Friday, November 30, 2012

Long Over Due... the Ups and Downs of Being a Gestational Carrier

Hello, I'm not sure if you remember me?

My name is Chelsea and I am a Gestational Carrier.

Oh you do remember me??  Ok..Great!

SO!  I left off not knowing where or when we would start again...

In November, I began my birth control pills at the end of my October cycle.  We were shooting for a December 4th transfer.  During my pills, BayLeigh got sick and we were at the hospital with her a lot and I ended up being late on three pills (took them the same day.. however, not at the right time).  I started to have some spotting the next week (right before I was supposed to start my lupron shots) and called to let them know before I started the shots.  I began the shots and the spotting subsided.  I went in on the 20th for a baseline ultrasound and was NOT cleared for the transfer.  A follicle had already started to form (a little house for an egg..) in a nutshell my own body started it's cycle and didn't suppress my hormones or eggs and since we aren't using my eggs that's no good.  There's a 5-10% chance of this happening anyway- between the shots and the pills not suppressing enough... it could be an after effect of the miscarriage, a fluke, or due to the late birth control pills.  Anyway, they scheduled me for another ultrasound for yesterday and bloodwork to see if the extra week of lupron helped... and it did not.  So I am a no go for my Dec. 4th transfer.

Ok.. I read the above portion and it sounded very, well.... emotionless?  Not heartfelt?  Truth is.. I haven't been blogging because I've been a tiny bit discouraged.  I would like this SO bad for this wonderful couple and I know M & M want it so bad as well.  I want the most IDEAL variables in the next transfer so yes, I'm ok with it being postponed, but it is still a bit discouraging.  I promise to blog more in the future (after all I promised the raw real story).
So here are my feelings:
I know it's not my fault, but however, anytime you are trying to do something for someone and it's your own body- other surrogates will understand me saying this, I feel like it is my fault sometimes.

Next step?
We are waiting for my December cycle to pass and then starting up again on the pills on the first day of the January cycle making for a possible February transfer.  (Oct/Nov due date time frame)

Now... I have been pretty quiet not only because my own circumstances and journey, but because of some of my fellow surrogate friends' journeys as well.  I have had friends have amazing twin births, singletons, and great experiences, wonderful miracles for their IP's and great relationships form.  However, lately, there has been a lot of tears and heartache among us.  We have had still births, miscarriages, broken ribs from twins, one live twin one still twin, a medical emergency that threatened a surrogate's life and resulting in a radical hysterectomy, negative beta results (failed transfers), absorbed pregnancies... you name it I think I've heard of it.  When it happens to one of us it ripples to us all. It is hard to not get discouraged, so I wanted to make sure before I used this blog as an outlet I was in the right mindset to do so.

I believe in this calling, I believe in what we are doing, and most of all I believe in our amazing God who has blessed us with this ability.  I ask that you pray for the gestational carriers I call my friends, or sisters.  Thank you to all who read this blog and are curious or excited about this journey.  I honestly believe the trials we go through make us stronger and can be used for a greater good.  I was called by a friend who was experiencing the spotting and similar symptoms I had been going through before the miscarriage and able to talk with her and help counsel.  Without that experience I wouldn't have been able to do that.  I have a bigger heart for M & M then I ever could have thought possible.  So, you will hear from me again... sooner rather than later.

As for M & M they are as to be expected, disappointed.  We were hoping for a Christmas wish come true, they have waited so long already!  But- we are taking it one step at a time.. :)  Thanks for the prayers friends!

Until we meet again!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What's happening in the baby making world...

I know it's been a little while since I posted.. I have felt like I was driving along and came to a sudden unexpected stop... and I've been waiting for my car to be fixed??   Does that make sense???

I'm not going to lie.  I felt/feel:  discouraged, confused, disappointed, etc... (insert word here) pretty much whatever word it is I have felt it.  I felt alone, I felt surrounded... I felt lost.

Now... the future.  This is happening.  I know it is going to happen for M&M and I am researching some natural ways to help out.  I have heard a lot of good things about acupuncture and massage to help in the fertility process and the transfer itself... I am going to bring this up to M&M and the clinic and see where they stand with it.

Timeline?  What do we do differently?

Well I have to wait for my next cycle- (end of October) to start the BC pills again and meds.... M&M were told of a possible mid Nov transfer date... I'm not sure how that works exactly?

Things will be a little different this time.. I will now be doing the progesterone shots instead of inserts... twice a day... big old huge needles (Joe refuses to do it for me.. I supposedly can't do them myself either...)  along with the lupron shots I give myself (smaller needle) I'm a little nervous about those, but whatever I can do... I will do!  Shots are shots... it's all for the greater good.. and right now since my body didn't really like the inserts... anythings better!

Anyway- that's where we are!  We are just in a standstill until the end of the month and then it's full steam ahead though.

Sometimes I catch myself... but then I refocus on the future and not the past.

October is Infant Loss Awareness month.  I am aware!  Are you?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why I'm a gestational carrier..

Helps explain a little how some people want and pray and beg for a family so bad... and others throw it away..  I feel for these women...

Monday, September 10, 2012

What type of person would want to do that??

