergh." (Yay...more "30 Rock" references. If I had some night cheese maybe I'd feel better.)

Anyway...back to the point...

The last few weeks have been pretty stressful. I'm just so lost as to who needs what form, signature, consent, contract, approval, decision, and payment and when.

1. My contract with my surrogate is expiring in about a week and we want to extend it another year since the two of us want to continue working with each other. I signed the form and sent it to my lawyer. I thought we were all done. Then I got another form changing things like the word "a" to "the." I sent that back. Then the fertility center called -- it was someone named Cindy. She wants to make sure I have the extension form. I'm not sure why my surrogate hasn't signed it but I've sent it to my lawyer twice and haven't heard back.

2. I called my lawyer to try to understand what is going on. Well, my lawyer is off until July 18th. Eek! I've called and emailed her assistant twice (or maybe three times) and haven't heard back from her. Grr...I mean blergh.

3. I called the fertility center to ask a question about this many thousands of dollars bill I got on Monday to see about paying part of it this week and part next week. Well, my account manager is off sick so I can't talk to him. I talked with a nice woman who said Cindy would call me. She's not the same Cindy I know. Cindy called me an hour or two later and left a nasty message saying that I HAD to pay it by Friday because the egg retrieval is next week. The tone was pretty much "I don't see why this is an issue. You just have to pay it." Well, Cindy, maybe it's an issue since I have four days notice to come up with all this money. I have it, I just don't have it ready today. Plus, who are you??? I didn't get a last name or a position. Are you a nurse or a finance person? Double blergh!!!

4. I called the fertility clinic and asked to talk with some head person in accounting and billing. I wanted to let that person know that four days notice really is not acceptable and I wanted to see my options for paying it. I left a message for her and she has yet to call me back. Blerg, blergh, blergh, blergh, BLERGH!!!

It is just a stressful week. I feel like no one from this process is on my side. Last year I felt like people were constantly checking in with me and I had things all set. Now I'm just at a loss as to who has what and who is missing what. Hopefully this will still work. I'm sure it will, but I'm going on a little faith and hope.

Tomorrow will be more phone calls to try to clear this up. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Facts and Figures

It feels like I'm still climbing the hill of this roller coaster and I haven't made it to the first drop yet. In about two weeks things will go crazy and I'm not really looking forward to going through all the emotional ups and downs again. Maybe I'll be lucky and it will just be all ups! I was feeling OK with this for a while and then my mind went back to almost a year ago when every day or two I got news about how my future babies were doing. I forgot that the doctor gets eggs, but not all are good. I forgot that out of all the healthy eggs some don't fertilize. I forgot that out of the ones that fertilize not all start to divide. And I forgot that out of the ones that divide, not all make it to five days. Every day I held my breath for what the new number would be. I'm excited that this donor produced a lot of eggs last year when she donated. She was almost hyper-stimulated so hopefully I'll have a lot of good eggs. And my attrition rate last year was very low. A high percentage of my eggs made it to a 5 day transfer level. I'm hoping that's because my sperm was healthy enough to grow some strong embryos and will do so again. Of course Mother Nature has a lot of her own plans that may trump my dreams. We'll just have to wait and see.

So, to keep my mind off all the hurdles I'm about to jump over again, here are a few fun facts about dads. The website with the dad statistics is several years old so some of the numbers might be slightly out of date...

According to the US Census Bureau 66.3 million is the estimated number of fathers in the United States today. (Hopefully it will be 66.300000001 soon)

2.0 million is the number of single fathers, up from 393,000 in 1970. Currently, 1-in-6 single parents is a single father, compared with 1-in-10 in 1970.

The United States had an estimated 5.5 million stay-at-home parents last year: 5.4 million moms and 98,000 dads, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Studies show that close healthy father-daughter relationships foster a
sense of competence in daughters, mathematical ability and a stronger sense of femininity in girls. (I better brush up on my math if I have a girl)

The average number of children per father around the world is 3.5. The country with the most children per father is Malaysia at 3.8 children per dad. (Should I move to Malaysia???)

