Ba da bing ba da boom!

Remember a few weeks ago when things were taking forever and I was writing post that barely had any updates to them? Yeah, well now things are moving so quickly I haven’t been able to keep up, which is great!

I had to go back and look where I left off last time because we’ve had so much going on in just the last week. Last Friday the husband and I had our first psych evaluation. It was basically just her reading back her previous report from 2 years ago, making sure it was all still correct and making some updates. I think my husband said literally 2 words…actually I think it was the same word twice haha!

A and O had already had their meeting the day before so all we needed to do for psych clearance was do the group session. Her assistant was Johnny on the spot with getting it scheduled and we were able to do it Tuesday afternoon. Also kudos to the IFs for responding to her emails so quickly that we were able to make the appointment before the end of business on Friday since Monday was a US holiday.

We completed the group session with no hiccups. I honestly hate those appointments because I get put on the spot with having to answer a question that I have literally never given a thought to. She asked what went well in my last journey and what would I have liked to change or what would I like to do differently. Um…I don’t know. Most of the things that changed were things that my previous IFs did or didn’t do that I didn’t even realize I had a preference on. Most of the things that “changed” were just matching preferences because I didn’t realized I had a preference before. So I answered like that, but then she asked for more detail about the pregnancy and stuff and I started rambling like I do sometimes LOL I was going on about how I like that they trusted me enough to not micromanage me because I’m pretty independent and obviously know how to grow babies (smacks head, no shit). Then I tried to backtrack saying that I always welcome parent involvement however/whenever they want (which I absolutely do) and that I certainly don’t get a micromanage vibes from them so I’m sure we’ll be just fine. Overall I hated my answer and like I do, replayed about a hundred better ways I could have handled that LOL I do no do well thinking on my feet like that. I need to process the question and think about an answer otherwise I ramble out some nonsense. Oh-well I guess, I haven’t gotten an email saying that they want to back out so I think we’re okay haha!

On Wednesday I emailed the fertility clinic to let them know that is was CD (cycle day) 1. Medical screening appointments are almost always scheduled on certain cycle days so I wanted to make sure we didn’t miss this month’s window and have to wait until next month. I didn’t hear back that day so I sent an email to another contact at the clinic because, again, I didn’t want to miss this cycle’s window. The coordinator at the clinic called me yesterday and we were able to get the medical screening appointment set up for next Tuesday. So in a week and a half we’re going to have had all 3 psych appointments and the medical screening appointment. It’s going to be great to have all this checked off the list.

The medical screening appointments always make me a little nervous. A lot of what ifs run through my head until the clearance comes through (around 2 weeks after the appointment). What if there’s something going on in my uterus I didn’t know about? GCs had polyps found all the time during screening and have to have them removed before they move forward. My thyroid levels are always on the back of my mind because I’ve always been told I have a large thyroid. Every doctor I’ve ever seen comments on it (thanks for that insecurity everyone). I’ve had tests run, ultrasounds on it, and the like, but it’s always been just fine. I mean the tested it with this last surrogacy and my numbers weren’t wonky. There’s just always the worry that something has changed and I just don’t know about it yet. I will be more than happy when the appointment is over and the final blood test results are in. I’m choosing to be optimistic that everything will be just fine.

Upside to this go around is that the clinic is only a 40min flight from here so I can fly up in the morning and home in the afternoon. This makes it much easier on my husband with kids needing to be dropped off and picked up. Other upsides is that it saves IFs some money because I don’t need a hotel and I was able to schedule it on a day I already have off so no lost wages to cover, just a small amount for an extra day of daycare for one kid. My oldest is still in school for a bit longer so we don’t have to have childcare for him.

If all goes well we should be able to start legal before the end of June. I’m thinking September is a more realistic goal for a transfer which would be fine. There’s never going to be a perfect time to be due and when we (the husband and I) decided to start this journey earlier than we originally planned we knew that we may have to rearrange plans or not be able to do everything we normally do. We’ll just wait and see how it plays out. If they make me do a mock cycle (which I personally think are dumb, for lack of a more politically correct term) then it will push it back further. There’s no use in planning everything out because there will be changes and set backs and you just have to roll with them.

