Thursday, December 27, 2012


I've never been so thrilled to jab myself with a needle. Well, to be perfectly honest, I've never done that before... Okay - maybe I should take that back. When I was a kid, my friends and I used to pierce our thin ankle skin with safety pins. We must have been crazy because in no way does that sound fun now...

Anyhow - today was my first day of injectible medications. I did my first Lupron injection and it really wasn't too bad. I've stepped on kid's toys which hurt far worse. I'm not sure how many more days of this I have ahead of me, but I'm not complaining!

And of note - 4 weeks until our first possible transfer date! Yeah! Bring on the new year....

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Plan...

I received great news yesterday! The IVF clinic called and informed me that the egg donor is ready to begin cycling!! Everything looks good with her so she starts birth control pills now and will begin injectibles sometime in January.

As for me, I will continue taking the birth control pills until near the end of December. For a couple of days, I will take both the birth control pills and use a Lupron injection. The Lupron medication is administered via an insulin needle. The Lupron acts on the pituitary gland to suppress ovulation (since my own biological material won't be needed for this surrogacy). A few days later, I will discontinue the birth control pill and only use the Lupron.

The first week of January, I will have blood work and an ultrasound to get a baseline for the cycle. That's also when I'll get all the details on the other IVF medications I'll be taking.

Based on all of this, we're now looking at a transfer in the last week of January. If the cycle is successful, then my awesome Intended Parents can expect their bundle of joy sometime around the middle of October!

Just 50 days or so to wait! How very exciting....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Fun Package

Well, here it is! My fun package of drugs and needles has arrived.... it was terribly fun to pull it all apart and look at everything. But sadly I must pack it away for now. Hopefully it will only be another 2 weeks (or less maybe?!?) until I get to pull it out again....

Everything, all together...seriously hoping they went a little overboard on packing needles...eek!

The meds include Lupron, Progesterone in Oil (PIO), birth control pills, a steroid and estrogen patches.

This is the enormous needle for the PIO. Sadly, the entire needle tip must be inserted into my rear end  as it's an intramuscular injection. Thankfully, I don't think the actual injection will hurt much worse than getting a flu shot...but I'm guessing that since I'll eventually be doing this daily for several weeks, I can pretty much expect to have a sore bottom for a good long time. (it will be worth it) And since my husband (who has no medical training and an aversion to needles) will be doing these injections for me, I'm a little anxious about how bad the first few might be!

This is the tiny (by comparison) needle for the Lupron injections. It is an insulin needle and only a 29  gauge.  This particular injection is for my well-padded tummy and is only subcutaneous, so it goes just under the skin, rather than into a muscle. Yay! 

Just for comparison's sake... I think it's a safe bet to say the guy with the orange cap will be my  favorite. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Make Way for the Meds!

At my last update, I'd had my baseline blood work and ultrasound done. I did get a phone call a few days later and they asked me to start taking the birth control pill so that when the egg donor started her next cycle, I would be already in a "holding pattern" and could be synced to her cycle immediately. I'm currently about to finish my second week of pills. When I run out of active pills, I get to skip the inactive "placebo" pills and skip right on to the next pack.

I did get a call from the pharmacy last week. They confirmed all my information and told me that they'll be shipping my other medications to me the day before Thanksgiving. According to their records, I'm to start medications the day after Thanksgiving, but I haven't gotten the official word from the clinic yet.

No major complaints so far. I gained about 3 pounds my first week on the pills. According to Dr. Google, weight gain from water retention is a common side effect of BCP (birth control pills). It's been almost 8 years since I've used them, so I can't say that I remember it all that clearly. I did get hit with some nausea too the first few days, but it wasn't terrible and so I started taking the pills at night and that took care of the problem right away.

I'm very excited to get started on whatever comes next. My guess (if I remember correctly from my appointment ALL the way back in June or July) is that estrogen patches are first, then I move on to injectibles.

The last I heard from the clinic and from the intended parents is that we're tentatively looking at an egg retrieval at the end of December and a transfer at the beginning of January...I sure hope it works out with no further delay! That would be such a fantastic start to the new year!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Getting Started

It's the start of another cycle and I was very happy, when I called the clinic, to be told that they wanted me to start taking the birth control pills so we can get ready for cycling with the egg donor. Apparently, they are still waiting for her to have another cycle before we start the IVF protocol, but it seems that she's only a day or two behind me, so perhaps soon, I'll get word on what we're doing next.

