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.

Monday, December 7, 2009


M and her dh went Christmas shopping this past weekend to a large shopping area near their home. They stopped at an outlet mall that I'm assuming she'd never been to before and she sent me a text sharing her excitement about the selection of baby and maternity stores and that she and I will have to go there next summer. Next summer. I'm sitting in my office as I type this watching the first snow flurries hit the cold Michigan ground. The next time I sit outside on a hot summer night, the next time we unpack the patio furniture, the next time we swim in the neighbor's pool, the next time we light fireworks, the next summer will be the summer we've been waiting for.

Our basement remodel has transitioned from a mess of electrical wiring, insulation, and drywall dust to a space that is about to become livable, comforting, and warm. The paint is going on the walls today and the 'man's bar' is in full construction mode. The bathroom has been tiled and carpet installation is scheduled for December 23rd. It's bizarre the connection that I'm able to make between this project and our baby. My dh has done most of this work himself but we are contracting out some of the specific projects, one of those is the man bar. I'm literally in awe how these men are able to transform the piles of wood into such a beautiful structure. I went downstairs yesterday to check on their project and was struck at the talent that was evident in my basement. I was so thankful for their excellent work and felt compelled to tell them that they weren't just building any bar, but the bar that is in the space that we will rock our baby to sleep, change his diaper, and perhaps even the space where he will learn to walk. This isn't just any bar! I resisted my urge to share those thoughts with them, but continued thinking them still.

Dh has made a single decision thus far in our surrogacy journey and that is: He doesn't want to know the gender of the baby. Yep. I'm not sure if he's forgotten he married a type A, can't remember that I plan everything about 3 years in advance, or simply enjoys the idea of torturing me...but whatever the reason, he's certain he doesn't want to know. I'm actually quickly warming up to the idea of the surprise.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

We've gained a month!

2 friends announced their pregnancies yesterday, which sent me spiraling into a baby rage-depression. After the crying, screaming, swearing, and snot filled sobbing had subsided, dh suggested that we move our big ttc date from July to June. It wasn't quite the January that I had been begging for, but after so many childless years, I will take what I can get! So, June it is. Around midnight I sent a text to M to share the exciting news & June works perfectly for her and her dh. They are ready and waiting on us so I'm sure a month sooner is a welcomed change.

June is 205 days away! I've planned vacations with a longer countdown than 205 days! I can do this. I can wait 205 days after waiting this long. I can do this...

Friday, November 6, 2009

I'm terrified

I've tried to convince myself that I'm not terrified, but it hasn't worked. I'm completely scared that M's little angel's health situation is going to mean that M can't be make our dreams come true. Perhaps that sounds selfish, and in so many ways it is, but I can't help but feel that my dream is in limbo, it's existence is now uncertain.

There was an odd sense of confidence when I finally realized that we'll do doing traditional surrogacy with donor sperm. As sad as I am that my dh or I cannot contribute to the creation of our future baby, I was also certain that as long as my medical conditions weren't involved in the making of a baby, it would be a success! The less needed I was in baby-making, the more productive it was going to be (or it is going to be, I'm still not sure what tense to use. Hence the terror). This moment, of the life-shaking fear that M must be feeling as her little one is ill, is the first that I've realized that we are truly dependent on 2 individuals to make us parents. I've always understood that intellectually, but it is the first emotional grasp that I've had on that concept. If something happens in M's life that needs her complete attention, surrogacy obviously cannot be her priority. I wouldn't want it to be her priority. I want more than anything for the doctors to call and tell her it's all been a mistake. Every test, xray, cat scan, and diagnosis have been wrong...and S is completely healthy. I don't want S to be ill and I don't want M to have to be under the stress of having so much medical uncertainty.

But I don't walk in M's shoes, I walk in my own, and I stand here shaking in my boots that there is yet another obstacle to jump over before I can hold my baby in my arms. Perhaps it's the lack of faith that I have in medicine, which is obviously founded in my own failed attempts to heal and exist for just a day as a normal, healthy, woman. Perhaps it's the fear that if it can stop me from being a mom, it will. Or, it may be the reminder that I truly have no control over my own parental destiny (or any destiny for that matter). I get it God. Aren't we done with the life lessons yet?

It's been quite a while since I've had the emotional breakdown that I'm having now. So far, I'm successful at drying the tears before my husband gets home, clearing my voice before I answer the phone, and smiling when I feel like screaming. I want to know why. Why do any little kids need to ever be sick? (Hailey, you are in my prayers always) Why any parents ever need to know the fear of losing their child? (Maria, your in my daily thoughts) and why God needs to continue to threaten my motherhood? I'm pretty certain that a hysterectomy, menopause at 26, male infertility, and every woman I know under the age of 35 being pregnant is enough of a reminder that motherhood is going to be tough to come by.

Is this what happens when you have hope? It's not over, I know I'm overreacting a bit, but this is opening a wound that has not yet healed.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I really am crazy

Tuesday night I began having hallucinations. I didn't know that's what they were until my doctor used that term, but I described them to dh as "a nightmare I couldn't wake up from". It was horrible. Afterward, I was exhausted and felt like I was drunk. Driving was a challenge and I couldn't work at all. All I could do was sleep (which is odd because I normally can never sleep). I'm relieved and frustrated to discover that a medication that has been given to me to help hot flashes has caused this. Effexor XR, which is primarily used for anxiety and depression, has been shown to reduce hot flashes. A few months ago I was put on it when they reduced my estrogen as a result of the ichemic colitis (the thought is that the hormones are causing blood clots which are causing the ischemic colitis). I had a very rough time going on the medicine and it's been hell taking it everyday, but I keep telling myself that it will eventually get better. Obviously it won't. Going off the medication is apparently as risky as remaining on it, so I have slowly began a system of weaning myself off of it. It was one of the scariest moments in my life so I hope to get off of this soon and get this out of my system. It's an extremely frustrating choice to decide which of the two shitty quality of lives I should live with, but clearly having hallucinations (along with every other horrible side effect of this medicine) isn't a reasonable option.

So yesterday I was living with the side effects of a miserable night of panic when I heard from M. Her youngest daughter, S, was very ill a few weeks ago with suspected H1N1. They ran some tests and a Cat Scan which showed thymus fullness with associated enlarged lymph nodes. Subsequent blood work was ran and the results came back on yesterday which indicated her LDH levels were elevated. The enlarged lymph nodes, thymus fullness, and elevated levels all indicated that something was obviously wrong and the chief concern was lymphoma (i.e. cancer). She was sent to Children's hospital for testing today. Thank God, her levels have began to decrease. We still don't have all the answers, but it is possible that it is/was a severe systemic infection. The levels decreasing seem to take the "c" word out of the picture. Thank. God.

Of course, the health of this little girl was the primary thought on my mind. Cancer and children are two words that shouldn't be spoken in the same sentence. It should never be. Once my mind began to wander away from the sole realization that this little girl may be very ill, I realized the implications this may have. My heart stopped. While M could be starting the fight of her life, I'll still be struggling with how to resolve mine. I've known about the joys of having such a connection to another family, but I had not considered the terror of having such a interconnectedness with them.

As naive as it may seem, it never occurred to me that M's life circumstances could stop my dreams from coming true. My motherhood is so dependent on her, I felt terrified for her daughter but just slightly less terrified for myself. I called my husband right away and we talked and prayed for S. And in almost the same time it took for me to realize it, my dh's heart skipped a beat. He realized, also, what this could mean for us. He said, "I'm so sorry honey, but let's just take this one day at a time." The story of my life. It's been years of taking things one day at a time and all of these days added together still have not produced a baby. My days begin and end with the comfort of knowing that in 238 days (give or take a day based on M's ovulation), all of this will be worth the wait. The tears, the medication, the pain, the rocky marriage, the tens of thousands of dollars, the fear, the loss...it will all be worth it. What if that 238 days turns into another year or two? I should know that I will survive, I should have confidence that God will carry me through the wait as He always has, but yet I looked for shelter and wanted to hide away from the thought that my dreams might be in limbo. I can't handle limbo any longer. This temporary moment of uncertainly has been an unwelcome reminder that I have no control over my ability to become a mom. I need to completely surrender to the rest of the world; allow the universe to align itself, and then perhaps it might allow me the honor of motherhood. Meanwhile, some teenagers are getting knocked up after drinking too much Boone's Farm last night. Why don't the planets need to align for them? Why do they get that control over their own destinies?

