Monday, August 27, 2012

Breaking up is hard to do :(

So, it's official. I'm breaking up with my IPs. I am heart-broken over it, but it's just been one thing after another, and this just isn't feeling like this is where I'm meant to be. The last time I ignored that little voice in my head that said maybe this isn't my ideal situation, I ended up divorced less than a year into my marriage. So, at least this time we didn't get as far as swapping bodily fluids, right?

After some emails to the nurse, the doctor finally called me at 4:45 this afternoon. Turns out there's an issue with J that can take anywhere from 3-12 months to resolve. Apparently they've decided to use S as the genetic father at this time, but I'm just not feeling like this is the match for me anymore. And, based on our history, if I stayed with this couple, as great as they are, something new would happen next week to push us back yet again, and then I'd be kicking myself.

I have massive guilt over this. I like J, and the little I know of S. My case manager is going to write the break-up email, but she said I can email them myself after she's had a chance to if I feel it's necessary. And I do. I  don't imagine us maintaining contact, but I just hope they aren't mad at me, and I hope they get their baby as soon as possible. I haven't met S, but I know J is going to make a great father. I wonder if I can send them a baby shower gift, whenever it does happen.

This match just hasn't been what I was hoping for since the beginning. At every step we've met obstacles, and we were assured that they spoke English, which is important to the relationship I had hoped to build. J speaks English, but doesn't write it, and S does neither. Our emails have been mitigated by Google Translate, which amounts to us talking at each other more than communicating. I want so dearly to be part of a baby-making team, instead of being outsourced (that is not a disparagement to the fantastic women who have and will carry for foreign IPs, you're stronger than I am, just how I would feel working with IPs with whom communication is very limited). So I'm taking my out, and I'm running with it. I sincerely hope that I'm the one who is hurt the most in this situation, and J & S find a surro better suited to their situation to help them build their family.

And me, I still desperately want to be having me a gayby. ASAP. It looks like this decision will lead me to another agency, as well. I don't think that I've named my agency specifically, but regardless, I have nothing bad to say about them. The staff and the director have been amazing. They've gone above and beyond, and have been unbelievably accessible and supportive. Unfortunately, they don't tend to cater to a lot of American gay couples, just by happenstance, and we seem to be in agreement that, if that's what I'm looking for, and I am, this is not the place for me to be. I'm sad to be leaving them, but I am not interested in waiting around here when they are other agencies with plenty of couples that fit my desires waiting for a surro. I just hope that the doctor can transfer my screening records so that we can get this show on the road.

Tonight: wallowing. Tomorrow: new adventures.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

How much is too much?

Warning, a rant fueled lightly by rum & coke lies within:

So, on Sunday we had a great visit with J, our IF, which ended with him telling me they were still going to try and use the original egg donor, contingent on J's not being a cystic fibrosis carrier. I knew that J was meeting with the doctor on Thursday, so I've been waiting anxiously all week for confirmation of some sort of plan.

Yesterday (Thursday) morning, I emailed my case manager, fishing for information about the appointment. Normally she's great at responding in a super timely manner, if only to say she's looking into an issue, so I already was feeling like it was a little weird I didn't hear back from her all day. Finally, today at 6:30 in the evening I got an email saying that the doctor would call me "with an update on J and explain the delay, sorry. Once you have heard from (the doctor) please let me know so we can see where you stand on waiting still." Um, huh? This sounds kind of cagey and serious.

Since it was almost 7 on a Friday evening, I was thinking I wasn't going to be hearing from the doctor anytime soon, so I responded, pleading for a bit more information. Are we talking extra testing, a few more weeks, or egg donor issues, a few more months? Turns out it's going "to be a longer wait, a few months, donor issues and more. Doc will explain." Wait, what? What's "more?" Why can't you explain? What's going on and why does it always have to happen before a freaking weekend when the business world shuts down, but my brain keeps on plugging away on its obsessive track? I will still be checking my email with a frequency bordering on addiction, just in case someone forgets that it's Saturday and decides to bless me with some information. And what is happening that is so important that the doctor has to explain? My case manager and the nurses have always been the ones to impart the information before, why is this so different? Clearly it's freaking me out a little bit.

So I have the weekend to stew. To stew over the "more" and the "where (I) stand on waiting still." On one hand, I am, at heart, an extremely loyal person. I literally have guilt for thinking these thoughts. On the other hand, if I'm being honest with myself, I'm having second thoughts about our current situation.

Pro: J seems like a really great guy, and I really enjoyed spending time with him, and my family liked him as well. I've invested time, and he's invested both time and money into this match. I want for him to have his baby(ies) as soon as possible. Also, what does it say about my character that I would jump ship over an extended wait? Who's to say if I found another couple, things would move any smoother?