I did get to take a trip to the clinic for baseline bloodwork and an ultrasound. They called later to say that everything looks good. So now, more waiting to hear what's next. It should be just a few days until I get a phone call...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dealing with Disappointment

Today was supposed to be a big, exciting day! I was finally able to call the IVF clinic and get set up with medications to cycle with the egg donor. But instead, there was a big letdown. When I called, I was informed that something happened with the egg donor and our cycling is going to be delayed for 6-8 more weeks. So now we're looking at a late December or mid-January transfer.... unless.... unless I get unexpected good news when I call next month. I will be keeping all my fingers crossed for a nice surprise next time!

In the meantime, I get to have a hysteroscopy and a mock transfer later this month. These fun procedures are done so that when the time comes for the real transfer, they have all the measurements and information they need to do it perfectly. At least it's something to pass the time.

More waiting...

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Big Announcement

Since my last update, our timeline has slowed down a bit. Our contracts hit a snag in trying to arrange all the pre-birth order / post-birth adoption details. It's finally all been done and we're signing the paperwork tomorrow or the day after, but because of the delay, we didn't get to start cycling in September. But... it looks like we'll begin in just a few more days and then we're off and running!

For those hopeful surrogates-to-be who might be reading this, I do plan to post an easy-to-follow version of our timeline once I get the IVF schedule. It's the kind of detail I've wondered about for months, so I hope you'll find it helpful.

So since everything is on the cusp of being finalized, I was no longer able to wait patiently (or impatiently) to tell all my online friends about this exciting adventure. I got to make my big announcement on Facebook and there was a lovely outpouring of support. I think it's lovely that others can appreciate how much this means to both the intended parents and myself. It really makes me look forward to being able to share this journey with others....

Hopefully, the next update will bring news of "the plan" and maybe a hopeful transfer date. In my own head, I'm guessing that maybe it will be right around Thanksgiving but who knows....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More News

This past weekend, my husband and I had the great fortune to finally meet our intended parents in person! They flew in earlier in the week but between their appointments and our busy schedule, it wasn't possible to get together until Sunday evening. Thankfully we were able to find a sitter for the kids and so we were able to give them our undivided attention and get to know them a little bit better.

Our time at dinner passed all too quickly and before we knew it, it was time to go home. We got some photos together and said our goodbyes. Hubby and I were both very pleased to know that we chose a wonderful couple to help grow a family. It made us feel even more excited to get the actual medical stuff started!

Three days prior, I was able to review the details of our contract with my attorney. Thankfully, there were only a few minor details for which we requested changes. By the time we met over the weekend, the IP's were just waiting to meet with their attorney again to discuss the changes they had and to review what we had requested.

The next day, Hubby stayed home with the kids and I drove to the IVF clinic to meet in person with the IP's and the doctor and nurse coordinator. We had some more time to talk (yay!) and verified that we were in agreement over several major points regarding the transfer, pregnancy and delivery. Unfortunately, that too ended all too soon and I was headed back home...

I really felt like we made a good connection this weekend and aside from being excited to move forward with the surrogacy process, I'm also appreciative of the fact that I've had a chance to become friends with some really fantastic people!

At this point, I'm to contact the clinic around mid-September to start taking medications to begin cycling with the egg donor. Barring any unforeseen delays, it seems as though we're anticipating our first transfer (hopefully the only one needed) around the end of October!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Big News!

Hooray! I've got IT!! The in my hands. Well - actually on my computer. But that's good enough for a draft version. I'm super excited because I'll be reviewing it with my attorney and hopefully it will be signed by all parties within the next few days. It's 38 pages!! Wow! - and I thought we had a fairly simple thing going here... It appears to be only slightly less complicated than the paperwork for buying a house... at least it appears I'll only have to sign once (unlike the 50,000 signatures required for the home purchase). I can't wait to review it with my attorney and get this part done and squared away. Starting the process of cycling with the egg donor isn't very far away at all...

Also, the intended parents are here for the week! We'll finally get to meet in person this weekend. I'm very excited but also nervous to meet the people I've been longing to help for years. (even though I didn't know it was them until recently)

Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Get Ready, Get Set... Wait!

There is a recurring theme to this blog. It's something like, "Hurry Up and Wait." Thankfully my family's summer activities have more than filled the days and so I haven't gone too crazy waiting for more to happen with this surrogacy project!

