Tuesday, February 26, 2013

In God's Hands

Tragedy is something that happens to others, and it is rarely handed out to us. At least, that is what we tell ourselves, most likely in comfort, but it is something we have to realize can happen at any moment, to anyone, for reasons that we are unaware of.

On Sunday night, I got a phone call from my sister that our cousin was at the hospital and he was not breathing. This was the only information I received, I got out of bed and got dressed very quickly and she met me at the door to go to the hospital. I was terrified, in denial, surely, he's okay and someone in the family over exaggerated the circumstances.

When we arrive at the hospital, we are ushered into the ICU. We are told that they suspect my 18 year old cousin has had a heart attack, they were still working on him and we had no answers...only questions. My aunt was still in shock, and all we could do was wait.

What felt like hours passed by, of course it was only about 15 minutes. Every minute was slow and painful. My cousin is healthy, he's a hockey player...he's played hockey his whole life...he couldnt' weight more than 140lbs and he's over 6 feet tall...how is this possible...what is going on...please let this be a cruel joke. Please tell me I'm not really awake.

The Dr came back in, and he told us he had a pulse. They shocked him 13 to 15 times...but they had a pulse. He seemed to be breathing on his own, we'll be able to see him soon, please remain calm and he'll be back as soon as he can. He looked tired, stressed out, and he was wearing a blue shirt under his white Dr's coat. We could tell that he had just put his white coat on, it was still without wrinkles. The rings around his eyes told us how worried he was, and how unsure he was of my cousin's condition. Shock was starting to wear off, and I wish it hadn't.

We kept asking each other what time it was, how long it had been. Sometimes only 3 minutes had gone by, we tried to fill our minds with positive thoughts, and try to reassure each other that things will be okay.

The Dr came back finally with an update, he wasn't breathing on his own, he was ventilated, and there was internal bleeding. It seemed so bleak...it felt like punishment, why would he come tell us that? Why won't he just make it better? His coat was wrinkled now, the rings around his eyes had deepened...how long had it been...two...three hours? Only 45 minutes.

Finally his parents could go see him. My aunt came out crying, I know what she seen in there, I remember it all too well when the twins needed help, and they were hooked up to machines to watch their heart rate, temperature, brain activity...it's a mother's worst nightmare. She was inconsolable...who wouldn't be...I have no words for her, I held her tight, rubbed her back and kept saying "It will be okay, he will fight through this.".

It was my turn, I went in but it didn't look like my cousin. This is just a bad dream. This isn't happening.

There were no bodily responses to touch, sound or temperature, they were putting him in a coma soon...but I had no idea how less responsive he could possibly get. I was watching one of those shows on TV...if I could just snap out of it. I just had to wake up.

I returned to the waiting room just outside. The automatic doors kept opening and closing. Opening and closing. Each time they would, everyone in the room would jump and look up. The tissues they had were like sand paper.

The Dr asked to speak to the parents, my aunt and uncle. They were sending him via helicopter to a bigger city. There were specialists there who could help. Neither of his parents were going to be able to go in the helicopter, there were too many machines and no room.

They made plans to drive down the same night, a 5 hour trip. We watched the clock again as they prepped him to go, hooked him up to the team's equipment and got his stretcher ready to go. I will never forget all of us in a semi circle, waiting and and watching as they wheeled him out of the hospital through those automatic doors. As soon as the door shut behind them, the room was full of electricity.

I don't even remember getting home, it was so fast. Everyone dispersed and had things to do. I returned home to my husband and children, who were all in bed by then, as it was shortly after 2am.

I had a snack, did some tidying up, and then brought the baby upstairs with me at about 4am. Sleep escaped me until nearly 6am.

When I woke up Monday morning, I had to deal with the fact that it isn't a bad dream. I had to deal with the fact that it is out of our hands right now and that we have to leave it in God's hands, for He alone has plans for us all, and we are unaware of those plans. Putting trust in His plans is not easy right now.

My cousin is now in good hands, he is not out of the woods yet, but they are bringing him out of his coma tomorrow, and they will assess how he responds. His heart is so weak, and no one knows why yet. It feels like with every day that passes, we only have more questions.