Who am I?

I am the youngest in my family.  I have one sister.  I have hair that is constantly changing color unable to decide what it wants to be.  I forget to pluck my eyebrows.  I am uberly competitive.  It bothers me when people use there, they're, and there incorrectly.  I am an avid animal lover.  I wanted to be a vet but ended up crying more than the owners when putting an animal down, so therefore out the door went my veterinarian career.  I am a Daddy's girl.  I hide my tears and am ashamed of them.  In fact, when my husband or children cry it makes me feel awkward.  I have NO idea why, it's just a natural feeling for me.  I was/am the athlete.  I love almost all sports that I excel in and loathe those that I do not-  example: bowling.  My middle name is Marie for my Great Grandmother.  I miss California (we lived there on/off for 3 years while Joe was in the Marine Corps).  With that, I miss the Marine Corps... the guys used to tease me that I was the SGT Major of the Marine Corps with my wonderful knowledge.  I volunteered a LOT of my time for a wonderful non-profit organization called for almost 5 years.  I do not LOVE kids but I love giving them hope.  I am going on my third year as the Girl Scout Daisy troop leader and first year as the Brownie asst leader.  I was a Girl Scout growing up- until I thought it was uncool... little did I know that I was uncool.  I had the same best friend since 1st grade until probably ... a year and a half ago.  And it makes my heart ache every time I think about how much I miss that friendship.  I am not perfect.  Sometimes I try too hard to be.  I married my high school sweetheart- but again, we are not perfect and did a lot a living before settling down.  I got pregnant too young but fell in love at first sight.  I almost lost BayLeigh- our first born.  I gave birth for the first time with my husband thousands of miles away in Iraq.  I gave birth to our last born, Charley, with my husband thousands of miles away in Afghanistan.  I have two great and awesome friends that I consider my bests even though they are far away.  I miss them fiercely but they have helped shape me into the woman I am today.  I love the sport of swimming.  I become pregnant almost too easily- and therefore my heart aches for those who can not.  I am a child of God.  I come from a "whole" family- a mom and dad who are still married and love each other.  I do not get along with my sister very well (although it's getting there once we both agree to disagree).  I think sometimes I am TOO common sense, there is no grey area and everything is black and white and if everyone else could just see that we would live in a perfect world.  (ha)  I love serving people, I think that's who God made me.  I volunteer.  I can not say No unless it is to my children.  I want to give and allow my children to experience whatever activity they want to in order to figure out where their niche is.  I don't get to see my family as much as I would like to.  I like Bud Light Lime... its delicious.  I eat food... a lot of it, so I'm not a skinny girl and I'm proud of that- I have four daughters and I just turned 28 you do the math.  I am very sarcastic and quick with comebacks.  I need to be more humble.  I am involved in our church.... although I have been on a long break trying to find myself one might say but actually I've just been selfish and lazy.  I read the Bible.  I read a lot of anything and I will reread my favorite book 25 times and learn something new every time.  I am a scanner.  I hate voicemails, in fact if you leave me one chances are I will never listen to it.  I saw you called and I will call you back! My first car was purple (how awesome is that?!)  My first french kiss was in 8th grade to Jamie Farrell.  I turn very pale in the winter, almost translucent... if you shake some glitter on my I may be mistaken for a Cullen family member.  (That was a Twilight reference)  I have NOT read 50 Shades of Gray and I'm ok with that. I love Harry Potter and the Hunger Games.  I grew up on Princess Bride and Adventures in Babysitting (every time I go to Chicago I get so excited about the Diamond Shaped building that Sarah was scaling).  I feel home when my husband is there.  I love candles and bathtubs (tubbys).  I used to think the Gin Blossoms song Hey Jealousy was actually "Hey Chelsea" and my friends and family allowed me to think this until I was oh 20 or so???  I used to think the color magenta was actually pronounced mag net ah and this was until my wedding day...  I can NOT say aluminum without stumbling over that word.  My piercing blue eyes actually give me headaches because they cause me to squint all the time.  I LOVE sunflower seeds.  I got a little addicted to BF3 but I'm better now ;)  I miss my husband when he is away.  I dislike our dog.  I am more a cat person.

I was born able.. able to get pregnant easily... able to give birth and have normal pregnancies and labors.   God blessed me with a family.  My heart aches for those still trying... who have been trying for what seems like forever to them.

God made me uniquely and created me with love.  This is how my IP's baby will be created... uniquely and with love.

I am who I am... God wired me... I am who I am and have nothing to hide.

I had a miscarriage... and now.... God left another little impression on my heart..  one that aches with empathy and love with those who have lost a child as well.  Compassion doesn't even begin to describe how I feel towards those in pain. I am who God made to and shaped me to be with all the experiences that have brushed, bumped, stamped, slid, moved across/through/around/ontop/under me.  With each movement I am forever being etched and chiseled into the Christian Woman/Mother/Daughter/Sister/Wife/Gestational Carrier/Swim Coach/Crave Leader/Girl Scout Leader/Neighbor/Cousin/Fan/Jesusfreak/Crazy Driver.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Heavy Heart..

