It has been awhile, hasn’t it? I’ve had a lot of time to think things through, roughly every night for hours when I should be trying to fall asleep. In the moments where I struggle to juggle two children, and even in my moments of success… my mind finds a way to remind me of what is to come. The long and curvy road I once had ahead of me has become smaller, and yet more profound as the mile markers let me know I’m closer to my destination. My blog posts before have been more informative, this one is really a glimpse into my mind and heart. As always, thank you for reading, thank you for sharing, and thank you for supporting. Please enjoy as you read, and feel free to comment or question, I’ve got answers.
I decided I truly wanted to be a surrogate one morning while I was nursing Charlie on the couch and watching Frozen with Lucy. In that moment, I felt the weight of raising two children come off of my shoulders, I felt like I had it down. I remember researching agencies, laws, and statistics on surrogate pregnancy. I remember how my heart raced and the excitement in my being when I hit submit on my intake form with Northwest Surrogacy Center. I honestly thought, “well, they’ll tell me I weigh too much, or that I had my kids to close together, or maybe they don’t want brown eyed surrogates? Surely there is something that will disqualify me.” And then, there wasn’t. I got a phone call about four hours after I submitted my intake form. Turns out, I didn’t weigh too much, they couldn’t care less that I had pregnancies so close together, and interestingly enough, they preferred brown eyes over blue (ha-ha). At this point in my journey, I’d not shared anything with anyone. I wondered if perhaps I was crazy, or what the world would think of my seemingly wild decision. One of my best girlfriends had come over to cut mine and Steph’s hair when I got the phone call to further question my motives and sincerity regarding surrogacy. After I took the call, I watched as my best friends faces lit up with joy; their eager ears drinking in everything I had to say. I knew I’d do it if all the other pieces fell into my lap, and one by one they did.
Fear not the unknown.
As politically charged as our world is right now, I feel grateful to be able to pursue such a large endeavor. If you watch the news, get on facebook, or even look outside, there is evidence of a change in our world in every corner. It is a tumultuous time for our country as the tides change, and as people everywhere use their voices and actions to stand firm in what they believe. I hate assigning democrat or republican titles to myself; I am a free thinker. Reproductive rights are something I believe to be hugely important, no matter what side of the ugly crooked line you fall on. I won’t ever assert my political views into this blog, but I would like to express my gratitude that I live in a state (not country; it is not legal in every state) that allows me to pursue this dream. Of course things can change, we see it all of the time. The world right now is a lot like fighting with a two year old about having more then just goldfish for dinner. “Yes, of course you can have goldfish, but you also need to eat this delicious meal that I scoured pinterest for, dumped half of the ingredients in the floor twice, and had to go back to the store six times before I finally had everything.” My point is, it is useless to fight with people that aren’t willing to hear you, and people that don’t understand the struggle and work you’ve put into something. And…sometimes its okay to lose your shit, cut your losses, and just have the damn goldfish for dinner. Before you read further, please be mindful that the concern I am about to express is legitimate in my life right now, and if you cannot relate to it or see it from my perspective, that is completely fine! As I have said, I am grateful to have the option of surrogacy before me, but at times, and more so recently, I worry that I will end up like the two year old trying to have goldfish for dinner; my voice will not be heard. I worry that if I have to have an abortion because the baby is not fit to survive outside of the womb, or something in that lot of awfulness, I may face an uphill battle. I worry about the rights of my intended family as well, because of course if ever that type of decision were to be made, it would be THEIR choice, not yours, not MINE, not the GOVERNMENT. People that mock the women that marched for their rights, unless you know personally what that march meant to them, then is it really your place to say they were throwing a “temper tantrum” or acting foolish? I can’t say that I would march or protest, its just not in my nature. However, what I have seen on social media leads me to believe I would face more scrutiny than support if something like this were to arise. Would you, my readers, my friends, people that