Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2 days to go!

Thursday night we fly out! We'll land at Washington-Dulles around 8pm local time and then we'll go out to eat somewhere nice to celebrate. This whole thing feels like one big celebration to me to naturally we'll have to celebrate every milestone! Our consult is Friday morning at 8am. That was the only appointment available that day, unfortunately. But at least once its over we have most of the day to do whatever we want. Our flight home leaves around 5pm. Originally I thought we were going to meet up with M&B at the doctor's office and maybe spend some of the day with them, but this isn't really an exciting appointment so there was no reason for them to come. I would have loved to have seen them again, but they are busy people and I know we'll see them more in the future.

So I have been asking around on surrogacy message boards and within the Extensions group through the agency about what I should expect with this doctor and this clinic. I've been told that he will examine me, hopefully tell me that I am 'medically boring', talk to me about tests that will need to be run before the transfer, tell me that they really only want me to carry one baby, and have some blood drawn. Also I've been told that both myself and M&B will need to really stay on top of this clinic to get our transfer date and schedules set. That's somewhat disappointing. I thought I would be receiving this information at the consult. At some point they will do a HSG, where they will fill my uterus with saline and take an image of it to make sure everything looks good. I was also told that I will be required to do a mock cycle before we do an actual cycle. That's a bummer because that puts us a whole month behind. A whole month of giving myself injections without the payoff of a transfer at the end. =( At the end of the mock cycle they will do a uterine lining biopsy to make sure I am responding to the meds. Also, this clinic does all medications by injection. Some clinics offer estrogen patches and progesterone suppositories...but not this one! That's ok though. I've been educated on what size needle to use for drawing up the meds, and what size to use to inject. Also, what to do to minimize pain, bruising, and welts. Sounds like fun, huh? It's ok though. I'm a tough cookie and it will be so worth it.

I will be on CD6 when I have my consult. I wonder if they will let me start meds for the mock cycle right away? That way we wont lose as much time. I think I will check into that.

Well I will update again once I return. Hopefully it goes exactly as I expect...being declared 'medically boring'.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The consult is set!

Well I received a call from the clinic earlier today! I scheduled our consult for next week! It feels so good to be moving forward. I wish we could spend more time out there but I dont want the agency to think we're trying to take a vacation on M&B's dime or anything. I'll just be glad to get to see them again!

One of the girls in our surrogate group who is also using the same doctor had her consult last week. They will be looking at a late March/early April transfer. That seems like so far away! I hope we don't have to wait that long. I am assuming that means she will have to do a mock transfer first. So I will probably have to do the same. We'll lose a whole cycle for that, which stinks, but we all just want to do it right and have the highest possible chance for success the first time around when we do the actual transfer. Almost all of the ladies in our group have gotten pregnant on the first cycle. I have a super-sticky uterus so I am thinking we will have the same success. And I've heard that this doctor is very conservative with how many embies he will transfer. If one embie is a super high quality he will only transfer that one. If there are 2 of good quality he will transfer both, but rarely more than 2. Which is fine by me! More than 2 is a bit scary to think about! I would totally be up for 2 though. I bet it would be completely different from my two singleton pregnancies. I'm always up for an adventure!

I'm just so excited to even be doing this. I read an article about the agency that said 1000 or so women apply to be a surrogate each month but only about 7-10 are accepted. They were very careful in their screening process, as they want only the best for their clients. I'm so thankful to have been chosen, both by the agency and by M&B, to help create a family. In fact I will take even better care of myself while pregnant with their child than I did with my own. It's my responsibility to everyone involved. I think I may sign up for a prenatal yoga or pilates course, as long as I have everyone's blessing to do so.

I suppose my next update will come after the consult since I will have some kind of news to share. Next Friday will be here before I know it!

Monday, January 14, 2008


Hello, my name is Jen. I'm starting this journal because I am going to be a gestational carrier (surrogate) for a lovely couple and I want to share the pregnancy with them and their family.

A bit of introduction
I am 26, have been married for almost 8 years (on Valentine's Day!) and have 2 little boys; Ian (4) and Quinn (18 mo). I am a stay-at-home-mom and my husband Chris is in IT Management. We live in Minnesota and are in the process of buying a new house. We're excited. :)

Getting started
In September 2007 I ran across an ad for a Surrogacy clinic and thought it sounded interesting. I was already registered to be an egg donor with a local clinic, so the thought of shots and invasive procedures really didn't bother me. I mentioned it to Chris and he just said "Let's do it!" I filled out the online application and had an email response that same night asking for more information. I filled out a lengthy family history and lifestyle questionnaire. Once I passed that part, I spoke with one of the counselors on the phone for a phone screening. Chris and I run a large fertility message board so we were already aware of the procedures involved and what they would entail. We passed the screening with flying colors and moved on to the psychiatric evaluation. This test was the test to end all tests. One had 500 questions, one had around 300, and the third was a 'finish the sentence' type test. It took almost 2 hours, but I got it done and sent it in.

