Daddy’s, diapers, and details.

Thank you for reading my blog about my surrogacy journey. I truly appreciate every view, every comment, every inquiry. For the duration of my blog, and out of respect for my intended family and those involved on this journey, I will be using first initials ONLY when I discuss either of the parents, or anyone involved in this process. Please enjoy your reading, ask questions if you have them, and think happy thoughts for my intended family and myself.

My phone rang at about 12:30 last Tuesday, an unfamiliar number lighting up screen. I was in the trenches of peanut butter and jelly scraps and soap suds, so I answered, already annoyed with the likelihood that I’d be greeted by a telemarketer. “Hello, Claire? This is “H” from Northwest Surrogacy Center. I’m reaching out because I have some really exciting news, do you have a few minutes?” I had just a few days prior gotten the confirmation that my psychological evaluation came back issue free, so I was definitely taken aback to be getting a call regarding other “really exciting news.” H’s voice filled my ears, my heart, and my mind as she began telling me that they had an intended family profile for Casey and I to go over. “We’ve been doing some behind the scenes work here, and we think we may have a couple for you guys! The intended family live in the states, they are a gay couple, and they are interested in speaking to you further based on your surrogate profile.” I could feel the swell of tears rising in my eyes as she described “J” and “M” and though I tried to hold them back, by the end of “H’s” detailing I felt the rush of big, warm, happy tears, spill down my face. “Of course I’m interested in seeing their profile, they sound wonderful!” I managed to squeak out between the happy tears. “Well, then I will send that profile right over for you and Casey to look at, and if you’re interested from there, then you just say the word!” H’s excitement was infectious, I was so excited that I refreshed my mail every 10 seconds until I saw the email I’d been waiting for.

When I very first started on this journey over a year ago, I had to write a letter to my intended family. My intended family wrote a similar letter to their intended surrogate, this was what greeted me when I first opened J and M’s PDF file. Reading the words “Dear potential surrogate” sent chills down my spine, and tears streaming down my face. The letter they wrote was beautiful. J and M shared highlights of their personal and professional life, and included why they want children. I think after reading about them, anyone would want to be involved in helping create their family. J and M are both educated, lead very strong and important professional lives, and J and M share a beautiful love story, who isn’t a sucker for those? I immediately tried to remember what all I’d written for my letter, and wondered what I could’ve said that caught their eye. I know they received a redacted form of all the questionnaires I filled out, but I wondered how redacted? Did J and M know that I had dropped out of high school, and had a GED? Did J and M know that I am just a waitress? Did J and M know that I never finished college?  If they did know all of these things, I wonder what made them say “she’s the one we’re interested in.” I hope that someday I will be able to have an answer to that question. I fell immediately in love with them, and that was all based on just a retelling of their story and journey, all before I’d ever scrolled to the bottom and seen the pictures they’d sent of themselves, their home, and their fur babies. I have been told I write well, I wonder if they felt a connection based just upon that, or if it was the pictures of me at various stages in each of my pregnancies that piqued their interest?

The more the merrier

J and M’s wants and desires to have a family come with a unique circumstance to whomever their future (Pick me! Pick Me! Pick me!) surrogate may be. J and M want to do a two embryo transfer, meaning… TWINS! I initially said when I started this, that I would love to carry a twin pregnancy. I truly never thought it would be something I had the opportunity to encounter on this already larger than life journey, but here I am standing in the same room with this huge opportunity. J and M have a total of 3 embryos, two of which we will be using for my pregnancy. The eggs are donor eggs, and interestingly enough, one embryo will be biologically J’s child, while the other will be biologically M’s child. If the science of this isn’t blowing your mind, please take a moment to realize the magnitude of what the love that this couple has is capable of creating. For two gay males, there is not much in the way of option regarding have biological children. Surrogacy is an incredible endeavor for all involved, but it comes at a significant cost to the intended parents. Many people that have children just come to the decision they are ready, and usually it is so relatively quickly. J and M have had to financially, emotionally, and physically go down a road most of us will never know, all in the name of having their own children. I cannot imagine the strength, fear, financial weight, or the worry that must be associated on their end of this story.

