Sunday, September 30, 2012

And the verdict is...

Jumping right to the end, and to what everyone is here to see...B & C received my profile on Friday and I wasn't expecting to hear back, since they're on the East Coast and I know they got it on the later side, but they must have been almost as enthusiastic about me as I am about them because I got a call just before close of business yesterday saying they "absolutely love, and I mean love" my profile (I may have listened to the message once or twice more than necessary). It was a needed high in an otherwise rock bottom kind of day.

I guess my whole agency is going on vacation next week, so, had my IFs (Can I call them that now, even though we've gotta do the match meeting to make it official?) not been so enthusiastic, I would have had to wait not only the weekend, but a whole additional week to hear about how awesome I am. I was not pro that. As it stands now, I have to wait until Monday the 8th to schedule our match meeting, which is super awesome that it's happening, but the delay pretty much dashes my hopes of a match meeting in New York City before we leave for Hawaii on the 12th. The likelihood of the match meeting happening at all before Hawaii seems pretty slim unless they can do it on the 11th, which means we would fly home on the 12th and then turn around and fly to Hawaii. Which doesn't seem like a particularly good idea, on one hand, but if it means we can avoid a 2 week delay... We all know how these weeks add up. And I imagine B & C are similarly motivated to move quickly. We'll see. In a week. :-p

And now moving backwards another day, to Thursday and our trip to LA! This was a helluva a day, lemme tell you. We left the house at 6:30am for what was supposed to be a 1 hour drive to make our 8:45 flight. Sitting in ridiculous stop-and-go traffic on 580 (How do people do this everyday?!), we get rear-ended. We were in the far left lane, and the other driver tries to pull over into the center divide (very dangerous and should never happen except in emergency situations), but Tony eventually coaxes her to the right shoulder. Inspection shows no damage to either car, and the surely psychosomatic twinge in my neck has now abated, but all of this means we're parking at the airport at 8:15. Super fast walk to the terminal only to find we're in the wrong terminal. Now, despite both us of sporting flip-flops and overly full bladders, we're running. We get there, get our boarding passes, and get into the security line that's 3 rows long. We make it to row 2 and I ask with desperation in my voice and eyes, if someone can please let our plane know we're here, and we're trying, as it is now 8:22 and our flight leaves at 8:45 (I don't know if I thought they'd hold the flight for us or what, but I felt like I had to do *something*). She let us cut the rest of the line, and we sped through security and ran to our gate, where they were just lining up our section. We ran to the bathroom in record time and made it on, the last people on the flight. Phew!

The flight was nice and quick, and we landed into Burbank to find a driver waiting, holding a sign with my name. For serious. I was so bummed I forgot my memory card (remembered my camera, but forgot the memory card), 'cause I totally would have made him take a picture with us. The drive to the agency was nice, especially considering we got to enjoy it from the back of a Lincoln Towncar. We got all touristy when he drove past Warner Bros. Studios. The only downside to drive was I got a very surprising email saying that our exchange student, who was supposed to be here until June, would have to be going home next week. It's a very long story, but suffice to say, it was a really upsetting, stressful email to get at the beginning of our exciting day in Los Angeles, and it hung like a giant boulder over my head all day, as I had immediately wrote an email back trying to argue with the organization, and they never responded to me.

Anyways, we made it to the agency office, which I have to note was on the 13th floor, and got situated in a nice little room to await our meeting with the psychologist. We appreciated the view of the Hollywood sign while we waited. Our meeting with the psychologist went very well, and then I got to do the MMPI again. Apparently last time I only had to do an abridged version, because I'm fairly sure the one I did last time was only about half of the length of this 567 question behemoth. And regardless of how assured of your own sanity you are, it can be kind of intimidating when you're exhausted, overstressed and the statements use words like "oftener" (Am I the only for whom that was terribly distracting?! "More often," not "oftener!"). On several occasions it took me several passes to make sure I properly understood a statement, and more than once I had to go back because I accidentally clicked true instead of false or vice versa. But I did eventually get through it, and therefore completed all of my screening. Huzzah!

