Friday, December 30, 2011

This is My Belly, I am no longer ashamed.

I have been wanting to do a post like this for a long time. However, I always thought I'd wait until after I was done having babies and also had my "After" tummy tuck picture to do it. And I thought I'd write it, not here, but a site I have come to love called The Shape of a Mother. I am not sure what has given me the courage to do this now, of all times, but it's time.

Is it the fear of being newly single after 13 years with the same person?

Is it my Surrogate Group's openness?

Is it the thought that some other woman will see my picture and see herself in a new light? See that she is still beautiful?

All the above?


You see, one of my Surrogate Groups started posting pictures of their bodies and bellies. There are only about 35 of us on this particular group and each one is all sorts of Awesome. We trust each other immensely, enough so that even though we sometimes don't feel so great about the bodies that we've been left with after our own babies and our Surro-babies, we still feel safe enough to post up pictures. Some of them are tiny, some of us are not . . . but I've found that we're all beautiful. I decided that I was going to do it too and GOD, was it freeing. To be able to show off what I try so hard to hide . . . to say, "Fuck it! This is me. This is all of me."

Now maybe after I publish this I will feel weird knowing that people out there will have seen what I've been hiding since I started having kids back in 2000 . . . but this body has nourished and grown 7 babies, 8 if we count the one I'm currently pregnant with. This body has breastfeed all of them, from a few days to over a year (depending). This body has completed my own family and has brought joy to two others, three (after July). This body has been good to me and others. This body has brought about so much joy and love. This body has been thin, tan, white, pregnant, stretched out, heavy . . . you name it. This body has seen things that some others have only dreamed about.

This body is mine. I will no longer be ashamed of the way it looks because it has been phenomenal to me and those I hold so dear. It is who I am. And in the future, if I ever get the tummy tuck, or lose more weight, whatever, it will still be mine and I will love it just the same.

Like I put on my Facebook/Twitter today after doing this, "I am Smart. I am Funny. I am Beautiful inside and out. I am a Great Mom. I am a loyal companion . . . and I need to say this aloud everyday to remind myself. My life has changed but "Kelly" will emerge . . . because I am also strong."

I decided to not take a different picture because I was sure I would've tried to get a better angle or change it to try to make it better, perhaps show more of "the girls" since they're pretty great (even more so when in a bra LOL) instead I'm posting the picture that I took when I ran into the back room at work, pulled up my top and clicked. A quick "This is my belly" picture to join the "photo movement" the women I love so much were courageous enough to do themselves.


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Monday, December 26, 2011

Single Surrogate?

Well, I have some bad news to report. No, not that, the baby is doing great. I have some "personal" bad news to share . . . .

Last week, we took our kids to Disneyland. It was supposed to be a magical trip leading into the Holiday Season. Well, on our drive, I was talking with my husband about why he was acting so strange. Well to make a long story short, he wants to leave our marriage. He does not want to work on the issues he has within our marriage, he is moving out.

First of all, I have to tell you that I was totally blindsided. I did not see this coming. I honestly thought we'd be married forever. I can count on one hand the amount of fights we've had in the last thirteen years together. Again, I was totally shocked.

Now- not to air my dirty laundry out there for all to read, but I thought that this was a MAJOR event within this Surrogacy, so I figured I would be honest and share. I don't know what will happen in the end (with my marriage) but I can tell you that this Surrogacy will end with a healthy baby boy being born to two amazing dads this summer. I told my IPs what happened when I saw them last week for the ultrasound and they did look worried. Who can blame them. Rick and I look so great on paper . . in our profile you see a monogamous couple that has been together for 13 years and married for 11, with three beautiful kids and two successful surrogacies under our belt. If they wanted a single mother of three children as their surrogate, they would've picked her. Unfortunately, that's what they have now and I feel awful for them. I have tried to let them know that regardless of what is happening in my personal life, I am still 100% on board for this journey.

Rick and I haven't come up with a final plan but a few things are for sure (because of the Surrogacy). We signed a contract, so we are sticking too it . . .

1. We are supposed to be monogamous . . . this means that I won't be having any sex for the next several months and if for some reason Rick decides to come back and work on our marriage (and I decide this is what I want too still) he will need to get re-screened.

2. I have daily injections that I can't do myself (psychologically and also can't reach around my boob to hit my hip) for the next few weeks and he will be stopping by to do them nightly for me.

3. No matter what we decide, we will not get divorced until after the baby is born as it could mess up legal paperwork and I need to keep my insurance the same.

4. He has stated that he'll try to not stress me out so much regarding all this, easier said than done when you spring a "separation" on someone.


Yes- this whole situation sucks. It was awful timing . . . Christmas, I'm Pregnant, etc. but I can tell you one thing for sure. Rick leaving has nothing to do with the Surrogacy (lots of people are thinking that) . . . we both agreed to do this again. I'm not sure if he's going through a mid-life crisis or what but my goal for the next year is to keep myself, my three kids and one embryo/fetus as happy and healthy as possible.

Oh and on a side note, guess I won't be getting that tummy tuck after all. Damn it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One Little Bean!

My IPs flew in today for the first ultrasound. One little embryo snuggled in for the journey! They measured the embryo, the sac and yolk. We were able to see a heart beat and even get a heart rate for them. Everyone was very excited. Later we had dinner before I drove back home.

Tomorrow, they'll be driving up to see where I live and meet my kids. They'll also get to meet my mom. Actually, my mom has been able to meet each of my IPs, although usually it's at the birth, so I'm excited she'll be able to meet my new guys too.