I write tonight with a heavy heart... but when I began blogging this I agreed to be raw and transparent... well here goes:

I went over a week without any bleeding!!  Which was great news... however, today I woke up with heavy bleeding..  with the bleeding came some small clots (sorry if TMI but if there is anyone out there that has the same issue and is googling it I want to help or share my experience for them) and then some larger ones.  I was feeling fine.  No pain, no cramping, after about 45 minutes of heavy bleeding I called the IVF clinic and asked them what they thought.  They said if the bleeding went away great... but if not go to the ER.

So I made a trip to the Morrison ER.  While I was there I passed more blood... and something that looked pretty suspicious...

I brought all this over to the Sterling ER (because Morrison didn't have an ultrasound technician)  and was admitted and spent the rest of my day in at CGH.  After blood work and ultrasound it was pretty clear that I had miscarriage.  The vaginal exam confirmed it.


[mis-kar-ij; for 1 also mis-kar-ij] 
1.  the expulsion of a fetus before it is viable

2.  failure to attain the just, right, or desired result


[laws, los] 
1. detriment, disadvantage, or deprivation from failure to keep, have, or get: to bear the loss

My heart hurts so much for M & M and their dreams and hopes for this baby.  The only pain I had was during the ultrasound and vaginal exam and being poked and prodded and worked over.  My body is sore and very tired due to the extreme blood loss.  I think the worst part of it is the ER OB room must be located underneath the birthing unit because I could hear a newborn crying the entire time.

I have such mixed feelings and emotions right now.  I wonder what I did wrong... was there something wrong with the baby... maybe this is why I didn't feel pregnant??? or maybe this is why I bled before
??  was there something wrong with me?  How do M & M feel??  I can't imagine what they are going through.  etc...  Joe is gone currently at a school in Des Moines for the military.  So sitting in that room for a good 4 hours bleeding out gave me a lot of time to think about everything I could possibly think of.

Don't feel bad that I was alone during this time- I don't think there is anyone I really wanted at my side during it.  I am the "strong" one.. and not very emotional... in fact I'm sure Joe would agree that he cries more than I.  However, I to be alone today for that small moment of weakness to not have to be strong for anyone for just a short amount of time and grieve.  Grieve for M & M... and this baby... and the life I dreamed for them.

My phone died almost right after being admitted to CGH- so I think that was God's way of making me focus.... also it was a saving grace in a way because I SO badly wanted to call M & M and keep them in the loop but I realized after everything it is not my place to tell them.  I know you all want to know how they are doing-  I do too... I haven't spoke to them yet.  I charged my phone once I left the hospital and called our case worker and let her know what was going on.  She confirmed it was not my place to tell them... and I said that was fine but asked that they be told immediately.  I didn't want to hide ANYTHING from them and wanted them to know as soon as possible.  She sent me a text and let me know once the phone call was made..  I can't imagine what they are going through.  I have been in contact with them and they are concerned for me but seem to be doing ok and looking hopeful into the future.

So what's next???  I don't know... to be honest.  It feels weird not taking any medicine for the first time in..... oh my gosh I don't know how long. I honestly don't know what happens in the case of a miscarriage I hate that word!  It reeks of failure... so instead I use the word loss.   I honestly don't know what happens in the case of a loss...  I know that it is all in M & M's court.  They decide when and if they want to try again, I believe I know them well enough and from the sounds of it they are fully committed to trying again just as I am.  I assume I will have to get my body back into a regular ovulation cycle and resume meds and do a mock cycle and transfer again.

I appreciate your prayers.  I am strong and ok, I especially appreciate your prayers for M & M.. I know that God has a plan for their family and I pray for their comfort.  I know that they will be blessed with a baby and I pray that I can be the one to help them :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Teeny Tiny

M & M made the drive from Chicago and met me at the ultrasound office.  I went in a little early just to talk to the tech about my bleeding/spotting and concerns.  They led us back to the ultrasound room and they both came back to view.  I think we were all nervous and wondering what was going on...  our technician did a great job showing us EVERYTHING and explaining tissues and colors, but we were quietly waiting for the moment of truth... how many (if any) babies were growing inside.  After what seemed like ages (it was probably 5 minutes) she showed us one very teeny tiny embryonic pole and yolk sac.  Amazingly at 6 weeks you could see the cardiac movement.  The heart is no where near formed but you could see the flutter of flow in the teeny tiny grain of rice looking embryo.  I have never had an ultrasound that early so I found that amazing.  So!  April 30thish we are expecting a Baby for M & M!  How exciting for them!! :) Everything looked great and healthy with the baby.  I do have a subchorionic (sp?) hemorrhage which apparently is bleeding outside of my uterus which is quite common with IVF and should clear itself.  I go back on the 18th for another peek!  How great.  I scheduled my first appointment with my OWN OB  how exciting to see Dr. Pimentel again :) After the appointment we celebrated with Olive Garden and M & M came over to visit at our house and got to meet my mother and two little ones.  It was great to see them play and interact with Charley (1 1/2 year) I know they will be great parents!!!   Anyway... enough for now.. here is a little peek at Baby:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Anxious and Uncertain

Well!  Wednesday's beta came back with a HCG level in the 300's .. it more than doubled which is a true telling sign of pregnancy!!!  Unfortunately, Saturday I had some spotting... followed by some spotting/bleeding over the last week off and on.