have somehow had a positive connection with me at one point or another turn your backs on me? Would you type-cast me, and throw the blanket of sweeping generalization over my back as you have other women? Would you think of me as an accessory to crime, to MURDER, if this choice had to be made? It is very easy to post a meme you feel connected to, or articulate your feelings regarding abortion, but how many of you have walked down that path? I hope and pray that none of you have or ever have to be faced with such a devastating decision, but if you were faced with that beast, I would offer my body as a shield to your heart… would you do the same for me? I have invited all of you to experience this with me, regardless of who you are, what you believe, or how you feel. I have shared my life so freely on social media that I’m fairly certain most of you could navigate my living room, floor bombs and all, in the dark with your eyes closed. I have done this because I am proud of my life and my children, and my happiness is so great that I can’t help but share it. If my despair and trying times were ever as large as my happiness, it would be my hope that I would be met with empathy and love from all of you; straight, gay, black, white, democrat, republican. I can say that I believe in equal rights in every facet of the word because while it is not my fight now, it could be someday. It is okay to disagree with me, we can each have a bite of the failed pinterest dinner and sit down to a bowl of goldfish when we are hungry in two hours. All I ask is that you consider what you just read, afterall, you’re reading this because you want to know about my journey. I hope the tough decisions never become a reality I am faced with, but the fear of the unknown weighs more than a screaming two year old that doesn’t want to go grocery shopping.
I have also had to learn to accept how others view my decision. Most of the time, I am met with shock, followed by disbelief, followed by joy. I’ve had to learn to choke back the vomit when I hear when people tell me I’m amazing, selfless, or even a “hero.” Hero is the one I’ve had the hardest time accepting. I was having a conversation with Stephanie (my sister in law who will be referenced repeatedly) about just how profound this experience will be for not only myself, but for my intended family. Stephanie said to me “you know, you’re going to have to accept that word. Even if you don’t like it, think about, you are just that for whatever family you end up with.” Hero still seems a little far off, but I am getting better at accepting praise for what is to come, even if it leaves me feeling like I’ve just gotten an awkward side hug. I have also had to learn to respond to people that think this is weird, even my own family. I was talking to my older brother about this, he met me with a wild eye and just said he felt like it was kind of “strange.” It is STRANGE, but that’s what keeps life interesting.
Recently I’ve also had to come to terms with how this will change my professional life. I obviously cant and wont tell every table (since I’m doomed to be a waitress forever) about this journey, but I think using myself as a physical platform for being giving is pretty damn cool. I have just begun to get my feet wet and venture into the pool of perhaps finding a potential career. I love waiting tables, its fast, its a workout, its very social, and the money is damn good almost every shift. All those things aside, I feel like I am wasting my life waiting tables two days a week when there are so many more lions I’ve yet to tame within myself. Lions that don’t involve runny egg whites, or a steak cooked between medium and medium well (that temperature doesn’t exist, folks!!!) I very recently applied for a job as a communications specialist, ( a 911 dispatcher), and while I am truly excited at the prospect, I know that this surrogacy journey may be too difficult for a potential employer to wrap their mind around.
The pregnancy itself will not leave me bedridden (I hope), so while I’d still be able to work, I would require a bit more than a childless Susie Smith. I would be facing time off for the embryo transfer, potential scheduling conflicts with prenatal appointments, and then of course, leave time for after the baby is born. It is an odd thing to think about, taking six weeks off WITHOUT the responsibility of having a newborn to care for. After Lucy’s birth, the shock and physical healing took about three weeks to overcome. After Charlie’s birth I had about five minutes to get over myself and any physical pain I was in, because Lucy still needed her momma, too. I couldn’t take the pain killers they’d given me after Charlie was born, for fear I’d become too nauseated or drowsy to care for Lucy. I just had to pull up my big girl mesh panties, take some ibuprofen and pray for an easy day. Easy, HAHA!