Sorry I don't have a picture . . . since the guys were there they got them and I forgot to take a picture. I'll see if they'll send me a picture of the photo so I can share. If not, you'll see one in 2 more weeks.

It was weird to see only one baby on the ultrasound since the last two times were twins . . . but don't get me wrong, I'm going to love only carrying one this time, after two sets of twins, it should be cake ;)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It Is Confirmed!



This morning I drove an hour and fifteen minutes for a blood test that took 5 minutes, turned around and drove and hour and a half back. It sucks that there's not a closer place to do my monitoring. Especially since I have to go back again in two days. I swear, my RE this time is killing me with all the blood drawls and ultrasounds, etc. There are a few places that are closer for blood but they don't have same day results- BOO!

Anyway, enough of the bitching, it's all for a good reason . . . .


I got a call from HRC several hours later that my Beta was 273. Now before you start thinking twins, since both of my last Beta's were in the mid to high 200s and they were twins . . . this time my Beta was 12 days past my transfer, not 10 days. Since this time is 2 days longer, I feel pretty safe we have one baby in there! Woot! Woot! Won't have an ultrasound until around Christmas but I feel very confident.

So far my uterus (magic fountain) has played nice . . .

You want 2 girls . . . WISH GRANTED!
You want a set of boy/girl twins . . . WISH GRANTED!
You want one boy . . . (so far so good) . . . .

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Happy Third Birthday Sweet Girls!

Last weekend while in the Bay Area to celebrate Thanksgiving (a day late) we also were able to swing by to celebrate Natasha and Anjali's third birthday.

Here are some fun pictures from our day with my first Surrogate family.

When we first got there of course the kids (and George and Rick) surrounded the PS3
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Here's Ruby holding Natasha
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Here are the girls Birthday Cakes. Natasha chose a pink pig and Anjali chose a blue fish
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Time to blow out the candles

Here's Natasha
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and next was Anjali
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We had a great time and before we left, we made sure to take a picture. Not sure why George sat so far away LOL
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Our visit was way too quick, as we had to get back and we knew holiday weekend traffic might be horrific.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's Pee Time!

Last week I had my transfer. So here I sit at 6dp5dt, six days past a five day transfer, and I got the go ahead from my IFs to do an at home pregnancy test. Now before we proceed, I'd like to revisit a conversation that took place in the transfer room. Now, I'm going to summarize, instead of quoting here . . .


Dr. K- Your uterus looks perfect.

Kelly- Thanks!

* Kelly's Uterus (blushes) *

Dr. K- We're only putting in one embryo. It is slow growing.

Kelly's Uterus- CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!


I have to admit that I was a little worried. Even though my IFs only want one child at a time and my OB and I would both prefer that I only carry one baby this time, it was a little scary that they were only putting in one . . . and then to tell me in so many words that it wasn't an "excellent" embryo. But I then told myself . . . we (my uterus and I) could do this. We had to.

So after the transfer I tried to put our conversation behind me and think good thoughts. I took my own advice, positive uterine talk, "I am a magic fountain."

For the next day I tried to be as lazy as possible, taking my bed rest very seriously. I started to notice that perhaps this would be a lucky trip when I started noticing my numbers around. Let me explain. I have a few lucky numbers that I always use when I play roulette and I saw them in a few different places during my trip to LA.

29-3-11-33-22

First, my room
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Then a painting in my room (that's a 3 on the horse if you can't see it)
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

After I took a shower I noticed a sticker on my towel
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App


And then I go to my transfer
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

I never saw 22 or maybe I did before I realized I was seeing my lucky numbers. Now I know it seems silly, but in a situation like this, I'll take all the luck I can get! I don't typically see my numbers all around so I thought all this is pretty cool. I know that all of a sudden this has turned into a longer post than you wanted . . . so back to the beginning.

I'm at 6dp5dt. I've had "tingly boobs" for the last few days, which is usually my clue that I'm pregnant. So I thought it would be a good time to start testing yesterday. So yesterday morning- negative. I was surprised because I have "tingly boobs". So I tried again around dinner time. Negative. I was dumbfounded. Then I reminded myself, they only put in one. I got a faint positive last time at 4dp5dt, but that was with twins. So right before I went to bed I peed again and I thought I saw a very faint positive, VERY FAINT. It would be a negative to a normal woman but we Surrogates have amazing vision when it comes to analyzing pregnancy tests.

This morning I decided to get out my less confusing digital test and here's what I got
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And in case someone can't interpret the words YES, here's a different one for you
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Next is my Beta Test on December 6th. That will be a confirmation of the positive test and that things are still going in the right direction. I'm just hoping that the "one slow growing embryo" doesn't split. Remember, an embryo splitting isn't a new thing for me.
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For now- a big Congratulations to the Intended Parents and maybe a "Good Job" for my uterus. That makes me Three for Three on positive transfers and this one really needed to be timed right. Now, if I get the job I'm applying for, my delivery will be during the few months I'm not teaching- PERFECT!! As my fellow surro said, "Only you and your fanfucking AWESOME uterus can turn, "lesser quality" eggs into babIES! yes I said babIES!!" All I have to say to that is Baby Angele, BABY. ;)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Transfer Time!

Sorry it's taken me a few days, but I've been busy with family since I returned from my embryo transfer.

So to make a long story short . . .

Monday 11/21- flew to LA after work. Met up with other Surros Misti and Stacie for dinner
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Tuesday 11/22- Arrived at HRC Fertility and was told I would transfer on Thanksgiving day instead because embryos were looking good . . . 5 day transfer (instead of 3 day).

Skyped with my IPs (who couldn't be there with me).