My IF's (intended fathers) are coming to the States very soon! They have their travel dates to do all their initial appointments with the RE (reproductive endocrinologist) office. My husband and I will finally be meeting them in person before the end of August. After our meeting, we'll be having a group meeting with the doctor in charge of this surrogacy to be sure we have all the information we need and to discuss how everything moves forward in the actual clinic.

From what I understand, the big holdup is the contracts. I believe the egg donor contract is completed and signed, but mine is still in the works. I think it's being sent to my IF's this week, but I'll truly only feel better once they can say they have it... Once they sign it, it will come back to me for review. Once the paperwork is completed, it will be time to start cycling with the egg donor.

Initially, I had hoped everything would move forward enough that we might be looking at a transfer at the end of August or by mid-September... but because the contracts have taken so long, I'm thinking it will probably be more like the end of September or mid-October. As always - it will be wait and see.

In the past, I've mentioned my hope to lose a couple of pounds before beginning medications for the surrogacy. So far, I've had no luck - mostly because I have no willpower if there's snack foods in the house. (and I'm a big-time ice cream junkie, which makes summertime "dieting" a lot harder!). But my husband has finally decided he wants to join in too, which is always a tremendous help to me. So... here's to saying goodbye to 5-10 pounds in the next month or so!

Until next time...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Testing, Testing, 1.2.3...

Monday was a great day! My husband and I found some poor sucker to watch the kids all day and skipped town! Ha... just kidding - well, sort of...

Actually, we entrusted the care of our munchkins to my sister-in-law, who was gracious enough to arrive at our home at 5:50 am, and hubby and I rode off into the sunrise to the Philadelphia area to visit the RE office for the first time. It turned out to be an enjoyable and peaceful 13 hours of time together.

We were introduced to the nurse coordinator who will be handling our entire case. She introduced us to all the different medications I'll be taking in order to synchronize my cycle with the egg donor and subsequently building a nice home for my IP's embryo, while suspending my own ovulation. It's amazing what can be accomplished with hormones. The human body is really just one large, extremely complex, chemically-operated machine! We provided blood and urine for all the required tests and super-Hubby survived the dreaded needle!

After reviewing the medications and explaining how I got involved in surrogacy, Hubby and I had the pleasure of spending some time taking some written psychological tests. We weren't to be sharing answers (obviously) but at least we were able to joke with each other a little while taking them, which made the whole process at lot more bearable!

After a quick lunch break, we met with one of the physicians, though likely not the one I'll be seeing regularly. He reviewed a lot of information about how the whole process works, including the FDA oversight of testing and process, and he got a complete history from me, including the location & ages of all my tattoos and piercings. That was something I wasn't necessarily expecting. Our time with the good doctor ended with a physical exam, which included an ultrasound of my reproductive parts. I've never had one done without actually already having a baby in there, so it was definitely a new experience for me. The doctor labeled my ovary as "Picasso-esque," whatever that means! I think it was just a bit of RE humor that must've flown over my head...

Finally, we finished up by meeting with the psychologist, who was kind enough to come to the clinic so we could complete all of this stuff in one visit instead of two - saving us a full day of travel and childcare. Yay!
I really liked her - she was very personable and made our 3 hour interview a good one! We talked about pretty much everything under the sun with regards to myself, my husband, our relationship, our expectations about the surrogacy journey and the IP's. I can say with confidence that I'm certain that if we weren't ready for this, she would've uncovered the issue during this visit and talked to us about it.

So now I get to wait for our results to come in - hopefully by the end of the week and then it's on to contracts. Once that is complete, bring on the meds and we're off and running.... My expectation at this point (based on the information provided by the nurse coordinator) is that I might be starting a birth control pill by the end of July or the beginning of August, which means that hopefully a September transfer is in the works! Can't wait to see...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Finally More to Say

It's been a long time since I've had anything to post about this journey. There's been a lot of waiting, but there's finally been progress. After almost being matched with several couples, I found a couple in Europe who is ready to move forward and liked me as much as I liked them!
We emailed and Skyped last week and are starting the process of getting to know one another. There is a bit of a language barrier as sadly, I'm not bilingual in any respect. Their English is actually pretty good, considering it's not their first language, but I have to remember to not speak too quickly (an annoying habit of mine) and to avoid using too many local phrases. They are traveling to the States near the end of August to meet with the doctors at the IVF clinic and we'll be making arrangements to meet in person at that time. I can't wait!

