Friday, June 20, 2014

And then...?

Yesterday the guys got their copy of the contract notarized, and I'm eagerly awaiting our copy so we can make that shit legit! :-D It took an extra day or so to get the finalized version because I got a little finicky and requested 2 changes to an already super awesome contract which apparently confused our lawyers a bit and caused a bit of miscommunication on the legal side, but we got it all straightened out. I think it might be a bit annoying to everyone else involved that the guys and I have such excellent communication, because the outside parties can't blame any hang-ups or setbacks on each of us to the other. ;)

Yesterday I also scheduled my sonohysterogram (or hysterosonogram, according to one office I called; it's a procedure where they put saline in the uterus and do an ultrasound to make sure everything looks pristine in there). I was surprised when I called up Tuesday to schedule it and the nurse at the RE's office (in LA) said we could try and find a local place to do it. I thought for sure I'd have to go down to the RE's office for this part, which almost certainly would have been an out and back in one day journey, which is a little tiring, so I was more than happy to entertain the option of doing it locally. Except the place they referred me to yesterday doesn't do that procedure. So I called several different places, some of which did not perform the procedure and some which did, but couldn't schedule me soon enough. One that I called, just about 25 minutes away, told me that they could only do it if I was on certain days of my menstrual cycle, while the nurse at my RE's office said that I could have it done at any time because I'm on the pill (I'm lucky I'm a repeat surro and I knew that this procedure usually has to happen at a certain time; several weeks ago I asked my counselor how that would work and she reached out to the RE's office and they told me to start the pill so our timing would be more open since we're in a little bit of a hurry at the moment). So I told the RE's office about this place, and they talked to them, and then the nurse told me to call the place up and schedule my appointment, telling them that today is the first day of my cycle. I guess they know what they're doing. So we're all scheduled to shove some salt water up into my uterus on Thursday and take some pictures.

And that, my friends, is the last box we need to check before I get to start poking myself and then get knocked up. And we're looking to do that in August. Because of this whole awesome Europe trip we have planned for pretty much the whole month of July. :-D But after we return stateside, it's baby-making time!

It's interesting how different agencies have different schedules for getting all this pre-game stuff done. I was a little thrown this time by the way our agency does the medical portion. Not that it's bad, just different, and I kept needing clarification on when we were wrapping medical screenings up. One advantage is that, previously, I had to go down to LA for psych and med screenings, and it looks like we'll only be heading down there for transfer this time 'round.
Agency #1-Paperwork, match meeting, psych and full medical screening, (hypothetically, I never got farther than passing the screenings), contract, meds and then transfer.
Agency #2-Paperwork, psych and full medical screening, match meeting, lawyer retainer paperwork, contract, meds, transfer
Agency #3(our agency)-Paperwork (including lawyer retainer), initial medical screening (by my doctor), psych screening, blood work, match meeting, contract, final medical (sonohysterogram), meds, transfer

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Getting it down on paper

Today was a lovely day out at Roaring Camp Railroad with not only my IFs, but also almost all of my family (a few important people were missed!). K and C were subjected to a handful of crazy kids and jumped right in and hit the ground running. :-) It was really a pleasure to get everyone together so soon. I'm getting the feeling that, as long as they're open to it, which they seem to be, C and K won't just be expanding their family by 1 (or 2), but we'll be creating a whole new extended family. :-)

As far as the surrogacy goes, we're currently in the contract phase, and that's in their court at the moment, and after they're done with it, it will be bounced to me, and once I approve, then it's made official, and *then* we all sign it. And that's the short version, if I'm A-okay with all the details the first time round. Boring, yes, but so very important in spelling out to the world that, in no uncertain terms, C and K's baby is in no way mine. And it will use many, many words to say that. I think my last contract was something like 20 pages. Many will state that (if this is in fact the case) the surro has agreed, in the case of physical issues, to terminate at the request of the IPs. *Although,* as my lawyer was quick to point out to me last time, this part is more of a good faith gesture on the part of the surro, as no one can legally compel a woman to participate in an abortion if she doesn't want to. And it will also touch on other things that we're agreeing to as we agree to carry their child for 41ish weeks. And this is where they get a little interesting. I believe most include the basics, like no tattoos, piercings (and none for Tony, either), smoking or drinking while pregnant, duh, but they can also vary based on the desires of the IPs or the lawyer who draws up the contract. My last contract said I couldn't dye my hair (unless I used organic dyes expressly approved by my OB), and mine didn't, but I've heard contracts including no caffeine, no deli meat and other stuff like that. I can't remember the exact details, but I've read some that made me =-O

And like I mentioned before, some of this is the desires of the IPs, and sometimes it's the lawyers. I think first-time IPs especially sometimes (just like first-time surros) see the contract and think this is what they're supposed to do and go with it. Lucky for everyone involved, this can be a negotiation process if there's something in there that doesn't work for someone. I had to go over my whole contract privately with my lawyer, to confirm that I understood and agreed to every line, and there was nothing I wanted to change. Had there been, the lawyer would have made a note of it, gone back to my IPs with my proposed change(s), and we'd go back and forth until we had a version that looked good to everyone.