Hung out with Stacie all day, including lunch with other Surrogate friends Andrea and Laura
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Stacie and I tried to crash Growing Generations Offices' but we were too late, they had all left for the day. BOO!

Went to The Grove and found the perfect shade of red lipstick (that has been a goal for several years).


Wednesday 11/23- Hung out with Stacie in the morning. She gave me my shot (took several tries) before she flew back home.

That night, played with my new red lipstick
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Thursday 11/24- Headed over to HRC early in the morning. Transferred one nice looking (but "slow growing") embryo into my welcoming uterus.


Here I am in the reflection of the window (can see the ultrasound machine, weanie wand and me half naked)
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The Embryo!
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The Embryo nestled into my lovely uterus (the white streak on the left)
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I then went back to the hotel where I settled in for a full day of bedrest (more like "lazy time"). I spent my time grading Quizzes, Latex Projects and watching a marathon of The Twilight Zone and Friends Thanksgiving episodes. I was also able to Skype again with my IPs.

I also got this Good Luck Video from Natasha



Friday 11/25- Flew into the bay area to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and hang out until Sunday, when we go to George and Sanj's to celebrate my Surrogirlies THIRD birthday!


****My Beta (blood test to determine pregnancy) happens on December 6th. Even though Dr. Kolb told me the embryo wasn't growing as fast as he'd like he assured me that the chances of a successful transfer are still good. I was a little nervous about his "slow growing" statements and of course only implanting one is an "all or nothing" scenario but I am staying positive.

It is now Sunday (very early) morning and I am having a few "boob issues". They have been a little tingly (usually my sign that I'm pregnant) and really heavy. We shall see . . .

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

My birthday was November 3rd. I turned 37, which I think makes me the world's oldest surrogate ;) No, I'm kidding but sometimes I feel that way. Sure I'm quickly approaching 40 but my uterus doesn't look a day over 22!

I wanted to share with you the best present I received this year

video

How cute are my surro-girlies?! I know what you're thinking, they look so big. Well, they'll be turning THREE in about a week or so, if you can believe that. And like every year since they've been born, my family and I have been invited to celebrate their birthday with them. (God, I love George and Sanj!)

I have their presents already wrapped and ready to go. Now I just need to go get knocked up next week and then go celebrate with my surro-girlies that weekend. Pictures to follow!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Game On!

I heard back today and it looks like I fly out Monday the 21st (after teaching) for a Tuesday, November 22nd (if they go 3 day) or Thanksgiving Day (if they go 5 day) Transfer.

Even though we ended up being 4 days later than the tentative schedule, I'll still be delivering in July or August, which is perfect if I get my new job. The EDD would be 8/11/12. My own kids came at 36, 37 and 38 weeks. My surro twins came at almost 39 weeks (I know, right?!) and 37 weeks.

I will be bringing my lucky green underwear and will be re-visiting my transfer blogs from the last two times, taking a stroll down
Memory Lane . . .

From my first transfer ever . . . . March 2008

Written at my last transfer February 2010

So here's to positive thinking and hoping for First Transfer Success. I am 2 for 2 so for . . . hoping we can let it ride!

Monday, November 14, 2011

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program

Do you hear that? It's the sound of brakes . . .

So I got an email from Growing Generations today saying that instead of Harvesting, the Egg Donor has to continue to be monitored. Her next appointment is the 16th. If things are good she may harvest on the 17th, if not, more monitoring. Ugh! If you haven't figured it out yet, that means I will definitely not be transferring this Friday.

I am sooooo stressed out by this. Things were coming together so nicely. I wanted to transfer in November and when things were looking bad, they turned around and squeezed us in. I only had a few "black-out" dates, dates that won't work for me and they missed them all. I would've transferred on a Friday and been back in time to teach 7:30am on Monday. Now I don't know. I was really hoping to not miss any days teaching and had told them (and just reminded them) that I can't do a Monday and Wednesday . . I can do OR if need be but not both. We'll see what happens.

It's just so hard because I don't want to be the glitch . . . but at the same time I need to protect my future. I was hired as Long Term Temp at the College I've taught at for the last 9 years and now, there is a Full Time Tenure Track Position Open (with mainly Human Sexuality) and I'm not about to blow my chances by missing a week of work (Monday AND Wednesday). I have waited too long for this. At the same time I don't want to jepordize the guys chances of transferring ASAP either . . . not sure what the options are . . . . Can we just decided on a 3 day or 5 day instead waiting to make the decision? Can they have the ED "hover" on meds so she can harvest a few days later?

*Have I mentioned that all this is happening with elevated hormone levels? The fact that I'm still typing, instead of chucking this computer across the room is a big deal*

Honestly, I'd rather transfer around Thanksgiving and miss that than miss teaching. I wrote an email to the RE saying as much. Thanksgiving is NOT blacked out. I can eat Turkey with my family next weekend.

So everyone, keep your fingers crossed that I have one more thing to be Thankful for.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Should know very soon . . .

Today is the day that my IPs Egg Donor goes in to see if she's ready to "harvest". So, I should know in the next day or two the exact dates of my embryo transfer! As of now it's set for the 18th for a 3 day transfer or the 20th if a 5 day transfer. I still have yet to get my travel arrangements set, waiting for todays information.

I can't believe that I'll be pregnant (again) in less than a week. Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ready? Set? GO!

I received my IVF calendar Monday night and had to schedule an ultrasound for today! Luckily they were able to squeeze me in. All my ultrasounds and blood draws will be done at Northern California Fertility Medical Center
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My uterus looked great (did you expect anything else?) so I start meds tonight. Yes Tonight! And talk about quick shipping- look what arrived today

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I was amazed at the size of the box (larger than the last two times) but since Dr. Kolb has a different protocol , I should've guessed it.