I’m excited to have things moving along so quickly and hopefully they continue to do so. Fingers crossed for on time flights and a smooth appointment on Tuesday!

Happy Weekend!

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1st Psych Eval Scheduled

The counselor’s office contacted me via email yesterday and I was able to set up the first evaluation appointment for Friday morning. This appointment is done via Skype and is just the hubs and I. The next one will be all four of us. I was right in thinking this is the same person who did the eval last time. She personally sent me a quick note to say that since I did an eval 2 years ago that this appointment should just be about 15 minutes as we just need to update my previous record. Luckily the hubs and I both already took Friday off because we’re leaving for the coast that day so we don’t have to take any extra time off work for this appointment.

I’ve been trying to get an answer as to whether the fertility clinic requires psych clearance to be completed before they will schedule for the medical clearance, but my case manager hasn’t gotten an answer from them yet. I went ahead and emailed them myself using the email on their website. I doubt I’ll get an answer any faster than our CM, but it’s not going to hurt so why not. I don’t have a problem being proactive in getting things done, at least in the surrogacy process.

In other news I’ve been emailing back and forth with A and O getting to know them a bit which has been great. One thing I like about the agency we’re with is that they give our email addresses right after matching so IPs and GCs can start working on building a relationship right away. Other agencies make you communicate through them until after medical clearance or even after contracts. That would be so awkward! Every time you wanted to send IPs an email you would have to email it to the case manager who would then read it and forward it to IPs. Um…no thanks LOL I’m an adult and don’t need anyone screening my emails.

The agency also conducted a review of my insurance to see if it will cover a surrogate pregnancy. Apparently they have a “clear exclusion” which I though was interesting considering this is the same insurance plan that covered my previous surro pregnancy unprompted. IFs had purchased a surro friendly plan through the same company I have my regular insurance. The pregnancy stuff was only billed to the surro friendly plan. A few months in we got notice that my regular insurance was picking up a bunch of the bills. Since they were both through the same company they had caught that I had two insurances with them and both of them paid on the bills…who knows, insurance here is confusing AF. Since they already thought IFs would need to purchase a new plan for me my insurance coming up with an exclusion doesn’t mean anything in terms of moving forward. It was more just me trying to help out IFs to save them a little bit of $.

Next update when I have more info!

It’s Official!

I am officially matched for my second journey as a gestational carrier! I heard back on Friday (yay for not having to wait the whole weekend!) that these IFs (We’re going to call them A and O) also wanted to move forward together. My excitement was tempered this time with the knowledge that this is only the very beginning of a long and extensive process. It’s not that I’m less excited about these IFs, I just have the understanding of what is ahead and some of the bumps in the road that could arise. I am so so happy to be on this path again and I really hope I’m able to help A and O get their baby in their arms. On the other hand I’m more realistic about a potential timeline than I was last time when it was basically all blind optimism.

We were able to get the escrow account set up on Friday as well. Today our case manager sent our info to the counselor who will be doing our psych evals. I’m pretty sure it’s the same lady we had last time, which will be great because she’s in the same time zone as us and it’s much easier to coordinate 2 times zones instead of 3.

If our CM (case manager) hasn’t already, she’ll send the info to the RE’s clinic (fertility clinic) and they will eventually call me and we’ll work on setting up a medical screening appointment. This will be contingent on my cycle days (menstrual cycle) as they will want to see me between certain cycle days. I’m hoping they contact me sooner rather than later so we can get an idea when I might be going up there.

The agency is also having my insurance reviewed to see if it will cover a surrogate pregnancy. Some insurances have a clause stating that they will not cover a pregnancy of someone acting as a surrogate. This is the same insurance I had during the last pregnancy and even though they had IFs buy a backup plan this one ended up covering it as well. We’ll see what they say. If it doesn’t then the IFs have other options for coverage and they and the agency will get something worked out.