I am extremely excited to be considered for carrying a twin pregnancy. As a twin myself, it is something that I have always found so deeply fascinating. My mother carried my brother and I to full term, and delivered us naturally, each of us weighing in at six pounds five ounces… that’s a lot of baby! My mom is the ultimate example of what a strong, loving mother is, and I think that carrying this twin pregnancy will make me love and respect her even more than I already do. I mean, as much as I love and respect the woman, I am still very bitter that at almost 60 years of age, my mom looks better than I do in a swimsuit, has the patience of a monk,  she has the love of fifty moms, and the woman has zero stretch marks… she’s obviously superhuman. I am also shamelessly admitting, that while I am really excited to carry this twin pregnancy, I am equally as excited that I will not be the one on the two newborn autobahn. Sleepless nights have turned into sleepless years, and while I am grateful to be a part of this experience with J and M, I am SO looking forward to sleeping again… someday. Sorry J and M, if you’re reading this, they sleep through the night at 8 weeks, I promise!

Fully informed, yet full of fear.

Admittedly, I am terrified of having a C section. I watched with eager eyes as Stephanie underwent hers, it was truly miraculous. Beautiful as it was, I also felt her fears as they took her alone into a cold operating room for the spinal block, and made her wait there without me, for what felt like hours. I had sweat dripping all over my clothes and scrubs as I paced the hallways waiting for the doctors to call me back to her. I was breathing heavily, having to remind myself to be strong so I could be there for her when she needed me most. If I was feeling all of those things, I cant imagine what her thought process was.  Once I was in the OR, I talked loudly about various funny things, anything to shift her focus from the dramatic movements her body was making as the doctors worked to birth Benjamin. The entire process was fast, precise, and eliminated my fears about a C section… Or so I thought, until I was faced with potentially the same outcome. Childbirth of any nature is intense, it reminds me of landing a plane. It is a crash, but it is usually a controlled enough crash that everyone makes out okay in the end. I know in my heart that if I end up having a C section with these twins, that I will be in the best possible hands for my care, and that of these babies. It is my hope that J and M will be able to attend the birth of their twins with a bit more ease if a C section does end up being the safest route. If you’ve ever attended a birth, you know the magic that is watching a family fall into place right before you very eyes. For J and M, this will likely be the first large connection they have to these children, since they cannot physically bond with them in the way that most couples do while the babies are in utero.

I’ll be pregnant in a few months, but first, birth control pills..

I dragged my feet for over a month when it came time to switch my birth control pills back to regular, and not nursing, pills. I finally called Kaiser to obtain new contraceptive, and began running through the list of options with a very pleasant nurse, “B.” B suggested that I take a pill that would only suffer me four lousy periods a year, ladies, doesn’t that just sound like a margarita on the beach? After going over some standard history/questions, I informed B that I would need to have aforementioned lousy period for tracking purposes since I was planning on becoming pregnant with a surrogate baby by years end. B excitedly exclaimed that she knew me through our wonderful friend, Missy, and that she has read my blog! I shared the few new details I’d not yet shared via blog post with a very excited, supportive B before we ordered my prescription and ended our call. Honestly, it was a very proud moment, based on tiny details, B knew who I was, and was supportive like an old friend would be. Best call for birth control EVER!

The empowerment that is birth

I had the pleasure of attending my nieces birth on March 23rd. I have seen a C section, watched my own children being born, but never have I experienced someone else’s vaginal birth. It really is the most beautiful moment in a woman’s life, working to give life to another human being. I watched in awe as my strong sister in law, Kaley, gave birth effortlessly and beautifully to my darling “little bit” (she was anything but a “little bit” at 8 lbs 15 ounces). Kaley was strong during her labor, never wavering in her strength and conviction to birth her baby girl, despite a very trying and exhausting admission process. Little bit was born with some meconium aspiration, and thus needed some help “pinking up” and raising her oxygen level. Kaley lay a mere fifteen feet away watching as her daughter received oxygen through a mask, even from feet away, you could feel her loving embrace enveloping sweet Lila as she lay there getting poked and prodded at. I stood next to my very quiet twin brother and watched as two tears traced down the sides of his face as he watched with a concerned eye over his brand new baby girl. Fear? perhaps. Love? most definitely. Lila ended up doing just fine relatively quickly, and I excused myself to allow time for Evan and Kaley to bond with their new sweetheart. I drove home with a smile that must’ve been a mile wide, love really is incredible, especially the brand new, knock you on your ass love that you feel for your brand new baby. As I left the hospital, I lovingly looked at my brother and said “I’m so glad its you and not ME!” We laughed, knowing it would always be all of us in this together, and though one of us would be more exhausted than the other… it wouldn’t be ME!

Lights, Camera, technical failure.