Con: I understand that things don't always follow a schedule in the real world, but I was told, in May, that we should be transferring in September, at the latest. Now we're looking at, what, December? Next year?! If we hit no more roadblocks, that is. And this is where my biggest issue is, I think: I believe in kismet/fate/destiny/whatever. Things happen for a reason. And that small part of my brain sees all these issues as the universe's way of saying "get out while you can, this isn't the place for you." And the fact that I like J so much is actually playing largely into the con side. It makes me so sad that I'll probably only see him a few more times, at the most, and I don't hear from him on a regular basis; the language and time differences mean that I'll probably never text him to tell him his baby just kicked or post a sono pic on his Facebook. Tonight I am feeling that, back in May, I made the wrong decision to match with J & S. Not because they aren't great people, and won't make fantastic fathers, but I just don't know if they're the couple to make this journey what I've dreamt it could be. And I know it's not all about me; in the long view of this whole baby-making story, I'm just a supporting character. But, for my own mental well-being, I should try and make things a little bit about me, on occasion.

I am feeling so stuck right now. I can hardly stomach the thought of stepping out of this arrangement. I can't handle the idea of hurting J & S and wasting their time and money and forcing them to have to find another surro. On the other hand, I've been shushing this voice in my head for months now, the one I clearly should have listened to when it first said, "Are you sure you want to be matched with a couple on the other side of the world?" And the voice seems to get more ammunition as the process wears on. At what point can I say that this isn't working out for me? Do I want to say that? What is the "more," dammit?!

Monday, August 20, 2012

East and West meet. And have lunch. And bowl.

Oh, wow, that was a long day. Almost all good, but long. It started at 2:30am when my daughter came into bed, and then again at 4:30 when my son woke up, and continued to sleep off and on until my saint of a husband got out of bed with him at 7:45. At which point I got a wonderous half hour or so of solid sleep before I dragged my butt out of bed to face the million little things that needed to be done before J got here.

J text me at 7:00 to let me know he was on his way, and it's a good 5.5-6 hours from LA here, so I figured that we'd be good if we were all ready by noon, so that's what I was shooting for, with lunch being ready at 1:00. At 11:00ish, I got a call from J, saying something along the lines of, "I'm sorry, but I think I'm at your house." Apparently he couldn't sleep last night, so he'd actually left the hotel at 4:30am, and had actually spent almost an hour walking around the park herebefore he finally decided to come over. I was still in my scrubby pajamas that say "Evil Twins" across the boobs, and still had Clorox soaking in the toilets. Nothing cooked or even in the oven yet.  Regardless, we welcomed him with open arms, and I threw Kismet, a natural life of the party, at him to entertain whilst I gathered my wits

It wasn't long before things started to feel more comfortable (to me, at least). I feel like all the worry about communication was wasted energy. I don't think we understood 100% of what each other said, but I think we understood at least 95% of what he said, and I think he understood at least 85% of what we said. He shared with us a lot about his family (he's the youngest and only boy, with 5 older sisters), and Kismet and I subjected him to 5 volumes of our yearly photobooks, which he seemed to enjoy. We were honored to share his first American meal with him, and it wouldn't have occurred to me if he didn't point it out, but this was the first time he had ever used a knife and fork. He talked about S being the one who likes to cook in their house, and how he looks forward to sharing their food with us when we visit them in Shanghai someday. He mentioned S getting his visa, and the both of them coming back for maybe a month in January/February. He told me that last week, this was his dream, and it still felt like he was in a dream.

After lunch, I was sure to give him an out if he wanted to escape our craziness and go nap at his hotel, but he said he was good, so we invited him out bowling. We've never been as a family, and Kismet has been asking to go for a while. There's not much to do in Manteca, so it seemed like a good diversion. On our ride over, we learned something that may have contributed to J getting  here so quickly: when Tony stopped at the stop signs, J asked him why he was stopping so much, and we had to explain the concept of stop signs. :-o Fortunately J had made it here without any incident, and learned an important lesson. :)

We had a good time bowling, and I learned that bowling on game with the kids takes almost exactly an hour. It was especially nice that J, Tony and I were all pretty evenly matched: we're all just a step or two above sucky. :) Tony won, but it was close. Teagun wasn't that impressed with the whole process, but Kismet loved it.

After we got home, J left rather abuptly, and Tony and I were worried that he wasn't feeling well, but he wrote me a very nice email shortly after he got to his hotel, and apparently I was yawning at the bowling alley, and he was worried he was bothering us. I felt bad that he felt that way, and I hope I sufficiently explained that my children make me tired, and that's just the way of life around here. I don't let it interfere with my life. I was bummed he missed out on the brownies I made. And I didn't even get a chance to make the cookies I was going to send with him. Oh, well.