I discussed earlier how surrogacy pertains to me socially, and recently I have found that people have a very ridiculous notion of what this really is. I took Stephanie to a nice dinner for her birthday, childfree THANK THE LORD ( and my mom, you da real MVP!) After our blissful dinner of which not one puff or yogurt melt were apart of, we decided to go to a little dive bar for one of Casey’s coworkers “send off.” Upon entering said bar, we were greeted by a few wonderful familiar faces, even better because they were slightly tipsy, and just so happy to see us! It didn’t take long before the conversation shifted to my surrogacy journey, a topic I found so comical given the setting we found ourselves in. I answered questions and listened to the commentary as bad country music, (and even worse line dancing) went on around us, and truthfully, I couldn’t believe some of the things I’d heard! “You’re going to be a surrogate? Why the hell would you do that, I HATED being pregnant!” “I bet that pays BANK! Shit I’d do that for $40,000!” “So when are they inseminating you? Soon?” Ladies and gentlemen, to put things into perspective for you, $40,000 is not exactly a goldmine. If you live in Colorado, you know that a $40,000 wont pay for an entire mortgage, all the bills associated with a house, the groceries you need, or anything else that might come up in a years time. The money is a plus of doing this, but by no means is it an alternative wage source. Casey and I are not rich, and while we probably never will be, we have everything we need, some of what we want, and dreams to keep chasing after. I am still extremely budget conscious, but $40,000 wont fund all of our needs, wants and desires…not even close. Second, I am NOT BEING INSEMINATED! Typing or saying that word, “inseminated”, makes me die a little inside every time. It sounds DISGUSTING. The type of surrogacy I am pursuing is BYOE, Bring your own embryo. The embryo will already be fertilized, ( “Fertilized”…another word that sits like rotten milk in my mouth), by the time it gets to me. The embryo will likely be around 2-6 weeks of development, and thus, no insemi-grossness necessary! The embryo will be inserted via catheter, with an ultra sound serving as a guide, the cool part? I get to watch that happen! To witness the exact second a miracle is taking place sits at about number 2 on my bucket list… right behind checking into a hotel room by myself for two nights of uninterrupted peace. Just kidding, I think the miracle thing is number 1 for sure!
Developments worth mentioning.
People that work in labor and delivery are in fact, closer to god than the rest of us. The men and women that have made birthing babies their lifework, are truly something to be marveled at. I know not everyone has a positive birth experience, but surely all of you mommas can think of one interaction, big or small, with a person from your birth experience that made the experience better just with their presence. Enter Kathy, the nurse I had for Lucy’s delivery. Kathy upon first impression, is beautiful, sweet, and genuinely caring. Kathy’s work during the days leading up to Lucy’s birth are part of the reason I had Charlie so close behind..I actually enjoyed the hardest part of the pregnancy because of this woman. I didn’t like the purple popsicles, so she found me a stash of the blue. I asked Kathy in a moment of weakness “what if I poop though?! I don’t want to!” Kathy laughed, and replied with a smile, “everyone is nervous about that, but I promise you wont even notice, after all there will be a lot more important things going on in this room.” I didn’t like the doctor that insisted I have a C section due to a “long labor”, so she dried my tears of frustration and told me “I will help you get this baby out, don’t you worry one bit about a C section.” Kathy respected my nervousness and desire for modesty, too. You see, when you have your first baby, all of the nakedness and hands of strangers isn’t exactly the most comfortable thing in the entire world. Fear not, will-be momma’s, when I had Charlie, all of that shit was out the window. I could’ve literally given birth in front of the Pope, nakedness and parts became simply just that the second time around. I was afraid and she reassured me. I needed to ask the embarrassing questions and tell someone my fears, she laughed and answered them with the love of a mother. I bonded with her because she never faltered; she held my hand as tight as she could through all the fear, love, and change. Good Samaritan, like many hospitals, moves you to a smaller room once you’ve had a few hours of downtime after delivery. The day that Lucy was born, Good Sam was in divert, meaning they were at capacity in labor and delivery. Kathy willingly offered to stay with me well past her shift, insisting that she “see things through.” After Lucy was born, I enjoyed just a few minutes of downtime before my family and Kathy raced to collect my belongings in an effort to free up the room. It was a shit show, that somehow through my bloodshot, swollen eyes, I saw humor in. Once we were moved and settled, Kathy returned to say goodbye to us. Kathy hugged me and told me she’d see me again, and was certain it wouldn’t be too long (she’s got psychic ability too, apparently), annnnnnd just 18 months later I was back again! The reason I mention Kathy in such detail, is because Kathy has granted me a great honor… Kathy has agreed (assuming its okay with the intended family) to be there for me during the delivery of this baby. I sent Kathy a message asking her if she’d think about it, and she didn’t miss a beat! Kathy replied with the same joyful, excited, genuinely caring, heart she’d had the day I had Lucy. I couldn’t be any more thrilled or blessed to have this wonderful woman by my side, not to work, but simply to be my cheerleader as I go through one of the most defining moments in my life. This has been a HUGE source of happiness for me the further I go, Kathy if you’re reading this, sorry if I fangirl’d too hard, #youdabest, but you deserve much more than my words can offer!
