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!

 

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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)

 

Wednesday Update

Since Wednesdays are usually the day I finally cave and text the agency to see where we’re at, it seems that’s usually when I’m writing an update.

Yesterday my contact at the agency posted in the agency’s surrogate Facebook page asking where everyone was in the process. I replied that I was currently working on matching for journey #2 (which she knows), and that I’m already contemplating a 3rd time if everything goes well this time around. She replied and said that I would be hearing from her soon. This was early in the morning so I had hoped that meant she was getting some things together and would be emailing me in a few hours. Fast forward to this morning, still nothing.

A week seems to be my limit in waiting for an update LOL so I texted her “Happy Wednesday! Just making my weekly check in 🙂 ” She texted me back immediately and said that she didn’t have a reply yet, but that she may have another couple in mind. She said they are one of her favorites (pretty sure they’re not supposed to have favorites haha! but I’m glad she’s honest about it!) They are an international same sex couple (yay!). Ok, that right off the bat makes me excited, here’s why…I adore accents haha!  My last IFs were also some of the agency’s favorite IPs and that worked out really well. I told her that I did love the international thing the last time and that their favorites worked out really well for me last time so I would definitely be interested. She said she was going to send them an email so we’ll see how it goes. They use the same clinic as the other potential IFs do so we don’t need to wait for another review of my records.

I already feel better about this potential match and I’m not sure why. I wasn’t uneasy about the other potential IFs, at least I didn’t think I was. I felt more nervous about the clinic since it is considered one of the strictest, but this new couple uses the same clinic. I wasn’t worried about the fact that they were in the U.S or anything. I think I started out excited about the first potential match, but the longer it dragged on that feeling kind of faded. The fact that they still haven’t gotten back to the agency with an answer makes me want to pass on them. I know that sounds harsh and there could be 100 reasons why they haven’t given an answer yet, but I know that I’m ready to get this show on the road now. With my previous IFs they were pretty immediate in their response and I was immediate in mine, like we just knew. I understand that this is a different match and each journey is different, but I feel like I want someone who “knows” if they’re debating my profile and hemming and hawing then I don’t think it’s the match for me. I want a match that is as eager to get this journey started as I am and knows what they want and don’t want. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think those first potential IPs don’t deserve a surrogate or wouldn’t be a good match for someone else, I just don’t think they’re the right match for me. It’s impossible to overstate how important “the right match” is in a surrogacy situation. Taking the time to make sure that all parties mesh well together and are on the same page can save so many headaches down the road.

I’m really hoping this couple is a little faster in the decision making department. I’m going to try and wait until next Wednesday before I bug the agency again. I told her today that I make up for all my neediness in the beginning by pretty much never bugging them when I’m pregnant haha! But I just have to get to this point first.

It’s funny because during my last journey, albeit after the match was made, I had the universe throw me a couple signs that things were going to go well. The first was a pineapple shirt  right before my medical screening and the second was a pineapple necklace that appeared just a couple weeks before the transfer. Pineapples are considered lucky in the surrogacy world so finding these two things right before major milestones seemed like fate. Completely illogically I’ve already been waiting for “signs” this time around, which I’m pretty sure isn’t how they work. They can’t be looked for, but will come when the time is right. Considering that I didn’t find that pineapple shirt until well after we had matched I wondered why I was stressing so much about not having a “sign” already when I don’t even have a match meeting scheduled! However, when she mentioned that this new couple was international, it felt right because of my former IFs. I have thought since I had surro babe last fall that it will be so hard to find IPs that live up to the amazingness of my first ones. It’s completely unfair to compare, but if you had a perfect first journey with incredible IFs it would be near impossible not to measure by those standards. So for this new couple to be another same sex international couple is just enough of a connection that it feels good to my heart. We’ll see how it ends up panning out and I may have no idea what I’m talking about, but usually my gut is pretty spot on. We shall see…

The “P” Word

Patience is the name of the game…and it’s a game I’m not great at. Once again I’m just here waiting, but wanted to give a little update. As I had mentioned (I think) I had been hoping the prospective IFs would get my profile Monday after I sent in the one document I needed to. That afternoon the agency contact (N) told me that my profile should be that day or the next and then they would send it out. She told me she would let me know when it was sent out. Fast forward to today (Wednesday), I hadn’t heard anything about it being sent out so I went ahead and texted N to see if something was missing in my profile since it hadn’t been sent yet. She let me know that it was approved, but that one of the IFs is out of town on a business trip until at least Friday so they are waiting to send my profile until he returns.