Besides the very straight forward "I'm so happy," my favorite quote from his email yesterday afternoon was (translated from Chinese) "The pleasant atmosphere into your home, I once had the wrong impression--I am at home. Oh, really good." Which I took to mean that he was so comfortable here he felt like he was at home. I hope, anyways. :)

Before he left, he said that they are still hoping to use the same egg donor, he just needs to get his blood test to confirm he's not a CF carrier. So I'm very much looking forward to the end of this week, when he meets with the doctor so that we can really figure out what's going on.

I am extra super excited about helping this man and his partner have a baby. J was amzing with my kids; you could really tell he loves kids, and my kids loved him. Kismet was so bummed when he left, and Teagun wouldn't let me help him with anything while J was here, "No, J do it!" Tony and J got along great, as well. Even my dogs liked him, and they never like new men.

So, yes, a very nice visit. A nice boost after my private little hissy fit regarding the state of things last week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the slim chance that we stick with this egg donor and I could be pregnant before Halloween. :-D

I was so bummed I forgot my camera, but I got a couple of cell phone pics of bowling. I got no good pictures of J at all.  :(

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Straight from Shanghai to Manteca. Well, almost.

So, as far as the timeline for the whole surrogacy, I still have no earthly clue what's going on.  But I do know what's happening tomorrow: one of my IFs, J is coming here! To my house! To meet us all for the first time! :-o

J is arriving, literally nowish, at LAX, and touching American soil for the first time. And tomorrow morning, he'll rent a car, and he'll get the option of 2 equally uninspiring routes, I-5 or 99, that will bring him the 5-6 hours it takes to drive from LA to the quiet little nowhere of Manteca. :) At the very least, it's a straight shot. We are situated between I-5 and 99, so it's an easy, if boring, drive.

I had a minor freak-out the other night when I learned he was flying into LAX and not SFO, as I had originally been told. I definitely want to meet him, and would work to make it happen, regardless, I just feel bad that he's driving 6 hours just a few hours after a 13 hour flight. I imagine he's going to be exhausted, and my children are going to bowl him right over. We were originally supposed to have lunch, but I told him to rest, enjoy his morning, and just email me when he leaves LA. We'll plan on an early dinner, maybe.

I'm so excited, and nervous about so many things. First of all, I'm worried about the communication. When we spoke on the phone, I was able to understand him well, but he had an interpreter for what we had to say, and we've both been emailing in our native tongues and using the imperfect services of Google Translate. And now he's coming here on his own. So that's a little intimidating.

Secondly, how much time should we spend together? Should we show him around our little Podunk after dinner? What would he like to see? Should I offer to join him in San Francisco (where he's headed the next few days for sight-seeing) to show him around (I used to live there)? Are we going to smother the poor guy?

Also, should we get him a gift? I was originally feeling uncomfortable with the idea, because nothing felt right, and then I found a baby handprint kit yesterday while cleaning that we were given for our daughter and never used, and that just seemed a little perfect. Even though we saw a similar thing at WalMart earlier that day, and I didn't want to get that one, but this one seemed more meaningful, I guess. I don't know. So I was thinking that, and some homemade cookies (should I get the chance to make them) to last him the next few days. But, still, I don't know. Too much, too little?

And finally, will my children ever allow me to get this house clean enough for guests? Seriously! I am stealing a few moments to just sit down now, and these really are minutes I shouldn't be wasting.

I did, however, solve one issue that was literally stressing me out for weeks. I've decided to cook Garlic Chicken with vegetables and homemade bread for dinner. Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownies for dessert. :-D Bet you wish you were my IF. ;)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

And the hits keep coming

So, I'm not even sure yet how many steps backwards we took today. According to an email from my agency today, the donor tested positive as a genetic carrier for cystic fibrosis, so they may not use her at all. I told my case manager that yesterday the nurse said it would only require the IF to have further genetic testing, delaying us just a week or two, and my case manager replied that she would confirm with the nurse, but she thinks that even if they would choose to just do genetic testing, that could delay the egg retrieval too much, and the donor needs to done by September 22 (/sigh, how wonderful would that have been? Guaranteed transfer before the end of September?). Did you catch all that? All the ifs, possibilies, and unknowns? Because its all those question marks that have been driving me a little mad today. I was hoping to hear back from my case manager today to fill in some of the blanks for me, but that didn't happen.

So, 3 days ago, as far as I knew, hopeful transfer late October. 2 days ago, transfer mid-late September. Yesterday, transfer late September/early October. Today, no clue. If they have to find a new egg donor, that can add weeks or months to the process. And I've heard that Asian donors are even more rare. So, that really sucks.

