Sunday, February 8, 2009

Here we go again

Anyone who knows me wouldn't be shocked to know that I'm considering taking great lengths for motherhood. The concept of surrogacy in India, surprisingly, isn't new to me. Jason & I considered it in 2007 and opted not to proceed. Our circumstances are different now and I've been incredibly blessed to come upon someones blog who has decided to take this incredibly drastic and exhilarating step herself. I emailed her and we've been communicating and I'm starting to believe this might actually happen. Oh, and all of this has happened in the past 48 hours. That's also something that no one would be shocked to hear, when I want something, I usually want it now and I'll go to great lengths to make my wish come true.

My wish is become a mom. I believe God exists and He has a purpose for each of us. Noah's purpose was to build the Ark, Walt Disney's purpose was to bring endless joy to millions of children, George Bush's purpose was to temporarily destroy happiness for every American for eight straight years, and my purpose is to be a mother. Despite God's best intentions, he apparently misread the manual somewhere because he created me with more reproductive issues than any woman should ever have. I struggled through most of my childhood with endometriosis, adenomyosis, and PCOS; all but the later remained undiagnosed until I had a hysterectomy when I was 22. After which, I met the love of my life. I love the phrase "the man of my dreams", but I would be lying if I called him that. I didn't dream of marriage or a tall handsome man to sweep me off my feet. I was perfectly content standing on my feet, but he made me weak in the knees and we were engaged 9 months after our first date (on which, I kissed him first).

In February 2007 he proposed to me with a ring hidden in a container of Cold Stone ice cream (minus the ice cream) and I immediately began making every wedding plan. Within 2 months, our entire wedding was planned for the following year. We wanted a long engagement, a chance for me to finish grad school and prepare for our wedding. Just 3 months after our engagement, my doctor informed me that the endometriosis and ovarian cysts were doing permanent damage to my ovaries. If we ever wanted to consider a biological child through surrogacy, we would need to act quickly. So we did. We cancelled our entire wedding the next day and immediately began planning a wedding for 3 months away. Within weeks we were beginning fertility treatment and arranging to meet with the surrogacy agency in Chicago, IL. For those that don't know, surrogacy is illegal in Michigan, and Illinois is known to have the most modern surrogacy laws in our country. There were several set backs but we continued to forge through the red tape and toward our dream. After consulting with several physicians, we were told our chances of success were extremely low. My ovaries were consumed with cysts and with my history of endo, it was unlikely we'd produce quality eggs. It was a chance I wanted to take, but with a price tag that exceeded $80,000 for surrogacy, of which about $25,000 has to be paid before we even know the quality of my eggs, we opted not to take the risk. We proceeded with our wedding and were married in August 2007.

I was finishing my last semester of grad school, while writing my thesis and simultaneously taking courses toward my PhD, so we couldn't schedule the surgery to remove my ovaries until December when the semester ended. I've often contemplated writing a book about my struggles with infertility, and although it wouldn't be appropriate I think a perfect title for my memoir would be: Everything I learned in life I learned from Oprah Winfrey. I love Oprah. Seriously, I love her. She is a true gift to this world and she inspires me to live my fullest life even in the darkest days of infertility. In October she had a show that featured a couple who had decided to pursue surrogacy in India. By the next evening, in the middle of the night, I was on the phone with the doctor in India that was featured on the Oprah show. The actual doctor. Her name is Dr. Patel and her clinic had a waiting list of 300 couples when I spoke with her. I explained to her the urgency of our situation and she was willing to move us to the top of the list. The doctor-from Oprah-was putting us at the top of her list! Jason & I discussed this in great detail. I discussed it with my RE and even consulted an additional RE for a second opinion. Everyone agreed, the chances of success were extremely low. Additionally, they would require me to have my ovarian cysts aspirated and that procedure had to be done in the states (unless I wanted to spend several months in India or make multiple trips). None of the RE's in the states were willing to perform the procedure if they were not also the dr's to perform the IVF. Ahh, the bureaucracy of the medical profession in America! So, again, Jason & I decided not to proceed with surrogacy and one month later my ovaries were removed.

We've been fairly confident that we would proceed with adoption, however, there are many aspects of surrogacy that strongly appeal to me. I'm so excited to explore our options, read about other's stories, and learn about all the possibilities that await us.

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