I haven't had time to put it in my cool organizer yet (I actually never cleared out the old stuff) but here it all is pulled out and on my island

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So shot #1 . . . this time Lupron in the abdomen and it was NO PROBLEM. I guess the positive of birthing seven kids is the belly I got left with, enough adipose tissue to not feel it at all. So bring it on Mr. Lupron, Bring.It.On.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Squeaky Wheel? Meet Oil.

I sent my agency another reminder that November would be perfect for the embryo transfer and that I was freaking out that we were being pushed into December, not the best time for me. Apparently the ED was sent her legal documents mid-September but the law group never followed up, until they sent them again mid-October.
**CUE MY EMAIL**

Well, today I got an email with tenative dates . . . and they're in November. As long as the ED sends in her items ASAP and agrees with the dates, we'll be moving- and quick!


10/26/11 - Ultrasound (US)/Estradiol level (E2)-If OK, start Lupron . . . . you read that correctly- in TWO DAYS I start injections!

10/28/28/11- Take last ACTIVE birth control pill and expect a period

11/01/11- Ultrasound. -US/E2-If OK, start Estrogen too

11/08/11 Ultrasound.- US/E2-Lining check

11/15/11- Ultrasound.- US/E2-Lining check

11/15/28/11- Possible Progesterone Start

11/18/11-Possible Embryo Transfer -Day 3/ GSN

11/20/11- Possible Embryo Transfer -Day 5

YEP! A possible embryo transfer on the 18th of November. NOVEMBER!!!


I am so excited and I hope it works out . . . those dates would be perfect . . . not having to miss any teaching days, just my store days. Woot! Woot!

I am a little nervous that Dr. Kolb's medication protocal is different than Dr. Sahakians. I am used to Dr. S's . . . I got pregnant on the first try both times . . . I've never had to take Lupron. I am sure it will all work out.

Using an IVF Due Date Calculator, it would put my due date at August 7th- which would be PERFECTION!! I have never made it to a due date . . . have delivered my own at 36-38 weeks and both sets of twins at 37-almost 39 weeks . . . so it will probably be more like a July due date . . . which could have me back teaching when my semester begins, albeit, still a bit sore.
But I'll TAKE IT!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Knock, Knock! Who's There?

. . . Not patience, that's for sure! I am really trying to hold on to some sort of hope for a November transfer but I think I just need to let the idea go because I'm really stressing myself out. In my last two journeys, I didn't really have a "need to be pregnant by" date, so when we had issues with the RE office not knowing George and Sanj had picked an Egg Donor or when a different Egg Donor backed out the week of the transfer, I was able to shake it off.

But this time, not so much. First let me say that in the grand scheme of things, I know it will all work out some way, even if not my Plan A or Plan B . . . but if we could transfer in November (and if it takes the first time, like my last two transfers) that would have me delivering before my teaching semester begins, which, this time is something I'm aiming for. The last two times I was teaching part time at the College, and this time I may be too but for now I'm full time (temporary) and I'm hoping my department ends up being able to hire a full time (tenure track) Assistant Professor. I know there are a lot of "what ifs" in this scenario, but I'm really hoping to deliver in July or August, which is doable with a November transfer. Hell, even then, that's me going to work just a week or two after a c-section, but it's better than losing an entire semester or part of it.


As of today, our Egg Donor is finally Medically cleared, so we can proceed, right? Wrong! Apparently her Legal Clearance hasn't been issued yet. I only have a few more days for this to work for November, so I really hope she gets her paperwork in ASAP. I'm actually not quite sure why it hasn't been done already. I mean, she screened mid-September.


********************* DEEP BREATH *********************

Sooooooooooooooo, please join with me to pray to the Surrogacy Gods to help light a fire under my Egg Donors butt, albeit, probably a very cute butt, she is an Egg Donor after all!)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Birthday Wishes!


So last week Gideon and Harper turned ONE! It is so crazy how time flies. I sent off the gifts, I hope they like them and my family and I recorded ourselves singing Happy Birthday and emailed it over.

I think we may be able to see them in December when we go to LA (if they aren't in NY by then) but I can't wait to see them. It's been a few months and now they're walking and babbling up a storm. I need to squeeze some babies! ;)

I did receive a beautiful bouquet from the guys, celebrating One Year since their babies made their entrance into the world.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY WONDER TWINS! Time to update your ticker!

Oh, and only one more month until Natasha and Anjali turn Three . . . I may even be pregnant by then.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

'Twas the Night Before . . .

One year ago today I was admitted into the hospital after a full day of monitoring. My c-section was supposed to be the a few days later but I was progressing so they felt I should deliver earlier. At one point my IPs called and left me a message about the upcoming events. I thought the voicemail was so great because you could hear the excitement in their voices, so I decided to keep it in hopes of sharing it with them a year later.

So . . . . tonight I forwarded the voicemail to them as a reminder of where they were a year ago, the day before they became parents. So amazing!

I almost deleted it several times on accident, but thankfully, it survived an entire year. I know I've said it before, but time flies! Tomorrow my surro wonder twins turn ONE! So crazy!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Love this!


George found this cartoon in the New Yorker a while back and sent it to me with words of Good Luck for my Match Meeting. I just realized that I never shared it with you all. So enjoy.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Still Here, Still Waiting . . .

The Egg Donor went in several days ago, so just waiting on her clearance. Once that happens, they will move onto contracts with her, get us a calendar and we'll be sprinting towards an embryo transfer. If we hear in the next week or so, we could be looking at a mid November transfer . . . fingers crossed.