The only thing I should have changed, and I didn't realize how much of an issue it would be until way later, was that, after 24 weeks I was not allowed to travel more than 50 miles from my designated hospital (or leave the state) without my IPs being okay with it. And I understand the reasoning behind this: they want to make sure you're close to an approved hospital, and leaving the state can be dangerous if you go into labor because surrogacy is illegal in some states, but for a traveler like me, it was very stifling, especially considering that covered the entire summer break. We spend a lot of time in the Bay Area, which is, like, 65 miles away. It didn't mean we stopped going, but did go a little less, and I just had to bother my IPs about silly things like going to a graduation party or visiting my in-laws. They were very accommodating, but I hated bothering them for things like that. I got cabin fever midsummer and got the okay to head down to San Luis Obispo for a long weekend once. It was just not a restriction that worked for us (like Prop 8 was repealed during this time, and we wanted to jet off to San Francisco to celebrate, and I had to be sure to clear it with my IFs first) because our regular lives occur outside of a 50 mile radius. And that was my bad. I should have thought it through, and have asked to amend it in the first place. For us, I think 100 miles is a lot more reasonable, especially considering there are good or better hospitals most everywhere we frequent, and my labors last longer than 2 hours. But, ya know, I was just so excited to get that first contract, and I couldn't see anywhere where I was promising *my* firstborn, so I didn't want to make a stink. Fortunately practice makes perfect. :-D

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A not so brief introduction

Well clearly C is over the whole privacy thing, which I kind of really love (since I do things like this, certain kinds of privacy are not a concern of mine) and posted a link to my blog on his Facebook page so I imagine I'm having a few new readers from his page. So, friends, family, well wishers of C and K, welcome! Everybody else, thanks for sticking around.

You may be wondering why C and K are so willing to trust me with their baby for 9 months. First of all, we're both working with an agency that had put me through my paces before C and K ever even heard of me. I had to power through a complete psychological and physical screening (physical with my own doctor, one with their doctor is yet to come) after having met the general requirements of an agency surro. So far it's been generally established that I'm moderately sane, at least comparatively, free of most major diseases and kind of rock this pregnancy business.

I also am, as they say in the biz, a proven surrogate. In September 2013, I popped out a lovely, healthy baby girl for a great Daddy and Papa on the East Coast. After 41 relatively easy, uneventful weeks, I was proud and joyful to deliver her into the arms of her fathers, and I hear from them on occasion and get pictures of her lovely face.

But beyond that, the titles and the numbers, what did C and K know about me before they decided I was the one they wanted to carry their child? I also had to create a bit of a cover letter for myself. I wanted to be thorough without being completely overwhelming (I may not have been entirely successful). I wanted potential IPs to know who I was, what they were getting into, as it were, before things got personal. I know there are plenty of aspects of myself that I missed, and I may have glossed over a few of my faults (maybe one. Or two.), but I wanted future parents to really buy into me as a person, because we're going to be partners on this journey for almost a year, and hopefully friends for life. So I tried to fit me on a page, and this is what they got:

Dear Future Parents,

Hello, my name is Tiffany, and I'd like to have your baby. ;-) This is the beginning of my second surrogate journey, and I'm so excited to be finding another set of awesome IPs who are looking forward to building a relationship with my family and myself as we all work together to get you your baby.

I've been lucky enough to have 3 uncomplicated pregnancies, and am totally content with our family as it is. Since we're done with my uterus, it would be a shame for it to go to waste. ;-) I feel very honored to have the opportunity to help others grow their families. It's such an amazingly rewarding experience.

Some of the boring, but important, stuff about me: I'm 32, and have given birth to 3 children at this point. My daughter, Kismet, is 5, my son, Teagun, is 3, and my surro baby was born on September 23 of last year. All births were vaginal. My son's birth was completely natural, which is the way I prefer it. Birth is one of the many areas of my life in which I'm kind of a hippie. :-) All three children were born at almost exactly 41 weeks, and all of my pregnancies were free of major complications.

And now the hopefully less boring part, my mini (but wordy) bio: I am lucky enough to be a stay-at-home-mom to 2 crazy awesome little kids.  Our daughter, Kismet, is 5, and is the poster child for precociousness.  She's the life of any party and makes friends as easy as the rest of us breathe. She enjoys reading, exploring and experiments. Our son, Teagun, is 3, and is a loving, sensitive boy, and a study in unpredictability.  He's as likely to start a random dance party as throw a tantrum. He likes puzzles, books, trains and stuffed animals.  They keep me very busy with school, trips to the library, gymnastic lessons and just general climbing all over.

My husband, Tony, works as a critical care transport nurse, and we're lucky to have him home 4 days every week (he works 12 hour days the other 3 days).  He is my best friend and soul mate (gag, I know ;) ), and I know everyday how lucky we are to have found each other. He's incredibly supportive of my surrogacy journeys, after having been a little nervous at first, and even attended OB appointments with me when he was able. We've been together for 9 years, and we look forward to holding hands when we're old and wrinkly.