After that, since all of our medical stuff was already done, we were free to wander LA until our return flight at 4. We meandered down towards The Grove (Thanks Andrea!), passing through the La Brea Tarpits on the way. I suppose I admire the ingenuity of Los Angeles to turn a natural blight into an attraction, but lemme tell you, that stuff is noxious! The Grove, however, is a very nice little area, and we ate above and beyond at The Cheesecake Factory. It was so very, very yum. After which, we headed back to the airport, where we arrived in plenty of time, and zoomed on back to Oakland, and then home. Had I not had other stress weighing me down, it would have been a more or less great day, but, as it was, it was pretty darn nice.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My take on The New Normal

I've been meaning to write this blog for a few weeks now, and I'm glad I didn't get around to it until today, because I finally got a chance to see the 3rd episode, and it was the best by far.

I imagine 99% of you already know about this new show, The New Normal. If you don't, it's an NBC show centered around a gay couple and their surrogate. Supported by the surro's daughter, the surro's bigoted grandmother and the sassy African American assistant of one of the Intended Fathers.

The good: just the fact that this show exists is awesome. We've got to start somewhere. I love that they don't shy away from affection between the IFs, and that the surro, despite looking like a stereotypical airhead, is intelligent and well-spoken. There are some great lines.

The "bad": with the exception of the stereotypical sassy black assistant ("This is why my people spank!") who seemed to be completely absent from the third episode, the show is practically lily white. This issue clearly isn't unique to this show, but for a show that is showcasing diversity in other areas, I had hoped for better. I also don't appreciate the over-the-topness of the grandmother. There's addressing bigotry in a realistic, helpful manner (Episode 3!) and then there's playing racism/heterosexism for a laugh, which is what I feel like they do 95% of the time with the grandmother. I guess I'm a prude because I don't find prejudice funny. ;-)  Also, I guess I was a little annoyed by how flippant the IFs were portrayed regarding the whole process; deciding to have a baby because they make good accessories; choosing an egg donor because she looks like Gwyneth Paltrow... :-P 

Episode 3: I am very glad I decided to continue giving the show a chance, because I thought this was the best episode yet. It dealt with real life-type bigotry in a heartfelt and humorous manner, as well as touched on the fears all parents face with pregnancy.

I hope the show continues to move in the same direction, and they mellow Nana out quite a bit. I can't imagine anyone willingly spending time with someone that awful, and my grandma still calls black people "colored." :-\ Regardless, I'll probably still watch it because there's nothing else that comes close on TV.

In other news, nothing of note except half of my test results came back and I have to do a quick course of antibiotics (boo!). Oh, and we're going to LA in 36 hours! Woot! :-D

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I'm not going to get my hopes up...

Aww, it's too late, my hopes are up. I received a profile yesterday of a couple on the East Coast, W & J. When my coordinator initially gave me an overview of them over the phone, I was a little iffy because they already have a child through surrogacy, and I always envisioned my journey to be with first time parents. But then, when I was reading their profile, I found that I felt more connected to them because we have the parent thing in common.

Actually, there were a lot of things I really love about them. Their son is 2, like ours. They've also been working on this journey for several months and have suffered major setbacks. They're all ready to go with frozen embryos, which is super awesome. They seem like great guys individually and like a loving couple and wonderful parents. They are also very politically active in the LGBT community, which I love.

A possible super bonus is that they might be working with my agency's New York office. Which might mean we could possibly go to New York for match meeting and transfer. I've never been, but I've always wanted to, so that would be amazing.

The one thing I wasn't thrilled about with their profile is that they want to have an amino done, which I am not keen on. I'm hoping we can talk them out of that.