So for now we’re just getting things in order and hopefully scheduling some appointments in the not too distant future. The more this is sinking in the more excited I’m getting! I really hope everything goes fairly smoothly this time around and come this time next year A and O either have their baby or are early anticipating his/her arrival!

 

Intro Meeting

Intro meeting went really well! At least it did from my prospective LOL The guys were very sweet. They seemed a bit nervous which I would expect, especially if it was their first ever match meeting. I hope I didn’t intimidate them too much with all my questions, I’m sure it’s all overwhelming anyways, but they were things I wanted to make sure we were on the same page about. Hopefully they’ll just see it as me using my experience to make sure it’s a smoother journey for everyone.

They talked about wanting to visit where we live. They had looked it up online and said that it looked like it’s a really beautiful place (which it is, but we’re biased LOL). They did ask me about how I dealt with the distance between last IFs and us the first time around. I said that I don’t really have experience with more local IPs, but that it was sort of nice not having to work around everyone’s schedules for appointments and that. I said that I’m pretty independent so I don’t feel like I need IPs close to me. In retrospect I’m not sure I liked that part of my answer. I think it could have come off as not wanting their involvement. Hopefully they can see it how I meant it. What I meant was that it’s not going be detrimental to me if IPs aren’t local. I don’t want them to feel like they need to visit frequently or anything if it’s not convenient for them, I’m just fine over here growing their baby 😁

I think we have some things in common which would help conversation and friendship evolve naturally. We also have vastly different life experiences and I would love to learn more about them and their backgrounds.

Our case manager did a great job moving the conversation along and making sure we’re all on the same page about things like any extra prenatal testing and termination scenarios. That’s not always fun to discuss and you hope it doesn’t come up during pregnancy, but it’s important to know we all have similar views about it. She brought up the questions I asked her to so they could answer them without feeling hounded by me with a bunch of questions.

After the call the case manager emailed us (separately) to see how we thought it went and if we wanted to move forward. In these types of things I tend to follow my gut and not over analyze it. I liked them. I think our personalities will mesh well together. I think they will be wonderful parents. I don’t really need time to mull it over, I made the decision that I would like to move forward with them before we even ended the call. So I emailed the case manager back and let her know that I would like to move forward if they want to. I didn’t hear anything back from her today which I expected. IPs last time needed some time to think about it before they responded. I’m sure it’s a daunting decision to make, choosing who may be carrying your baby. I’m hoping I have an answer tomorrow, if I don’t hear by Monday I will go ahead and email the case manager again.

Fingers crossed they feel the same!

What’s An Intro Call About Anyway?

A comment on my last post got me thinking that if I want this blog to help other GCs (gestational carriers) or potential GCs I should mention what an intro meeting consists of and some of the questions I’ll be asking these potential IPs (intended parents).

Before the intro call is scheduled the IPs have looked at my profile that the agency has put together and decided they want to “meet” me. They have also written me a letter telling me a little bit about themselves and I have decided I want to “meet” them.

Prior to the video meeting they know a lot more about me than I do about them. That may sound odd, but they actually need to know a lot more about me. They need to know my pregnancy history, where I live, how much I make at my job, how much my husband makes at his job, they read info from my references, and they also would have received the information from the home visit the agency conducted prior to my last surrogacy journey. Why do they need all this info? Because I’ll be carrying their child and they want to know that my previous pregnancies went well and what sort of issues, if any I had. They also will be paying my lost wages and my husbands for any time off work we miss and they need to know if that’s something they can afford. They also need to know that I live in clean, safe place as their child will be spending 9+ months with me there. The references offer them piece of mind that I’m not some crazy person LOL

For me I don’t need that much information. In the letter they wrote they let me know where they live, how long they’ve been together, why they want children, and that they have supportive families. I don’t need all the extra information because it’s not my child so all I need to know is that this baby is wanted and will be loved which their letter let me know. The other information I get beforehand is what fertility clinic they use so I know where I’ll have to travel, if they embryos ready to go, and if those embryos have been tested for chromosomal abnormalities, and that they are willing to make more embryos if needed.

