Thursday, April 8, 2010

T minus 11 days

We matched. Again. It happened a few weeks ago, we had a lovely phone conversation with an expectant mother in Utah and she picked us to become the parents to her baby boy. She's dilated to 2 and they can see the baby's head upon an exam. If she doesn't deliver early, an induction date is scheduled for April 20, 2010 at 7:30 a.m.

It's a boy, and failed match #1 was a girl, of course. The pink (and there was a lot of it) has been packed away. I'm not quite sure for what purpose as I'm constantly reminding everyone (myself?) that we're only doing this once. I only have the strength, the finances, and the desire to ride this roller coaster once. And, hell, it's not even over yet so we might still be in for another ride along the tracks and we don't even know it yet. My efforts to be positive are productive but my instinct to remain realistic trumps all. I refer to him as "the baby", but everyone else refers to him by name. This causes me to add "don't share the name before the baby is born" to my list of "things to do differently next time", even as I promise there will never be a next time. There hasn't even been a "this time".

He's being born in Utah, which means we have to fly to Utah for the birth and stay in Utah until we are cleared through ICPC (fancy name for a government agency that approves the adoption and allows us to leave the state of Utah and return to Michigan), this process usually takes 7-14 business days. Dh won't stay in Utah the whole time, he plans to return home to work so that he can take more time off when baby & I get home. I'm thrilled and nervous about the alone time I'll have with the baby. Mostly thrilled, until I realize there will be an actual baby there, and then I'm nervous.

We're ready. Almost. We have an excellent supply of clothing, thanks to friends and family who have donated to our baby boy cause. The nursery is set up, complete with gorgeous blue bedding and the softest chenille blanket I could find (which is ridiculous because I have a half dozen halo sleepers because we don't plan to use blankets for a while). Packing for an infant, who has yet to be born, to stay in a hotel for 2-3 weeks is quite a task for an almostmommy. I'm hopeful I didn't complete fail though, he does have diapers, wipes, clothes, pacifiers, and a cooler waiting to be packed with donor milk.

The donor milk is because my body, once again, failed at what it should be doing naturally. I tried, for 9 weeks, to induce lactation. I pumped around the clock, ate oatmeal for breakfast, took my herbs, increased my domperidone to 120 mg a day, and never saw a single drop. We were blessed to receive a few hundred ounces through a wonderful donor in Ohio and we'll take her milk with us to Utah. We're still desperate for a milk donor though, as the milk we have will only last 2 weeks or so. Our baby has been exposed to unhealthy toxins in utero and I want to give him the best start in life as possible and I know that's only possible through breastmilk.

11 days and counting...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why I ate oreos for breakfast

...and, really, the worst part about eating oreos for breakfast on Sunday morning was that I just *just* purchased them from our local equivalent of Whole Foods. I had a variety of yummy and healthy options available, but instead I paid over $5.00 for a package of oreos. I did manage to stop myself after I devoured the first row.

A few weeks ago...

We discover, after an 11 month match with our surrogate, that her insurance added a surrogacy exclusion effective 1-1-10. We were crushed. The next day, I call a friend, who refers us to the adoption agency that she used to adopt her 2 beautiful boys. Within 24 hours, we were matched with a birthmom who lives 5 minutes away.

We met her, her boyfriend, and their daughter. We attended the doctor's visits, heard our baby's heartbeat, and felt her kick. The birthmom and the facilitator in California decided to devise a plan so that H (the birthmom) could make money off of this adoption. She will be flying to California to deliver. Because the adoption laws for interstate adoptions (ICPC) would never approve of 2 couples coming to CA to circumvent the laws of the state we both live in, it was recommended to H that she select a CA family. We are again, devastated.

Our homestudy is now complete, so we're leaning toward pursuing adoption (again). We actually have our profile being shown to several situations (hopefully) this week. If anything, it is in the hands of the adoption agency and hopefully is getting some visibility.

My heart is so broken. We're so angry that we were so hopeful and allowed ourselves to trust that this *must* be the baby that we were meant to have. All the failure, all the heartache, all the was all because of *this* baby. But, no, it was all for more heartache, more disappointment, and no baby.

I just want my arms to be filled. I want the dozens and dozens of baby girl outfits to disappear. I want to see a color other than pink. I want to erase the feeling of her kicking my hand or the sweet sound of her heart beating.