So I love them, but they don't even know of me yet. The agency won't share my profile with them until I'm completely cleared. I've completed all the medical tests they need, we're just waiting for the results. And, whoo-hoo!, on Thursday Tony and I are jetting down to LA for our psych screening. Yay! So, I'm thinking they're going to be rushing results, and as long as we can get those other pesky test results, we might be all clear on Friday, and W & J might be able to peruse my profile by next weekend. So, I'm hoping that, next Monday, W & J will let the agency know they love us, and want me to carry their baby, and then we get to schedule our match meeting. I'm keeping all of my fingers crossed that can happen before October 12, when we go to Hawaii, so that boring stuff can happen while we're in Hawaii. :-)

I'm also having issues getting proof of coverage from my insurance. I'm covered through my husband, and there is nothing that says that surrogacy is excluded, but I need to get a letter officially saying that our insurance will cover me. I called last Friday, and was told it would take a week to research the issue. I got a voicemail yesterday saying it would be another week. Which is ridiculous. So I'll be on that Monday. It's not necessary that they cover me, because I've been approved for back-up insurance, but having our own insurance makes me a more "attractive" candidate.

So, not getting too excited that these guys are the "ones." Except I am. ;-)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nothing to see here

I'm sure you're all wondering how many wonderful and exciting things happened in Tiffany Surro Land this week, huh? None. Yup. Big, fat nothing going on here.

Monday, the day I was supposed to be scheduling my jaunt to LA passed with nary a peep from my main contact. I did hear from the finance guy (actually, I found his email in my spam box from Friday, as well as 2 other, less vital emails from my agency. Bad spam filter!) and I got my compensation package signed and back to him. I also heard from their IVF office liaison about a few extra tests the doctor needs from me to have me completely cleared, and clarification on a few items on my medical history, like my tattoo from last October. They prefer a full year between tattoo and pregnancy, and that's going to be the case here, but it's not quite a full year yet. Also on Monday, my old agency briefly tried to poach me back (with the snail's pace we're moving at here (okay, it's probably super-fast in surro time, but seeing as it's Take 2 for me, it seems like it's taking forevvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvver), I wish they had been successful). The director was meeting with a gay couple in Sacramento, and they wanted to know if I would like to hear more about the meeting, no obligation, but then it turned out they're still in the planning and saving stages. Doh.

Tuesday...really nothing. Except an email acknowledging the checking in email I sent Monday, and saying Agency Insurance Lady should call me.

Wednesday, I emailed again. I always try to find some minor, relevant piece of information I need to impart as an excuse to email, so I can slip in a request for a profile or a trip to LA. Astonishingly, this email was fruitful, and I got to see a profile in the late afternoon. Of a wonderfully delightful couple...from Hong Kong. :-/ Seriously? I felt like I was quite clear that having a domestic couple was super important to me. :( I was assured they both spoke English, and visit the US often but, still, I could not even consider trading a couple from China for a couple from Hong Kong. It would be like trading a Gala apple for a Fuji. Yes, two great apples, but if I really want a peach, I'm not going to put everyone through a lot of hardship just to get a different apple. That simile is a little lacking, isn't it? :-/ I regretfully declined, and was told maybe she'd have another profile for me by the end of the week. I figured I shouldn't hold my breath. I was supposed to hear back from IVF liaison today, also.

Thursday...really, really, totally nothing.

Friday, Insurance Lady calls me while I'm right in the middle of getting my kiddos dressed and out the door. Says she'll call back in an hour. I call her back 3 hours later. Apparently she has not been able to email my insurance to confirm surrogacy coverage, so she needs me to call them. I do, and my question throws the very nice customer service rep for quite the loop. She says she'll have to research the question and will get back to me. By next Friday. Of course. I also call IVF Liaison because I got into my OB/GYN at the last minute, and need to know the tests they need (I forget to ask her whether Dr. decided he's okay with my tattoo and stuff). She directs me to the nurse. Nurse is out to lunch. Entire nursing staff is apparently out to lunch. I'm finally able to get ahold of them right before heading into the Dr. office. My nurse at my OB/GYN went above and beyond to find out if she could run those tests and how to get them processed. I was so impressed and grateful (we're talking, like, 30 minutes on hold with the lab). I sent one last email out, early afternoon, begging for that promised profile...

