Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What do I have in common with an irresponsible teenager?

I cannot wait for my period to start. ;-)  Because that means I get to make my appointment to fly down to LA for testing! And once I do that, then this thing is really, for real, started. Keep in mind that I can count the number of round trip flights I've taken in my life on 2 hands, so any trip to the airport is an adventure. Although it will put a significant damper on things if Tony can't join me, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed we can coordinate all of the schedules.

I've only received a few brief sentences from my IFs so far. I think I may have intimidated them a bit with the novel I wrote them. I tend to get a little wordy on occasion. I also can be less than patient about receiving emails, even though I'm horrible about responding in a timely manner myself. And in the message I did get from J, he said he's worried about his English. I really hope he doesn't let that deter him. I was actually all excited to see a Groupon today for a language learning program, but Chinese wasn't an option. Dutch was, though, which I found a little odd. I would think more people would be interested in Chinese (thank you, Firefly).

So, that's where we are today. Waiting on "getting-to-know-you" communication from my IFs (I have IFs! Eeee!) and waiting patiently for my uterus to shed it's lining. Which should actually happen tomorrow. Hopefully. Unless I'm pregnant.  ;-)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

We're Matched!

We had our conference call this morning with J in China (S was traveling, and his cell phone wasn't allowing him to make the call, for some reason). I'm sorry S couldn't join us, but it was a good conversation with J. He seems super excited about having a child, and seemed to like my profile quite a bit, and was very gracious. He said his parents are very supportive of his surrogacy journey, and his mom wants to come to the US with them when the baby is born to help them care for him.  And I can confidently say him because they want to do pre-emplantation gender selection for a boy.  While I know plenty of gay guys who would be comfortable raising a girl, I understand that others may not be.  Heck, this is the first year Tony is letting me pick a girl exchange student, because he always felt he would be pretty at relating to boys.

I'm still waiting on receiving J and S's email addresses so that we can really start to get to know each other.  I know J blogs on other subjects; I wonder if he's blogging about this.  The way he has spoken about this "surrogacy journey" makes me think he's been reading surro blogs.  I can't wait to begin this relationship.  One of my favorite things about this match is that we all really want a long-term relationship here.  Kind of like with our exchange students, I hope that we're just adding to our family in a unique manner. 

J will be out over the summer for testing and the like, and then it sounds like they both hope to be back 1-3 times before the birth.  I really hope they can make it to an OB appointment or two.

So, very fortunately, the next step of waiting has a fairly clear cut off date.  We're waiting for my period to start, which should be a week from yesterday. At which point, I alert the doctor's office, and we make appointments to jet on down to LA for testing!  Eeeee! That means we should be testing in about 2 weeks, and then about 2-4 weeks for results. Then contracts, then meds, then making babies! While I'm doing my testing, J and S will be searching for an egg donor, and then she will have to go through testing as well. It sounds like the whole process should take about 3-4 months, as is my understanding. So, pregnant around September maybe?  :-D

In an optimistic gesture, I started my Needles are Ok! Hypnobaby track last night.  Hypnobabies worked so well for me with the birth of my son, and I know there are a lot of needles involved in this journey, so I thought I better get started. The old familiar background music was nice. It took me a little longer, but I did eventually slip right into my hypnotic state. Maybe I'll treat myself to some comfy earphones this time around.  :-D

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Is That Where They are Hiding?

So maybe this was my darkest before dawn moment (so far; I am fully aware this journey still holds a lot of ups and downs). I received a profile of a gay couple in China yesterday, and, while I'm a little bummed about them being halfway around the world when I almost had IPs practically in my backyard, but otherwise they are great.  J and S seem like really sweet guys who care about each other a great deal and both are excited about this baby. I particularly like the story of how they met; reminds me of our story. And they want to maintain contact with their surro long term. :-) Even my mom, sister and Adii, all hard people to please, think they sound awesome.  I have a conference call scheduled, tentatively, for Thursday at 8:30am.  Yuck. And eeek! Good eeek.  :-D  I feel a little better that there will be a translator. I hope they can smooth any verbal spasms I may have. :-)