Jose is the most common name for men who are most likely to be fathers. Ryan is the most common name for men who are least likely to be fathers. (That settles it; tomorrow I change my name to Jose)

The tadpoles of the male hip-pocket frog wriggle along their father's back until they reach two tiny slots that open into the male's hip pouches. Inside the pouch, the tadpoles live on the yolk leftover from their hatching. They pop out a few weeks later as fully formed frogs.

A new sea horse brood begins when the female deposits eggs into a special pouch on the male's abdomen, and the male fertilizes them. (I guess gay sea horses don't have to pay surrogate!)

The South American marmoset may win the prize for most-involved dad. The marmoset mother starts pulling away from her twins a few weeks after they're born. Then the male carries, feeds, and grooms the infants—with help from their older siblings—and may even act as a midwife during birth, grooming and licking the newborn marmosets.

A father sea catfish keeps the eggs of his young in his mouth until they are ready to hatch. He will not eat until his young are born, which may take several weeks. (Lucky I'm not a sea catfish. Six weeks without pizza and chocolate? No thanks!)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Art Imitates Life

Sometimes it's funny how life works. I had two friends who dated and broke up several times. Through their experience, I developed the belief that people come into your life for a reason and leave for a reason. I try to believe things, in general, happen for a reason.

As my contract negotiations got underway with the third (and hopefully final) egg donor I learned that she was not OK with the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR). That surprised me because in her profile it stated she was willing to be either an anonymous or identified donor. (I have to admit the concept of "identified donor" was never really explained clearly to me because all are anonymous. My understanding was that "identified donor" basically meant that there was possibly some kind of a chance of some sort of contact at some unknown date in the future in some way, shape or form that was not determined.)

I asked my lawyer to see if she could ascertain why this donor was not amenable to the DSR. What we found out was that she didn't want to be responsible for updating her profile all the time as the contract stated. So my lawyer changed the wording and basically asked her to register and not worry about her profile. This DSR would just be insurance in case the agency closed or couldn't find her or me and some contact was necessary. In the general contract and the DSR part there are no-fault clauses for both of us. If she decides to never tell the agency she develops a disease, I can't sue her. If I decide to change my phone number and the agency can't find me, she can't sue me. If she joins the DSR and a year later cancels her profile, I have to accept it. I understand all of these risks and my lawyer wondered why the donor was not open to this. It's an answer we may never get.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I saw a play and I think it happened for a reason.

Last week I saw a play called "A Twist of Water" about a gay couple who adopted a girl 17 years ago. After one of the dads dies, the daughter decides she wants to connect with more family and goes about finding her birth mother. They eventually meet. (Spoiler alert!) The mother tells her daughter that it was great to meet her and know that she's OK but she doesn't want a relationship with this girl after this one meeting. The girl is devastated. Of course the silver lining is that it brings her closer to her father who she was never really close to.

Watching that was good and bad. Writing this is helpful and scary. I know my child will one day read this blog and I don't want him/her to feel like the egg donor never wants to meet him/her. But at the same time, I did understand the birth mother in the play needed to move on from what happened 17 years ago. She talked about grieving the child about 9 years after she gave her up for adoption. She had to shut the door and not let her thoughts consume her being. I have to respect a donor's decision that she may not want contact in the future because it would be too much to always wonder "what if..." for the rest of her life. It might be better for her to know that she helped someone have a child and be content with just that satisfaction.

I still do get to write a letter to the egg donor to thank her for what she is doing for me. I still do have to opportunity to share information for health related reasons. My lawyer said the agency may be open to sending another letter in the future that is not solely for health related reasons. The contract also talks about the fact that 18 years from now we don't know what the laws will be and children may have a right to find their egg (or sperm) donors. And, as I've said a million times before, no one can predict what the child will feel or want. As we've seen with adopted children or children of single parents some of them want to meet their birth parents and some don't care. Some have great meetings and some meetings are painful or awkward. Maybe it's a little naive (OK...it's a lot naive), but my hope is that my child will have such a good life that the egg donor will be just one small part of his/her history, not an huge void in his/her life.