This entire ordeal brings me back to why I am a surrogate...life is so incredibly precious. My cousin and I aren't close, but he is the closest thing I have to a brother. Life can be taken from us in an instant, and so many of us don't take every day as a gift, I know I don't. Every day is an opportunity, every day is a GIFT, and right now, every moment that passes is crucial for my cousin, who is oblivious to everything that is happening.

Tragedy happens to others...it happens to those who are unlucky...it doesn't happen to the same family more than once.... These are all things that I believed until Monday morning when I woke up, and realized that it was not a nightmare. Every life is precious. Every day is a chance for miracles. Please hug your babies and loved ones today, call the people you care about but don't always make the time to reach out to. Remember that just because they are here today, does not mean they are there tomorrow.

Please say a prayer today if you are comfortable with that, for my cousin Justin, who had an entire life ahead of him only days ago, and is now fighting for one more day. Please say a prayer to all of those fighting cancer and disease, for one more day. Please say a prayer to those who are hungry, for those who are homeless, for those who know tragedy too well.

Thank you.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Going To The Clinic!

I've only been talking to my IP's for 22 days now, but the ball is moving FAST! I wish in a way that there wasn't so much time left still, we could have totally had this whole process done in no time!

The clinic emailed me this morning, and I will be heading to Toronto, Ontario for my official screening May 28th, the appointment is set for 11am.

I don't know yet if my IF's will be coming, or what the game plan is or when I'll be flying out OR coming back yet! I have some very close friends in Toronto, and I have a wonderful friend of mine who will be flying from Alberta to Ontario to meet up with me, so I may ask that my flights allow for me to be in the city for 2-3 days (and of course, they will only be asked to pay for surrogacy related expenses, such as my meals during the time I would be there for the screening, and one night at the hotel and my flights, nothing will change there). It would give me time to meet all of these wonderful people, but I don't believe in having fun on IP's dime.

I'll also be organizing for my husband to take time off so that he can stay home with the kids, or finding a babysitter while he is working. There is a lot to do still! Flights and hotel will have to be booked, and I will have to learn how to fill out my papers for my expenses!

I can fly right out of town here at least, and then land in Montreal and then take Montreal to Toronto. It really shouldn't take long, but this is going to be my first time flying by myself, and it's been almost a decade since I've flown. I'm nervous, and excited.

I have yet to find out exactly what my screening will consist of, but hopefully I get to spend time with my IF's (The Dudes). I'm looking forward to meeting them in person and hopefully they really feel a click with me! There is still a lot of time, but I hope that everything works out and they still like me when they meet me for the first time in person!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

First Call From The Clinic

My IP's got a phone call yesterday from the clinic about my paperwork that I sent in last week.

What happens is that the paperwork arrives and they'll tell IP's if the surrogate they want to move forward with has any red flags. They'll either recommend the surrogate to move forward, or they'll tell the IP's that the surrogate just isn't a good candidate for their clinic.

If I was a good candidate, they would move forward with setting dates for screening.

If I wasn't a good candidate, they would tell the IP's to find another surrogate or go to another clinic...which is really stressful.

Reasons for a clinic to not approve prescreening is being unhealthy, living an unhealthy lifestyle, having poor pregnancy/delivery records etc. All of it is really important.

When the clinic called...they said that I was a great candidate and now we're setting dates for the rest of the screening! They will send a request for blood work to be done right here in town, and the results will be sent in, this was important because my husband also has to do blood work and we didn't want to travel.

I am so so so excited right now! I got the email late last night right before going to bed, and I told a couple people and then promised to update my readers! I'm so so so excited! After the screening is done, we'll be working hard on contracts. So...I can't wait for the screening to be done and I promise to write about all the details!

I hope everyone is having a great week! Things are moving along nicely here!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Hurry Up And Wait

Much like the military...this has become my motto for surrogacy.

The clinic said we'll do screening in August, and I thought...why so far away? I thought maybe it had something to do with my breastfeeding, but I wanted to clarify. So I asked them :)

they hadn't received my paperwork by Monday, so I reprinted the paperwork and refilled it in, and sent it all off again. I made sure it was guaranteed two days, and it had a tracking number. It arrived on time on Thursday morning (yay!). I emailed them to confirm anyway though, and asked them a few questions. They had in fact received it,and it is a long weekend for them in Ontario, so they will be off Monday as well. This meant that them getting through my paperwork will take long (sigh).

