Interview with Intended Parents

Q: What led you to use a surrogate?

A: We attempted adoption and we waited for almost 2 1/2 years. We used social media and reached out to many adoption agencies and clinics. We were suddenly approached about an opportunity in surrogacy, we did our research and moved forward.

Q: Do you know her?

A: No. We were referred to her.

Q: Was it difficult to trust someone else to carry your child?

A: No. We know it is not physically possible to carry our child. Our surrogate has had experience before, is very knowledgeable and takes very good care of herself and the baby. Knowing she has the support from her husband is important to us as well.

Q: Do you feel included in the pregnancy?

A: Yes! Communication has been absolutely wonderful. Examples…We receive video of ultrasounds with the Dr. pointing things out, nurse including us on emails sent to our surrogate, how our surrogate is feeling and we just had an update that is our surrogate is sitting a certain way, she can feel baby kicking!

Q: What has been the biggest challenge so far?

A: Not so much a challenge, but wish we were closer to support surrogate. Prior to getting pregnant, challenge and frustrations included 2 failed attempts.

Q: What has been the biggest surprise for far?

A:  The amazing wonders of science! As well as the relationship we have built with our surrogate and her husband. Through 2 failed attempts, we’ve experienced the ups and downs together!

Q: Would you do anything differently?

A: No

Q: Would you do it again?

A: No…simply because it’s not feasible as we want strong future and college funds 🙂 As well as our age.

Q: Any closing thoughts?

A: It has been an amazing experience and we look forward to sharing this rewarding story with our child! We hope to continue a lifelong relationship with our surrogate and include her and her family on our child’s upbringing.

Advertisements

Interview with a Surrogate’s Husband

Q: What was your response to your wife telling you she wanted to carry a second time as a Gestational Carrier (G.C.)?

A:  I wasn’t at all surprised.  We had talked about it before and said that if it was a good fit we were open for another journey.  Communication is key and that door is always open.

Q: What was your level of support in the decision for her to carry?

A:  We are both completely involved.  We talked about it and agreed upon it and I support her decision.

Q: Do you get many questions from people about surrogacy?

A:  Most people just smile and say “that’s cool” or something similar.  I think a lot of that is people just honestly don’t know even what it means when I say my wife is a surrogate.  Others that do know typically do have questions.  Questions to me and about my wife.  I always answer them truthfully and speak from my experience and point of view.

Q: How do you handle the pregnancy with your children?

A: We are very open with them.  We explain to them exactly what is going on and what it means.

Q: Is your involvement with the pregnancy any different than when you had your own children?

A:  Support is pretty much the same as when she was pregnant with our own children.  Be there for her physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Whatever she needs.  Pregnancy can and should be a beautiful thing for couples to share together.  It’s a fantastic miracle whirlwind of a journey that has only made our bond stronger.

Q: Your wife experienced a failed transfer, how did that affect you?

A: I felt helpless.  I knew there was nothing I could do or say to make it hurt any less for the IPs or my wife.  All I could do was to just be available whenever for whatever.

Q: Do you think this experience has or will affect your relationship in any way? (good or bad)

A: I suspect that like the first time, if anything changes in our relationship, it will be for the better.  It’s yet another experience we have been through together.

Q: If roles were reversed, would you consider being a G.C.?

A: That’s a very interesting question.  Being a completely hypothetical question and not knowing anything about what it’s like to be pregnant I have to answer this question purely based on heart.  I’d like to believe that if the circumstances felt right to all parties involved, that I would be willing to take that on.  I’ve never been one to shy away for challenges or adversity so I think there would be a lot of excitement and joy involved.

Q: Any closing thoughts?

A: I think that getting knowledge out to people by doing things like this is a great thing.  I’m curious to hear from others out there, both G.Cs and their support group, about their thoughts and their journey experiences.  I think that being a G.C is one of the most selfless acts that a person could do and it opens up a door that may not have ever been opened for people.  What a great way to bring joy and happiness to others.  By giving them one of the best miracles in this world.  Hope and Lord willing, a child.

Interview with a Gestational Carrier/Surrogate

Q: How are you able to keep from becoming attached? Won’t it be hard to give away the baby?

A: From the very beginning it is clear, to me and everybody involved, that I am carrying for another family. I don’t think up names, or plan out a nursery, or make cute announcements to family members. This is not my child. That doesn’t mean I’m cold hearted and have no feelings at all, it just means that my feelings do not include a claim or a motherly bond. Rather, I feel more like the cool aunt sharing updates.

Q: How has surrogacy affected your marriage, if at all?

A: If anything it has only continued to draw us closer as we experience these miracles together. My husband is my biggest support, especially during the black hole of no energy in the first trimester, he really is amazing.

Q: How are you handling the pregnancy with your children?

A: We are pretty direct with them about the whole process. Words have grown up a little bit between the first surrogacy and this one but the concept remains the same. Our 5 year old told her Kinder teach toward the end of school that “A doctor put a baby in my mommy’s belly for another family!” They are both very attentive and seem to grasp the situation better than most adults. Another wonderful resource are some of the books we own, see this post for more on that.

Q: How did you first learn about surrogacy? What made you want to become a gestational carrier?