Yesterday, as I was discussing the possibility of choosing J and S with my family, I was absentmindedly playing with something my kids had left on the couch. I looked down to see what it was exactly I was messing with, and this is what I saw. :-D

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The State of Nothing

So, unsurprisingly, since our little turn of events on Thursday, nothing overwhelmingly positive has happened, surro-wise.  There was a lot of thinking on my part, and a lot of discussing with Tony (which equals a lot of talking on my part), and I came to the conclusion that maybe I'm not the best fit for my current agency.  They've been nothing but kind and patient with me, but I just don't know if I'm going to find my perfect match in a reasonable amount of time with them.  Based on the profiles I've seen (and I've seen a few at this point), it seems like my almost IFs aren't really the typical clients of my agency.  They are more than happy to work with gay couples, but it seems like the California gay couples tend to flock to the larger agencies.  I did take a look at profiles of several straight couples, to see if maybe my perfect match was somewhere I didn't think to look, but it just reenforced the fact that my heart is set on a rainbow baby.  It's important to me to support and be a tiny part of the LGBT community in this way.

So, with all these ramblings thoughts swimming in my head, I emailed the director of my agency on Friday, and spewed these thoughts out in the most cohesive manor I could.  And like always, she was understanding, and I received a thoughtful response swiftly.  I didn't bring this point up, but technically I'm in contract with my agency for 120 days, only about half of which we've traveled thus far.  Regardless, my director asked for 30 days to find me a match, at which point she agreed to amicably let me go to another agency.  While I would love to jump ship right now, and get things going with another agency, like, yesterday, I only feel it's fair to return a bit of the patience they've offered me, and stick with them for 30 more days.  Because there were a lot of reasons I chose this agency, and I will be happy if they can find me a match, but it's just feeling less and less likely.  She did say they may have a profile of Chinese IFs for me soon, but, as much as I try to, I find it hard to get excited about IFs halfway around the world when I almost had a pair practically in my backyard.  :)

It's important to note that I believe fairly strongly in fate (which would explain my daughter's name...), and, on Friday, I was browsing the site of the agency I will be going with if I'm matchless in 30 days (originally my second choice agency), and I found out that 2 of the 3 things I preferred at my current agency have just been matched by the other agencies new policies.  Coincidence?  Never.  :-D

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend.  I'm wrapping up yet another crazy May weekend.  Collapsing in exhaustion in 5...4...3...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Not the News I Was Hoping For

I had a feeling today would be the day.  But I'm kind of an optimist, so I think most days are going to be The Day.  But, sure enough, first thing this morning, the director of my agency called to tell me my potential, perfect IFs have chosen...a surro from another agency in the meantime.  My records are still not cleared by their specific RE, but they've decided on someone else.  Not exactly sure how that works, but she was upset on my behalf, and I am definitely way bummed.  I really thought these guys were The Ones, and it was only a matter of time.  I guess that's another important surro lesson for me. :(  I think that was probably my last chance at my dream of a July transfer, and even that was cutting it close.

So, back to the beginning.  They're going to send me over several profiles of couples waiting right now, but I believe they're all hetero couples, so, not my dream match (my heart is just set on a little rainbow baby), but I just need to be feeling like I'm doing *something* right now, even if it is just busy work.  Maybe one of these is the dream family I didn't know I always wanted, right? :)

I was so excited about this match.  They seemed to be exactly the family I was hoping to work with, so I'm having a bit of a hard with the apparent fact that this wasn't meant to be.  I keep thinking, maybe if we had gone ahead with the phone call and match meeting, they would have been significantly less inclined to drop me so quickly.  Oh well, it is what it is, I guess.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Still Not a Bit of Surro News