Friday, June 10, 2011

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before -- Or So I Thought

First of all let me say that I am not -- I repeat NOT -- a Star Trek fan. Although I do know that vulcans have blue blood...wait. I just Googled that to make sure I was right and apparently it's green. Clearly the one thing I thought I knew about Star Trek I don't. Although my brother was constantly watching it as we were growing up I managed to tune out all the lasers beam, spaceship and computer talk.

Maybe I should have paid more attention to the computer talk.

When I started my blog I wasn't naive enough to think that I was the only person smart enough to chronicle my adventures. I do remember looking online for other people in similar situations and, in true Michael fashion, I probably didn't know where to look because I ignored all that computer talk. I didn't see a lot of blogs about surrogacy, egg donation and gay parents going through this process. I had hoped that my blog would be found by others who were in a similar situation and could provide support, inspiration and advice.

A year and a half later most of the people following my blog are friends of mine and, as I've said before, the support I get from everyone is so valuable. I also have a few people who I don't know who have become followers. A few months into my blogging a woman joined and has made some wonderful comments on a few postings. Recently, another stranger started following me. After some playing around on the computer (remember...I'm bad with computers) I realized that these two followers had blogs of their own and were in similar situations.

It is a weird connection but I am so excited one of them has a pregnancy and the other recently did an embryo transfer. As I look through these blogs I get excited to see the journey is coming to a happy ending for them. It gives me hope that my ending will be the same. I'm starting to feel their ups and downs with them. And while I will probably never meet them, there is a deep understanding of what we all are sacrificing to get our ultimate reward.

I joined their blogs and saw that each one of them was linked to many other blogs. I haven't looked through all of them yet, but it looks like there are blogs from other Intended Parents (IPs), single surrogates, people using surrogates in India, straight couples, gay men, gay women, and more. I am thrilled to see there are others like me out there. I hope to find a blog by a surrogate to see what it's like from her perspective. I'm on the hunt for a good one.

Maybe my final scene in the movie will be dozens of bloggers at my baby's first birthday party and they all brought their own kids. Oscar voters just eat up stuff like that.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Get Paid to Blog...Sorta

I seem to do a lot of my writing on Wednesdays and Fridays. Those are the days when I work at my staff job and I'm by a computer all day. So I like to think of it as getting paid to blog.

The topic of the day is money. I got an email a couple days ago from the new nurse at the fertility clinic. I guess she should be called "Glinda" since she already brought me good news. Clearly she's the Good Witch in this story. She told me that another worker at the fertility center who had worked with me during the first egg retrieval got some donated medication and will give those to me. The medications for the egg donor and surrogate are a few thousand dollars. From time to time a cycle gets canceled or a donor doesn't need as much stimualation as expected and someone has left of medication. Sometimes those wonderful people will donate those unused meds to another intended parent (IP). I got some this time. I'm not sure exactly how much and which kind I will be getting, but Glinda said I would save several thousand dollars. It sounds like the bulk of the meds will be paid for with this donation. That's a relief. After all of these legal and medical bills the cost is turning out to be much higher than I had hoped.

Glinda is also good because she told me that my new donor "has a great personality" and had a normal ultrasound. So it looks like things are moving right along for a July transfer!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

SHOCKING NEWS!!! (But Not What You Think)

Um...hello, Ms. Lawyer? Can we make a contract???

Hi, Surrogate Dcotor,this is Michael. Is my donor going to see you soon???

Yeah, it's me again, Surrogate Agency. Can anyone tell me if I can have a July transfer???

It seems like no one has been able to give me any definite answer about anything. I'm assured that everything is still good to go in July but I want specifics! Today I finally got an email from the Wicked Witch of the Womb. She said that my donor has an appointment in early June with the doctor and things really are on track for a July transfer. She emailed my surrogate to double check that my surrogate is on board with that timing. She should be as far as I know.