Everything else we get to learn about each other in the meeting. Last go around I really had no idea what I wanted to know at the intro meeting. This time I have a more detailed list.  The meeting is moderated by our case manager so she will cover a lot of the basics (how we met spouses, what our families are like, what sort of relationship we want before, during, and after pregnancy, how many embryos I’m willing to transfer [just one!], and how much involvement they want in the pregnancy)

Here’s my list of questions for the meeting

  1. How many trips here do they think they want to make before/during pregnancy? (Do they want to be there for transfer, ultrasounds, any other appointments?)
  2. I will let them know that my imaging clinic doesn’t allow video chats or videos and make sure that they are okay with that.
  3. Do they think they will want to do video chats or just emails/FB messenger?
  4. Are they okay with an elective induction between 40-41 weeks or would they prefer to wait for spontaneous labor? (elective is my preference, but I’m not set on it if they have other preferences)
  5. Do they want to be in the room during labor? What about delivery? Are they squeamish?
  6. Do they want more than one child? If they want a sibling journey do they have a timeline in mind?
  7. Do they have any special requests outside of the normal “follow RE and OB instructions”? Like special diet, limited activity, acupuncture, more bed rest after transfer than RE says?
  8. Are they comfortable with me using acupuncture, chiropractic care, and massage during the pregnancy?
  9. If I feel comfortable enough at the end I may ask if they know the sex of the embryos and if they know which one they want to transfer first

That’s my list for now…I may have something to add later or the discussion tomorrow may prompt another question or two.

Just a little over 24 hours until I “meet” these guys!

Intro Call Soon!

Last week I woke up every morning checking my phone to see if I had any new emails regarding the potential IPs. When Thursday morning rolled around I did the same thing, but apparently made the mistake of just looking at my notifications instead of opening my email app. After dropping the kids off I remembered I needed to let the agency person that I didn’t receive the mail they had sent me. I sent her a quick text letting her know and she immediately called me to go over a few things. She mentioned that she had sent me the introductory info for these IPs so I could look that over when I had a chance…..huh? Like I said, I made the mistake of not opening the actual email app so I missed the email she sent before I was even awake that morning. After hanging up the phone I got all settled and opened the email.

The introductory email with this agency consists of a letter the potential IPs write to the potential GC telling a little bit about themselves. With my first set of IPs they included a couple pictures of themselves as well. There were no pictures this time around, but a nice letter telling me a little bit about each of them. From reading it they seem like very sweet, adventurous guys. It seems like they have done a lot of travelling that I would love to learn more about because I LOVE talking travel. They are from different countries, but met when they were both living in the UK (not either of their home country). It seems rather serendipitous, being from two completely different parts of the world then ending up in the same country at the same time and meeting each other. I think it’s a sweet story and can’t wait to hear more about it. They live elsewhere now, but it sounds like they still travel frequently from what I gather. They are our age, which is different from last time, not better or worse, just different. I can’t/won’t give any more details than that to protect their privacy.

The email said to take a day or two (less if I just “knew”) then let her know if I wanted to move forward with an intro video meeting. I forwarded the info to the Hubster so he could read the letter. Then I emailed back and let her know that I would love to have a video meeting with them. I was transferred to a case manager (instead of the matching manager) and she is coordinating the intro meeting, hopefully for Thursday, which is only 3 days away, eek!! She said that she thinks that’s what day it will be, she just needs to confirm it with them.

I am definitely looking forward to “meeting” these guys and learning more about them. From what I keep hearing they are super chill and laid back which I love because we are too and I think that would help us mesh well. I’m currently working on a list of things I want to ask. It’s much more extensive than last time just because the first time around I didn’t know what I wanted to know. This time I have a much clearer idea of what I would like to find out in this meeting.