Still in waiting purgatory, going a little stir crazy waiting for the doctor's office to get back to me.  Will they deem me fit? Am I matched with P and M? Why does it take so freaking long to look at medical records?! I would understand if these were test results we were waiting for, or something that had to pass through several sets of hands (we just refi'd our house; I know how long paperwork can take when there are several different parties involved. But I'm under the impression that it's just one person who needs to look at and approve my records (what are they looking for? What could disqualify me? I'll make it better, I swear it!). And, as of today, they have officially had my records for 2 weeks.  Seriously, take 20 minutes, and make me sane, please.  Every single time that little email icon appears on my phone, I wonder if this is the one. And everytime, I'm disappointed. I wonder how P and M are doing; how informed they are as to what is going on right now. Are they in contact with the doctor, calling for updates(to annoy) on a regular basis? I know if I had the number, I sure would consider calling and politely inquiring as to what is taking SO DAMN LONG.  :)

I understand why we're not proceeding with the match at the moment, until I'm medically cleared, so we don't get all attached in case of shit, but I kind of wish we were. First of all, it would give us something to do while we wait. We could have already had the dreaded conference call and then our official match meeting. And then we could be in this together. We could be bonding over this ridiculous wait and learning more about each other in the meantime. But, instead, I'll just wait. For everything to begin.

But you can enjoy pictures of my daughter's birthday and birthday party. Raging success, all of it, despite me getting a little(a lot) anxious at times.
The big cake reveal. Ignore the back of the cake. I was decorating on 3 hours of sleep, and, frankly, couldn't give a rat's patootie about the back.

Happy Naked Birthday Girl.
The cake she's so happy about. In her words, it was "Brilliant."
Sometime in the last few months, she has decided this is a smile. I have a dozen pictures of her "smiling" like this at the party.
Playing with Brother and Cousin while we wait at the Picture People to see her shots (I <3 me some Picture People).
Crazy Face excited about her tickets.
And a very Happy Mother's Day to all you Mommies out there.  Hope it was a good one!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Today is Her Day, It's Kizzy's Birthday!

Still waiting, ever so patiently (or, at least, employing something that looks like patience) to hear back from future IFs IVF doctor.  My agency said we're looking at a 2 week wait, which puts our response somewhere around next Tuesday (argh), but that doesn't stop me from being sure that each email is "The One."

In other news, exactly 4 years ago right now, I was enjoying my first few hours with my first born, after about 33 hours of labor.  I'll copy my original birth story below (and you'll have to wait a month for my son's, which was significantly more enjoyable).  Maybe I'll add some pictures of my beautiful Monkey later, if I have time between Build-a-Bear and Chuck E. Cheese.

Happy 4th Birthday to my amazing daughter, Kismet!