Group meeting
In October the agency flew us to Chicago to attend a group meeting. This meeting consisted of counselors from the agency, currently pregnant surrogates, surrogates who have already given birth, and a few sets of new folks like Chris and I. It was a very informative meeting and it was great getting to know several ladies who live near me in MN. Once I left the meeting I knew for sure that surrogacy was something I definitely wanted to do. I know many ladies with fertility issues, and I was ready to help someone and go beyond the standard offering of prayers and hugs.

Matching process
Within days of the meeting, I received 3 profiles in the mail. For confidentiality reasons I will only give bare details. Couple 1 was in Switzerland. Couple 2 was in NY. Couple 3 was in Paris.

Couple 1 was an older couple and we liked them immediately. Couple 2 already had children and we were more interested in helping a couple who did not yet have any kids. Couple 3 was nice and would have been our 2nd choice. We picked couple 1, but due to an error on the agency's side, we had to be rematched. We were sent the profile for couple 3 again, to ponder.

While waiting to see if couple 3 was the right one, I received an email that our profile was being sent to a couple in PA for their consideration, along with another potential surrogate's. I waited, hoping to hear something, anything, for a while. The other surrogate is a friend of mine (from the group meeting) and we decided that no matter who was picked, we'd be nothing but happy for that person. I got a phonecall from a counselor with the agency asking if I had any questions about the PA couple. I was confused because nobody told me that I had been picked. So YES I had questions! I was supposed to have been told already, and I was supposed to have received their profile already. The counselor told me a bit about them and said their profile would be in my mailbox within a couple days. I anxiously awaited its arrival.

THE match!
The day it came I ripped open the envelope and sat down to read it. Immediately I thought to myself...this must be why couple 1 didnt work out...there was a better match for me and I had to wait for it! I called Chris and told him "This is our match!" Once he got home and read through their profile, he agreed.

I called the agency immediately and told them YES, absolutely YES! I got a call a few days later asking if I could travel on December 8th to meet them in Colorado! Talk about moving fast! So we hopped on a plane and went. I was so nervous. Incredibly nervous! I am pretty quiet around people I dont know, particularly people who I will be entering into an incredible journey with such as this one. I was afraid they wouldn't like me in person, or that it would be weird and awkward. Once we all met in the lobby I felt much better. It didnt take long for me to get comfortable. Once the business was out of the way, we were all left to fend for ourselves. "M" gave me a very nice card and a beautiful journal to write my private thoughts regarding the surrogacy. I was so touched that she thought to bring me a gift.

Chris and I had rented a car because we missed the shuttle to the hotel and didn't want to be late. So we took them downtown so we could all spend some time together and get to know each other better. We walked, talked, ate, walked, talked some more. Our impression of them was that they were very well rounded, stable, devoted to each other, and would make incredible parents. As soon as we parted ways back at the hotel that night, I was giddy and told Chris "I love them!" We met up for breakfast the next morning and talked so much that they almost missed their shuttle to the airport. Oops!

The agency wanted both of us to call them afterwards and let them know if we wanted to move forward together. I called on the way to the airport and told them definitely YES. I had to wait until I knew for sure that they wanted to move forward, too. All day Monday I waited for the call and it finally came Monday night. Relief! They liked Chris and I! We were officially MATCHED!

I didnt know what would come next. I didnt know when I would have contact with them again. One day I got an email from "M" and I was so glad to get it. We've been emailing and getting to know each other better ever since. If I wasn't so phone shy I'm sure we'd talk on the phone, too. ;)

Next steps
I am anxiously awaiting the call from M's clinic to let me know that I have been cleared by the agency to fly out for a consult. The contract is done and preliminary medical stuff has been done. Once that's over we can get on with the fun stuff and get me pregnant with M&B's baby!

This blog will chronicle my pregnancy, thoughts, and feelings, as well as some lovely belly pictures. I want M&B to feel as close to the pregnancy as possible so they'll have my memories to cherish along with their own.

I'm very excited for all of us and I can't wait to see what the journey brings.