A: When I was 16 and taking a college course at my local community college the conversation of family came up with a classmate during a break. I learned that she was a two time surrogate in addition to her three biological children. It was the first time I had ever met a surrogate and it blew my mind. I wanted to learn more about it and made the goal of someday becoming an egg donor and/or surrogate. Fast forward several years and I made friends with another surrogate who joined an agency once she was done with surrogacy as a carrier. She suggested that I would be an ideal surrogate and encouraged me to submit an application when I was ready to do so.

When my husband and I were ready to grow into a family we experienced some fertility issues for over three years. Compared to many it wasn’t long, but it felt like an eternity. After having our own two children it only made me want to help grow other families that much more.

Q: You had to do injections how long?! Who gave them to you? Does it hurt?

A: I started Progesterone in Oil (PIO) intramuscular injections on the day the eggs were thawed and continued through 15 weeks gestation. My husband has lovingly administered all of my injections this time. The majority of them were relatively painless, the actual medication is a little thick so if it is pushed too fast it can burn but as soon as the injection is done, the pain stops.

Q: Do you get paid a lot?

A: This is my least favorite question. While I can certainly appreciate that it is an investment for the IP’s to use a surrogate, as there are many costs involved, carrying as a surrogate is not a get rich quick scheme. It is a benefit to receive compensation but it is not the driving source for why I pursued this method of helping other families. And I wish people would stop asking about the financial side of things (unless they are potential IP’s doing research).

Q: Do you know the parents / IP’s?

A: We were referred to each other by a mutual connection. But we have since enjoyed getting to know each other through visits and regular group chats between all four of us.

Q: Would you have done anything differently?

A: No! Even with the bumps that we have experienced this has been an amazing journey so far. There have been wonderful staff and doctors involved throughout, I have continued to see my therapist every six weeks, there has been clear and constant communication, and we have grown a bond between the four of us that will last for many years to come.

Interview Series

Over time I have received a lot of questions about my surrogacy journeys, which is only natural, and I fully encourage. I thought it would be a good idea to refresh my interview series and address some of the most common questions received. If you have a question to add, please submit them to me and they’ll be added to the appropriate post.

This will be a three part series, with interviews of each:

  • Gestational Carrier /Surrogate (me)
  • Surrogate’s Husband
  • Intended Parents

Growing right along

The past month has been a very busy one for me and my family! Finally, I have a moment to sit down and get up to date.

il_340x270.1133887057_faqa

Normally, ladies with non-high risk pregnancies have their first OB appointment around 8 weeks to confirm pregnancy via ultrasound, then continue with OB visits every 4 weeks until 28 weeks. The appointments increase frequency to every 2 weeks until 36 weeks and at the end they are every week. Since the first OB appointment was around 10 weeks I was scheduled to come back two weeks later to get on the typical schedule. At the 12 week appointment we were able to get the baby on the Doppler right away. I love that galloping horse sound! It was a relatively short appointment compared to the first as I didn’t have any extra procedures. After discussing the anatomy scan and fetal echo I was on my way!

The anatomy scan and fetal echo were referred to Austin Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Because Amy and Al will be flying out for the big ultrasound we wanted to try to get the appointment on the books as soon as possible. There was a little back and forth with the office to coordinate everybody’s schedules but we were able to land on August 18th, the day baby will be 19 weeks. There is a possibility that I will need to do a follow up ultrasound a couple of weeks later if they aren’t able to get clear enough images of some of the organs at 19 weeks, but we all agreed that was OK.

A couple days after scheduling the big ultrasound was when we were supposed to leave for vacation. As a result of me being on vacation and not being able to have blood work done during that time frame, I had to continue PIO injections through the 21st. I’ll go in tomorrow for a blood draw to see if I get to stay off of the PIO injections. The last blood work just before 14 weeks showed my progesterone at a 31 after already reducing my dose to 1/4 cc so I’m hopeful that I am officially done with my night time routine. (all fingers crossed!)

This Friday marks 16 weeks, which also means that since I last wrote we passed into the wonderful second trimester! Thankfully there wasn’t really any weight gain during the first trimester even though I was extremely lethargic and not on my feet a whole lot. Food is starting to even out a little bit (eggs are back on the menu), but there are still some “wet dog food” surprises. Energy is kicking back into gear… just in time for the dog days of summer to hit central Texas. Overall things are going very smoothly pregnancy wise!

I have tried to remember to take weekly pictures on Fridays to document each week of growth. Here is a line up of all of the pictures through 15 weeks, enjoy!

IMG_20170601_184715_739000IMG_20170610_124913_664000IMG_20170619_110849_710000IMG_20170623_131824_838000IMG_20170630_192226_367000IMG_20170708_123042_088000

IMG_20170724_180856_688000

Baby Is Looking More Like a Baby

Curious why your body is finally looking pregnant? It’s because at 15 weeks pregnant your baby is quickly growing bigger each week — he’s as long as four inches right now. Need a better visual (and a snack)? Hold a large navel orange in your hand — that’s how big your little darlin’ is. (Now that you’re done looking, peel that orange and eat it for a delicious two servings of vitamin C!). And with each passing week, your fetus is also looking more and more like the baby you’re picturing in your dreams. By now, the ears are positioned properly on the sides of the head (they used to be in the neck) and the eyes are moving from the side of the head to the front of the face — where they’ll soon meet your loving gaze.