Welcome to the world, little one

Current mood:accomplished
So many months ago I ended my last blog with a wonder of how labor and delivery would go, and now, I'm back to tell you.  In many, many words.  But you must forgive me, as the experience lasted ~33 hours, from the first contraction (that I think counted) to the birth of our beautiful girl, so I needed a lot of words.  
After another uneventful OB visit on Tuesday, May 6, at 40 weeks, 5 days, where he once again refused to strip my membranes, Tony and I decided to try a natural induction method a little more involved than walking or eating pineapple, but we weren't quite to the point of Castor Oil yet. 
So on Wednesday, we started nipple stimulation with the electric breast pump.  I kept up at it at intervals throughout the entire day.  It didn't seem to be doing much, but it made me feel proactive, so I kept it up.  By the evening, I was experiencing some Braxton Hicks contractions, but nothing painful or timeable.  So around 10 we decided to call it a night and try again in the morning.
I stood up to the most intense back pain I had ever experienced (up to that point).  I made it half way across the room before I thought I would vomit from the pain.  I hobbled back to the couch, and Tony massaged the area for a short time and we headed to bed to watch American Dad, and I realized those "Braxton Hicks" were getting a little bothersome, so I decided to time them.  I was surprised to find they were about 5 minutes apart and lasting at least 30 seconds.  I warned Tony not to get his hopes up, and we discussed going to the hospital.  I told him I'd call L&D if/when the contractions were consistent for an hour, and insisted he get some sleep, just in case.  I stayed up for awhile, timed contractions at and played a little WoW, but it seemed like everytime I'd start a fight, I'd have a contraction, and have to tab out to time the contraction, so that didn't last too long.  Shortly after midnight, they were consistently 3.5-5 minutes apart, lasting 40-60 seconds, and about a 3 pain-wise, for over an hour, so I called L&D. 
The nurse said to call back if they got down to 3 minutes apart, and increased in intensity, or if my water broke.  The next contraction didn't come for 7 minutes, and they spaced out to 7-10 minutes after that.  I timed another several, dozing off in between, but they didn't get any closer together.  They did keep up all night, though, strong enough to wake me most of the time.
They picked back up in frequency around 7am, coming about 4 minutes apart.  Tony and I both called our important people to give them a heads up that it might be the day, and got started with our day.  Shortly after I started moving around, the contractions started getting further apart again, and I got paranoid this was one of those false alarms. 
We took the puppies for a walk around the park, and the contractions were light and inconsistent, so I got a Slurpee, we came home and tried another round with the breast pump.  That got a good contraction going, and then I realized it might be wise to try and get a nap in, as I had gotten so little the night before, between contractions, and I was worried the upcoming night might not be restful, either.
No such luck.  Minutes after we laid down, the contractions were back up to 3-4 minutes apart, and hard to talk through.  Tony got a few minutes of sleep in before I woke him up with my timing contractions.
I was starving, so we headed to Carl's Jr., for what we thought may be our last indulgent preggo meal.  Tony asked what I wanted, and everything looked so good, so, semi-jokingly, I said I wanted a Jalapeno Chicken sandwich, a Guacamole Bacon Cheeseburger, Criss-cut fries and Chili-Cheese fries.  So he suggested that's what we get, and we did.  We shared our awesome greasiness (the burger and sandwich were really freakin' good), and I timed contractions throughout on the back of a Western' Bacon Cheeseburger coupon.  They were about 5-10 minutes apart.
We headed home and hung out timed contractions and soon, my mom and Tony's mom joined us.  By 7:45, the contractions had gotten down to around 3-4 minutes apart, lasting 45-60 seconds.  I promised everyone that if they maintained until 9, I'd call L&D again.  Despite not being able to walk or talk through the contractions, I was still trying not to get my hopes up.  You hear all about first time moms being sent home from the hospital numerous times, and I didn't want to waste a trip.  And at 7 days past our due date, but with no other signs of impending labor, it seemed too good to be true.  Around 8:30, I believe I lost my mucus plug, and I think I started believing this might actually happen.
At 9 I called L&D, and they told me I could come in, and they'd monitor me for an hour and then they'd decide whether to keep us.  I packed some last minute things and tried to keep my cool while Tony and our moms did a little minor freaking out. 
The hospital is only about 3 miles away, but as we turned onto the main road, the rails came down for a train, and I had to laugh.  By this time, I had stopped timing contractions, and all of a sudden they seemed further apart, and again I worried we were on a bit of a wild goose chase. 
During check-in I got a few good contractions, and they got us into a room and I got into a gown.  The nurse did my first internal exam and announced I was 3-4 cm dilated, 100% effaced and had a bulging bag of waters.  I would be staying.  It was about 9:30 in the evening on Thursday, May 8.
It wasn't long before we had quite the entourage.  My mom, Tony's mom, my sister, Tony's dad and step-mom, my brother, my 2 aunts, my grandma and my mom's best friend all showed up, and most of them stayed for the duration.  The undying hostess in me still feels bad I wasn't more of a conversationalist.