There are SO many things that can cause normal bleeding in the beginning of an IVF pregnancy.  There are so many factors into spotting... the amount of blood, how long, how much, what's it look like, etc... ugh it makes my head literally spin.

My IVF clinic does not seem concerned.  Although after my consistent calling and urging they did increase my Progesterone and added to my pill in take in addition to the inserts I am already taking.

I was told that spotting/bleeding is typical.

On the flip side you hear that it's not typical sometimes!  Ahhh there are so many factors-  so.... here I am writing my stress out... sharing my stress... and ultimately.. after tonight- I am giving it to God.  I am no longer going to worry about is this normal or not.  I give it to God who ultimately is the decider of whether it's normal or not ;)

I'm not sure if this is normal for me- I would have never known this soon in the ballgame that I was pregnant (we are five weeks pregnant tomorrow!)  It could be multiple things... ugh... multiple normal things and multiple abnormal things.  NEVER google stuff like this!

I will be calling the clinic and asking to do two more HCG blood tests to make sure my numbers are increasing.  This will be for peace of mind and to make sure we know ahead of the ultrasound if the numbers aren't increasing for some reason.

I think the worst part in this is I would hate for this to be something of concern and NOT know until the ultrasound on the 5th... I adore my IP's and would hate for them to make the drive all the way here for bad news... that is why I want the blood tests... to rule out that bad news, to give peace of mind..

I am not a doctor, I do not know what is normal... I don't know what is a lot or a little or spotting or bleeding... therefore ... I just need your prayers... prayers that all is well!  Prayers for all involved.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Test results are in...

and... M & M are officially expecting a bundle of joy!!! :)  I am pregnant!

I went in for the beta test this morning and my IM (Intended Mother) called me around 11:45 with the news!

Northwestern contacted her and she asked them if she could call me with the news.  I could hear the excitement in her voice.  How great for them!  She said she can go baby shopping now!  :)  I am so happy and thrilled for my IP's they deserve their family!   Now, I go in Wednesday and hope that our number is skyhigh and predicts twins.

My HCG was at a 129 which they told her it needed to be at least 5 to be considered positive?  So :)

God is Great!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tomorrow has come!

Tomorrow is the day.  I am going to the doctor to test my blood to see if dreams will come true!  I am very excited, scared, happy, nervous, thrilled, blessed, joyous, etc... for M & M!

Thursday/Friday I took HPT and this was the result...

Yes there is a faint second line there :)  We are praying and hopeful that tomorrow will bring good results!  Please be praying with us as well-  more tomorrow!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Transfer complete!

So... a little bit about my transfer before I forget details!

I ended up driving in to Chicago Wednesday evening and joined our IP's (Intended Parents) at the Cheesecake Factory for Dinner.  We met up around 7:00 and I didn't get back to my hotel room until 10:15... and I couldn't believe it was that late!  We just had so much to talk about and were having a great evening that time flew by.  They gave me a sweet gift to help me relax and I ended up enjoying the quiet of the hotel room and the amazing view!

They picked me up from the hotel this morning and we rode to the hospital together.  My IM (Intended Mother) joined me int he procedure room - which surprisingly wasn't the least bit awkward at all... in fact it was rather natural.  The staff was very informative- they have 6-7 great looking embryos that they will be freezing for the future.  The two embryos that were transferred today were as good as the could be and the Dr. said the placement was great.  It was interesting there was a little window in the room that went directly to the lab and the lab techs were preparing the embryos right behind the wall.  The science of it all is simply amazing that there could be potential babies being frozen...  boggles my mind!  The procedure itself was really quick.  They used a catheter to go through my cervix into my uterine lining and place the embryos right in the middle.  My IM held my hand as we literally watched on the ultrasound machine as the embryos ever so softly dropped onto my uterine lining.  (Bombs away... is what the doctor doing the procedure said)  Not too often can you say you witnessed conception!  I didn't feel much of anything and the Dr. gave us both ultrasound pictures of the little embryos hanging out!  Hopefully this will be the first picture of MANY for my IP's.  They are so excited, and I am so excited for them!  

The bright spot in the red circle is the embryos.

I go in for a blood test on Aug 20th to check my HCG levels.  I will probably take a home pregnancy test sometime before then though!

We got to ask the doctor some questions-  I had asked when "conception" is considered and I was surprised to find out technically if the embryos stuck today we would be 2 weeks and 4 days pregnant.  Isn't that crazy?!  Time is already flying by ;)

We ended up going out to eat after the transfer (Gino's East)- amazing pizza by the way.  There was a difference in the air... I think we all let our guard down and truly gave in to the hope of this journey.. all the formalities were done- and we truly are friends...  For so long they tried to get pregnant, then discussed alternatives, then chose surrogacy, then went through the process, and all the time passed and they never let it become real to them.  And for so long have I researched, and talked about, and applied, and was matched, and was examined, and was on medications... etc before it became real.  And now that it's real we finally let in to the excitement I think.  I really was blessed by our time together- getting to know each other and share and understand each side better.  I inquired about the egg donor process and how their side of the surrogacy went... It truly is a miracle how everything works itself out.  I was sad to say goodbye but I know that we will see each other again soon!  