I will continue to pray, both for S and for myself. For her health and for my sanity. For her strength and mine. For M's dream to be healthy and for mine to come to fruition. I will pray for understanding; why one ever needs to fear that her child might have cancer. And why one ever needs to fear that she may never be a mom.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dream #2....check

Oprah was amazing. It was the single greatest day of my life thus far. I have officially checked Dream #2 off of my dreams-to-do list. (I never wanted to get married, so that isn't anywhere on my dream list, in case you were wondering where that fit in). Dream #1 is now 8 months away from its begining...

It's going to be a wonderful year, 2010 is the Year of Hope in our home. We don't have any big New Years Eve plans, but in our home with just dh & I, we will be celebrating for all the miracles yet to come in 2010. I cannot wait for the new year!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I'm so incredibly sad it's tough to even type about it. A very dear friend adopted their second baby in May. The birthfather knew about the pregnancy for the entire duration and chose not to participate. They were required to wait 60 days post-birth for it to be completely clear. On the 59th day he decided he wanted to assert his rights. It's been a court battle since then and they just had a hearing. The 18 year old birthdad showed up...with his mom. (You f*cking loser!), he wants full custody. He explained to the court that he's fit to be a parent because as long as he stays living with his mom he can afford to make child support. Excuse me? And, ladies and gentlemen, here is our legal system at it's best.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dream Big

Thanks to a myriad of medical bullshit, I was home early from work today and had a chance to veg on the sofa and catch up on Oprah reruns. A recent episode featured a variety of individuals who had achieved the semi-classical fairytale from rags to riches. One such individual is now the lead singer of Journey, apparently the 80's band had their lead singer leave them a decade ago and they found this new guy thanks to YouTube. He was stricken with poverty and living in the Philippines but thanks to his internet video he is now performing in front of thousands and making millions. Oprah asked him if he ever dreamt of achieving such success, his reply? He never dreamed that big, he simply wanted to escape poverty. While his response was a fleeting a moment within an hour long show, I couldn't ignore the tinge my heart felt when I heard his response. In so many ways, he allowed himself to settle. He was capable of (apparently) being a lead singer in a popular American band and his standard to exceed was to simply climb out of poverty.

If I could sit back and imagine my greatest dreams, considering all the reality I live within, an intimate and connected surrogacy journey is my biggest wish. Had we proceeded with parenthood a year or two ago, when I was literally on my knees in hysterics begging my husband for a baby, we would have traveled down the more traditional infertility path toward adoption. Surely, we would love our baby and my heart would be aching less than it is today because it would already be filled with the joys of motherhood. I wonder though if there are parts of my heart that can only be healed through surrogacy.

We have the divine blessing of a surrogate who is willing to make us parents from her biological connection, and with the help of a sperm donor, our child will have no genetic connection to either of us. Adoption is definitely a logical choice, but it doesn't complete my soul in the way I expect surrogacy will. As often as I dream about the precious moments with my newborn I also dream of the precious moments during the pregnancy. I wonder how I will be able to stay away from M for more than a few days at a time, how much I'll want to be near her to be near the baby. I want to spend time with M's kid's so that one day in the future as they encounter people who may have adverse opinions toward their mother's choice to be a surrogate, they can remember me and remember the happiness and joy that their family brought to ours. I want to hear the heartbeat every moment I can. I keep having this random baby fantasy that M is pregnant during Christmas time and I wake up Christmas morning to a phone call from her in which she plays our baby's heartbeat for us. There is nothing greater that could be under the Christmas tree.

In an odd sort of way, I'm proud of my dh & I for allowing ourselves to dream big. To not settling for what is less than we are capable of. For reaching out, to join together with another family for a lifelong journey together, and strive everyday to give back in the greatest ways possible. Dream big? I just have.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Door Handles

Our basement remodel project (AKA: my extreme nesting renovation) is going well, despite a very chaotic weekend. We had no water, hot water heater, or furnace all day Saturday or Sunday. Thankfully, my very patient and loving husband had it all fixed by Sunday evening with much progress made in the basement. It's amazing how every decision we're making for this project involves "the baby".

Last night we went to Home Depot to pick out door handles for the doors that he'll be installing. We stood in the isle examining all the options and having a discussion about which doors should have locks on them. We decided that all the doors would be without any locking functions except the bathroom door. It's completely ridiculous as I look back on our discussion, standing in home depot, not expecting a baby anytime soon and discussing how we don't want our child to be able to lock himself in any of the rooms in the basement. The problems with that conversation are endless...we don't have a baby, we aren't expecting a baby, even if we have a baby next year it won't be walking or able to open a door. In theory, we purchased door handles in anticipation of our non-existent child being safe and unable to lock himself in a room in the basement.


We leave this week for our magical vacation to Disney World. It may very well be the last Disney trip we take as a couple. Although, my dh is convinced that we should go again in May before we start ttc. I certainly cannot argue against a Disney vacation! It's always such an emotional time going to Disney together. I absolutely love Disney, it's a true passion of mine, but seeing all the children and all the families always reminds me of the empty place in my heart. I will do my best to fill it with pixie dust, Mickey ears, and sunshine.


Doctors have me on a new medication and insurance classifies it as a "contraceptive" so it's a wonderful $120 per month. That's more than our cell phone bill, our car insurance, or our water bill per month. I called the insurance company to clarify how they could possibly charge me, sans uterus, for a contraceptive. I knew I wouldn't win the argument but it's still a fight worth fighting. Abortions, Viagra, and pregnancy are covered but apparently medication for a 26 year old going through menopause defies all rational understanding from the insurance company.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Is the black cloud lifting?

Since I was cursed with a period at 10 years old, I've had a black cloud of infertility following me everywhere. It was my shadow at every doctor's visit, surrogacy agency, adoption agency, conversation with my dh about baby making, it was even there on my wedding day. There are days now that I'm convinced the black cloud is still following close-by. I see the images of all my pregnant friends/relatives/neighbors in the reflection of the cloud.

When we met M, I thought just for a second that perhaps the cloud was lifting. Perhaps, despite the years of it's seemingly eternal attachment, it was learning to adjust to separating from me. I had her, this beautiful woman who had agreed to be our angel. There surely isn't a black cloud in site. And then we returned to reality and the cloud joined us. He was there during all the poor semen analysis and urologist appointments. He stayed by my side as I fought, screamed, and cried with my husband as we realized we'd need both a surrogate and a sperm donor to become parents. I've been fearful that this cloud would follow my entire path to parenthood but it seems I've found it's weakness: M. The cloud wasn't around when M was around and today M emailed to say that her new insurance does not have a surrogacy exclusion! It's almost surreal to consider that it's happening so easily, without a cloud in site.


In 9 months, we'll be pregnant. I'm quite amused that the countdown has now reached a point in which it equals the gestational period. It's a wonderful way for me to find happiness as I wait for the greatest journey of my life. Too many people in my life are pregnant right now and soon they will be having their babies. And for those 9 months that I knew of their pregnancy, it is that length of time until I can declare our own pregnancy. Just 9 months. And, once I wait these 9 months, I will only have to wait that duration one more time until I hold the greatest miracle in my arms. I will bring my baby to my breast to nourish him the way a mother does. I will look into the eyes of the other miracle in the room and wonder how I will ever be able to thank her for changing the world through her selflessness and empathy to create a life that she will allow me to nurture and love for eternity. I promise, M, that I will work so hard every moment to be the best mother that I can be...not only because my child deserves that, but because it is truly the only way to show you our genuine thanks for all you have done.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Anything but a nursery

As part of my chronic, compulsive "nesting" disorder and my husband's desire to expand our livable space, we've decided to remodel our basement. Our old basement was finished, but probably in the 1970's and the people who did it were so lazy that they paneled right over all the windows, leaving us with a definite feeling that we were living in a cave. Our basement didn't get much use, except for all the wonderful space that we could store everything. Now, that everything has been moved throughout the house as we have emptied almost everything from the basement.