We will move on. We will pick up the pieces, once I can find them all, and put ourselves back together again. We will become parents. We will find the resources, the money, the woman who will make it happen. We will prevail.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I can feel it

God is working out His plan. I'm not entirely sure of it all yet, but I can feel Him working. He's very busy. I have hope.

Hope is more than a word--it's a state of being. It's a firm belief that even if you don't know how, even if you don't know when, God will come through and better days are ahead. Life brings rain...Hope dances in the puddles until the sun comes out again.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The problem with having a "Plan A"

is that it implies it will fail and there must be a Plan B. We would never introduce our current spouses as "my first husband", as if to imply there will be a second. I'm not sure what Plan A ever was...I suppose it was get married, have lots of sex, and one of those times will make a baby. Obviously that's been pushed aside for more exciting plans that have involved attorneys, dozens of doctors, injections, contracts, and lots of additional participants. It's almost as if I forget all the plans we've once had in place, until I'm forced to recall the magnitude of devastation that we've endured in our efforts to become parents.

(Un)fortunately, I had a hysterectomy before my dh & I ever started dating. Only 3 months after we had been engaged we were strongly encouraged to pursue surrogacy if we ever wanted to produce a child using my genetics. We cancelled our perfectly orchestrated Cinderella wedding and packed up the car for a roadtrip to Chicago to meet with the surrogacy agency. It was shortly before egg retrieval that our cycle was cancelled with no hope of trying again due to my very unhealthy ovaries. This was followed by two adoptions situations that were presented to us that failed for a variety of reasons, a lot of marital heartache, and the conclusion to pursue traditional surrogacy. This is the simplified version, of course. And now, Plan (Insert Letter of the Alphabet Here) has also failed. After previous confirmation that M's insurance would cover surrogacy, a final "check" today confirmed that it will indeed not cover her.

Financially, we are not prepared to take the risks of insurance claims being denied or purchasing an additional insurance policy for M. So, for now, we are unsure how a baby will make itself into our arms. We need time to digest, pray, and consider our options (again).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

March Madness

I'm not sure I can even explain our rationale, except to know that we've been reminded that what we want most in life is a baby to love, and so we have moved up our date for insems to March. Just two short months away! For the first time, I can almost feel what it might be like to be expecting a miracle. If God blesses us in our first attempt (which I'm praying he does), we'll be pregnant for Mother's Day and my birthday this year! And, I would have spent the last Christmas without a baby in my arms!

I spoke to the clinic today and they provided us with the lists of testing and preparations for M. She's begining to track her cycles and I ordered her plenty of OPK's that will be delivered to her home this week. I have an appointment tomorrow with an insurance representative to discuss life insurance and short-term disability for M. She also has an appointment next week with her OB for a pap smear and surrogacy discussion.

On to the task of ordering sperm. It seems so surreal, so strange, and completely uncomfortable to be online looking for semen samples. The clinic that will do our ICI has suggested a sperm bank that is local to them. I am off to examine their samples and see if anything catches my eye...if sperm every does catch one's eye.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Would you rather?

It was the perfect New Year's Eve, relatively speaking. Since labor day dh has been remodeling our basement. It was completely gutted, new walls were built, a new bathroom, a gorgeous bar complete with a kegerator (all for him as I'm allergic to beer), gorgeous fluffy semi-shag carpeting perfect for our little one to crawl on (we even bought the thickest padding so it would be extra soft), and gorgeous tile. It's a perfect space for us and although there is still some work to be done, it was largely complete the morning of New Year's Eve.

Our home has been a major construction zone for months and as often as I've tried to keep it clean, the layers of drywall dust and random construction debris have been unavoidable. I was thrilled to be able to wash my hardwood floors without piles of materials in my way. It felt quite liberating to finally begin to unpack the boxes in the spare bedroom (aka the future baby's room). I made dozens of snacks, wore my comfy pj's pants, and we settled in on our new sofas in our new basement. My bff came over for the evening and we hung out and chatted while my dh played his PS3 that he's been neglecting for months. I had purchased a game from Target on Black Friday called "Would You Rather?", it was on sale for $5 and the lady in front of me in line said it was a fun game. If it was horrible, all I would lose is $5, right? Wrong.

It's a horrible game and I'm quite certain that they'll be releasing a new edition by next Black Friday. "Would You Rather: The Infertility Edition".