Poor N, I bug her so much for updates I’m sure it drives her batty, but she hides it well LOL I try to give everything a couple days because I know they are a large agency that handles a lot of IPs and GCs, but honestly a couple days without an update is all I can handle before I ask. Like I’ve said 100 times, patience is hard for me! Reading through my blog posts from last time though, I was way more obnoxious that time LOL I emailed them all the time, probably because I had no idea how the process went and there was more to do last time. So I’m hoping that I’ll hear something by next Monday or Tuesday. I will try to wait until next Wednesday to bug N again if I don’t hear anything by then, but can’t promise I won’t send her a text on Tuesday afternoon 😉 Thankfully we have another busy weekend to pass the time!

 

Pre Approval

I got the email just a little while ago that the clinic that had been reviewing my medical records has given me pre approval. What does that mean? It basically means there’s no red flags in my records and I am able okay to go in for a medical clearance appointment. However, before I can do that my profile needs to be updated, reviewed by the IPs my agency has in mind, we have to have a Skype meeting, then decide that we want to be matched and proceed. So this pre approval is just the beginning, but it is one thing checked off the list.

I don’t think the agency will send my profile to the IPs until next week because we have a document that we need to add and we don’t have access to it right now as we are camping at the coast. It would be great if they could get it to the potential IPs by Monday afternoon (after we send them the document) and if the IPs could decide by Tuesday afternoon or early Wednesday we may be able to do the Skype meeting Thursday otherwise we may have to wait until the next Thursday since that’s the only time I’m home and kid free.

Until next time enjoy some pictures of the kids fishing and Wyatt’s salamander he caught 🤣🤣

Maybe I’m Not As Patient As I Thought

I was doing really well. I gave the OB’s office almost a week before I called to see if my records were ready LOL In my defense it only took them a day last time so I was curious what the hold up was. I wasn’t rude or anything (I work in the office part of a dental office and I know how some people treat office administration peeps). She said that it would be a couple more days before they were ready which I let her know what totally fine. Lo and behold she got them done that day. Sometimes a friendly reminder isn’t a bad thing, but please don’t ever ever ever be rude and demanding when you do that because the person on the other end is just a person trying to do their job. They may be absolutely swamped or be having a rough day. Maybe they usually have help, but are having to handle everything themselves. Plain and simple, please be nice 🙂 Thank you for listening to this PSA!

I picked them up that afternoon then came back to the office to borrow the scanner so I could forward them to my agency contact. When I pulled them out of the envelope one of the girls I work with looked at the stack and said “that’s what you have to scan?? That’s so many pages!” I laughed…that’s what happens when you’ve had 3 babies, you end up with a nice thick OB records. These records actually don’t even include my first pregnancy because my OB switched offices and those records ended up with a different doctor whose office never got back to me when I tried to track down that info. Luckily I didn’t need it since I had had another pregnancy, hopefully they don’t need them this time either.

I scanned them (in 3 separate sections because the scanner couldn’t handle them all at once) and emailed them to the agency. I received an email the next morning that they had been sent to the clinic and we should hear back in a couple days on whether the clinic cleared me to go ahead with medical screening. If they do then the agency will update my profile and share it with the IPs they have in mind for me. If they like what they see I think the agency will give me more info about them. Last time it included pictures of the couple and a sweet letter they had written to tell me more about them. After that should be a Skype call to see if we want to move forward together. If they don’t like my profile the agency will work on finding me another potential set of IPs.

I don’t know why, but I went from being all calm, cool, and collected to wanting to get this show on the road, like now! I think it had something to do with going back to my OBs office, which is across the parking lot from the hospital birth center where I was just 7 months ago delivering a little girl into the arms of her dads who had waited so long and went through so much to have her. It brought back so many memories and emotions that it made me so excited to be on this path again and to get things moving forward.

I was really hoping that by some miracle we’d hear back from the clinic today, but I doubt that will happen. Even if they did get back to the agency today it would have to be by 2pm because the agency is on the East Coast so they’re 3 hours ahead of us. I’m banking on hearing back on Monday, if it’s later than that I will be going crazy waiting….so not as patient as I thought I was being! In my defense it is a really exciting thing and I’ve always been terrible about waiting for anything I want.

We have some fun stuff going on this weekend so hopefully it will keep me from dwelling on this too much for the next couple days (I’m not usually looking forward to Mondays, but for this I’ll make an exception).

While I will definitely be disappointed if the clinic denies me, I hate being in limbo and just want to know one way or the other. A denial won’t be the end of the road. There are still plenty of clinics that will be willing to work with me we just have to find the right couple using one of those clinics.

Happy Friday to all!