We had a contractor lined up to do the work and then he decided to never call me back for several days, when I had important questions about the work he was to start in a few days. I followed Oprah's advice to "Believe people when they show you who they are the first time", and I knew it would be unlikely that he would be urgently returning my phone calls once he had my money in his pocket, so I fired him. Over email. I actually preferred to do it over the phone, but he never answered my calls. So, blackberry to blackberry and it was done. This occurred after the basement was already emptied and my dh was giddy with anticipation of having a beautiful new basement. Dh decided that he wanted to construct this basement himself and had me imagine how wonderful it will be that he works with his own two hands to create the space that we will soon call our "family" room. I couldn't resist the warmth in my heart as I imagined us, in our new living space that was created by my own husband, as we glowed with joy as friends and family came to see our baby. I imagined exactly where the baby swing would go and thought it would only be appropriate to also have a bassinet downstairs for the little one to rest in for those short periods of time that he's not in my arms.

We've decided to carpet half the basement and install pergo in the other half. The true purpose for the pergo is so I won't kill one of my dh's friends if he spills a beer on my new shag carpet. However, dh has convinced me that the pergo will be the ideal spot for the "kid's table" during holiday's so our children, nieces, and nephews won't make a mess of our new carpet. He knows that I cannot resist any suggestion that involves our future family. He's even convinced me that we should pre-wire the bar to have a flat panel television. Although this seems quite similar to what a sports bar would have, he's suggested that it would be for the children to watch TV during a big game. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to put a DVD in for the kid's while the adults are watching a football game on the big TV? Interesting how he's also thrown in a "big TV" into his plot.

We have a three bedroom home, the third bedroom has two entry doors that have been removed and we use it as an office. A bookshelf stretches almost the entire length and height of the wall to hold my dozens of books about how to make a baby, obviously none of them proved to be very successful. The second bedroom is the 'nursery', although I can't hardly bring myself to refer to it as such, but it's always the label that I mentally assign to it. It usually contains a double bed, small vanity area where I blow dry my hair, and random articles of clothing that haven't found their place in our main closet yet. Currently, it is packed solid with Rubbermaid containers, wall hangings from the basement, the mesh bag of mis-matched socks, early Christmas gifts that I've purchased, the ironing board, along with other remnants from our basement.

Although it never functioned as a nursery before, it was always clean and organized and much easier to envision quickly becoming a nursery with just the removal of a few pieces of furniture and a fresh coat of paint. It would require so much work now to transform that space into anything appropriate for even the smallest of babies. Perhaps all the effort that would need to be exerted to make the room a nursery is a gentle reminder that there is still quite a bit of effort required before we become parents. Some days it seems so simple, we have a surrogate that we're in love with, a small amount of money going into our "baby account" every month, and a hidden container of baby items that have been purchased over the past several hopeful months. But today it seems overwhelming. Today I realize that I need an egg, and sperm; both of which we don't have. I need them to find themselves in the perfect moment of marriage and create a miracle for us. I need 9 months of uncomplicated gestation, a beautiful day of healthy birth, and an attorney, court date, and tens of thousands of dollars. It's too much to imagine sometimes. It's too much that I can't control, too much money that I don't have, and too much too risk. And then I remember, "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" -Anonymous

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I've really been doing well with trying to learn and absorb the lessons that infertility is teaching me. I'm slowly learning to embrace our temporary childless state (emphasis on the temporary) and learn to enjoy these moments alone with my husband. I can see now, the deliberate actions of the Universe and the perfect pattern of events that will lead to my becoming a mother at the perfect time, with the perfect surrogate, to the perfect child. Despite my aggressive attempts to intoxicate myself with all these profound lessons, the Universe doesn't shop challenging me. What more must I learn? It seems only appropriate that there should be a limit to the number of intensely difficult events that one must endure in life. While I know such a limit doesn't exist, it still takes me by surprise when I find myself facing yet another.

After my "ischemic colitis" diagnosis while we were visiting M, which lead to a hospital stay after enduring a lot of pain, blood, and misery, I've been not feeling great. Nothing too horrible but I know my body enough to understand that I haven't been normal. Over labor day weekend they did another colonoscopy and the biopsies were normal. They know what the diagnosis is, they just don't know what is causing it.

Sunday night I woke up in a lot of pain and called the doctor on-call. I explained to him my medical history and he wanted to speak directly to my doctor (who is both a clinical and research expert in my disease) before he advised me. Monday a.m. he called back to say they had me scheduled for a colonoscopy on Tuesday. I immediately had to leave work to start the glorious bowel prep. Despite the raging hemorrhoids and horrible cramps I had anyway, the bowel prep went relatively smoothly. I went to bed at 10:00 p.m., ready for the colonoscopy the next morning. I made it until midnight at which point I woke up in extremely intense pain and the immediate sensation that I was going to pass out. I woke up my dh & told him what was going on. I was afraid to move, knowing I was going to pass out, but had to get to the bathroom right away. I crawled to the bathroom, went to the bathroom, and then immediately fell off the toilet and passed out. Dh caught me (he's learning now to not let my head hit the ground) and I was out for a little bit. I awoke and all I could say was "bucket" and he ran into our office to get the garbage can. I vomited so intensely for quite a while and then passed out again. At that point, we called the dr. on call and they told us to go to the ER. Because I have to be seen at the University of Michigan, our ride to the ER was almost a full hour away. When I started to get up off the bathroom floor to go to the ER, I realized I had gone to the bathroom while I was passed out and didn't even know it. My poor husband. I changed my clothes and got in the car. We had to stop on the freeway so I could go to the bathroom again, I couldn't make it to the exit. I've heard of people doing this before, but I've never done it myself, it's quite strange to have your pants pulled down as semi-trucks are driving past you. Thankfully, I'm not shy and it was very dark with few cars on the road.

We manage to make it to U of M without any major problems, although I cannot walk on my own and my ability to function is extremely limited. I lay down on a bed in the ER immediately as the nurses are asking me questions, I tell them, "I'm going to pass out now". I'm not sure she believed me because she didn't react, but dh knows that I don't say that unless it's really going to happen. I passed out while lying completely flat on my back in bed which something that is very rare to do as your body usually passes out to force you to lay down, but I was already laying down. They had a very difficult time reviving me & ended up having to give me some injection and oxygen to get me to wake up. Thankfully, that was the last time that I passed out. They temporarily cancelled the colonoscopy because I wasn't stable enough but then rescheduled it when I started to show signs on improvement. The colonoscopy proceeded and the anesthesia didn't work at all and I was awake for the entire thing. Of course. I was then admitted to the hospital for another night and released yesterday.

I'm searching really hard to find out what I'm supposed to learn through all of this. I've watched as one-by-one my organs have been removed as one disease after another is discovered. I never imagined that such problems would continue to expand through the remaining parts of myself. I simply can't imagine that there are great lessons to be learned from a colon disease? I suppose there must be, and i just haven't found them yet.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


It's amazing to me that there will be countless people involved in making me become a mother but yet I still feel so alone. I would give anything if just for one hour my dh could live in my thoughts. If he could understand how it is truly impossible to get through the hour without second-by-second reminders of infertility.