They said that we could for sure do the screening earlier, which I was SUPER happy about. Screening in August meant at the earliest, the transfer would be in October (says the clinic). I'm hoping that maybe we could still get a good September transfer.

With all of this going on, I decided that I would start pumping my milk NOW in case little Evan decided to wean a bit early off of me. I have just over 100oz frozen and maybe I can start meds in August that way. I want him to have a full month's worth of milk though, which i know will be hard. 8oz pumped per day from here to then (about 180 days) should cover it. I don't mind starting meds early, but I only want to transfer at the earliest, about August 15, after the baby is a full year old. My body deserves the rest :)

The guys don't seem rushed at ALL...which is great. October they are happy with. It would mean I'll be due in July though...the hottest month of the summer here. I can just imagine how how I would feel as I was due mid August last year and felt huge haha. Bringing a big, healthy baby into this world is all I care about, but if we could avoid me being due in the most snowy or hottest month of the year...that would be AMAZING.

Other than that, I am still getting to know my IF's, and hope that they still like me. I'm really hoping to get screening dates next week so that my husband can get the time off of work.I'm so ready to start this. Screening has nothing to do with when you are ready to transfer by the way, i didn't know that until this week. I know certain things like blood work expire though, but the clinic can get me to do that here in town, which is GREAT.

So...now I wait....

Don't feel shy to ask me questions in the comment area as we go through this, it'llalso give me something to talk about! haha.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! Josh is out of town this weekend, so it's just me and my three musketeers! He'll be back early tonight because of the snow storm though, he's only 4 hours away at least. It's weekends like this that remind me how lucky I am that he's not always away, and that I'm not a single mom!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ring Ring Ring!

My IP's and I are very new with each other, which is usually the height of embarrassing moments in any match. Trying to say the right thing, while still trying to be completely genuine and be yourself is VERY hard!

We agreed last week that last night at 8pm my time they would call. At 7:41pm I sat at my computer, and I wanted to relax. Well...THAT didn't happen lol I had had the kids in bed on time, read them an extra story each to ensure that their minds were tired and that they wouldn't need me while I was on this call. I had snacks on the table I could munch on while I spoke to them, and the baby was napping. Perfect.

7:59, I'm watching the time.

8:00...Okay, now the waiting can begin. Any minute.


No waiting...the phone rings. I panic. Phone rings again. I look down at the phone and wonder why the heck I'm not answering it.

The phone rings again.

I grab the phone and answer.

It was NOT that bad haha. we spent 27 minutes talking and I was so nervous I forgot about the snacks I had laid out for myself and I cleaned as quietly as I could as we talked.

It takes them 18 hours to drive to see their family within this region. 18 HOURS. They were telling me they leave at night so that there is less traffic but one year they did that and there was night time constructiona nd they were stuck in the SAME spot for two hours. Yeah...they are very dedicated to family because I would have turned around and said "Know what? let's try this again tomorrow" lol.

It all ended well, the baby woke up as we were finishing up, my dishwasher got filled, my living room got cleaned and my kitchen is beautifully gleaming lol.

In other news, I got in contact with a lawyer from New Brunswick today. He is on board to help with the surrogacy contract from afar, which is important to me. He is the only lawyer in New Brunswick that I could find and he is VERY easy going from what I grasp, which is PERFECT for me.

I gave him some background on me, and then I told him about the surrogacy that I am thinking will happen, how they have an egg donor, that they are same sex couple (men) and that they both have embryos. He wrote down some other details that I won't share here that are important for the contract and he told me to let him know when I receive the draft for the contract and we'll start going over it. He knows that we have until August and he said that he loves that we have time to work on the contract without strict time restraints.

Everything is falling into place :)

Evan turned 6 months old today, so I have exactly 6 months left to breastfeed him and then I'll be started meds shortly after. It all sseems so surreal right now!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tick Tock

I got an email from my potential IP's today, and apparently they were not informed that I was not going to be ready for IVF until August. To say the least, it has been a long day, and they haven't responded to my email letting them know. Although there is still six months left until I am ready, I really wanted to get to know my IP's beforehand, and to form a relationship given my surrogacy history.