Then I got some news. It turned out to be a little shocking. Well, not so much the news itself, but my reaction to the news. I think it was even more shocking than the news I got today that Arnold Schwarzenegger was getting divorced because he fathered a child with his house staffer. I believe it was more surprising than the fact the Ralph Machhio was voted off "Dancing With the Stars." It even made my jaw drop more than hearing Ashton Kutscher is probably replacing Charlie Sheen on "Two and a Half Men."

My wicked witch is not going to be working with me any more and I felt a little sad about that.

I know...SHOCKING!

I remember a year ago I thought about going to her manager and asking for a new coordinator. I stuck it out because she really was on top of things and responded quickly to every question I had. Over the year she gave me the tidbit of information about how nice my last donor was, talked with me very sweetly about the pros and cons of a few donors I was considering and today included the fact that she was already looking for donated medicine to reduce my cost since insurance won't cover it. Like I said before, she really has a hard exterior and a nice inside. She's like a...a what...a turtle? No. An egg? That's not it. An M&M? Closer. Well, I don't know what she's like. Come up with your own analogies and post it.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Journey of 1,000 Miles Begins With One Step

As you all know (since I know you are all avid readers of my blog), on April 18th I called the new egg donation agency (which is also the agency I'm using for the surrogate) to let them know I picked their donor. As I may have mentioned before, I'm very indecisive when making decisions but once I choose I never look back. After picking this donor I feel really good about my choice. I'm getting more and more excited to get this process going again. It was hard to get through the recent round of disappointments, but now I feel excited and optimistic to start. I guess each step I take makes it a little more real that it could -- and will -- happen.

I waited a few days after picking the donor and didn't hear anything from the agency. I did get money back from the previous egg donor agency. I had to put up a lot of money for travel expenses since the recent donor was out of town. My new donor is local so I don't have travel expenses. It was nice to get a chunk of money back. (Of course a huge part of that just went to taxes...ugh.)

I emailed the new egg donor agency a few days ago to make sure the money was transfered from the previous agency. I didn't hear back. I called them today to find out what is going on and to make sure things are on track because it has been 12 days. I got a few answers. Apparently my donor went to her psychological screening again (donors have to go every time they donate) and passed it. Next we're on to the medical portion of donating. Her file has yet to be sent to the doctor. That explains why I haven't heard much for these two weeks. Whew. Things are on track but we still have a lot of hurdles.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I'm a Hit in Norway

If you know me then you know I'm clearly one of the least technically savvy people on the planet...at least for my age group. I still may be better with computers than my mother, but she has learned how to Google people and forward funny emails so my lead on her is shrinking quickly. I've been blogging for over a year now and recently found out some interesting facts and figures. It looks like I can only get the statistics for the last twelve months so I think these are based only on the previous year, not the total time I've been blogging. Here's what I know...

1. Today there were 10 views on my page. Yesterday there were 9. (I'm glad to see people are checking in.)

2. I have had a total of 4,957 people read my blog. (I LOVE the support.)

3. Right now there is someone reading my blog in Slovenia.

4. I have had people read my blog in many countries. I have anywhere from 16 to 122 hits from Russia, Canada, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Belize and the Netherlands.

5. My blog has had 26 hits from people in Iran. (I'm surprised a blog about a gay Jew using a stanger's uterus isn't banned in that country.)

6. The country that likes my blog the most is Norway. Apparently there are 397 hits from people in Norway. (If the musical bombs on Broadway maybe it'll find success in Oslo and be called "Aksel and Astrid" or "Henrik and Henriette" or "Iver and Alva".)

7. The most hits on one entry was for the posting on November 30th, 2010 when "Chloe" wasn't pregnant for the second time. A total of 124 people read that entry.

8. The runner up for the most hits was for the March 2nd, 2011 entry when my cycle was delayed for 2 months. (Apparently my readers click on my blog a lot more when bad things happen than good things!)