The morning of our Skype call came so quickly, my body didn’t have time to catch up. Between watching my niece be born, celebrating my sons birthday, a grueling psychological evaluation, and a disgusting stomach flu that rendered our entire household out of commission, I found myself anxious and suffering through what I told myself had to be a lingering side effect of aforementioned stomach bug. 11:00am came, and a Skype call request lit up my little laptop. The faces of my intended fathers and our case manager filled the screen, their happiness and excitement broke a smile across my face instantly. THEY COULD NOT HEAR US! I am not tech savvy, not even slightly, and this was a big slap in my “I ditched computer class, A LOT” face! The night before, I played with the app to ensure that it would work, I found myself immediately worried when I couldn’t get the damn moon and bridge frame to go away, but at least I had SOUND! Surely J and M would’ve seen the humor in a silly frame, right? We tried for ten minutes before our case manager, “C” came up with option two, a “zoom” call. The zoom call worked, and soon I had a voice to match to the sweet, eager, smiles that starred at me in wonder.

Our call started out with the typical ice breakers, “where were you born”, “what do you do” ” why surrogacy.” We all took turns answering, and when I answered why I wanted to be a surrogate, my answer immediately generated smiles across the board, our case manager, “C” said that may have been the best answer she has ever heard. YES! It wasn’t even rehearsed, of course I’d thought of how I’d answer this question, but when my time came, I’m glad the truth shined from within me like a lighthouse over the Atlantic. I said that pregnancy has been my very favorite season of life so far, and that I have never felt more beautiful or empowered as a woman than I have when I am pregnant. I truly feel bad for people that don’t have this same feeling. I mean not sucking in, wearing tee shirt dresses without looking like a lumpy bowl of Jell-O, the gorgeous strong hair and nails, what’s not to love? I have no problem trading a few weeks of my life for morning sickness if I in turn can feel like a pregnant goddess for months, I truly LOVE IT.

The conversation went to the dark corners of potential outcomes that most of us don’t allow ourselves to think about. In a pregnancy with multiples, there is always the potential for the multiples to multiply. That is to say, that one of the implanted embryos could split, and thus form a triplet pregnancy. The issue with a triplet pregnancy, is that the health risks for both the carrier and the babies skyrockets. The agency leaves the choice of selective reduction to the intended parents and the surrogate, a choice we must both unanimously agree upon…should it ever come to that. J and M said yes, and Casey and I followed suit. We all want healthy babies, and for that to be possible, we must be informed and intelligent about any and all decisions and measures it takes to ensure that outcome. Once we’d established that we all had the same set of realistic goals, I watched as J answered the emotional question “if something goes awry with this embryo transfer, would it be your wish to implant your remaining embryo?” J paused, and for the first time the light from his face dimmed. “Yes, we probably would if we had to go there. This process is very expensive, and likely not something we could afford to do again should things not happen.” I swallowed the lump in my throat, and assured J that I am an excellent greenhouse, which is true, but god I hope and pray that we have fate on our side with these babies… J and M deserve this more than anyone, I desperately want to be the one that gives this to them.

Within you I see myself.

Call it strange, but when we ended our call with J and M, the connection I felt was so strong I felt as if I’d known them for years. J appeared to be the more outgoing, spunky, definitely a free spirit type, hell, J even had the same cheeky smile that I myself wear when I am truly at my happiest. J also had a southern accent, something that I am a sucker for, BIG TIME!  M was regal, thoughtful, and just a very interesting personality to me. M reminded me a great deal of my Casey, in that he seemed like he is always extremely calm and soft. I watched as his strong, masculine facial features melted away like butter as he discussed the future of these babies. I wonder if J and M could see themselves within Casey and I as well? Casey said immediately after our call, “I knew that there was little that could be done to blow this meeting once you heard J’s accent and shared a few laughs with him, it was over the first five minutes in!” Casey also said, “I feel like it’ll be you and J, and M and I. We have so much in common personality wise, it is crazy how much their couple chemistry is like our own.” I got the answer to my question, “what made you pick me?” J answered immediately, “your profile was wonderful, everything about it. Your family is just beautiful and darling.” I knew it was the pictures, after all, who doesn’t love a beautiful pregnant woman wearing a Texas sized smile?