We currently live in Manteca, a small city just about smack dab in the middle of California.  My family lives here as well, and we're lucky enough that they are all incredibly supportive, and willing to lend a hand anytime we may need it.  Tony's mom comes out to spend the night once a week and get in her grandchildren time, and that's usually the point where Tony and I run out for a few minutes of grown up time. We also have a lot of friends and family in the San Jose area, so we try to make it out there at least once a month.

I was born and raised in Manteca, but was lucky enough to live in the Bay Area for 8 years, 6 of which were spent in San Francisco.  While I was in San Francisco, I attended San Francisco State University, where I graduated Summa Cum Laude with my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with minors in Human Sexuality and Special Education.  I never quite figured out what I wanted to do with my degree, and have spent the years between then and now working with autistic children, as a nanny, as a tutor, an exchange student representative, a substitute teacher, and finally as a stay-at-home-mom.
If I had to describe myself, I'd first like to point out that I find honesty, in myself and others, to be incredibly important.  I despise lying, even about little things.  I find it a matter of respect, something I also feel is vital.  I try to treat everyone with respect, including children.  I'm also an overwhelmingly happy, kind, easy-going, open person who appreciates the fun, little things in life (and was incredibly lucky to find someone to spend my life with who also enjoys pretty sunsets and silly jokes).  We consider ourselves a little bit hippie in the attachment parenting, semi-green kind of way. On the flip side, I battle laziness everyday and am only lately getting better at managing my time.  I do not excel at housekeeping. I also am finally really growing out of my shyness.  On good days.  :-)

I really enjoy baking (I fantasize about turning my hobby into a career someday), and look forward to someday having time to play videogames again.  I used to especially enjoy Final Fantasy games and World of Warcraft.  I also love reading, mostly fantasy and sci-fi.  I'm a proud geek, and some of my major geek outs include Buffy (and most things Joss Whedon does), Star Trek: The Next Generation, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Harry Potter.  I suppose going to the gym is one of my hobbies. In order to balance out the baking, I have to make the gym a habit, and my current goals are to someday soon achieve the splits and a pull-up. I'd be happy with just one.  Oh, and bargains.  Bargain shopping is definitely a hobby of mine.  :-)  I also love traveling, and am so excited to be going to Europe for the first time this summer.

I understand that the above is both a lot to take in, and probably nowhere near all of the information you're interested in, but I figure it's a start. If we don't sound like the right fit for you, I wish you the best of luck in finding your perfect surrogate, and if it all sounds good to you, I can't wait to meet you! :-D

Have a great day!


Monday, June 2, 2014

Don't Wake Me...

Friday was our match meeting, and it's official! The perfect IFs are now my IFs! Woot woot! C and K, as they will henceforth be known, because I'm too lazy to write their whole names, and also to afford them a little privacy, unless they choose to out themselves here as well. :)

The match meeting went swimmingly. They had all the "right" answers (I use quotes because they were the right answers for us; for others they might not have been. Everybody is looking for a different experience.). Tony kept giving me little looks every time they said pretty much exactly what I was hoping to hear. And I thoroughly enjoyed the look they shared when I had their right answer as well. For example, I was (weirdly, I know) happy that they want me to breastfeed while we're in the hospital. Not that this would have been a deal breaker, but I did make the stipulation that if they do want me to try and pump, I have to breastfeed first, because trying to pump colostrum was an effort in futility for me. Any of the precious liquid I was able to get was usually lost in the pump parts. And they were very excited to hear that I'll allow them in the room during delivery. Of course! This is their baby! As long as they promise not to pass out, we'll be all good. :-D

The lowest part of the meeting was when the counselor was talking about the remote possibility of the (embryo) transfer resulting in triplets (almost 1 in 800, the interwebs tells me). I totally understand that we need to be aware of all the possibilities, and be on the same page as to what we would do in that situation, but after we'd already decided we were on the same page, I felt like the counselor kept harping on the subject, spelling out some of the more gory possible details. I felt like she was totally stressing C out especially. I was worried she was going to talk him out of surrogacy entirely. I swear, 5 more minutes of her discussing the details of exactly how a termination would work, if that was what we chose, and C was going to throw up his hands and be like, "I'm out, dudes."

With my last surrogacy, I didn't share anything at all on my Facebook until we had a positive pregnancy test, in fear that I would somehow fail to be a surrogate. And I shared a little throughout, because my IPs on my first journey prized their privacy (as is their right), and I tried to respect that. But now that I know that my uterus and I have got what it takes, I've already mentioned having matched on my Facebook page. And C and K have outed themselves, on both of our Facebook walls, so I'm very happy to be seeing the excitement of their friends and family and get a little better glimpse into their journey to become parents.

So if you're here from my Facebook, welcome Friends! :-) I did a fantastic job of detailing the beginning of my last journey, and really fell of towards the middle, if you're interested in what came before. My intentions are good this time around, but we'll see. :-D