I labored on the on a birthing ball for a while, with my mom and Tony as my immediate support.  Tony talked me through the contractions and my mom rubbed my back.  I had been experiencing some pretty intense back labor, and it was only getting worse. 
After a while (they took off my watch for an IV site, so I lost all track of time after we got there), the nurse told me I needed to walk around, as our little one hadn't moved into place yet and I wasn't progressing as fast as she'd like.  So we walked the halls a bit, which I really wasn't enjoying, so I put my master plan into effect.  I puked, and they let me go back.
Despite my efforts, there didn't seem to be any position that made the contractions any less intense on my back.  I kept thinking one position would feel better than another mid-contraction, and I'd try and I'd be very wrong.  I couldn't take anyone touching me back anymore, so massage was out.  I got an ice pack, which helped a bit, but I could only keep it on for about 20 minutes at a time.  At this time, whatever time it was, I was so exhausted I could only imagine laboring in bed.  Occasionally I'd fade out between contractions.
At some point, the nurse did another internal and announced me a "stretchy 5" which didn't seem like very much progress from a 3-4, but right after she checked me, my water broke.  Not in a big flood, like in the movies, but in small gushes with my contractions, such that I had to ask to be sure my water had, in fact, broke.
I continued to progress slowly, and the nurse ordered me into the shower in an effort to make the baby drop and speed dilation.  She told Tony to keep me in there at least 45 minutes.  The warm water wasn't so much helpful during contractions as it was different, and, for a while, I appreciated the change up.  But I was still starting to lose it at the peak of the contractions, which seemed to last so long.  I wanted to sob, but the effort and breath that would require was too much.
While the shower helped her drop, I was still only dilated to a 6, and the contractions, while losing absolutely none of their intensity, started to get a little inconsistent, up to 6 minutes apart (at the time, I was immensely grateful for this short lull, during which my exhaustion would occasionally overwhelm me, and I would fade out for a short time).  This wasn't helpful to my labor, so the nurse strongly suggested we try some Pitocin.  Despite my desire to do this drug free, I felt I needed some help at this time, so I reluctantly agreed.  Since, at this point, I was actually starting to think a C-Section wouldn't be so bad (something I am ridiculously personally averse to) I also reluctantly requested something for the pain.  They started the Pitocin, and gave me Fentanyl, which the nurse said would not take the pain away, but would take the edge off.  She also said it may cause dizziness and drowsiness.  I welcomed anything that would be different from the current excruciating pain.
The Fentanyl was perfect.  The dizziness never came, the drowsiness helped me doze off for moments in between the increasingly frequent contractions, and it didn't make the pain disappear so much as it made the peaks of the contractions just a little lower, like they had been a little earlier in labor.  The pain was still crazy intense, but I no longer felt lost in it.
A very short time after the Pitocin was started, I felt the urge to push.  Only I didn't recognize it at the time.  I fought it through several contractions before I told my mom it was feeling different, and she got the nurse, who announced me fully dilated. 
She called the dr., set up the table and told me the steps she wanted from me for effective pushing.  She let me push through 3-5 contractions, and brought over a mirror so I could see Kismet crowning.  The dr. was still taking his sweet ass time getting there, so she told me to stop pushing.  I cannot accurately describe what a torturous command this was.  At this point it was no longer an urge to push, but a need, like an immensely painful reflex.  I did my best to oblige, but a team of nurses was preparing to deliver her all the same.  The dr. made it, barely, and commanded me to push.  A few pushes, less than 10 minutes, and a second degree tear later, and Kismet Ember was born, at 7:07am on May 9, 2008.
They put her on my chest, briefly, while Tony cut the cord.  She had apparently inhaled some fluid on her way out, and was a bluish-purple, but I hardly noticed.  All the books said she'd look weird, so I just assumed that was part of it.  She wasn't breathing like they wanted her to, though, so they took her over to the warmer and worked to get her to use her lungs and suctioned her.  I didn't realize there was an issue until later.  I could see them working on her on the warmer (while I got stitched up), but I thought it was all normal stuff.  Regardless, I didn't appreciate how long they kept her away (Five, maybe ten minutes?  I don't know, too long.).  Eventually, they brought her back to me, and she latched onto my breast like a champ.  It was at this point that Tony pointed out that our amazing daughter was extra special: she's missing her pinkie on her right hand.  It just looks as though she wasn't supposed to have one. 
She weighed 7 pounds, 12.8 ounces, and measured 19.75 inches.  I attribute the perfect shape of her head to the swiftness of her delivery once pushing started.  Her Apgar's were 7 and 9, and she's currently a happy, healthy two-day old.  We were lucky enough to get home last night in time to spend our first Mother's Day in the comfort of our own home.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

