Saturday, July 27, 2013

Making A Big Decision

Okay folks, here it is. I am going to be a Gestational Carrier. There I said it. Ok, now you can judge all you want, think whatever you want, but it is what it is. Let me start at the beginning.

When we lived in Montreal, we had some dear friends that my sisters and I adored. Helen and Angelo were like second parents to us. They tried for 10 years to conceive, and after many rounds of IVF that failed, they decided to adopt. They now have two beautiful children from China. I could not be happier for them. But when I was 13 and 14, they were in the middle of trying and kept failing at it, and I would see the tears, and the desperation, and I remember thinking in my young age, that if I could give them a baby, I totally would. No questions asked, I would do it in a heartbeat!

Fast forward to me having my own kids. I had Brae, and after a very long 45 hour labor with too much intervention, and drugs I didn't want, I thought, I'm never having another baby! But like they say, it is like we forget and that is why women have more than one child. Well, I must've had a momentary lapse, because then I got pregnant with Kynlee but this time I was determined to be in charge of my birth. I was given a drug called Stadol, which is a pain medication, during my labor with Brae early on in my labor and I'm convinced that it slowed things down tremendously and because I wasn't progressing as quickly as they wanted me to, my water was broken, and pitocin was started and after 41 hours of hard contractions, I finally got an epidural and progressed more in those last four hours that I had in the many hours before that. The Stadol completely knocked me out. I could hear everything around me, still feel all of my contractions, but could not open my eyes or speak. Absolutely awful experience!

With Kynlee, things were much different. Labor was  much faster, about 10 hours, and I did most of that at home since we lived 5 minutes away from the hospital. Things went pretty smoothly, but in hindsight would have gone to the hospital much earlier than I did. By the time I got to the hospital, I was so desperate for some kind of pain relief, that I immediately said that I wanted an epidural when I got there. I think if I had gotten there earlier, I wouldn't have gotten the epidural and maybe dried getting in the tub with the jets, and skipped the epidural all together. But things were different and I'm happy they turned out the way they did because I have two wonderful children out of it.

Pregnancy itself is not easy for me. I have weeks and weeks of morning sickness, pain in my pelvis, and just overall very uncomfortable. But, in the grand scheme of things, it is only 9 months. There is an end to it, and what a great result too!

So, my decision to become a gestational carrier starts here. I had been thinking about it for years, and had mentioned it to my husband before we conceived Kynlee but ultimately, Troy left the decision up to me. I decided when I was 6 months pregnant with Kynlee that I would become a gestational carrier after that, and so I applied with an agency that I had done some research on, and went from there.

I applied in the morning on the website, filled out a detailed questionnaire, and that afternoon, I got a call from the agency. I was surprised at how quickly someone responded, but they said that I was prequaliflied to move on to the next step which was more questions, and more paperwork. Oh, the paperwork. When they called me that afternoon, they said that they had 35 couples waiting for a gestational carrier/surrogate. The difference between the two is this. Gestational carrier is carrying a child that is not related to you in any way. Surrogacy, typically is described as you donating an egg and letting it be fertalized by a sperm of the father. I was not interested in donating an egg because the idea of giving away my own child didn't sit right with me, so gestational carrier it is! Surrogacy is now used to describe both. So, I'm just the oven, it is totally their bun!

I gathered everything they need over the next few months since I had time still being pregnant with Kynlee and all. Plus the year I breastfed her, so I took my time and kept thinking and researching more and more about it throughout that time.

At the end of last year, I contacted the agency again, telling them that I was done breastfeeding and was ready to move on to the rest of the process. What a process it is. Once I got all the paperwork to them, I had to get a physical done, with bloodwork, and had to be immunized since I was not vaccinated as a kid, and it was also determined that I needed to lose some weight. What a perfect motivation. I lost 20 pounds! My medical profile was now complete and ready for the next step. Matching with a couple!

In early May, I was sent a profile of a couple that live in North Carolina, I can say that they are the sweetest couple! She is a neurologist, and he is a medical researcher in the dental tissue field. Their story is similar to many, trying for years, and failing. They had some cancer on her part that needed to be dealt with but that left her with no functioning uterus or ovaries. My heart went out to them as I read and re-read their profile. They were also sent my profile and we were to report back to a social worker through the agency about our thoughts and whether we wanted to move forward with each other. We both did, and decided that meeting on Skype would be a great way to get a better introduction of each other. Everything went well, and they formally asked me to be their surrogate on that Skype call! I was holding back tears, and all I could do was smile and nod! From there, a contract was drafted that covers anything and everything that could happen during this process and on to the next step! Medical Screening.

In early June, it was time to go to the medical screening in Boston where the couples' embryos are frozen. Met with the doctor that will be performing the embryo transfer. Troy and I were interviewed for almost 3 hours by a social worker asking all different types of questions, and then had some bloodwork done, and an ultrasound to make sure my uterus is safe to carry another pregnancy. I heard back a few weeks later that I passed the medical screening and was now ready to start the next process of preparing my body for the transfer. This includes 3 weeks of birth control to suppress my own ovulation, and then a drug called Lupron that will slowly prepare my body for a pregnancy and then will end with progesterone shots that will continue until I am starting the second trimester. I have 7 days left of the birth control, and the Lupron shots start tonight! I am beyond nervous with all the shots I will have to take, but at this point, I am keeping my eye on the prize, which is handing over a baby to two wonderful people!

So there you have it, this is going to be my life for the next 10-12 months! I fly to Boston for the embryo transfer at the end of August, and while I am excited, I am super nervous! I can already tell that this blog will be a great way to relieve some of my anxiety and to document the different steps coming up!

So if you're interested to see what this will be like, I am going to keep track of everything on here, and share it with whoever wants to read it! :)

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