As I watch the hours go by, I'm scared that they will decide that they want someone who is already ready to go. I am a bit upset that the agency did not tell them this to begin with, as I have made it clear to the agency that under no circumstances will I be ready before then.

I hate that I have to wait now, and I don't know their timeline for when they want to be transferring, and how much they would want to stick to that timeline either. This is one problem with agencies I guess, you're dealing with a third party who is involved outside of the surrogacy and you have to kind of assume that information was passed on correctly.

Lesson Learned : Assume nothing and take it upon myself to make the timeline, expectations clear on my end.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The New Men In My Life

The last few months I have been going through profiles of IP's for my next surrogacy, but to no avail. I kept telling myself, everything happens for a reason! These aren't working out because your perfect match isn't here yet, but it WILL come.

A lot of surrogates and IP's alike tend to rush into things, and this time I promised myself that there will be NO rushing, this will all happen on my terms, and this will work out and there is a couple who wants what I want, and things will be perfect, or at least near to it. I kept telling myself that there is plenty of time left, and I promised myself that even if it was July when I finally met my couple, it would not be a big deal, it'll happen the way it is supposed to happen.

Well, after numerous couples not working out, I decided to sit back and relax for awhile. Don't try too hard I told myself.

Along came a couple who seem to want nearly exactly what I want.

Surely, it can't be true right?

Well, so far, I've been speaking to them for a week, and they really seem like the cutest couple ever, and I am really hoping that it works out with them. They sent me their list of paperwork from the clinic that I need to fill out, and my gosh, it's definitely lengthy.

The list of paperwork that I have completed so far today are :

1. Consent and Release - this is basically a one sheet form that outlines what I can expect and what is expected of me with the clinic and surrogacy.

2. Attitudes and Preferences - this is a package about me, and about what I want and expect from the surrogacy, and after the surrogacy.

3. Gestational Carrier Application - I can't even sum up the amount of information I put into this. It is a 4 page package of questions. My goodness...they ask a lot of questions, but they are all necessary!

4. Consent To Disclose Personal Health Information - ...this is pretty self explanatory really. It's me giving the clinic permission to get my medical records.

5. A sheet that declares what screening tests are necessary for both me and Josh.

6. Infertility History Form - I'm not sure why this was necessary to be honest, but it was a 7 or 8 page package about my fertility background, birth controls over the years, anything to do with my hormones [onset of any kind of puberty, periods, menstrual cycles, any family genetics, ancestry...whatever you can think of...it's in there!]. Very long. It has a section for Josh as well...but nothing really seem to be relevant, so I will be asking my IF's about that part.

My ink ran out after printing all of that out, but my mom is going to print out the rest for me and drop them off later on today, and I'll complete them then! I'll update this list later once I've gotten the rest of the paperwork filled out.

It took me about an hour and a half to fill it all out so far.

I haven't spoken to my IP's about what information they would feel comfortable with me giving out, so for now I won't give any of their information out except that they are Canadian, and that they have family within the region.

They've also expressed that they want to have a close relationship, so I'm super excited for that, and that they would like to be here in town for about 9 months after the birth. I thought this was amazing, and I would be super interested in something like that. I hav eno clue how much involvement I would have of course, and maybe they would want my involvement to be very limited, I have no idea yet.

It is so important to be yourself while seeing if you are a match with IP's, and I'm trying so hard to let my personality come out, but I'm also very nervous about those first impressions, or giving the wrong impression of who we are.

So far we've only spoken through email, but just today we've agreed to have contact over the phone, and exchanged phone numbers.

Talking over the phone is a whole new step for me! Over email, it is so easy to take your time to explain things and erase and rewrite things [haha...I do that frequently], in when you're on the phone, you have no time for that, and you have to try to make a good impression while being yourself...on the spot!

I'm nervous but very excited at the same time. I hope that I'm a good fit for them, and that they are a good fit for me, all we've really seen is a general profile of each other, but I'm glad that I have potential IP's! 6 months and 8 days until we stop nursing, but there is so much to do until then!