I was speaking to someone on the phone in the surrogacy world today and she mentioned a sperm bank that I had never heard of before. When I checked out their website I was really liking their donor selection (a lot of PhD & MD donors, a lot of them tall, which are two main factors we are looking for) until I read that they are entirely anonymous. It's been known since April or so that we will likely be needing a donor, at which time I spoke with dh about all the factors we have to consider when selecting a donor and he replied with the infamous "I'll think about it" remark. So, nearly five months later, I ask him "What do you think about using an anonymous donor?" He replies "Yea, that sounds good. Can you scratch my back?" I just looked at him, I couldn't believe any decision regarding such an important aspect of our child begins with "Yea". I scratched his back. He asked what my thoughts were & told him. If we use a donor that will allow his identity revealed upon request of our child, our child will always have that option. Selecting an anonymous donor removes that as an option forever. We should keep all options available for our child. He replied, "Oh, ok, that sounds good then."

My voice started to get louder, my patience shorter, and my words stronger. How do you just vacillate between those two options so easily? Haven't you considered these options? What exactly did you mean 5 months ago when you said that you would think about it? Was that simply a rhetorical statement meant to appease my sense of urgency? When were you planning to think about it, as M is pushing our baby out of her vagina? When our teenager is walking across the stage receiving his high school diploma? Perhaps neither of those times, perhaps you would put off thinking about it until I unilaterally make the decision which frees you from any further obligation toward that particular topic. And then, when we need to have discussions with our child about his genetic background, I'm sure you'll assume that I'll handle those discussions also because, afterall, I'm the one who decided to use a particular donor.

"What would you like me to do? I can't think like you. How do I think like you?" Ahh, perfect question my dh posed. So, I thought briefly, how does he think like me? How do I think about such things? I propose:

Divide the day into 15 minute increments. 5 minutes of those 15 are completely dedicated to thinking about a baby. It can be any variety of baby related topics. You now have 10 minutes left. A diaper commercial will come on TV, so you change the channel and the local news is talking about a potential "labor strike" at a local manufacturing plant. However, since you're me, hearing "labor" makes you think of a baby, which makes you think of M, which makes you think that you can't believe you are putting another woman in pain for your benefit. It makes you think about how you'll ever repay her. Speaking of repaying, how the hell are we going to fund this surrogacy journey? Back to the labor. We should write a birth plan now. I wonder if M knows if the hospital she's working & will deliver at is surrogacy friendly. I wonder if they'll give us our own room. We should include that in the birth plan. I wonder if both of us can stay in the room with her if we can't have our own room. What if she needs a C-section, will she still have one of those big labor rooms? Speaking of C-section, we should get M some help after the baby if she needs to have a C-section. That's enough, I'm turning the TV off. I should do laundry. I wonder if I can make my own laundry detergent that is safe for the baby, like dreft. On my way to the laundry room I walk through the office, the unsigned surrogacy contract sits inside a special folder on my desk; dozens of infertility, surrogacy, adoption, menopause books sit on the bookshelf. That can't be normal for a 26 year old. Oh, and about menopause, here comes another hot flash.

15 minutes is up. Repeat daily in 15 minute increments until you're a mother. That, my husband, is how you think like me. Now, you must devise a plan to still function as a semi-normal human being and fulfill all other adult obligations while having a brain that is incapable of thinking of any thought without somehow connecting it to our baby.


It's not him, it's me. It's not normal to be like this. Seriously, not normal. It's actually part of what is so depressing about this situation...I've turned into a person that doesn't live a normal life. Everyone is pregnant right now and that is not helping. I thought I had triumphed over the "everyone is pregnant" stage last year when both my bff and 2 SIL's were pregnant at the same time. But, it's happening again. My neighbor is pregnant with baby #2, a very close family friend is publicly discussing her readiness to begin "trying" (if she only knew the depth of that word), another family friend is pregnant, my cousin just delivered (and no one wanted to tell me she was pregnant so I found out at a family function when they said her mom couldn't make it because Erica had just delivered. Delivered what?, I asked), my bff's brother & wife are pregnant, even M's SIL is pregnant. Everyone is preparing for a baby and I'm arguing with my husband about which other man's sperm we'll use to try and make our baby with another woman's eggs. It's too much to wrap my head around at times...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

That could be our baby's due date. Of course, it's too soon to know exactly when M will have her last period before we do insems, but, I've been playing around with the numbers and a July 2010 insem that results in a BFP could give us a due date in March 2011. It's so surreal how it feels so far away but yet so incredibly close all at once.

We have managed to tell absolutely no one, except my bff Christy (who is also our attorney that will handle the step-parent adoption & other surrogacy related matters) about our plans to pursue surrogacy. Our parents and family still feel that since my ovaries were removed we can abandoned the idea of surrogacy. My mom will occasionally mention about when "you adopt" and still asks questions about adoption. When she meets someone who has adopted their child, she tells them that he daughter will be adopting "someday" soon. I feel slightly, emphasis on the slightly, guilty to be lying by omission about our true plans for parenthood. My mom would be incredibly thrilled to know that we've met M and that we love & trust her and her wonderful family and she is going to make us parents. I'm not worried about what anyone thinks or fearful about what anyone might say. It's just that our battle to win the position of parenthood has been very public and the defeat was tough. I don't surrender easily and I was forced to surrender to this evil enemy also known as my body.

I know our families would be thrilled to wait the next year with us as we anticipate all the excitment that will come when M is pregnant. They would all want to meet her and her family immediately and express their genuine gratitude. In some ways, I would like that support and affirmation by telling everyone. But, there are so many reasons to keep it quiet. Our plans for surrogacy with M is a very personal secret between my dh and I. When we're together and my mom mentions something about adoption, we both nod in agreement but in my heart I know that we have a grander plan and that plan is private between he and I. In a strange sort of way, I feel as if this is how it's supposed to be. Most couples don't announce to their parents the date or method by which their grandchild will be conceived. Those moments are meant to be private, shared between the love of a man and a woman. This moment is still our moment, it is still the moment that our child will be conceived. It is, however, shared between 2 men and 2 women. A love that two couples have, both for their own spouses, and for each other. M would unlikely be doing a surro journey if not for the support of her dh. And I certainly wouldn't be engaging in surrogacy without the love and support of J. Two couples will be making a baby; two times the love; two times the commitment; two times the support. This most certainly will succeed!

There are specific daydreams that continually replay themselves in similar form. The most popular show seems to be that of our baby shower. I cannot stop day dreaming about the decor, the smiles on every one's faces, our adorable nieces helping with the presents. What I most daydream about that day is how I will be in front of some table, opening some gifts, while the perfect gift that God has ever given me will be seated in front of me. She'll be wearing the maternity outfit that we picked out together, as we've agreed to go shopping for maternity clothes together. She will be smiling and I'm sure at least one hand will be place atop her firm, round belly. As excited as I will be to receive dozens of onesies, thousands of diapers, and a collection of baby items that I'll probably only use for a few months; I am actually most excited for this woman and for what she has done for me. I want her to know that no matter what terrific baby gift I open at my shower, nothing compares to the gift she will be giving me very soon. I want her to know instinctively that I would give everything back. I've learned my lessons. Life is not about the "stuff", it's about the miracles, the acts of kindness, and the understanding of compassion. Those are values we must never let go. She, in all her beauty, exhibits those traits even today. Even when she's not pregnant, she is so understanding and compassionate about what women like myself must go through to become parents that her frame of reference has been forever altered. She has changed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dream come true

We're not parents yet. That's dream #1. But, dream #2 is about to come true. After well over a decade of trying every month, I finally succeeded. I won Oprah tickets. I'm going to see Oprah! I.am.going.to.see.Oprah. Me! I will be there, in the same room, as Oprah! Excited is an understatement. It's truly a dream come true.