My understanding of the surrogacy timeline is that once they arrive in August, the genetic material from the father has to be cryofrozen (for quarantine) for six months. About 4 1/2 months later, the egg donor and I will start taking meds to sync our cycles and then sometime around the end of February or early March, we should be able to attempt our first transfer. And because I can't resist looking forward even further, if we're successful on the first try, then we're looking at a potential estimated due date of mid November 2013. Phew! What a wait.... but, oh - it will be so worth it to help build a family!!

In the meantime, my husband and I will have to take a trip to the IVF clinic to do our psychological screenings. I should be hearing from the agency soon as to when that appointment will be. I'll admit I'm a bit nervous about that appointment as I really don't know what to expect and of course, no one wants to even consider the possibility of somehow "failing." I'm sure it will be fine... but I"ll feel much better once we're on the other side of that task.

I can find at least one reason to be thankful for the extra-long wait in this journey - I can have some extra time to try to drop a few pounds prior to starting meds. I hear that it's not uncommon to put on 10-15 pounds just in cycling with the medications and then of course about 25 with the actual pregnancy. I would be more than thrilled to drop maybe 20 pounds prior to February. We'll see - now that my youngest child is sleeping better at night and naptimes, I'm finding more time for exercise than in the past. It will feel good to slim down the tummy before watching it grow again....

Another thing which comes to mind is how and when to tell my kids what is going on. The two oldest will be 6 and 7 at the end of the summer (when we meet the Intended Fathers) and will definitely need an explanation. Time to go in search of a good book to help!

Can't wait to come back with more updates. Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Getting Closer to being Officially Matched!

Well, I've said, "yes" and they've said, "yes" - so tentatively, it seems I'm matched!! I'm so excited, I could squeal like a little girl. And probably do the jumping-up-and-down-in-excitement dance. But I won't... well, not while anyone's watching anyway...

We still need to talk face-to-face/online to get to know each other a little better, but unless something comes up, I can't see why I wouldn't be partnering with this couple of IP's (intended parents) for my first surrogacy journey. I'm very eager to move forward and will be hoping that nothing unusual crops up to deter our road to success!

Waiting over the weekend to hear back from my agency has felt like forever. Looking forward to having another update soon!

Friday, April 6, 2012


So it's been another week and I'm still looking to be matched. Actually, I'm waiting to receive a profile. It's soooo hard to wait, especially when I'm this excited about doing this finally! Thankfully, the next week always arrives sooner rather than later, so I can hopefully get to see some info about the couple I might be helping!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Moving Slowly

I'm being impatient. I suppose it's not one of my better qualities - but to look on the bright side, it usually keeps me proactive rather than reactive! The agency came to my home to answer questions and make sure I'm living in a safe environment for a pregnancy. It went really well and I was told I should be receiving a profile for the IP's they have in mind at the beginning of next week. I know it's not long to wait, but yet for me, it is.

To pass the time, I contacted my midwife from my most recent pregnancy and requested a copy of my records. She was so great - she emailed back to me that evening stating she'd mail them to me. If I had needed to ask them from my original OB office, I would've been charged a copying fee and had to explain why I wanted them, etc... My midwife is so super!

So now, with not much else to do, I'm perusing blogs about surrogacy and lurking on chat boards, trying to make sure I'm going into this process as informed as possible. Hopefully I'll have more to update soon!

Monday, March 26, 2012

In the Beginning...


I'm so excited; I don't even know where to start! Several years ago, after our oldest son was born, I approached my husband about becoming a gestational surrogate because I recognized how many people around me were struggling with infertility and my heart went out to them. I felt that I could help because getting pregnant and being pregnant - and delivering a healthy baby came so easily to me. At the time, I didn't realize all the science behind the process, but that didn't matter because my hubby wasn't comfortable with the idea.

I agreed to table the issue and we went on with our lives. In the meantime, I knew that my heart belonged to working with pregnant women and babies and so I decided to return to school to pursue a career in midwifery. Fast forward several years and we've added two more children to our family. We are absolutely sure that we've reached our limit and so I re-address the question of being a surrogate with hubby. To my astonishment, he says he's supportive of the idea - with no debate. I honestly don't know if I was prepared for that. I should have been. He's an amazing man and never fails to surprise me (except when it comes to giving actual presents - THAT is rarely a surprise) Ha!

Anyway - so it's mid-March 2012 and I can't wait to get started. I'm currently nursing my almost-9-month-old son and plan to continue to do so until at least the end of June when he turns one. If I need to wean him at that time because I need to start taking the medications to prepare for cycling & transfer, I am comfortable with that. I think that (if we're matched and contracts are signed and all the prerequisites are complete) I will be physically ready to attempt a transfer by the end of September. That will give my body a 15 month break from pregnancy. Some people might say it's too soon - some may not. But I know what my limits are and I think that to prepare for a successful transfer, it's for the best. I suspect that it may take that long just to get everything together legally anyway.