On Waiting and Husband

You can tell I'm still waiting, *ever* so patiently, because I would be shouting am impending phone conversation from the rooftops.  Because, as nervous as a conference call makes me, and as anxious as I'll be before our match meeting, if the doctor clears me, which is what I'm waiting on now, in my mind, we're as good as matched. Once we clear this hurdle, the only thing that can stand in the way of making this a MATCH is if we don't see eye-to-eye on important issues, in which case I won't feel like it's as big of a loss as if some doctor's office thinks I'm not the perfect baby-making machine.  Because I am.  :-)  But I do know my records are in their hands now, so that's what we're waiting for at this minute.  Lots of love to my fellow surros who have kept such wonderful blogs preparing me for the massive waiting game that is surrogacy.
Something that makes me a tiny bit uncomfortable reading about in other surros' blogs (besides the progesterone shots) is how 100% behind the whole process their husband are (if applicable).  This is not to say that Tony isn't supportive.  He is.  Of just about everything I do.  We have this ridiculously open and codependent relationship.  We talk about most everything, even our silly private thoughts that should probably never be spoken aloud, and we rarely choose to spend our free time apart.  If we're not on the same page of a subject to begin with, it usually doesn't take to much to get there (you can all stop gagging now). So when I brought up surrogacy and he didn't immediately jump in the bandwagon, I was a little thrown. So we talked about it. And talked about it. We talked some more. He talked with his mom. And his dad. And step-mom. We talked again. I told him that, while this is something I really want to do, he is paramount. He says no and we're done. Pretty much any point up until contacts, he has veto power. And he said yes, go for it. But he's still scared. Of what? Anything. Everything. He's a worrier (I am not. I think it is a ridiculous pastime; even more useless than the Kardashians.). But he says he refuses to let fear run his life, so he supports me in my surro journey, and will be by my side every step of the way, even giving this needle-phobe her shots. But, on days when he's a bit grumpy (he said he was PMSing), this can lead to him being a little less than enthusiastic about things, which happened last Wednesday when I got P and M's profile (and, in his defense, he was properly enthused earlier in the day, but I guess, after he got home from his 12 hour shift, his cartwheels weren't perky enough for me or something) which led to a nice long heart-to-heart, where he reminded me he's still trying, but he's not there yet, and I reminded him I would call this whole thing off in a second, if he said the word. He didn't. So here we be, same as before.
Yes, I am talking him into it a bit, but I've recently been reminded this isn't the first time, and my record is pretty stellar. Tony is a worrier who hates change, so if it was up to him, we'd still be living in sin, somewhere else, with no pets or exchange students. Strangely enough, we'd have children, though. That's one I never had to convince him of. I read an old journal entry yesterday about waiting for Tony to propose. I was in mental agony, afraid it would never happen, regardless of the fact that it was practically love at first sight. He didn't want to get married. His first wife had burned him bad, and he was terrified. I wanted nothing more in the whole world than to symbolically prove I'd be spending the rest of my life with this man, and he was scared of saying the words. So I talked him into it. It took several months of convincing, and a lot of anguish on my side, sure it would never happen (Why did I care so much? I don't know. Since about two weeks after meeting him, I never doubted the depth or persistence of his love for me, but for some reason, this ceremony was *so* important to me.), but we finally got married (a little over a year after we met; if I'd have had my way, it would have only been days later). Six amazingly happy years ago this month. And that wasn't the last big decision I've had to talk him into that he's been ultimately thrilled with. So, despite my unease about his unease, I'm coming to realize that this can and will all go fantastically, like us getting married or getting exchange students. I have an amazing track record of being right, and Tony is great at listening to me. Eventually.  :-D