September 25th, it's a Friday, so I'm assuming it's a Friday's live show but I don't have any confirmation of that yet. I so badly wanted M to come with me, but her new job requires her to work weekends and she just started so it was too complicated for her to get the time off. I will totally be thinking of her the whole time I'm there! I've already devised a plan to ask the only person who knows M & our surrogacy plans, who will also be seeing Oprah with me, to buy an "O" baby item while we're there for my future baby. I'll be with friends who won't understand the insanity of purchasing baby items for a baby that is so far from being conceived, so I need Christy to purchase the gift under cover. I'm counting down the days. Hours. Minutes. I'm going to see Oprah!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The bookshelf

We're contemplating remodeling our very old-style basement. Currently we have wooden paneling from the 1970's (or so it looks), cheap green carpet, and an annoying wall of closets and drawers that is inconveniently placed directly in the middle of the basement, cutting its functionality in half. We have always wanted to remodel our basement but we never thought we would live in this home long enough to truly enjoy it. Due to the value of our home in the economy, it's obvious we'll probably be stuck here for quite a while. I never had envisioned raising my child in such a small house with such a tiny room to utilize as a nursery. I had wanted the largest room in the house to be dedicated as the nursery, similar to the one in Father of the Bride II. I love that nursery!

Once I get something on my mind it's very difficult for me to just let it go. Once I want it, I want it now. So before we have a budget, a design, or even the first 2X4 purchased, I've started getting the basement ready for renovation. Yesterday I cleared the junk off of an old bookshelf that my husband made when he was younger. This was a primary piece of furniture in his home before we were married and once we got hitched the bookshelf went in the basement, along with most of his other bachelor furniture. It's actually a very nice bookshelf and special to both of us since he actually built it. We never had a designated space available upstairs for it but I recently sold a piece of furniture on Craigslist which opened up room in the office for his bookshelf. We moved it into the office yesterday, which was a bittersweet moment for me. I had always envisioned that bookshelf staying put until we moved into a much larger home, at which point the bookshelf would go directly into the nursery and we'd fill it with books for our child. I imagined sitting in the rocking chair, holding our baby, and telling him how daddy built that bookshelf and when he is old enough, he can help daddy build things too. I imagined a few years later, our toddler climbing off my lap as I sat in that same rocking chair, and him selecting his favorite book from that shelf daddy built. I didn't imagine the bookshelf to be in our office without a nursery to even consider moving it to.

So I improvised. The bookshelf that has always been in our office is 6 ft by 6ft and packed full of books. I love to read. Our entire journey to become parents is chronicled in the books scattered throughout. I have a section of books larger than Barnes & Noble in some categories; adoption, surrogacy, menopause, hysterectomy, infertility, surrogacy in India. I also have dozens and dozens of children's books from when I was a child. My mom read to us constantly and we had hundreds of books everywhere in our home. I went through my bookshelf and removed every single children's book and placed it on the bookshelf. The bookshelf is shorter, probably only 4 feet or so, and lends itself to the reduced reach of little arms. It probably looks ridiculous to anyone who could see it right now, a bookshelf dedicated to children's books in a home without a child. For me though, it is a step. A step toward preparedness for the moment I've been craving. A step into the world of nesting, a tiny step into imagining what it might be like one day when our toddler walks to that bookshelf to select his favorite book to read.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm afraid to say it

Life is good. I could list dozens of reasons why it shouldn't be; chronic medical conditions, dozens of doctor's appointments each month, unable to make my own baby, needing way too much money to become a mom, unemployed. I could believe those reasons are enough to make life less than stellar at this moment. But I don't. I believe that right now, in this moment, life is good. Dh & I are getting along amazingly well. We haven't had a true argument in well over a month, which is unheard of in our infertility-tainted marriage. I am crying less and less over my baby induced desperation. We have so much to look forward to. In a few weeks we're going to my mom's cottage up north for a quick & cheap weekend getaway. In October we'll be heading to the most magical place on earth, for an extended vacation of dining, fun, and pixie dust. We are happy together. I never knew that marriage, sans baby, could be so fulfilling and rewarding. We have a date of July 2010 for our first (and hopefully only) IUI with our beautiful surrogate. I find myself counting down that date less and less. I'm still incredibly excited and anticipating it with such fervor and desire but I'm able to get through each day without knowing exactly how many days I must endure until our family building begins. I suppose it's because I truly feel that our family building has begun. We are the foundation for a solid and healthy family and as each day passes that we look at each other with love and not resentment, our foundation gains depth and stretches further.

It's occasionally difficult to recognize that the first 2 years of our marriage were hell. We didn't like each other very much, although I believe we both loved each other. I wish it was different but I know not to fall into the arms of regret. It makes me want more of this time, more of the love and happiness that we're sharing now. I'm trying very carefully to live in the moment. To enjoy this moment with my husband and this experience, as we'll never have another just like it. I realize though, that my happiness is still standing on an edge, not sure whether it will take the plunge. So easily I could fall back into despair and it takes immense strength to resist that gravitational pull. For now, I am able to resist it and I pray I can continue to. For now, life is good.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2 years

Yesterday, J and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. Everything is a matter of perspective, as I reflected on the reality that it was *almost* our 1 year anniversary. Dh & I were engaged in February 2007 and had an entire wedding planned, from the string quartet to the Cinderella pink linens, for July 12, 2008. We wanted a long engagement as I finished my master's degree and we spent more time together, as we had only dated for 9 months prior to becoming engaged. In May 2007, just 3 months after our engagement, I started to have severe ovarian pain (which was the only reproductive organ I had left since my hysterectomy a year prior) and after several doctor's appointments and finally our first RE appointment we learned the endometriosis and PCOS were becoming too much for my ovaries and they would soon need to be removed. We were encouraged to proceed with IVF immediately if we ever wanted to have a biological child. The very next day we cancelled our wedding. I called every vendor and explained to them the situation and most gladly refunded our deposits. Simultaneously, we began planning a wedding for just 12 weeks away while also making arrangements to begin a gestational surrogacy journey with an agency in Illinois. For so many reasons, including my ever-failing reproductive system, the journey had to end and our hopes of creating a biological child between us were forever shattered.

I was certain that we would immediately adopt, I was often awake in the middle of the night putting away the wedding planning material and looking up adoption agencies. For the first time, I needed to be a mother more than I needed my next breath. We returned from our honeymoon and as the Fall approached I finished my last semester of my master's degree along with PhD courses I was taking. We decided I wouldn't continue with my PhD, as I didn't want to leave my baby during the time I needed to be in class. A day after the end of the semester, they removed my ovaries. I felt even more empty than before, I was reproductively non-existent. There was nothing that proved I ever held the potential to become a mother but yet somewhere I was convinced that longing would show if they ever cut open my heart. I would have never admitted to being depressed during that time, but looking back now I realize how serious it was. I tried to cope with my infertility but the severe symptoms of surgical menopause kept me from focusing on anything at all. I was incredibly thankful that I had decided not to return to school, as I know I wouldn't have been able to manage. The next year was a blur of hormone starvation, true insomnia, and dark depression. There were 2 adoption situations that were right on our fingertips and then stolen away from me. I wanted a divorce, I wanted a baby, I wanted my uterus. I wanted everything I couldn't have.

This winter my life began to turn around as I learned to live with the existence of my marriage and the absence of my hormones. I began to feel hopeful that after a year and a half of marriage, we had agreed to start the adoption process in January 2011, just 2 years away. It seemed like an impossibly long time but I knew that I couldn't rush him, he wanted time to enjoy our marriage and despite my confusion (as I wasn't finding much to "enjoy" in the midst of my baby hunger), I knew that he had only known our marriage to be filled with sadness, rage, and obsession. I owed it to him to give him the most normal marriage I could. I knew it wouldn't be perfect and the obsession wouldn't erase itself but hopefully would slowly fade with him. I had hoped the dark depression would become a muted sadness and the fueling rage could simmer to a mild anger. I began to hope; hope that the rest of a journey to parenthood wouldn't be as difficult, hope that the next year and a half of marriage could be filled with more love, and hope that my life could become more clear and less clouded with all that has been wrong. It was at the moment that I allowed myself to have the slightest bit of hope that our world forever changed.