Getting insurance for this process has been a very surreal experience. I easily obtained a policy, but having to explain my unique situation to the customer service agent was interesting. Given that I have to carry this policy in addition to my own, I had to make certain I wouldn’t jeopardize my current insurance plan. I told the lady three or four times before it was clear, “I am going to be a surrogate mother, this child will have zero biological connection to me, I am literally just the greenhouse.” Once we established that and got everything taken care of, I began the process of calling Doctors offices to see if they would take on my situation. The first two places I called were very taken aback, and told me “we’re not sure we can accommodate your special needs here, due to the legal aspect of things.” My entire pregnancy will be dealt with and handled with the utmost attention to the legal details… the surrogacy agency will provide me with an attorney that specializes in surrogacy, no lines will be crossed, no i’s will be without a dot. I think because this process is so unique, it scares the shit out of a doctors office. I’m sure the people I was speaking to immediately thought of the “what if something goes wrong under our care? LAWSUIT, LAWSUIT, LAWSUIT.” I still haven’t ultimately selected my place of care, and I have to have faith that the right place for me will soon make itself evident. I am not trying to get anything more then prenatal care for myself and a baby, the fact that this baby wont share a bloodline with me shouldn’t matter to anyone. A greenhouse without a gardener will not thrive on its own.
As far as what is to come, I will undergo the psychological evaluation likely just before the end of spring, then I will be matched to my family. It is bittersweet knowing that I will soon be closing the chapter of nursing Charlie. I am sad that I will no longer have that connection, and that I will soon have to settle into my life with two toddlers, and no more babies. However, once the final chapter has been written with my little sweet baby Charlie, I will get to truly start the more involved work. I will begin the IVF cycle of injections to strengthen my uterus in order to ensure a safe pregnancy. Once I have completed these injections, I will travel to Portland for the embryo transfer. I would love to have my mom, or Stephanie join me for such a momentous occasion, but life is something that doesn’t stop for anyone these days. I have asked my dear friend Misty to join me, because I know she has plenty of help with her two children, and getting away for a weekend to sit in a hotel room in silence with takeout and pay per view movies would be appreciated by her more than anyone else on this planet. Misty is excited to join me, which makes what will likely be an uncomfortable few days truly something to look forward to. I mean, watching an embryo transfer is cool and all, but not hearing “mom!” or “I need this!” five hundred times in one day is really freaking exciting, not just for me, but for her, too!
That is all I have to share for now, and it is my hope you’ve truly enjoyed what I’ve shared with you, as this has been the most raw and emotionally charged post I’ve shared. My journey is moving fast, so my writing hiatus will be short this next time around. Please, stay tuned, and keep me and my prospective family in your thoughts and hearts. I know that they are out there… I’ve never been more excited to meet perfect strangers in all of my life.