I am really hoping and praying that these embryos take and my body does what it needs to to make my IP's a mommy and a daddy because they are amazing people who deserve the joy of parenthood.  More will definitely be coming..  stay tuned!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Transfer Day- T minus 4 days and counting

I have been so busy lately I haven't had a chance to update!

A week ago... Joe and I had the amazing pleasure of meeting up with our Intended Parents M &M at the Cubs/Cards game.  We went to lunch before the game and then watched our Cubbies beat the Cardinals.  We had a great day and enjoyed getting to know M&M better.  Joe and I both came away excited about the future.

Friday I had my baseline ultrasound and my lining is at an 11!  Which is good :)  The eggs are getting harvested TOMORROW and the transfer will be taking place THURSDAY!  This THURSDAY! 

 I will get a call tomorrow from the Fertility Clinic to let me know what time on Thursday, and if it is early I will be going on on Wednesday to spend the night.  I am getting excited for M&M.  I know how much this means to them and I can only pray that my body will respond and all will work out accordingly.  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The journey begins...

I know it's been a while since I posted... but in all honesty- not too much has happened....

I went to my medical appointment at Northwestern and everything went great there.  \I have to say I honestly love my contact there- she is hilarious, real, and down to earth.  I also love working with ConceiveAbilities and my case worker...  I am so relieved we hit it off well.. and I am grateful for the friends I have made.

The legal process officially began LAST week and we had a deadline of NOON on Friday- it came down to the line, and we went over our deadline a little bit... but we officially finalized on a contract!!

I felt worried that the small things we went back and forth on would effect our relationship with the intended parents....  I was worried that they wouldn't understand where we were coming from on some of the issues and thought we were just being difficult.  I spoke to a lot of surrogate friends about this legal process and I ended up not feeling alone in some of the "issues" we went back and forth on.  I was relieved to find out that some had ended up with the EXACT same issues!!!  My concern was then moving on how that would effect the relationship with the IP's... today my answer came...

A wonderful, unexpected surprise was delivered..

With a note: "May God bless you both, the way we have been blessed by you" ~ M & M

What a great way to start this journey...  so now my worries are put to ease and I am looking forward to the days ahead... EVEN tomorrow when I start my Lupron shots... more to come from this blog that's for sure!

Ok one more thing to note... now that the legal process is done... we can officially contact each other.  THIS I am a little nervous about.... I mean. It's like the call after a first date... who calls who??  ahh  Anyway... playing it by ear.. More to come

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ingredients! *It's OFFICIAL*

Last night... we received the phone call... We have OFFICIALLY been matched... woohoo... Joe and I honestly couldn't be any happier with our match!  Feeling pretty blessed...

I have had a few friends as me about how the girls feel about this... or if they even understand it... well... I seem to think they do, in a sense.

I saw a blogger friend explained it to her kids in a baking sense (like an apple pie...)  I, however, likened it to baking cookies.

We sat down and I explained to the very intrigued six year old and seven year old inquisitive minds.  It's like baking cookies.  Before you get to enjoy the cookies you have to make them first.  You first preheat the oven. In EVERY cookbook that's the very first step! go to all the hard work of getting together all the ingredients.  Things like the eggs, oil, water, flour, chocolate chips, etc.  You get out the mixer or grab a spoon and start mixing the ingredients together...all of this you do in hopes and expectations of getting to enjoy the outcome of some wonderful, warm, gooey cookies.

You get them all prepared on a baking sheet, just far enough apart from each other.... all about the same size... and you pop them into the oven, and then you set the timer and wait.  As kids, of course, they turn on the light to check the progress... but nothing is happening... in fact something isn't right, the oven isn't hot at all, which is odd... it's supposed to get hot right??  You check and make sure you turned the oven on.... Yes, I swear I did... chimes someone.  Ok, you push preheat again... only this time... you realize it's not working.  It may be obvious... electricity is out?  It may not be obvious... the stove top works but not the oven???  Whatever the case may be... the oven is not working.  Here you sit... with your cookies WAITING to be baked and enjoyed... what do you do?  Do you drive to a friends house, call a repair man, knock on the neighbor's door???  Or do you just give up....

It's the best way to explain it to the girls.  I have an oven that has worked for four wonderful girls already... We have met an amazing couple who have the ingredients... together we can make some cookies.  Now the cookies aren't ours.. they get that... (in fact they are pretty relieved... neither of them want another Ollie or Charley monster any time soon...)  I even think they might be excited as well.  Emery overheard me tell Joe the good news about becoming officially matched and I said "I'm so excited..." and she wanted to know why.. and I said we were matched with a couple to have a baby for, and they liked us and so we have decided to do it.  She grinned and got excited to and said she told her friends at school (oh if I were a fly on the wall for that one...)  Anyway.... kids are kids... they ask questions... but they ask the questions adults think of but don't have the guts to ask ;)  So.  This visual was great for them... can't wait to bake some cookies for M & M.