A bit of adoption research sparked the interest in embryo adoption which peaked my curiosity about surrogacy which made me realize that traditional surrogacy is what my heart needed. I didn't need to have a genetic child but I did need to watch my baby grow, to hear its first heartbeat, to welcome its entry into the world, to hold it first, and spend 9 amazing months thanking God that there is someone willing to risk everything to share with me the miracle of life. I met M in February, we decided we were meant to be together just a month or two after that, and now we have the relationship I've always dreamed of. We're forming the basis of a solid, healthy, committed friendship and next year at this time, we hope to be pregnant. We hope. We believe in hope. I believe in hope for my marriage, my life, and my path to becoming a mommy.

Today, my note from the Universe read the following:

One of the trickiest things about life, Sara, is that, at times, it happens so slowly.

Yet... if... it... happened... any... faster... you'd... already... have... everything... you... ever... wanted... without... learning... to... enjoy... the... ride.

Beep, beep...

The Universe

How true. Happy Anniversary J.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Random Happenings

It's been a while.

Met M & her family. Went wonderfully. Kids are adorable, love her. Extremely emotional but very wonderful visit.

2 weeks later, travel to M's college graduation party. Dh & I stay in a hotel. Go to the party and the plan is to spend the night & go to M's house the next morning for breakfast with her dh & kids. 5 a.m. I wake up to unbelievable pain and lots of bleeding from places you shouldn't be bleeding. I have no idea what is going on, I just know I cannot be late for breakfast! My body has failed me plenty of times, hence the reason I'm 5 hours from home in another state meeting our surrogate and her family! I pass out, hit my head in the tiny hotel bathroom, crying through the pain I ask dh to go get me as much Imodium as he can find. Whatever is going on must find a way to wait until after breakfast. I take 1 pill every 15 minutes for 2 hours. Dh helps me to shower and get dressed and we head to M's house. I was in so much pain, so uncomfortable, but so incredibly happy to be having breakfast (even though I didn't really eat much) with the woman who is making all our dreams come true. We leave & head home with many urgent bathroom stops. The next day I call the doctor and they admit me to the hospital. Very long story but they've diagnosed me with a form of bowel disease that is extremely rare, I'm seeing doc's out of University of Michigan now so they can try to figure things out. I'm on some drugs that are making me miserable, I'm constantly feeling drugged, and my eyes will not stop twitching as a side-effect from this medicine. Such is life, right?

A few weeks after, M comes to Michigan for a "girl's night out"! We had lunch at Cafe Muse, voted by Oprah & Esquire magazine as the country's best grilled cheese sandwich. Went shopping, got pedicures, had dinner at yummy Italian restaurant, and saw a comedy show at Second City. She spent the night in the current-guest-bedroom-soon-to-be-nursery. Dh was home when we got home from the comedy club and we hung out and they had cocktails (I had to be sans cocktail because of all this health stuff) in the hot tub. Next morning we all went to breakfast together. It was a wonderful visit. Surrogacy rocks! My surrogate rocks! I simply cannot believe that I have this wonderful, beautiful relationship with the woman who is going to make me a mommy! She's so giving and generous and so fun to be around. We will be officially ttc next July! It's less than a year away and a wonderful time for us to continue to become such awesome friends. Thank you M, I love you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sperm donor, anyone?

As if it's not enough that I cannot carry or create a biological child, my dh cannot either, unless we do IVF with ICSI. It's an option that we've seriously considered. It's so tempting to create a little baby with my husband's gorgeous red hair or attractive 6'7" frame. We want to create something together, not individually. We also are in love with M and cannot imagine doing a journey without her. I feel so confident that our journey will be filled with love, trust, and mutual compassion. I want her to create a baby for us, and no one else. So, we move forward. Dh doesn't want to have anything to do with the donor selection process. I hope that changes, but if not, we've agreed that are requirements include a solid educational background, tall (just for fun), and willing to be located by our child if our child chooses to one day.

This is tough. It's tough to absorb, I really can't believe we're both so broken.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

We met

Saturday we had our big get-together with M and her family. We met at her local zoo and spent most of the day and then headed to Red Robin afterwards. It was very emotional meeting her, although I tried my best not to show my emotions. I found myself constantly watching her children, wondering which characteristics were genetic and which were the creation of their upbringing and environment. Of the genetic ones, I wondered which came from M and which came from her dh, R. The children were understandably excited and full of energy and the visit during the zoo didn't give us a lot of time to just chat as the kids were always saying "look at that", "look here", "did you see that?". We were able to talk a bit at dinner, but again, a lot of kids demanding attention leaves little time for adult talk. I'm glad that M and I have had so much opportunity to talk one-on-one before our meeting. Her dh is truly awesome. I really couldn't have imagined a better support system for our TS. He is not afraid to talk about surrogacy and apparently very open about it as he mentioned he was discussing the topic with the guys at work. Although he acts like a kid himself at times, he doesn't hesitate to take care of the kids and certainly doesn't leave all the hard work to her. I'm refreshed in knowing that she'll have him around during our pregnancy. Of course, I intend to be as involved as possible and I will be there to help during the final trimester when she's too exhausted and pregnant to handle the household responsibilities.

I truly anticipated that meeting her would make our 1 year wait until we start TTC so much easier. I had expected that I would feel a calm that everything was in place and now we just focus on spending the next year becoming closer friends until we are ready to TTC. Instead, I feel like everything is aligned exactly where it's supposed to be (except for the number of 0's in our bank account that are needed to fund this journey) and now that I know her, I want to start now.

This weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster. I've had many moments of breaking down in tears at the reality of everything. I seriously can't believe that we just drove 4 hours to meet someone who is going to make us a baby. I'm torn between the stark reality that we can't make our own baby and the fairytale that someone on earth is so loving and kind that she is willing to give all of her love to us so that we can experience parenthood. They are both equally emotional, equally humbling, and they challenge my mind to think far outside of its already liberal frame of reference.

I wonder how much of my intense emotions this weekend is that I am living a secret life. No one, except for 1 friend, knows about our plans for surrogacy. At this point we are far beyond just having a general plan to become parents through surrogacy, we have a real person with a real family who will become a part of our family in the near future. I can't believe I'm planning all of this without anyone in our family knowing. I'm so glad for the secret though, because on weekends like this when I'm full of emotion, I just can't imagine having to talk about our visit until I'm ready. I'm thankful I have this private knowledge that I don't have to justify to anyone. I also dream a lot about the moment that I get to introduce my mom to M, tell her that she is going to be a grandma, and explain to her that I've known M for well over a year and I trust her, adore her, and she's now a part of our family. I'm very blessed that our journey to parenthood will be bringing not only a baby into our lives but also another family that otherwise I would have never known. God is good.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The cold tub

My little brother moved out of my mom's house and purchased his first home last month. She hardly ever uses her hot tub and she asked dh & I if we wanted it. We had the electrical installed today and the hot tub is currently "heating up", the problem is that it can't really become a hot tub until we know if we're using dh's sperm or not. If our appointment in July is a success and dh's sperm has improved on the clomid, it will be another year of clomid treatment and life sans hot tub, which puts us in the interesting predicament to explain to everyone why our hot tub is actually a cold tub. For now, I've told my mom that due to my hot flashes we just want to keep the tub cooler during the summer months. This is very true, I cannot go in a hot tub during the hot months. I suppose we'll have to formulate another response when snow starts to fall, but we'll approach that when we can. It's amazing the little things in life that infertility screws up. We can't use our damn hot tub, what the hell?