Hopefully it won't be Thanksgiving, since we're hosting at our house this year, but I'd rather that than December! I am actually hoping to find out we're pregnant before Thanksgiving . . . just one more thing to be Thankful for. Of course, being 2 for 2 on the transfer front, I'm a little nervous that I'll finally get a failed transfer, I would rather not (for my IPs and also for my own scheduling 10 months from now). So I'm going to keep positive and just know that things are going to continue to go well. After all, M and S need a baby and I'm in the state of mind to help that happen!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting . . .

A little update . . .

So as I said before, we were hoping for a late October or November transfer but now it seems like I'll be lucky if I'm pregnant before 40. Just Kidding, it won't be that long . . . but man, I hate it when things don't move seamlessly . . . which pretty much never happens in Surrogacy, so I should be used to it.

I got an email from my case coordinator at Growing Generations letting me know that the Egg Donor won't be able to make it into the RE’s office for her physical screening until mid-October. I guess Dr. Kolb is on vacation and then so is she . . . but that still doesn't count the other weeks. I don't mean to complain, just vent . . .. because It will take at least two weeks to get her results after the 12th.

I usually don't really care when this all goes down, but I was really trying for my last journey to not mess with my teaching gig as much. In the past, because I was carrying twins I was taken off of work early, so I missed the whole semester. This time around I was hoping that because our goal is one baby, and we were looking at an early fall transfer, I was thinking a summer birth and I wouldn't need to take off even one day. We'll see .. . . fingers crossed that we transfer by at least mid December.

***********UPDATE****************


Woot! Woot! I just got an email from GG saying that the Egg Donor can go get her screening done THIS WEDNESDAY! YAY!!!! I guess the squeaky wheel gets oil! I had emailed GG asking why she couldn't get in earlier (since there was 4 weeks and only 2 were blocked for travel of the DR and ED) . . . YAY!!!!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Echo . . . . Echo

The hardest thing about having my own blog and blogging for The Next Family is trying not to repeat myself. I planned on writing an update here the other day but my life has been crazy lately . . . kids started school, I'm teaching Full Time at the College this semester, had to travel out of town to meet my IPs last week and for a family event and to order clothes for next Spring for my Store, Ruby Q's. I really did plan on writing it but I'm exhausted . . . so here is the link to the Update I posted on the other blog about our AWESOME in person meeting with my IP's last week.

I wanted to do it justice on this site too but seriously, I'm still running around like a crazy woman . . . so to summarize . . . WE LOVE THEM, WE LOVE THEM, WE LOVE THEM. I am so excited to proceed in this journey. M and S, my IPs, have given me permission to blog about our journey. They said it was okay to use their names, but I'm going to just do initials. When we were down in LA with them, one of the things I kept thinking is how George and Sanj would like them too. I now have this day dream of a year or two from now, my family flying over to Australia to go visit M, S and their baby and meeting up with George, Sanj and my surro-girlies (Sanj has relatives close to where M and S live). . . ONE BIG, HAPPY, PICNIC! Ahhhhh LOVE!

Now, the only update I have now, that I didn't have for TNF blog was that it looks like we may have our Calendar by the end of September . . . which would mean an October transfer . . . which could mean July delivery . . . which for my teaching gig would be Perfect!

More later!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Just a few more days . . .

This Wednesday, Rick and I fly down to LA to meet the Intended Parents in person. It is actually working out perfect in that they already had a trip to the U.S. in the works and my kids will be with their grandparents that day . . . so it was the perfect time to jet down to LA really quick.

We met them on Skype a few weeks back, which was great but face to face is better. I hope they're ready to meet all this (I'm circling my uterus with my pointed finger) . . . and I guess I should've warned them that I'm a HUGGER! ;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Baby Selling is NOT Surrogacy

Just wanted to share the link to the blog I did at The Next Family Site. It's my opinions/response about the Theresa Erickson Baby Selling Ring that hit the news last week.

YOU CAN CLICK HERE TO GET THERE

I am not sure we will ever know the entire truth, it is hard to when admitting one thing or another could land you in jail, whether you are the mastermind, the "Surrogate" or the Parents.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Updates!

First of all the Kick starter project I was trying to help get funding has reached their goal! Two hundred and twenty three backers came through with over $25,000 so this great documentary can be made. I am also happy to report that the surrogate in the project, Kelli, is pregnant! I am so excited, not only that More Than a Village- a Tale of Procreation will be made but also that Ian and Troy's family is growing as I type! Congrats everyone!


Next, in a more personal update, Rick and I had our Skype Match Meeting with our potential IPs from Australia and it went very well. We are matched and set to meet the guys in person when they are in the U.S. later this month. I am not going to blog too much because my blogging is one thing that we haven't discussed yet. That will definitely be a topic we will talk about in a few weeks when we meet. I did have written in my Profile that blogging is a MUST this time. I can keep my IP's identity as private as they would like (similar to my first journey where I didn't mention George and Sanj by name until after the birth, with their permission) but that I need to be matched with a couple that doesn't mind me blogging about my journey. It was really hard last time having to be so secretive/vague for (now) obvious reasons, but I can't do that again. And believe me, I was asked.

But I digress . . .