If we do have the meeting on Thursday I hope I don’t have to wait the whole weekend to find out if they want to officially match…y’all know how much I hating waiting

Hopefully I’ll have an exciting update soon!

Just as I finished this I saw I had an email from the case manager and the guys confirmed Thursday at noon!!

 

Not Really An Update…

With all this waiting I’ve been doing lately I’ve gone back and read my first blog posts. I have really enjoyed remembering that time and how exciting it all was, matching with IFs, getting medical & legal clearance, and then transferring (which made me realize that I never actually did a blog post about the transfer like I said I was going to! I wish I would have and maybe I’ll add the info to one of those old posts so I don’t forget it). All that old reading made me want to make sure to write plenty of posts this time around so that I can read over them later. Hopefully this journey goes well so that these posts can bring good memories like the ones from 2017 are doing now.

So, while I don’t really have an update I decided to try to write every week anyway.

I spoke with the matching coordinator at the agency (the one I’ve been in contact with this whole time) last Friday (5 days ago) as she asked me to call her. She let me know that some of the people involved at matching GCs w/ IPs had gotten together and they all felt I would be a better fit with the international couple as opposed to the domestic couple and she wanted to make sure I was okay with working with international IPs again (um…of course! I thought I had already made that clear, but I guess she wanted to double check). So once I said yes she said they were going to send my profile to the potential IPs that day and that I should have their answer and information (if they say they want to move forward) by early this week. Come Monday morning I have a text from the agency asking to verify my hourly wage and an email from her asking for an updated family picture (which was from December because I have basically no full family photos on my phone LOL). So I sent her all the info she needed and she let me know they would be sending the IPs my profile that day. I’m a little curious as to how they didn’t already have my profile put together since it’s been over a month since I applied and why it wasn’t sent out on Friday like I had been told it would be, but they have seemed so disorganized this go around that I’m not surprised. I didn’t say anything about it because it doesn’t really matter at this point.

Today is Wednesday so I figured this would be the earliest I would hear anything and, as it’s 5pm on the East Coast, I’m guessing I won’t get anything today. I will give it until midday tomorrow before I shoot a text to see if it’s reasonable to expect something this week or if I should plan on waiting until next week. I really hope that all this disorganization and back and forth don’t mess with me having a late summer transfer. Maybe since last time matching was so fast and contracts took so long it will be the opposite this time LOL a girl can dream, right?

So that’s my not update for my future self. If I get any more information this week I’ll likely post again, if not I plan on posting in a week anyway so future me has more posts to read!

Nothing New

Another week down and I’m in the same spot I was before. I didn’t even make it through the weekend before I texted the agency. I just wanted to know if the new couple was more responsive than the previous couple. She told me that she had been out of the office Thursday and should hear something by Saturday. So I texted her on Monday and asked how we were looking. She said that they were waiting for legal and they were all at the SEEDS (Society for Ethics in Egg Donation and Surrogacy) conference and that as soon as she knew she would let me know. I’m sure that she’s getting super annoyed with all my texts, but at this point it’s been over a month since I reapplied and I don’t even have a match meeting scheduled. I’m usually a believer that things will work out how they’re supposed to, but this is getting ridiculous and frustrating. I don’t want to lose the chance of an August transfer then not have the opportunity for another before October if the first one doesn’t work because I’m not willing to transfer between mid-October and January.

So I’m just over here annoyed, frustrated, and impatient. I will probably try to wait until Friday to text again and honestly today I’m just over it and ready to throw my hands up and say “whatever! Get back to me in another month, I don’t care!” But, I do care and it annoys me that they’re dragging their feet. I’m getting the feeling that they are short staffed or something and aren’t able to handle the amount of IPs and surrogates they’re dealing with. They were so great last time around that I hope this isn’t a new norm for them. I know I had expectations of this initial part going much faster this time around and that’s probably not helping my patience (or lack thereof).

I shall update when I actually have some news (so in like 2-3 weeks at this rate)