I applied to an agency on March 16th and anxiously awaited a response. On the 19th, I spoke with a team member of the first agency with which I'd applied and she said that she had a couple in mind as a potential match (already!). What's crazy is that they're located very close to where I reside and so if things were to work out for us as a match, I wouldn't have to fly or travel far at all for all the medical care at their IVF (in-vitro fertilization) clinic. That's a huge plus as far as I'm concerned. That also means that when it time for baby (or babies) to arrive, there's a very good chance they'd be available to be there for the birth! I'm prone to quick labors, so there's no guarantee...

She's going to share my profile with them and then will follow up with me to share their profile if they're interested in talking to me by phone. If that works out, the next step is to do a face-to-face meeting and then work on the medical stuff and contracts. There are a few points on which I need to be absolutely sure we're in agreement and hopefully the rest will fall into place! Have I mentioned how excited I am?!? I can't wait to hear back from the agency again...


Today I did some digging into the medication protocol associated with the pre-transfer and post-transfer period. Everything sounded great until I read up on PIO (progesterin in oil) injections. Giant needle, thick liquid, inserted into buttock daily. Yikes! Generally speaking, I have no problem with needles, but oh boy! I didn't see this one coming... so although I'll figure it out if I have to, I did think it may be less stressful if Hubby handled giving those injections to me. The problem is that Hubby has more of an aversion to needles than the average person. Sooo... needless to say, he was a little leery when I asked if he'd be willing to try to help me with them. But being the awesome & supportive person he is, he said he'd do it if I needed him too. That's my guy!


I got a message today from the agency saying that the IP's loved me (hehe - okay, my profile) and are excited to move forward. She wanted to let me know that she's sending the IP's profile to me and I'm to call her so we can talk about what I'd like to request in compensation. Ick - that's the scary part of the whole negotiation process! But that's why I wanted to use an agency; they can help me get through this part with as little stress as possible. I called and left a message. Hopefully I'll hear back tomorrow.


I reviewed the IP's profile and didn't find anything that concerned me (after doing some further research). My hubby had a couple of questions he'd like to get answers to, but he's entitled - he's part of this journey too. I suppose we'll get a chance to ask them soon enough.

I spoke with my agency contact again and confirmed the fee I'm requesting. Just like in "real" life, it seems kind of taboo to discuss monetary compensation for something like this, so I won't go into specifics. Some people seem to think women who become surrogates only do it for the money. I'm convinced that if they knew the committment of body, mind and heart that goes into this process, they would completely change their mind. This process is not for the feint of heart. I read somewhere that if you divide the typical amount of compensation per hour that the surrogate spends "working" on surrogacy (appointments, taking meds, growing the baby, labor & delivery, etc...), the rate would be close to $0.50 per hour. Seems like there's probably other ways which are more effective at earning a salary - and they don't necessarily include giving yourself injections with a very large needle, in the rump, every day for (potentially) several months. Ouch!

Anyhow, I also reiterated some of my most important points with regards to what I'd require for compatibility in a match and she mentioned she'd be sure the IP's were aware of my conditions. We also scheduled my home visit for next week. Either she or another contact from the agency will be driving several hours to my house to be sure I'm living in an environment which is safe and secure for the best chances at a healthy pregnancy. I'm very much looking forward to that day and completely wondering what comes next. I presume a phone call with the IP's is in the works!

I've been working hard this week to fit more exercise into my schedule in the hopes of getting more fit (for myself but also to prep my body to receive a precious little bundle later in the year). I managed to lose about 3 pounds, but hormones come into play and so who knows what is water weight and what is really gone. I'll know better next week. Of course, I started slacking hard-core this weekend and we ate out twice. Bad for the diet - good for my taste buds. I do much better with exercising during the week.... my schedule is more predictable then. Perhaps if I got myself to bed earlier in the evening (it's close to midnight right now), I'd be able to get up before the kids more often and get that workout in more consistently. Sounds like a good reason to end this post for the night....

First Post on a New Blog

I've been blogging about my family life for almost nine months already and I'm super excited because I get to work on having another dream come true... becoming a gestational surrogate! Check back soon because I plan to write lots and lots about my adventures in surrogacy.