I love reading the IP's Profile and Match Meetings are fun, although a bit nerve wracking. It is a cross between a first date and job interview. I'm going to hold off talking match meetings now because that can be a whole other post, along the lines of the post I did about What to Expect at a Transfer but know that it went great and we're very excited to be moving forward with them. If things get going quickly (picking an Egg Donor, Contracts, etc) we may be trying for an October or November Transfer . . . right around the time Gideon and Harper turn One and Natasha and Anjali turn Three . . . and Sawyer turns Five and Ruby turns Ten . . . and will put the birth close to Preston's Ninth Birthday . . . . Holy Cow I've birthed a lot of kids :) LOL

This will be my final journey and I'm going to make the most of it. I am going to enjoy it as much as I can knowing that after this, all my blogging will be updates on my surro kiddos and advice for other Surrogates. Ahhhh, the end of an era . . . but not quite yet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Location. Location. Location?

A lot has happened in the last few days. I finally got my Official "Cleared" email from Growing Generations. Now that I'm good to go, they were able to send the Intended Parents (IPs) my profile.

They had actually sent me the IPs profile a few weeks ago. Rick and I looked it over and we thought they sounded splendid. I have always said one of the best things about Growing Generations is their ability to help match you with the perfect IPs. As long as you're honest with GG about what you're looking for in your journey, chances are the profile that you get will be spot on.

Getting the Intended Parents profile is like Christmas. It is so exciting. You get an increased heart rate and butterflies once you realize the profile is actually in your email inbox! When you read through it and look at the pictures, you immediately start thinking of what the next year will look like. It's like seeing pictures of a house you are thinking of buying- you start to imagine your furniture in the living room, the kids will love that backyard, with a kitchen like that, I might actually cook more, etc. And you haven't even seen it in person yet! Surrogacy matching is very similar.

First of all, my potential IPs are in Australia. Even though we aren't matched, I already feel the need to learn about their home. After all, I know there's a lot more to it than The Wiggles. It is crazy- all of a sudden I have this feeling that I need to learn the didgeridoo ;)

I am glad that I am excited about this because I'm also a little nervous. Historically, I have had major reservations about doing an International Surrogacy. I just had this feeling that I'd never see them again and I couldn't imagine that, especially now after having 2 sets of IPs that I continue to talk with and visit. I have lucked out that up till this journey, my matches were in California with me . . . but as I've learned from other surrogates, regardless of where the IPs live, it doesn't guarantee you'll see them a lot through the process or after. So, when Growing Generations asked me to rethink my view of International Surrogacy I did. They said that they had a great match for me. They were everything I was looking for except they did not live in the United States. I said okay, I'd take a look at it . . . and they couldn't be more right! After working so closely with Growing Generations over the last four years I think they know me better than I thought.

So yesterday, before they left for the day, they sent the guys my profile . . . which was 9:30 am the next day their time (they're 17 hours ahead). I was told I'd hear back in a day or two and that sometimes with the time difference, it could be a little longer. This is when you start getting nervous . . . Will they like me? Are they making fun of the pictures I choose? (Damn It! I knew I shouldn't have used that picture) Have they already shared my profile with their friends or family for input/ridicule? And you start to doubt yourself. And no matter who you are, how many times you've done this, or how many of your blog followers who are IPs say that you're awesome & you're going to make someone happy, etc. you doubt yourself. I remember doing this last time too.

Really! When I woke up this morning I was going to blog all about it. About how I got cleared and how they sent off my profile . . . about my new found curiosity with Australia- but then I decided NO. Not yet.

Because what if they came back and said NO straightaway?

What if they didn't think I was as marvelous as I think I am?

What if they were luke warm about me?

What if they saw how great I was (who are we kidding right?) but they didn't think we'd be a good match? (Oh)

What if?

What if?

What if?

It happens to the best of us. Even though I always talk up my uterus and joke and brag about my "beautiful uterus" or that my uterus was over looked for a GLAAD award, I still have these thoughts.


However, this morning I heard from Growing Generations that the guys liked my profile. YAY! So now we move to the next step. They already had a trip booked to the U.S. at the end of August, so that's when we'll try to plan the official, in-person, Match Meeting. For now, Growing Generations is going to set up an informal Skype meeting for us to talk more and introduce each other. This brings about more random thoughts . . . What should I wear? What if I say something stupid?

I do know one thing for sure. I will have to prep my husband who thinks he's funnier than he really is at times. For those of you who watch Modern Family, I swear the character Phil was loosely based on my Rick.

* No stories about his experiences (or lack thereof) with Boomerangs

* Under no circumstance should he refer at all to the movie Crocodile Dundee (in conversation or accessory choices)

* And he can't utter anything about Dingo's eating someones' baby.

* Even though he can do a great Steve Irwin impression, the match meeting is not the place for it. Actually, I'm not sure there is any place where that really works anymore.

* The words "Shrimp on the Barbie" should not leave his lips, not even once.

I am sure Rick will do great (with some ground rules) and my kids seem pretty excited too. They all voted that we should help one more family have a baby and once Ruby heard they were from Australia, where one of her favorite shows (H2O) is made, she was 100% on board. The more I think about it the more excited I get. And maybe someday, we'll take the kids to Australia, you know, to say Hi really quick.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pool? New Belly? Pool? New Belly? Damn it!

So my husband and I are getting estimates about getting an in ground pool built. We figure since our home is worth half what we bought it for and we're under a good $250,000, might as well get cozy for the next few decades we'll be living here. I'd say LOL, but it's more like WOL (weep out loud).

This is something we planned to do when we first bought this house almost six years ago- it's kind of how I agreed to move to a town of less than 6,000 with a handful of eating out choices and a good hour from the nearest GAP and Banana Republic. A pool would be worth it. Then we decided that at gazebo and hot tub would suffice and be tens of thousands less. It worked for a bit. Then later, we decided to invest money in a friends start -up (instead of getting a pool) . . . the business went bankrupt and we never got our money back.