9. I have had 40 hits through my friend's blog about his weight loss but only 13 hits from "Michaela's" blog about her surrogacy process. (Hmmm...interesting.)

10. There have been 10 searches for "Neil Patrick Harris".

I just thought this would be fun to share with everyone.

On a more serious note -- the story you've all been waiting for -- I did pick the donor who I was thinking about using a year ago. The more time I have to sit with this decision the more excited I become. One of the few Yiddish words I have learned over the years is beshert which basically mean "destiny", "fate", or "meant to be". Couples often talk about finding their mate being beshert. Picking this egg donor feels right. It feels good. It feels beshert. Now we wait and pray.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Or, as they say in Norway, "Takk!"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Everything Old is New Again

I usually believe that things happen for a reason. That's a pretty good philosophy. It works well until I don't like what's happening. Then I pretty much revert back the the "life is unfair" philosophy.

Right now I'm at a crossroad. After searching through the egg donor databases (again and again and again) my mind was overwhelmed. There were some donors I liked who were not available because they were getting married, already in a cycle, training for the Chicago Marathon, etc. There were some donors I liked who had never given birth or donated and that's a big gamble for a lot of reasons. There were some donors I liked who lived in Texas or Colorado and I had to think if I wanted to go through that process of an out of state donor again. There were so many things to factor in when choosing a donor: looks, family health history, donation history, pregnancy history, education level, geographic area, answers on the questionnaires, etc.

In the end, I found four donors who I liked. The sticking point to them all was that none of the donors had been pregnant AND donated. I have two donors who had been pregnant (one aborted and one aborted twice and had one child) and two donors who had donated before but had not produced a pregnancy as far as we know.

Picking a donor who has been pregnant is great because we know her eggs can produce a child. But we also don't know if she will pass the fertility center's screening and if she will respond well to the medication. Picking a donor who has donated before means that we know how she responds to the medication and that she has met the criteria for donating. There is less testing required upfront.

There feels like no good answer right now. Well, I should say there feels like four good options with none of them clearly better than the others.

I talked with the mean nurse yesterday who turned out to be very nice and compassionate on the phone. I didn't feel rushed with her, she was patient with me, and she even was very understanding when I started to cry a little from the stress of this decision.

I don't want to say she swayed me one direction or the other, but she told me she and the doctor were very confident in using one of the previous donors. They had worked with her on her first cycle and she responded very well to the medication. Any girl who is approved must have certain hormone levels which makes it likely that her eggs are viable and healthy. A donor's age alone makes her eggs desireable. There are definitely perks to using a woman who has had a child, but that alone is not a guarantee her eggs are better than a woman who has not had a child.

The donor I'm thinking about using is a Jewish girl who is a teacher, has a master's degree and, I believe, is working on a second master's degree. Those are important qualities to me. She has a good health history, a good work history and I like her answers to the personal questions. She is also the girl I almost picked on my first attempt. She is the one who was picked by someone else right before I was ready to commit to her. Plus, her donor number is the same interpreter number I was assigned when I worked for my first video relay company.  How crazy is that?  Out of 9,999 possible numbers we had the same number!  

Are all of these signs? Does this mean it was meant to be that she's available now and wasn't available before? Who knows. This process - to be blunt - sucks right now. Once again I feel like this is a leap of faith. It's thousands of dollars and time invested and a horrific emotional rollercoaster so approaching this on a gut feeling doesn't sit well with the part of me that is analytical and scientific.

My first donor was amazing and it didn't work out. My gut told me my second donor wasn't right but I went with her because she had some qualities I wanted. It didn't work out and, in a way, I am OK with that. I don't get gut feelings often but when I do, I feel I'm usually right. Should I follow my gut this time, or follow science?

Does anyone have a story about following a gut feeling that turned out to be right?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Title is Wrong

I recently entitled my blog "How 1 Man + 2 Women = 1 Baby" and I might have to change that. It might be called "1 Man + 1 Women + 3 Egg Donors + a lawyer + a doctor + 3 agencies = 1 baby".