I do feel that I need to make 2 things clear. First of all, regardless of the fact that, yes, I am frustrated at the situation, I don't place the blame with anybody. Everybody is doing the best with what information they have at the time, adding the extra struggle of coordinating with people in China, and this was something no one was expecting. And I am glad that our IVF clinic is one of the few that does genetic testing, because there was a brief time when we were worried our daughter had cystic fibrosis, and I did the research, and I would wish that on no parent. Apparently this donor had donated previously, and I just hope those children are well.

Secondly, and most importantly, I know that, in the great scheme of things, this affects me very little. My IFs have put in, I'm sure, a lot of time and effort choosing the egg donor, and now they have to go through it all again. And, most importantly, the egg donor. I've been feeling a lot for her today. I have no idea who she is, I only know that shes been an egg donor before, so she's gone out of her way to help others have children, and now there's the possibility that, should she choose to have children someday (if she doesn't have any already), if her partner is also a CF carrier, they can't have their own children (or, at least, it's not advised). What a tragic irony. :(

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Surro Fairy giveth, and the Surro Fairy taketh away...

I was just wrapping my head around my new transfer estimate when I got a call from my nurse at the IVF office telling me that they learned today that the IF is going to need to do further genetic testing, and if he can't get the testing done in Shanghai, then he'll have to get it done when he comes to the US, and that can push back our dates at least 10-14 days. Which is no biggie to me, since it's still better than what I was thinking 2 days ago, but this is so very typical of things in the Surro World, based on my extensive blog research. :) If we're lucky, it's 2 steps forward, 1 step back, and not the other way around. I'm still grateful for all the steps we're taking. :-D

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!

I was prepared to be writing an entry about being excited about how things keep on moving forward, as I should be getting my prenatal vitamins soon. And then, this morning, things took a giant leap forward. I oke up to an email from my case manager telling me that, not only did the egg donor pass her screening (You go, girl!), but they've started her on the birth control pill to start regulating her cycle because they are now shooting for a late SEPTEMBER transfer. :-o A full month before my most optimistic guesstimate, so this was a great surprise to me. Apparently they have a 30 day waiting period after collecting the sperm from the IF, to confirm that there's nothing infectious or anything, and I believe my IF starts his testing on August 22 or so. To play it safe, I guess they'd usually have the surro wait until the 30 day period was up before even starting meds, but everyone is confident that J was pass his screenings with flying colors that they want me prepared for the transfer as soon as the waiting period is up, so it sounds like I will be starting the shots before the month is up and be looking at a June Baby, if all goes well! Eeeeee! Still trying to wrap my head around that. The sooner, the better, as far as I'm concerned, but I had been working so hard at being patient and letting things happen as they will. And now I'm being rewarded. ;-) I guess this means if I wanted a little get away with the Mister before I need to start abstaining, that's gonna have to happen, like, now!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Egg Donor, Secured!

Oh my goodness, time flies around here. We have got so much going on here, and so much is going on in the background as well. I was so sure this was all going to take forever, and it has seemed like it was at some points, but right now I feel like meds and transfer are going to come so quickly, even though I'm not expecting transfer until October.

I have been medically and psychologically cleared.  :-)  It's always nice to have it independently verified that I am neither crazy nor disease ridden.

I've been hearing snippets here and there about an egg donor and a legal contract, but nothing really solid until a few days ago, when I got an email from my nurse at the IVF clinic who said they have begun screening of the egg donor, so she wanted information about the length of my menstrual cycle, I'm assuming to get ready for eventually syncing our cycles. I've heard of surros whose journeys have been fraught with egg donor issues, so here's hoping our egg donor is squeaky clean and a prolific egg producer. :-)

The nurse also said she'd be ordering me my pre-natal vitamins soon, so I'll be able to start officially preheating my oven. :-D

And, oh my gosh, J is coming to meet us in 18 days! Normally, Tony and I would fly down to LA to meet him sometime amidst all of his appointments, but he's going to be in the US for 10 days, so we all agreed it would be cool if he could come Manteca to meet us. I'm sure he wants to see the environment in which his baby will be growing, and I love that he'll be meeting the kids. But I am ridiculously anxious about what to make for our lunch!

My agency seems a little anxious about my hair color. It was pink, and is now a bright red. Apparently Chinese IPs especially are uncomfortable with unnatural hair colors, because of the chemicals involved. Which I understand, and I have no plans to dye my hair while pregnant, but I do want enjoy playing with my hair while I can. I have a box of dye waiting to use before the transfer that I think will allow my natural color to grow in. I'd even be okay with them including something about not dying my hair in the contract, as I'm all for not exposing a fetus to chemicals when possible. But for now, I'd prefer it be up to me. :-)

Now back to my real life, which is rather busy at the moment. Mostly in good ways (driving home from vacation at this moment, and my baby starts Junior Kindergarten next week!).