Let me preface this next part by explaining that I've said from the get go, once I'm completely done having babies for others, I'm getting this extra skin hacked off and my boobs put back where they belong. Birthing 7 babies (which included two sets of twins) has done quite the number on my body. So I finally decided that I'd do one more surrogacy, the third is the charm, right? Which means putting off the "mommy makeover" for another year or so . . . but I know it will be there.

Now . . . here we are again in our pool discussions . . . we're setting up a few consults and Rick tells me, "You know, it's either a pool or your new belly" . . . What?! Why can't I do both? (stupid question) RIck is still not sold on the pool totally, it is tons of money, but I think he thought I'd say Belly. Silly man, doesn't he know me as a mom yet (after almost 10 years of being one?) . . . I will pick my kids over myself EVERY TIME . . . so if we do end up going through with the pool this summer or next year, I will be the lady in the swim dress, with the pounds of excess belly skin floating while teaching my kids how to do a proper flip-turn.

Unless anyone knows if there's a kickstarter for putting surrogates back together? I can post BEFORE and AFTER Pictures . . . and let the donations start rolling in? Haha! I may be onto something.

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Newest Goal . . . Getting this Documentary Funded

My post at The Next Family this week is about a Surrogacy Documentary that is looking for funding on Kickstarter.com

I have pledged $50 and am trying to spread the word . . . when you read my post you'll see why . . .

YOU CAN CHECK OUT MY POST HERE!

To pledge (become a backer) you can either CLICK HERE or I have a Widgit Set up at the side of my blog (look for it, no down, a little more down, YEP! There it is) :) You can pledge $1 or more . . . I'm sure they'd gladly take whatever you can pledge.



I'm so excited to see this film be made. Positive PR on Surrogacy AND one on a gay, interracial couple to boot!

LET'S DO THIS!!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Screening . . . Part 2- Psychological


The Screening . . . Part 1- Physical can be found HERE.

On to Part 2, the Psychological Screening!

I left Dr. Kolb's office in a great mood. Nailed it! ;)
I can't report that they threw a Ticker Tape Parade for my Uterus, but I could totally tell they wanted too . . . I mean, like, if they had more time to prepare. It's not their fault. I'm sure when GG emailed them about me doing my screening, they wrote down Kelly Rummelhart but didn't realize it was THE KELLY RUMMELHART.

So, onto Growing Generations Office to complete my Screening. When the cab pulled up in front of the building, for a moment I thought I was at the wrong place. I had totally forgot that they moved across the street since the last time I was there. I got in the elevator and took it up to the 13th floor. As I walked out, I peered down the hallway . . . ah, there it is. Behind these doors, the very FIRST STEP of a creating a family takes place
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I rang the bell and was greeted by a few of their Staff, including CEO and Co-Owner, Stuart. We chatted for a while and then they introduced me to another Surrogate Candidate that just happened to be from Sacramento. (I swear, Sacramento is a Hot Bed for Surros!) I told her all about how I LOVED being a Growing Generations Surrogate and how once she is cleared, to email me to join our Facebook Group.

Dr. Kim Bergman wasn't there that day (kind of a bummer since she was such a support in my last journey and right after), so instead I spoke with her intern Trudi. It was very similar to the last two times I had spoken with the psychologist at Growing Generations (Fertility Counseling Services, Inc). We discussed several things like . . .
* Why I wanted to be a surrogate.
* What my last two journeys were like.
* What I was looking for in IPs and a match (during/after) and What my ideal IPs would be like.
* If I had any plans for the money.
* Who would be the most supportive in my journey.
* If there was anyone in my life that wasn't okay with my decision, or wouldn't be supportive
. . . . and many other topics.

It was nice to talk about surrogacy and my hopes and dreams. The whole time Trudi was listening and typing notes on her laptop. She typed several more letters than just "SHE BE CRAZY, OH HELL NO!" So I think I'm good!

Later I took my psychological assessment . . . this is always my favorite. A few of the questions are exactly like an activity I facilitate in the Human Sexuality class I teach. I am in the Psychology Department, so I use the activity it to teach my students about Social Desirability within surveys and questionnaires. I know at other agencies, the surrogates take the Psychological Exam at home with a scantron sheet. At Growing Generations, it's on a computer. I'll take a mouse over a #2 Pencil any day!

The first time I took the test, I giggled through several questions but the second and third time, besides laughing, I tried to think of what type of meaning they are getting from my answers. And sometimes, questions come up that I know I'm answering "undesirably" but I am being honest.

Some of my favorites . . .

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* Yes, I do enjoy talking about Sex. After all, it is my job. Does it look better if I say I get paid well for it? No! Wait!

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* True?! No False! No True! Damn it! What is considered "Unusual"?
I have some pretty "Non-Vanilla" friends so my gage of "usual" is a bit off kilter. ;)

The question, "Much of what is happening to me now seems to have happened to me before," is equally difficult.
* Yes, this is my third time taking this test . . . I have flown to LA several times in the last year . . . I have stayed in two different Westin hotels in the last week, I have been to a fertility doctor before . . . AUGH!!!!! What do you want from me??!!!!

So now, with both my psychological and physical screenings behind me. We just sit and wait to hear that we've cleared. I am feeling very good about it. I have been cleared two times before and I didn't get escorted out of the building by security . . . . and I'd say that was a positive sign in itself!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Allie the Ally's 2011 Pride Adventure

So as I stated in my last post, my friend Stacie thought we should bring my uterine plush, Allie the Ally to Pride with us this year . . . a la Flat Stanley adventures. Allie and I thought that was a splendid idea!