Monday, April 23, 2012

First "Date"...


We went to church this morning and after church hit the road for Chicago... first of all I wasn't too nervous.... I was very at ease.  Church was great this morning- the message from Christine Caine was RIGHT on... i was able to focus and pray to God for confirmation... for direction... and discernment... in this matchmaking process...  on the way to Chicago I got to worship our amazing God with some music and pray.... and I kept praying for confirmation... that is is more than me, that is by divine appointment...

Anyway, we got there pretty early and hit up a Starbucks....

Got myself a new tumbler cup.... ;)  Yay me and a wonderful Caramel Apple Cider... delicious oh how I miss those...

Anyway... we got there and once we pulled in the parking lot I was a little nervous...

Joe and I kind of talked about what we hoped WOULDN'T happen... or who we hoped WOULDN'T be waiting for us... but we didn't really talk about who we wanted... I think we didn't want to get our hopes up or raised expectations???

Anyway, I want to respect privacy... needless to say, M & M were everything and so much more of what we could have hoped for.

They are such a loving couple (you could see how they loved each other), they wore their hearts on their sleeves... and I could feel the longing and emotions of their journey.  I wanted to hug her... When they shared of their years of struggles and the medical issues that ultimately brought them to meeting us..I wanted to get up and hug her but didn't want to seem insanely forward.  I believe we connected and share the same expectations and desires... There was laughter and tears... When we discuss what we both would prefer to see happen if problems arise...etc... our confirmation came.... the words ... we would pray... were all we needed to hear... we ended our hour long date (I feel like it was a date... these people are dating my uterus ;)) and Joe and I left feeling 150% committed to this.  We both were very excited about helping this couple and connecting with them.

AND... for those who know me best... you know my humor is one of my (strengths or weaknesses depending on the situation!) ... I ended the "date" with a crucial loaded question.... I asked them if they were Cubs or Cardinals fans..... and got even more confirmation when we heard Cubs!   :)  haha....

Joe and I left... truly feeling blessed, and knowing God confirmed this with us.  Thank you all for the prayers..... With the remainder of this week being National Infertility Awareness will you pray with me this week for those couple, including M & M, who feel the heartache and desire for children but are unable to conceive or carry...  Thanks all.... :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Personal Cause... Awareness Week

National Infertility Awareness Week!

Infertility Awareness

It is only fitting that by God's design we meet our Intended Parents on the first day of National Infertility Awareness Week.... It is April 22-April 28.  Wear orange to support the cause!

Most of us know what infertility is... or assume we know.  It is a disease of the reproductive system.  It's diagnosed after a couple has had one year of unprotected sex trying to conceive, multiple miscarriages in a woman under 35, or 6 mo. of trying to conceive after the age of 35.  30% of cases are from female infertility, 30% are from male infertility, 20%-30% are unknown origin, and 10% are from both partners being infertile.

1 in 8 couples of reproduction age suffers from infertility!

Infertility effects approximately 10% of the population.  That being said- I am NOT one of the 10% obviously.

But just because it doesn't effect me doesn't mean I'm not affected by it.  Did you catch that????

I feel this guilt when I hear of these loving deserving parents that LONG for a family of their own... when I didn't have to try for mine.  I feel for them... I have what they are missing.

Please check out this AMAZING blog post....  No foot too small

I can't wait to share more of our meeting but for now... be in prayer for those waiting, for those longing, for those whose hearts ache when they see a mother and her baby, for those who see a father pushing her daughter on a swing and want that.

But for now... Don't ignore...

Don't ignore the signs of infertility, the pain of those who are going through it, the longing of those who want a family, the people around you... 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sunday is the big day!

Well... we officially meet M & M on Sunday!!... sans kids... (phew I don't want them to know how crazy I am... and four kids in tow makes me look a little looney ;))

So.... now that it's getting a bit closer I am starting to run through scenarios in my head... like what sort of questions they are going to ask... or if there is going to be an insanely awkward silence... I don't deal well with silences... I try to fill them with randomness!

Anyway... I am not worried, I don't really get worried... I am just full of curiosity. So counting down the days... I just really hope they like us and we like them!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Match Maker , Match Maker...

Well after much waiting... we received a phone call...

test results are in and we have been matched!

I don't know too much about them yet but we are making arrangements to meet in the next couple of weeks. How exciting! :) For right now I will call them M & M to protect their privacy. Looking forward to the meet and greet and praying for God's blessing on this match.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hurry up... and wait... and wait

Test Results are in... and faxed... now awaiting whether we have some IP's or not....

Good thing I'm a military wife and i'm used to this hurry up and wait stuff...

Good thing I also know and have faith in a God that has ultimate control and belief in His Timing... :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

First poke for a purpose

Well.... patience isn't my strong suit!