The game is a collection of questions that present a seemingly impossible choice: Would you rather be in an ocean, 15 yards away from a shark coming toward you or snowshoeing (who does that?) 15 yards from a grizzly bear coming toward you? Would you rather always cry when you should laugh and laugh when you should cry, or lose the ability to do either? The game seems innocent enough and for the majority of the people who have never had to make impossible decisions, it's probably a delightful game for a fun-filled evening of a reality that I will never know. Instead, it was a horrible game that we had to stop playing because I couldn't relax enough to enjoy any of the questions. I actually could recall, in that moment, the miserable feeling when I have been faced with the difficult 'would you rather' choices. For anyone who has experienced infertility or baby-loss, the premise of the game is all too familiar.

Would you rather try another experimental drug that will make you feel miserable, force you to gain weight, and you'll lose your eyesight or have a hysterectomy right now? I tried the drug, and the next drug, and the next drug from the time I was 10 until my hysterectomy when I was 22. I did gain 20 lbs, I have the stretch marks to prove it, and I did lose a large amount of my eyesight, I have the glasses to prove it.

Would you rather risk your savings (or lack thereof) for a 2% chance that an IVF cycle will succeed (and your ovaries can only sustain 1 cycle) or risk never having a biological child? We will never have the biological child.

Would you rather adopt or pursue surrogacy, both options would result in a child not genetically related to you? We're happily pursuing surrogacy. The 'impossible' part of this question comes from the enormous price tag that's associated with surrogacy, after an already enormous price tag we've already paid to still not be parents.

Would you rather divorce your husband who isn't ready to ttc and make a baby on your own or wait until he's ready to ttc and hope you'll be the family you've always dreamed of? Well, we still haven't officially ttc, but according to dh's wishes and M's cycle, it looks like we will be at the end of May 2010. We're still married, I'm madly in love, but baby-stress is a constant barrier in our marriage.

The questions are endless, the game is horrific. I pray, truly pray, that the remainder of our "would you rather" questions in our life can come from a board game and not our reality.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ground Rules

The NY was arrogant enough (which I suppose you can be if you are the NY Times) to write yet another article on surrogacy. The title: (are you ready? It's a good one)....

Building a baby, With Few Ground Rules

So I immediately went to my dictionary just to confirm I wasn't misunderstanding the definition of 'few'. Perhaps there was a hidden meaning that meant we didn't need doctors, lawyers, surrogates, donor sperm, contracts, life insurance policies, debt, and the ten's of thousands of dollars that created it. Perhaps that defined the 'few'.

The most painful part of the article, which features a horrid bitch named Lachelle who took back the 2 children she birthed through a donor sperm & donor egg surrogacy, was that this is occurring in my backyard. Not literally, but almost. Just miles away, the intended parents sat in their empty home much as I am doing now. They had hope, just as I am trying to have now. The walls in their home probably didn't have a single child's fingerprint on them (as the neighbor mentioned to me today how nice it must be to not have children touching my freshly painted walls). Their home was too quiet, the bank accounts too small, and their fears too overwhelming. But, just as I, they proceeded down a path that requires trust when we have no strength left to trust. The bar was set higher and so they jumped higher. They trusted. They spent everything they had and gave every bit of themselves to another one. And that bitch stole their babies.

Somewhere along the path of infertility I've realized that anger doesn't feel quite as bad as sadness. If I'm angry, it can be at somebody instead of sadness which is mine to own. It's too painful to be sad for Amy & Scott, so instead I'm furious at their surrogate. Amy & Scott, I'm sorry you trusted and were deceived. I'm sorry you spent more than you had and are left childless. I'm sorry you're on the TV in so many homes right now because Lachelle went to the media. I'm so sorry.

The few ground rules that the NY times article refers to is the lack of laws that support or defend one's rights in a surrogacy agreement. I agree. It's actual bullshit that such an arrangement is deemed to be illegal in my state but can be done for international couples if you take a jet plane to California. Perhaps they should make an island for all of us infertile couples to live on and we should have a new constitution and a set of Senators that actually work through the summer so they can craft laws that will entitle us to become parents. Until then, we proceed in the only way we can. We turn to sperm and egg donors, surrogates, doctors, accupunture, herbal supplements, and anything that offers even a false promise of making us parents. When the government would like to work more than 6 months out of the year, when judges are willing to enforce the intent of a contract, and when doctors and attorneys can get us pregnant without making us broke, then perhaps we can build a baby with even fewer ground rules.