So Friday Allie and I drove to Rocklin to pick up fellow surrogates Stacie and Heather- I am sure you remember them from our adventure to Pride last year.
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Anyway, the three uh, I mean four of us started our drive to San Francisco . . . but not before stretching out the ol' uterus and "smelling the flowers"
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We settled into The Westin and waited for our other surro friend, Katie, to join us. When she arrived, we went out to eat and had a few drinks.
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my apologies about "the rack" shot but we were trying to get one of Allie without me holding her up . . . drinks hit her pretty hard, especially since she doesn't drink very often and last Pride she was carrying a set of wonder twins, so it was a "Dry" Pride.

After dinner the five of us decided to head to Castro via Muni. Here's Allie at the Castro Station
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and of course, whenever in Castro, you have to stop by Hot Cookie!
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We walked around for awhile, taking in all the excitement and then, because we are four old, married, straight ladies, decided to head back to the hotel around 1:00 am. Of course, Allie wanted to party it up but I have the brain, so I decide where my legs take us. Here she is at Harvey Milk Plaza!
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Saturday we just walked around the City and you'll never guess who surprised us at Brunch . . .
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George was there too but he was taking this picture of Sanj, my surro girlies and me, so he's not pictured :( But he was there and we had the best brunch ever. It was great to visit with them and get some surro girlie time!

Sunday was PARADE time so we got our 2011 Pride shirts on, Allie ironed her rainbow cape and we picked our spot
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After, we attended the Official San Francisco Pride VIP Party in the historic City Hall Rotunda. I'm not sure we'll attend this party again, as it left lots to be desired, but at least the "cover" was a donation.

Virgin Atlantic was a sponsor so Allie and I decided to do an impression of the two of us flying to LA for my Surrogacy Screening
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Here we all are
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And here's Allie in all her Glory!
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We are discussing perhaps attending Pride in New York next year, or maybe Heather's home town of Chicago? We'll see, we have a year to plan (and we may have to work around a pregnancy or two or three (since Heather, Stacie and I are all thinking of third journeys).

Of course, if a Pride Parade decides to have Allie, Me, or any of my surro friends as one of their Grand Marshals, then I guess we'll go there.

Have uterus, will travel!

The Screening . . . Part 1- Physical

I flew down to LA this week for my physical and psychological screening for my third journey as a gestational surrogate. It's always great to go to Growing Generations, say Hi and meet the people I have been phoning and emailing for the last few months/years.

* Now before I go any further, I feel I have to mention that I will post about our Surro Trip to Pride this year, I promise. I just can only do so much at once and now it's a little hard to determine what I'll post here and what I need to save for my blog on The Next Family. I'm still working this all out, so I hope there isn't too much repetition in the next week or so. *

Now, back to the Screening. Right before I left for SF Pride my period started, so I had to schedule my screening appointment several days later. Even though I was going to be gone from Friday morning to Sunday evening, I thought it would be easier to travel once I got back versus Fourth of July Weekend, so I planned to fly out Monday afternoon. Now usually, I fly out, screen and fly back all in the same day, but boy is that exhausting. They'd usually have me on a 6:30 am flight, which means at the airport at 5:30, so I'd have to leave my house at 4:15, which means getting up around 3:30 am . . . . . and then having a full day and making it back to my door around 10:00 pm. Historically, this has worked because I hate to be gone overnight but lately, I have realized it's nice to get away and not stress the whole time I'm away from my own children.

Before Pride, my friend Stacie mentioned we should take Allie the Ally (my uterine plush) with us and take some fun photos like Flat Stanley (which we did and you'll see soon) . . . so I decided that I should take her along with me to the Screening too!

When I arrived in LA, I took the car to my past IPs house and hung out with my Surro Wonder Twins and their Daddy for awhile. They are getting so big and are getting more beautiful everyday. I'll post some pictures of them later, but for now hopefully this pic (about a month or so old) will do
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After that I headed to the hotel before meeting some friends. Here is Allie relaxing at The Westin Pasadena, which by the way has THE BEST BEDS EVER!!!
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And here I am with two other GG Surrogates that I've known online for months but finally got to meet in person
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So after closing down the restaurant, I headed back to catch some zzzzzz's before the big day.

My physical screening began the next morning. When I arrived at Dr. Kolb's office The signage out front showed there was also a Cosmetic Surgery practice in the same building and I (and my saggy belly) started wondering if I was going into the right office.

After checking in I filled out all the new patient forms
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and got my blood taken and I MEAN SEVERAL vials of blood . . . you know, to make sure I don't have HIV or other diseases that could be passed onto someone's fetus.
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Afterwards, I met with Dr. Kolb in his office. This is usually where they will explain the whole process. However, being a 2 time Gestational Surrogate and Human Sexuality Instructor, he just summarized since I've "been there done that." I really liked Dr. Kolb. He was friendly and personable and I can see why Growing Generations likes to use him to help create families.

After I left them a quick urine specimen,
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Dr. Kolb lead me to my exam room.
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I undressed from the waist down for my pelvic exam (notice my lucky undies?) and Transvaginal ultrasound
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and here's the picture of the instrument used for the ultrasound aka "the weenie wand"
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Dr. Kolb let me know, after he filled my uterus with saline that it looked great. That my uterus looked smooth (which is what they like to see, especially after c-sections) and very inviting- okay, I made up that last part ;)

So now we wait to hear the results from thephysical screening, which they say will be about 7-10 days.

Next, I'll post about the Psychological Screening . . . or at least the voices in my head are telling me to.


***UPDATE***
Pride 2011 Post is up! CLICK HERE

*** Part 2 Psychological Screening HERE *****