Hahahaha... we are still in the matching process. We have a couple very interested in us, but their Fertility Clinic required an extra test.... so off to the doctor I went for some blood work. Well apparently the nurse did something completely wrong (like collapsed my vein) and now I am bruised.... actually the picture doesn't do the real thing much justice! And the poke actually took place Four days ago!! She kept complaining that her hand hurt from trying to pull the syringe so much due to the suction.... that should have been her first clue something was wrong! Oh well!

Anyway.... we will have to wait up to a week to find the results from the blood test and then wait to hear on what the clinic decides. I am very relaxed with this actually. I feel bad for the IP's waiting... they find me, like me, and now have to wait for their clinic to look me over and approve me! :)

Our prayer is that God's will prevails, whatever God has in plan for us happens.... if this is the couple we are supposed to carry for we pray that it goes quickly and smoothly, and if not then for clear direction on who is.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Whoopsie Daisy


We received a phone call from the Director of the company we are going through... only she didn't want to speak to me she asked to speak to Joe. Apparently there is another Joseph Brewer in Illinois. We knew this about four years ago we received mailing from Navy Federal Credit Union stating we owed money on a credit card that was in that name but his social security number. We found out he was from Illinois and had been in the Marine Corps but dishonerably discharged. Well when the company ran Joe's background all this came up. I'm not sure if that means this guy is using Joe's social or what. Anyway! All is cleared up now but it obviously put a hiccup. We are still awaiting our match. Thanks for all that have been wondering!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Article- Impact on Surrogate's own children

No negative impact for surrogate's own children

16 January 2012
Dr Rebecca Robey Appeared in BioNews 640
Acting as a
surrogate does not negatively affect the psychological wellbeing of the surrogate's own children, according to a new study from the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge.
In one of the first investigations of its kind, researchers explored the experiences and psychological health of children whose mothers had acted as a surrogate for another couple.
Sixteen children took part in the study - seven boys and nine girls aged between 12 and 22 years old. Researchers visited the children at home and assessed their wellbeing by conducting interviews and asking the children to complete questionnaires.
'There have been concerns raised in the past about the effect of surrogacy on a surrogate's own children', said Susan Imrie, one of the researchers on the project. 'Surrogacy is a relatively rare procedure and there are very few scientific studies on the long-term effects of this, particularly on the surrogate and her family'.
'So far, all children interviewed have a positive view of surrogacy and their mother's involvement', she added.
Ten children told the researchers they were in contact with the surrogate child, and felt that they had a good relationship with them. Twelve openly discussed surrogacy with their friends
and reported receiving generally positive reactions. Psychological health questionnaires indicated that most of the children were within the normal range for self-esteem.
The data was presented at the British Fertility Society's annual meeting. The research included children of both
genetic surrogates, where the surrogate is also the biological mother of the child and donates an egg (which is usually fertilised by artificial insemination), and gestational surrogates, where an embryo created using gametes taken from the intended parents is implanted into the surrogate. There were no differences between the findings of the psychological health questionnaires completed by children of genetic or gestational surrogates.
'The results we present here are only preliminary findings and form part of a larger ongoing study into the experiences and psychological health of surrogate mothers and their families', said Imrie. 'Our initial results indicate that the children of mothers who have carried a surrogate baby for another couple do not face negative consequences as a result of this'.

Home Visit

Well... we had our home visit with the Director at the company we are going through. On our end ... I think it went pretty well. My house was somewhat clean and presentable... my kids were somewhat clean and presentable... so those are some pro's. It was great to hear Joe talk about the surrogacy in more detail with someone other than myself. I got a clearer picture of what this journey is going to look like... getting more and more excited! Next step is the match maker game... :) Please join us in praying for the right couple to be matched with... for God to speak to us and guide us through this process to the intended parents. Thanks all :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Joe's next....

Well... we have a home visit scheduled for Thursday. They will evaluate Joe and get to meet and talk to him some.... I'll keep you posted on how it goes... I'm sure he'll fail the crazy test.. :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

ArE YoU CraZy?!

Well... Trip to Chicago went well!

The drive gave me time to do some thinking... OH no! haha.... that thinking will be in my other blog... back to the subject on hand... Chicago.

I went and met up with the Director of Client Relations (Alicia) of the company I am going through for this surrogacy. We got to finally meet after first talking in the beginning of October! It was great to see the place and meet her finally. She and I got to discuss in great detail what the process should look like... along with my requests and desires.

I then got to take a wonderful almost 600 question test on the computer... as well as a 344 question SCAN TRON... yes you heard me folks... SCAN TRON.. ugh!!! I felt like I was taking my ACT... only these were some of the questions... Have you ever thought about killing yourself? Have you ever thought about what you would write in your suicide note? Have you ever told anyone you were going to commit suicide? Have you ever hurt yourself? Would you like to be a florist? Would you like to be a soldier? Would you like to be a librarian? Are you easily excitable? Would you like to be a forest ranger? ETC.... those are serious questions....

Anyway, I survived the testing. A couple of intended parents from the Netherlands had just flown in and met their surrogate for the first time... and they were in the office meeting.. it was pretty cool. I am avoiding having IP's from a different country though.. I'm looking for a couple from Illinois actually! But.... I'm open to a lot of things... we'll just have to see...