As our call continued, our sweet son made an appearance. Charlie, “Kitty” , is a giant puddle of love, I swooned as I heard them “oooh” and “awww” at one of my most prized gifts in the world. J then informed me that while they were discussing my children the night before the call, they realized that their combined weights at birth were equivalent to one of my babies. “I was only 2 pounds at birth, I was very premature. M was 8 pounds, so together we are one of your babies!” J announced with a laugh. I told them breast milk definitely agrees with my children, and then I told them that I could commit to six months of pumped and shipped breast milk for the twins if it was their wish. Our case manager, C, inquired about my nursing journey. I laughed as I answered, “well, lets just say with my single babies I produced enough milk that I could have ended hunger in several third world countries.” We all shared a laugh, things felt less like an interview, and more like dinner with old friends playing catch up. We discussed whether or not I had an epidural, and when I told them yes, I was pleased that they were not turned off by my decision. I don’t do the nut job in labor, screaming at everyone, writhing in agony-thing. I’m not saying every un-medicated birth is this way,  but I know that deep within myself lives this “crazy bitch in labor”… I’m not a pretty crier… I get double chins, sweaty, and just can’t hang. Epidural Claire was laughing, having a good time, not saying the F word, and just the same happy, funny, loon she always is. I don’t know yet how this delivery will go, but I’d like to keep things light hearted and fun.

Goodbye maybe, hello YES!

After our call ended, I informed C that we did not need to sleep on our decision regarding J and M, that we were a definite YES! I knew J and M would likely need their time to discuss such a big decision, but the 22 hours of wait time between the end of that call and the ding of my iphone as I received their answer was agonizing. I went to work and tried to keep it casual and collected. My morning felt like an out of body experience. I always make killer money, but today was exceptionally different. Work was slow, the morning dragged, and waiting for their response made me so aware of how slowly time was passing. I don’t know if it was my super cute, sparkly headband and bitchin hairdo, or the smile that I couldn’t wipe off of my face, but people kept complimenting me on my service, my smile, and my warmth. I got three $20 tips, and made roughly 40% for my lousy daily sales. I finally got the email, I opened it and felt the burn of tears rush to my eyes as I read “We are a yes!” Surely, this must be what a textbook perfect moment felt like. J and M felt it, too! Casey and I shared our hearts, and they theirs, and fate decided we could take this journey on together, isn’t that just beautiful?

From here, we start the road to their forever.

Folks, I am looking at an August embryo transfer of these precious surro-babes! I’m happy to report that the tradition of someone always being pregnant for Lucy’s birthday shall live on another year! The twins will be here around April of next year, and J and M can begin writing their story without any of this fertility, surrogacy, embryo, stuff being their co-author. Someone’s forever will begin where my story with them ends (figuratively, not literally), it is truly magical. I have to schedule a home check, and get some blood work and testing done with my new OBGYN to make sure I can safely sustain this pregnancy, and then we will begin the IVF treatments, and start on the road to welcoming these babies home.

For you, from me.

My gift to you, J and M, is not just the growing of your babies, but my forever promise to be an ear, an open heart, hands to hold your own and your precious children, and a vessel to safeguard their miraculous and wonderful little lives until they are physically able to be in the arms they’ve always belonged in. Thank you for picking me to be yours.

It’s not goodbye, it is see you later.

Thank you again for reading, sharing, and supporting. Please keep J, M, Casey, myself, and these wonderful embryo’s in your thoughts and prayers in the coming months. My posts will be much more frequent now, so please be on the look out for what happens next!

 

 

8 thoughts on “Daddy’s, diapers, and details.

  1. Not gonna lie, this made me cry! But, they were the happiest of tears! In the past i often thought of surrogacy. I don’t know if I’d be a good fit honestly. I live that I can follow your journey! It’s beautiful and heart warming. i will definitely be keeping you, the babies, J and M in my thoughts and prayers! You truly are my hero!

    Like

  2. Awe! I’m am so incredibly overjoyed for you, your family and J & M!! This is going to be so incredible! I love reading your blogs and as someone who has struggled with losing 4 babies; am completely grateful of your decision. Such an amazing, selfless thing to do for another human being. You have moved to the top of my hero list!

    Like

    1. Em, you’re my hero! You’ve been through so much to have your baby, but you keep smiling, keep fighting, and now you’ve done it! I’m endlessly proud and excited for your present and your future! Thank you for reading, I am very glad to have such a supportive network of women!

      Like

  3. Claire,
    You are truly an amazing woman and this is the epitome of what true love and selflessness looks like. I cannot wait to continue to follow your story and you, along with all the others involved here will stay deeply imbedded in my thoughts and prayers.

    Like

  4. Claire you have grown into an amazing, giving, strong and beautiful woman and mother. Your gift to these dad’s is amazing as I am sure you know. God bless you, the babies, doctors and dads!
    I am proud to tell your story!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s