In the meantime, I've fallen in love with a crib that we must have if we have a baby girl. It's $3,849.00. Yes, the decimals and commas are in the right place. It's gorgeous though. I have to find a way to have this crib, or something very similar. I'm actually wondering if I could have my guys at work make it for me. Here's the pic to drool over.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Special Delivery

M got the package I shipped to her and her kids. She said we won the kids over without even meeting them. And she followed that up with "You won me over a long time ago". I'm so glad we're so in love! She let each kid look at their travel bags but then everything was put away until their "mystery trip" next weekend. She has told them they are going somewhere but they don't know where yet. After the zoo we're going to Red Robin and the kid's have never been there before! I can't wait to take them, it's one of my favorite kid-friendly places to go! One week and 1 day!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Laid off

I work for a small business that is owned by my mom and her business partner. Business is slow, which is no surprise, and after several attempts to cut wages and reduce benefits it is still not enough. Myself, my mom, and her partner have all laid ourselves off. We will be able to collect unemployment and the company will save the cost of our salaries. We can pay our bills without my salary but we certainly cannot afford to save for our surrogacy journey which officially begins in 423 days, give or take a day or two.

The solution seems to be to begin looking for a job that I actually will get paid to go to work for. The problem is I can't seem to get myself to do so. I'm sick about the thought of leaving here. It was the plan (which was the first mistake) that I would work here and once the baby arrived I could work from home. I cannot contemplate the thought of leaving my child everyday. The job offers me the most amazing flexibility. Generally, I don't like my job and I'm overqualified for it, but I love what it offers to my future family which is the only reason I'm here. There is a great possibility that the salary reduction will not be enough and we will not have enough business to keep our doors open. That frightens me. This business has been going strong since 1925, we are well established and well known but so is Chrysler, and GM, and thousands of other businesses in the metro Detroit area that have closed their doors. For now, we're trying to adjust our budget to accommodate our new salaries and remain as optimistic as possible. I need this job, my sanity and future needs this job. So much of my ability to drag myself up from the floor of depression has been knowing what a wonderful lifestyle we have established for a baby. The salary loss came on the same day that we turned in our lease and purchased a brand new "family" car. My dh is 6'7" so any vehicle we buy has to be "big", but our new Ford Expedition is exceptionally big, it's the kind of big you only buy if you are pregnant, are planning to be soon, or have already been a dozen times before. We're planning a pregnancy soon and we bought the car to show it. I will pray for strength, peace, and understanding as I do believe that every roadblock is God's way to direct us to follow the path He intends for us. I believe that today, I hope I can continue that tomorrow.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." -Dale Carnegie

Are we brilliantly resilient women, who fight the battles of infertility, and still have hope? Or are we ignorant, immature girls who consistently set ourselves up for failure and settle for whatever means will turn us into mothers?

I've always considered Hope such a fragile emotion, one that hides under the table when its enemy Doubt walks into the room. I thought Hope literally ran away from home and was never coming back. I thought Hope died and didn't go to heaven because Hope didn't believe in such fantasies. I thought I was glad to see her leave, for a while I thought I missed her in the way I imagine women miss their spouses once they've been arrested for domestic violence. I was exhausted and overwhelmed by the abuse that Hope inflicted upon me and I was glad Hope was finally dead.

It's not until recently, that M has given me a reason to breathe again, that I realize that Hope really never left. If there wasn't Hope, I wouldn't have kept trying to find a better way, a more fulfilling way, a more intimate way, to become a mom. It was Hope that allowed me to not settle for adoption when my heart needed something more. It was Hope that convinced me to reach out to surrogacy forums and reply back to M's original email. It is Hope that sustains me through this moment, as I take this breath, and I'm still childless and full of the pain, envy, and evil of infertility.

I know she's still there but I'm so afraid to welcome her back into my life with open arms. I want to co-habitate with her again but I feel like such a fool to even consider it. How dare I allow her back in when she's let me down so many times? I've told her hundreds of times before that this was "the last chance" and if she screwed it up there were no chances left. Hope has built a lifetime on second chances and I wasn't going to allow that to continue any longer. I'm not sure how I just allow her to walk back into my life? Do we need to set ground rules like you would if a boyfriend was standing at your doorstep begging for a second chance? What if she breaks the rules? Does she have a probationary period in which she must prove to me that she's worthy of access into my heart? I have such valid reasons to never speak to her again, to never allow her near my family, to banish her from every part of our surrogacy journey with M. Perhaps its M that is requiring me to consider allowing Hope into our journey. This isn't just my journey, it's M's journey too. She seems to have an oddly close relationship with Hope, particularly in the reproduction department. She & Hope are like best friends and they seem to go everywhere together and when M is having a bad day, it's Hope that tells her tomorrow will be better. Why doesn't my Hope act like that? My Hope doesn't reassure me that tomorrow will be better...just as she's about to speak up, Doubt starts talking and Hope never insists that he hears her out.

I want my Hope to be like Obama's Hope, I would even settle for the kind of Hope that inmates have that convinces them tomorrow is worth living for (when we all know a simple bed sheet tied as a noose could be all that is needed if Hope called in sick one day).

Friday, May 29, 2009

Emotional ADD

Is there such a thing? I'm certain I must have it. I cannot be at peace with a single emotion for longer than just a few minutes. I was going to post yesterday morning that I was feeling renewed from dh's & my conversation the prior night. There is a reason for all these sick infertility jokes that God keeps playing and I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Then, yesterday I had an encounter with an old acquaintance, Shannon, who used to be very close to me and discovered that she is pregnant. She went through 7 IUI's and 4 IVF's before she was able to conceive. I was genuinely happy for her, but so sad for myself. Her journey has come to an end and she finally achieved the goal that she set out for. I tried to trick myself into thinking that I will also achieve the goal that I set out for: becoming a mommy. But then I wonder if I'm just twisting my thoughts to convince myself that motherhood was my primary goal. I just don't think it was, I think pregnancy was my primary goal. Do any of us really start off on our journey to parenthood and say that all we're searching for is a baby? If so, why do we continue with the medical interventions that could fail and the surrogacy journeys that pose risks? Why don't we all just jump to the most sure path to motherhood, through either adoption or foster care? That would make us mothers...guaranteed! (I'm not trying to diminish the feelings of anyone who has had a failed adoption, but the reality is that if you stick with adoption long enough, you're bound to have a baby). We don't all jump on the adoption bandwagon because our end goal involves so much more than just parenthood. I've known since I was 22 that I would never carry my own baby but yet there was still something more that I sought out than just motherhood. I needed a bond with the woman who would carry my baby in the way one needs oxygen. That was possible with adoption, but never a guarantee, and it was less possible that I would have that bond from the beginning. I can know thank God, and my husband, for not allowing me to rush into the adoption process as I wanted to for the past few years. I feel that it would have given me the more important part: a baby. It also would have denied me the parts that I needed most, not as a mother, but as a woman.

I was distraught last night after finding out about Shannon's pregnancy. I felt so guilty that I wasn't happy for her. I have the most incredible woman willing to make my parenting dreams come true and I still can't be happy for someone else's pregnancy? What is wrong with me? Will I ever be able to fully feel joy for someone else when they announce their news? I have the best situation that could possibly be available to any woman without a uterus, why shouldn't I be happy for Shannon that she now has the best situation available for anyone with a uterus?

After a few dozen crying sprees while J was cutting the grass, and a few more when he came back inside, I was ready for an emotional intermission. I simply needed a rest from any thoughts, good or bad. That's when I received an email from M. We are in the beginning stages of working on our contract and I had emailed her a document with all the possible fees and compensation topics and she was replying to my email. I had simply stated the topics and she would fill in the fees. In the beginning of our relationship I had asked her about her base comp because I needed to be sure we could at least afford that before I allowed myself to become too invested in the relationship. We hadn't had any further discussion about fees since that time. Her reply was heartwarming, humbling, and so gracious. I know, as does she, that she could charge anyone else a lot more than than she's asking us for her compensation. She truly is what every intended parent wants in a surrogate, she understands the emotional and financial heartache of infertility. This path to parenthood will still be expensive and we're still challenged everyday on how to afford it but she is easing the burden on us tremendously. I don't know how I ever will repay her for her kindness.