My first experience with an egg donor was amazing. I was so excited by her and her profile. She was everything I wanted. My second egg donor was kind of picked for me because I was looking for a proven, Jewish donor. There weren't many to chose from who fit that criteria. Now, I'm looking for egg donor #3. I'm still looking for a proven donor, but I'm trying to figure out what proven means. There are some donors who have donated but it didn't result in a pregnancy. And then there are some donors who have yet to donate but have a child of their own. And then there are donors who have donated but the parents froze embryos so we don't know if the eggs are viable or not. So much to think about! I believe my doctor wants me to find someone who has actually produced a child whether it was for someone else or her own child. I need to clarify that a little more, but that seems to be the safest choice.

There are two pieces of good news. First, a message from my surrogacy agency came and stated that my surrogate is on board with me even though there has been a delay. I'm thrilled to learn that I don't have to find a new surrogate. The other pretty good piece of news is that I found an egg donor I like. As I read her profile I liked her quite a bit. I got that gut feeling that we could be a match (like with donor #1 and unlike with donor #2). When I neared the end of the profile it said that she was interested in donating after talking with a gay couple who was going through the surrogacy process. That was so wonderful to hear. As I've said before, I hope my donor is comfortable with her eggs going to a gay couple in case there is any contact in the future. Not only does she seem open to it, but it seems she is inspired by it! The only negatives are that she is not available for a few months and her previous donation has not yet resulted in a pregnancy. I want the doctor to look at her profile and give me his opinion. There are definitely other donors I could choose. I see several I feel comfortable picking. But, at this moment, this one feels right. This whole process is a leap of faith and even though her eggs have not resulted in a child yet, faith and following my gut feels good at times.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hip Hip Hoo--Shit!

People say two steps forward and one step back is still progress. Well, what do we call two steps forward and two steps back? Sucky? A waste of time? Pointless? Well, that's how I'm feeling today.

The relief and joy of getting a contract settled with my egg donor was short-lived. Just to start my day off on a sour note, about 8:30 a.m. I got an email from the nurse at the fertility clinic. The email said that my donor is a carrier of some rare disease that destroys the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Having that gene prevents her from donating to me or anyone else in the future.


That's it. Case closed.

Gee, thanks for the personal touch. An email is a great way to hear devastating news like that!

I called the nurse to ask why this wasn't found before and if the gene is dominant or recessive. The second question was more for my own curiousity.

She called back later and left a voicemail. She didn't know if it is dominant or not (although a Google search said that you typically need to get it from both parents). This was not found in her previous donations because it wasn't screened for in the past. Every 6-12 months some agency or organization or something or other decides what needs to be screened in donors. Apparently this is a new addition. The donor and all of the families who used her eggs in previous donations must all be contacted now to know this bit of information.

On a little bit of a lighter side note, the message, at first, seemed a little annoyed. It was like I was a bother trying to get answers. But I think that's just her general tone. By the end of the message the mean nurse did say that she was sorry she had to give me this news. It sounded sincere.

Then, just to kick me while I'm down, the surrogacy agency called me and basically was harsh with me saying that Chloe wants to go to medical school so we better make this happen soon. First of all, I don't know if Chloe is set on med school any more and second of all I have no freakin' control over this! I said all we can do is ask if Chloe will stick with me a little longer. No one can force her to do this. So we'll see if my surrogate stays with me. I hope she does. I do like her.

I'm feeling a lot now. I'm frustrated with this process. I'm angry that this wasn't found previously (although I understand why now). I'm hurt that there was more admonishing than consoling from the surrogacy agency. I'm beaten down by the failures. However, I still feel like I can't give up. This is something that will define my entire life and I'm not ready to just accept that it won't happen, but I need support now. Not the "Oh...I'm sure it will happen next time" kind because I've heard that too much and you have no way of making that come true. It hurts to hear that because all the optimism in the world can't control science. I need the "I'm sorry it didn't work and I will be thinking about you" kind.