Anyway some pretty rigorous psych testing... as well as a more detailed run down on what it all looks like.... Here is the step by step journey we should be taking..

The Process, Step by Step

Step One: The Surrogate Mother Application and Evaluation Process
This application asks about your lifestyle, pregnancy, medical, and work history. After review... a lengthy phone interview will then take place from the coordinator. All medical records then are sent in for review and approval. Upon satisfactory review of OB records a meeting will take place and psych evaluation. Followed by a home visit by one a mental health staff.

Step Two: Matching Surrogate Mother with Intended Parents
Information will be provided to us about possible intended parents so that all parties can mutually select who they would like to work with. Once everyone feels comfortable with the profile selection, the surrogacy coordinator will arrange a meeting between all parties to discuss the partnership and expectations. This is one of the most important, crucial and reaffirming steps in the surrogacy journey- establishing a connection between the surrogate and loving intended parents.

Both parties meet with their lawyers to draw up contracts and get everything possible down in writing

Step Three: Surrogate Mother Medical Work Up
An appointment with the intended couple’s physician at their IVF clinic

Step Four: Surrogate Mother IVF Cycle
Medicine/shots/ etc to thicken my uterine lning as well as to sync my menstrual cycle with the intended mom.

Embryo transfer!
The embryos will be placed through the catheter and into the uterus for anticipated implantation.
then blood drawn and ultrasounds regularly to monitor the progress of the cycle.

Step Five: Surrogate Mother Pregnancy and Delivery!
Ba da Bing Ba da Boom!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Well... my first round of testing and appointments is this upcoming Thursday. I will travel into Chicago and be there for a good 3 or 4 hours for testing... all in the process... :) Thanks be to God. I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why in the world would make you want to do THAT?!

When we first considered surrogacy... we had two kids at the time. It was back when we were getting out of the Marine Corps... we were looking into our future away from Daddy Warbucks and into the poor house of starting over, and actually as a joke started an Internet search for selling testicles. I had read an article or saw on the news something about selling testicles for a substantial amount of money, so jokingly we began searching that. We came across lots of ridiculous articles but I read a few articles on surrogacy... and they stuck with me. I began to think about what life would be like without kids. Without EVER having kids or being able to.... and I couldn't imagine it. At the time I knew a few people who were unable to carry.. and were undergoing fertility treatments to help out... and I thought about what a gift that would be to those people. We also saw what the monetary compensation was... which helps when you are looking at an unsure future. We went forward with it, speaking to a company in California and were approved... upon approval I started to have a change of heart. The timing wasn't the greatest, and I knew that I wanted as least one more kid of our own and wanted to make sure that if anything were to go wrong, I would be content with just the two children I had. So we walked away from it.

The idea resurfaced again after Ollie was born. We were financially content, we had three kids, both of us had secure jobs. We had recently became involved in a church family which became more of our lifestyle and less of church. We were happy and began talking and discussing it again as an option. It helped knowing that my friend Kristi had successfully delivered her surrogate baby just a few days before I had Ollie, and all went well with it. But, all talk was put on hold when I became pregnant with our wonderful little Charley.

Surrogacy came back on the table during my pregnancy with Charley... I have a good uterus... I might as well use it! I knew that this is something I wanted to do... and our family could handle doing. So here we are today... we filled out the paperwork this Fall, I have been in contact with the company that is based out of Chicago and Colorado since the first days of application. We have been gathering all the needed materials, doctor's notes of approval, my medical records of labor and delivery as well as all prenatal care. That was sure a task- I KNEW that it was from God though when I already had all the military records from Emery's pregnancy. If you don't know- the military and hospitals on base are notorious for being pains in the YOU KNOW WHAT... and I knew that would be a struggle. But, I already requested them back when I was pregnant with Ollie! Which was a miracle in itself that I didn't have to try hunting those down. I had a bit of an issue with BayLeigh's from CGH, but it all worked out and came together. The next waiting step was Joe's employment. We knew he was getting the job and our insurance would be changing, and we didn't want to start and have to deal with changing companies, etc. Joe received a phone call the day before I received my phone call. His phone call was telling him he would be starting on the 17th and insurance would begin at 1 am on the 17th with no probationary or waiting period; my phone call was scheduling our appointment and letting us know that our medical records were received, reviewed, and the green light was given. With everything in place here we are now.

We first researched the idea in 2007 and we are still at it in 2012- 5 years later..who knew a silly little google (or in that time yahoo search) for selling testicles could lead to this?! So back to why... or why now... well.. As far as why- we want to give this amazing gift to someone else that may not be able to! We want to pour into someones' lives the way God has poured a blessing into ours. YES, there is compensation involved. Is that why we are doing it?? Absolutely not... there's plenty of ways out there to make a living- and Joe just got an incredible, secure job. We are in for the giving not the receiving. OK we are a little selfish, or at least I am..I can't wait for the JOY that I know I am going to get out of this. So that's why... as for why now?!

God's Timing is Perfect Timing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Announcing to friends and family.... hmmmm how's that going to go?! I guess we'll find out... Support or not support ... choose a side because I'm sure this will be a bumpy ride! Here is a sort of announcement on our family's blog :