And today, of course, nothing, because early stage surrogacy sleeps on the weekends. Didn't even get to start my period today. Le sigh. But, in case you can't tell, PMSing like a champ. ;)

I will end this entry on a bright note. At my dr appt yesterday, I did a blood draw. Previously, this would leave me a blubbering, light-headed mess. I usually request to lay down and bite the hell out of my hand to distract myself. Yesterday, I sat up, breathed calmly, smiled serenely and took it like a woman. So ahppy with my HypnoBabies "Needles are Okay" track! :-D

Monday, September 10, 2012

Finally, a chance to breathe...and blog

Oh my goodness, was that an adventure. As evidenced by the title of my blog, I have a bit of an interest in baking, which I, some days, dream of turning into a profession. Well, on Saturday, a friend of mine got married and had asked me to do cake/cupcakes. Nevermind that my previous biggest request was for 50 people, I decided I was up to the task of 200 cupcakes and an 8 inch, 3 layer cake. 3 different flavor cakes, which I had to mix in 5 batches due to volume, and 5 different types of decoration. I lost count of the eggs and shortening used (more than 30 and more than 7 cups, respectively). I worked on the decorations off and on for more than a week, and, with the exception of sleeping, devoted most of the 48 hours prior to the wedding to baking. I also had the help of Tony, and for several important hours, my mom. Due to the perils of traveling with frosted cupcakes, we had to decorate on site. I missed the ceremony, but we got it all done, just under the wire, and was able to enjoy the accolades (and alcohol) for the rest of the evening. I'm not sure I'd do such a request again, at least while I'm working out of our house, but it was quite the experience. I can't forget to mention the invaluable help of my mother-in-law, who watched the kids whilst I got my crazy bake on.

Friday was actually a good day in Surro World. The doctor for the new agency called me first thing in the morning, and the only reason that didn't warrant verbal abuse on a day my husband got up with the kids is that he called with good news. He approves my previous screening, so I don't have to redo it for him, which will save a little time and resources. Unfortunately, we'll still have to go to LA for the psych screening, which seems silly, but we can't do that until the counselor returns from vacation (do they not have a back-up? That's surprising to me.) sometime after the 18th. Which I'm just now realizing is less than 10 days from now. And Tony will be off work for 5 days starting on the 19th, so that's perfect. And my coordinator said we'd get to schedule our travel tomorrow (Monday)! Woo! She also promised profiles early in the week (I'm hoping tomorrow as well), since I was, in fact, deemed insurable by their backup insurance. Woot. They've excluded covering everything that ever happened to me before, but they will cover my pregnancy if need be. I'm also supposed to be receiving one more paper from the finance department to sign, and then I think we're all done with the boring stuff! Woo and woot!

In more somber news, ex-IF2 emailed me on Friday, imploring that I come back and "be the surrogate mother to my children!!!" :-( :-( :-(  I married my high school sweetheart because I didn't have the ovaries (instead of balls, get it? ;-) ) to be the bad guy even when, deep down in my heart, I knew it was the right thing to do (being the bad guy was right, not marrying him). I refuse to make lasting decisions motivated by guilt any longer. Or, at least, I'll try not to. That makes me sad, and a little selfish (maybe a lot), but this feels like the right decision. I wrote him back an apologetic, but hopefully firm, email. I am so sorry for the sucky situation I contributed to, and I desperately hope they're matched soon.

And now, cupcakes (and then me collapsing, exhausted)!

P.S. Blogger almost crashed and lost the entry I just spent a half hour Swyping. I would have lost my freakin' shit.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The waiting game sucks...let's play Hungry, Hungry Hippos

Mmm, just finished enjoying the fruits of my labors; I'm baking cupcakes for a wedding this weekend, and part of the decorations involve white and dark chocolate shapes. Fortunately for me, there was a bit of melted chocolate leftover, and apparently, fresh peaches in white and dark chocolate is super yum.