I went to Target today to scrounge the dollar bins for some kid related toys and games. I'm going to FedEx M and the kids a package next week. I'm making each of the kids a small "travel bag", with a tote filled with activities and snacks to keep them occupied on the drive to the zoo. She has 3 girls and 1 boy and I tried my best to make the boy's bag different and unique. Each bag has animal crackers, a water bottle with a straw (color coordinated to match the color of their bags, it's so cute!), coloring book and crayons, candy, window stickers (to stick on their car windows). The girls each have lip gloss and the boy bag has a magic game and some type of puzzle. I'm including a card to M and her dh along with a gas gift card so the cost of their trip can be totally taken care of. I also ordered M's graduation gift today. She recently graduated from nursing school and her party is the end of June. Thanks to some help from some former nurses I found a stethoscope that I had personalized with her name on it. I can't wait to give it to her. 2 weeks can't come soon enough to meet her!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We're meeting!

M recently graduated from nursing school and is planning a graduation party sometime in June. We knew we wanted to meet sometime before her graduation party because we thought it would be awkward to meet in such a public setting with so many of her own friends and family that she'll need to attend to. So, it looks like the graduation party will be June 27th and we're meeting at the zoo near her house on June 13th. To say I can't wait is an understatement. I'm thrilled! I can't remember the last time I've been so worried about someone liking me, I usually don't care if people like me, but I definitely care about this person!

J & I will drive about 4.5 hours and M will be there along with her husband and four kids, we'll spend the afternoon at the zoo and then we're going to Red Robin (yum!) for dinner. I can't wait to meet her!

Two weeks after, we'll be traveling back to her state to attend her graduation party. None of her friends or family know that she is pursuing another TS journey at this time. She was a TS once before, for a couple that lives in Germany. She gets pictures of her TS babe all the time (she's adorable!) but the communication is difficult with her FIP's because of the language barrier. Her family was supportive of her journey last time but they apparently had a difficult time when the TS baby had to go back to Germany, knowing they would never see her again. M wants to wait to tell everyone about her journey until after they know me as her friend. She will be able to announce that she is doing this for her friend Sara as opposed to just some random nameless person. I think that is a fabulous idea. I will be able to meet her friends and family as a neutral person, not as "that one".

A good friend from the online surrogacy was generous enough to send me a copy of her surro contract today. Since the contracts are legally not enforceable in my state or M's state, I refuse to pay an attorney to draw up a contract that isn't useful anyway. But, all the good surro rules say that you should have a contract, so we will create our own contract. My dear friend is an attorney in our state so I'm sure she'll review it and answer any questions we have. I will pay for M's legal counsel if she would like but we've already communicated with the top adoption/surrogacy attorney in her state and the contracts are not enforceable.

I emailed M and told her that I'd really like to start talking about contract details. I know our TTC plans are over a year away but I really need to prepare financially for what this will cost us. Obviously, there are countless issues that need to be discussed aside from finances and I want to be sure that both our voices are heard and we agree on something that we are both pleased with. Since we have so much time to talk about the contract hopefully there won't be any pressure to hurry up and make a decision that one of us isn't comfortable with.

There is progress! Real measurable progress. It's been a long time since I felt progression in my life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The little blessings

Last Tuesday we flew home from Disney World and we weren't home long until I was abruptly reminded that we're definitely not in Fantasyland anymore. Two days prior to our departure, my evil SIL contacted me to inform me that my second evil SIL was in labor. Fuck you. I knew my MIL was picking us up from the airport and surely we'd have to hear about it. Through 2 years of therapy, dh & I have worked on how to respond to people when they say things that are knowingly hurtful. He's had a conversation with his mom before that we really prefer not to hear about people's babies, even if they are our siblings, and although we understand her excitement it's just simply not possible for us to be excited and it's painful to hear so we politely request that she not mention it. Of course, that is just too difficult for her to comprehend and my dh avoids conflict the way I would avoid another term of George W as President, so he of course hasn't offered any further polite reminders to his mom that we simply don't give a fuck about anyone else's baby right now.

As predicted, we pull into into the garage and she reaches for her cell phone while saying "Do you want to see a picture of your new niece?". I remained silent, in fact, I think it was one of the short moments in my life that my brain actually rested. We had rehearsed similar scenarios in therapy and at home before and dh & I had agreed upon a certain response. Not necessarily a specific set of words, but generally the rules were that he would respond (not because I'm too shy to respond but he knows I won't play very nice) and he would be firm in saying "no" and exert some type of "what the hell are you thinking" comment and remind her that we've already talked about this and we are never interested in hearing about anyone's pregnancy or baby until we are standing in front of her with serious bags under our eyes from dozens of delightfully sleepless nights from staying up with our own baby. He didn't respond. He was silent. She showed us the picture. I was livid.

Today, after a few month hiatus from joint therapy sessions, we rejoined with Susan the therapist to discuss this incident. I am convinced that if he chose not to respond at such a critical opportunity that he must not understand the depth of my grief and the intensity of the pain his mom inflicted. The therapy appointment was relatively uneventful until I said I wanted to see him angry with his mother. If we were in a bar and someone had punched me, he wouldn't just stand by and allow it, he would be pissed! This is far worse than being punched so why the hell wasn't he mad. Susan started to ask him questions about anger and at one point he said that no one has ever made him as angry in his life as I have.

After we returned home, I was in the bathroom doing my usual crying-before-I-wash-my-face-for-the-night routine and it hit me. I always try to find the reasons behind all this bullshit that God puts me through. I'm convinced I'll have a stronger marriage, that I'll treasure my baby more, I'll be a more attentive parent, I'll have a shared empathy with millions of people, I'll gain an overwhelming sense of compassion toward other woman. I never realized what the benefit was for my dh. Why was he picked to go through all this hell with me? I realized it there, in the bathroom, mid-cry. Yes, I make him more angry than anyone ever has, but it's because I force him to deal with this. He can't avoid it and pretend it doesn't exist like he has with any other difficult time in his life. He has to acknowledge it, understand it, accept it, and learn to live it. I came running out of the bathroom with tears running down my face to explain to him my newly understood rationale for his misery. He smiled and he knew it was true. He told me that although his anger for me is more intense than anger he's ever felt before, so is his love.

I wouldn't infertility as a method to teach anyone a lesson, but, I am infertile and while I'm here I am definitely learning quite a few lessons. I'll take it. I'll take a tearful embrace with my soul mate as we both realize that there is a reason for this misery beyond our understanding, and today, God has given us enough of a taste of understanding to satisfy our appetite for now. Thank you.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Amani....I miss your blog!


If you read this, I'd love access to your blog now that you've made it private (if you are giving access to anyone, that is). I've followed your journey for so long....not having updates is killing me! I do understand and respect your privacy though, so no problem if you are keeping it totally private. You're in my thoughts.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A sigh of relief

I emailed M, I couldn't take it any more, it had been 5 days since we emailed last which may not seem like a long time but it was unusually long for us not to email. I told her that I'm sorry to sound paranoid, but it's tough to be so dependent on another woman to make me a mom...and go through an unusually long period of time without speaking with that person. So, she emailed me back and everything is fine. Her MIL was moving to their state from New Jersey this weekend, so they were busy with that, and the later part of last week was swamped with kid related activities. She said she is anxiously awaiting next year, and although she'll wait for us as long as we need her to, she's ready to start now! We're not, of course, but it's so wonderful that we have her in our life. We leave for Disney World on Wednesday and I'm so glad I've had to chance to talk with M before we left. This is just a small reminder of how difficult it will be to relinquish control to another woman, in another state, for 9 months while she carries and nurtures our baby. I imagine this is only the tip of the iceberg in understanding how impossibly difficult this will be.