A long weekend, and the necessity of processing time at this point has meant that, despite me checking my email like a crack addict, nothing much has been going on this week. I'm hoping tomorrow (this tomorrow I refer to is Friday, still 10 minutes away for us West Coast Girls) is the big day for news. The insurance company is supposed to approve me within 5 business days, but I don't know if I got my app in under the wire last Thursday, and if the Labor Day holiday will push us back. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow, if not, it should be Monday for sure. But the piece of mind before the weekend would be greatly appreciated.

We should have a tiny bit of exciting going-ons tomorrow. I'm hoping for more than a tiny bit, but the agency's liaison with the doctor called me today and said that he's received my previous screening records (yay!) and she couldn't confirm, but sounded hopeful that they should all be in order. If that's the case, we'll be able to avoid redoing those, and that should cut 1-2 weeks off of our time before matching (YAY!). Either way, the doctor should be calling me tomorrow,and if all the records are in tippy-top shape, and I understand correctly, this will count as my official consultation meeting with him (Yay!).

If all of that goes according to my plan, then psych screening is next. I will do my best to talk them into doing that over the phone as well, since flying down to LA for one meeting is extremely silly to me. But my next best plan is to jet down to LA next Thursday, when Tony is off.

And, then, once all those little things are wrapped up in a pretty little bow, guess what? That's right! Magical match time! (I think I misunderstood before, and I'm not sure when I start to view profiles, but I know it's gotta be soon! :-D)

In other, sadder news, I got an email from J last night. He wasn't sure that the old agency had explained to me exactly what happened (they had), but he felt he owed it to me. He was very sad about my decision, but, according to the 2 translators I used on the email, he either really did or really did not understand my decision (see what I mean about translation being an impairment to a relationship?!). I'm choosing to believe he does understand. He mentioned us being friends, and broke my heart by ending the email with "I'll miss you" (undisputed in translation). I would like to remain friends with him, but we really have no relationship outside of working on his baby, and now that that's not happening, I'm not sure what to discuss. I hope so dearly that another surro is ready and willing to take my place ASAP...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Back at the beginning

After technical difficulties on Wednesday, I had my phone interview with my new agency yesterday (Thursday) morning. The coordinator directed me to the place online where I could start filling out my paperwork, and said it should take about a week. Ever the overachiever, I had it all back within 24 hours. :-)  I'm obviously anxious to speed up this process, plus a lot of the information was already in a tidy little folder on my computer.

Part of the application is applying to their insurance company, regardless of the fact that we'll almost certainly use mine. This is the only part that makes me at all anxious. I've never had to apply for insurance before, and nevermind the fact that I'm in good health, there were some questions I had to answer yes to, and I've heard that insurance companies are ruthless. I should have a response from the insurance company in 5 business days.

When I spoke to the coordinator yesterday, she said they should be able to get my medical screening records transferred to their doctor, and as long as he doesn't need anymore information, we should be able to avoid doing that again. She did mention still flying us down just for the psych screening, though. I wonder if we could do that on Skype if I can get the results from my MMPI transferred as well. In addition to wanting to save everyone time, I desperately hope that, if I can avoid incurring much cost for my screening, I can convince the new company to reimburse the old company at least part of the screening costs. That would take some steps towards lessening my guilt.

If I understand correctly, I can start seeing profiles once my background check is completed, and maybe once the insurance approves me as well. So, hopefully late next week? Oh, and the coordinator said she has plenty of American IF couples waiting! Yay! I love that it sounds like there are lots out there so that I won't feel pressured to choose the first profile I see, even if I don't get that magical feeling. I'm not going to try and force anything. That doesn't end well... And then, once I'm medically and psychologically cleared (if I have to go down to LA, it can take up to another 2 weeks after the appointment), they can start showing my profile to any couples I've liked, and we can be matched! And then down to LA for a match meeting, and then contracts and then meds and then transfer and then pregnant and then BABY! :-D  And it will all happen just that smoothly from here on out. :-)