Saturday, June 21, 2014

Guest Post: Jason's Take


Before I delve into my "assigned" blog post I would like to preface it with some thoughts I am having at the moment.

Writing for others to read has always been an arduous process for me.  In HS and college I can remember staying up until the weee hours of the morning trying to squeeze out a paper literally one word at a time.  I always managed to get it home but it was a painstaking process to say the least.  So when Kerri asked me to write a blog post about my sentiments surrounding this journey we have been on, I quickly became reacquainted with all the avoidance tactics I honed as a school boy. Not because I did not want to do it, but because I just did not know where to start.

I am very thankful Kerri has put so much into this blog. For me it will serve as documentation. We can look back one day and remember exactly how we felt as a very tumultuous chapter in our life ended and a, hopefully, much more joyous one began. As Kerri has already shared, I used to dabble in journaling. I had a journal (not a diary...those are for girls) called "My Book of Thoughts and Various What Nots" that got me through some very angst-ridden years in my early twenties. I also have a journal/workbook that Kerri got me specifically for those who have lost someone close in their life. I do have a few entries in there about my dad although not as many as I wish. As each day passes, I've noticed my brain manages to turn even the most emotionally traumatic events in my life into a continuously more blurry and benign version of itself. These events eventually become just a fact I remember rather than something I can feel.  While this may be a healthy protective measure, there is something lost when that occurs. It also amazes me just how much it has actually happened when I go back and read those journal entries from younger me. And then I am thankful that Me-Then decided to leave Me-Now a little reminder of how I felt. So on the one hand this is Me-Now, who will one day be Me-Then, leaving an older Me-Now a little note.  Confused? On the other hand, this is also a letter to my unborn son. One day many years from now he can read this post and know how much he meant to me even before he was born.

I have always felt that fatherhood would be the most important and rewarding journey I would take on in my lifetime. I actually have proof of this! When I was 22 years old, I made a list of goals I wanted to achieve in life. Kerri posted the actual list  on an earlier entry but it basically went like this. #1 find the love of my life and marry her. (Check!) #2 Have a family with said girl. #3. Seek a career that involved something I love to do. (Check) #4. Raise thoughtful, intelligent, and compassionate children.  #5 Die Happy. I think I had some other stuff in there involving the peace corps,  maybe origami cranes and other things a 20-something dreams up, but those were just lofty ideas for what to do with myself in the mean time. I hadn't figured out yet how I was going to make it happen, but the gist of what I wanted was to build a life around family and a job I loved going to.  I knew that if I had those things #5 would pretty much take care of itself. And...never in a million years would it have occurred to me that the process of trying to achieve # 2 would become the most emotionally and spiritually challenging battle of my life! I know that sounds dramatic, and I really don't like to be dramatic, but it is the truth. It would probably take me a month of writing every day to capture the true gambit of emotions I have gone through over the past 4 1/2 years. Luckily Kerri has pretty much done that for me.  I do think, however, the impact of infertility on the guy is often perceived be to more indirect. Like...this is really hard on the girl which then makes it hard on the guy.  As if to say, having a child would never mean as much to me as it does Kerri. That somehow this is just more emotionally difficult for a woman. I've had a few people suggest that to me over the years, but I can tell you this journey has pushed me to the brink of what I thought I could handle emotionally. On the flip side I've learned about ideas I thought I knew about but hadn't had the life experiences to truly grasp. Compassion...you never know what someone is going through, just make an effort to be kind.  Perspective...Yes this really really sucks, but every day has something to be grateful for.  Even if it's a little thing. If some days you just feel like wallowing, that's okay too. Persistence...my father-in-law's favorite word. Sometimes you have to dig deep and fight for what you really want in life.  For Better or Worse...Oh now I understand what we promised back then. Ultimately, the adversity provided me the opportunity to become a better version of who I was before. Regardless of how it happens, that's always a good thing.

Physically, however, Kerri was definitely required to take on much more which I suppose adds to the emotional tole as well. Dietary changes, surgeries, hundreds of shots, daily bloodwork, D&C's, hemorrhages, the list goes on.  What Kerri physically put herself through is staggering to think about. It blows my mind and just makes me admire and love her even more. (If you still don't believe that women are tougher than men, just watch a season of Naked and Afraid.) I was obviously naive, but I always assumed having children was just a decision you made when the time was right. (or of course when the time isnt right but you just wanted your jollys) Crackheads seem to be able to do it just fine, right?  As for me, I was pretty much asked to go into a little room with smut mags and summon the troops. Umm...I think I can handle that. So when we made the decision to follow the path of surrogacy I was just really relieved she would no longer be putting her body through the physical grind that became so routine for her over the years.

I cannot proceed without mentioning just how amazing our surrogate Ellen, her husband Chris, their three girls (Claire, Lily, and Nora),  her mother Sally, and the rest of their extended family (there are a lot of them!) have been. They have embraced us with so much love, I can honestly say all of the heartache has been worth what we will have in the end. Not just a baby that is ours. One half me, and one half Kerri. But also this amazing family that I know will be a big part of our lives going forward. I can't tell you what forces are at work that lead the people we meet into our lives, but this one just feels like the work of something special. A gift. And I am forever grateful.

I meant to say more about my thoughts on becoming a dad. My feelings the day Kerri surprised me with the news. I knew Ellen was really good at making little humans and if she could just get pregnant we would have a pretty good shot of making it all the way this time. For documentation purposes I will say that the collective weight of everything we had been through up to that point had become so heavy during that 2 week wait, I was literally having a hard time breathing. It felt like I had a 300 lb person sitting on my chest. I was in pretty bad shape, maybe worse than Kerri at that point.  I was just so scared of the idea of this not working. Feeling that blow. Like a huge wave that hits you. First it pulls you under. Then emotional disorientation. Swimming in that for a bit. Fighting to find the surface. And then summoning the strength to keep swimming. That was a
feeling I had become much to familiar with, and it had become just really exhausting. This HAD to work because I just did not know how I would be able to do all that again. Then Kerri gave me that card. I was so confused, and kind of annoyed because she had presented it as a bridal shower card for a friend. And then I saw Ellen's "I'm pregnant and/or I just pooped my shorts" look in that pic and it clicked. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Just raw emotion and gratitude.

The doubt, fear and worry does not fade immediately. Slowly, however, with each passing week and each milestone cleared I can feel my brain letting go of the weight. We are expecting a boy in Dec. and we are at no more risk than any other normal pregnancy at 15 weeks. If we are lucky, things proceed as they are and I get to hold my little guy in December,  my brain will do that trick I mentioned in the beginning.  All the pain and emotion will just become little facts I remember. Luckily we will have this blog as a reminder of the emotions that went into it all as well. Maybe some of the lessons we learned along the way will even help our son find comfort in his inevitably difficult times. But for now, for the first time in a long time, I just feel content. Like I'm in my current, floating along on a perfect day with a beer in hand and Kerri by my side. It feels pretty good and I'm just gonna enjoy every minute of it.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This pic was taken six years ago, on Jason's 30th birthday camping trip. When Kerri read Jason's post, she reminded him that they actually had a picture of exactly what he described.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Gender Reveal. It's A......

I've heard about Gender Reveal parties for a while now. This is a way of sharing the gender of the baby with family and friends-usually in a fun way.  Some people open up a box with either pink or blue balloons, some use pink or blue confetti, and some use cakes that are pink or blue when you cut them open. In some cases, the couple knows the gender and uses the reveal as a cute and creative way to share the sex of the baby with their family and friends.  In other cases, the ultrasound tech puts the gender in a sealed envelope, the parent brings the sealed envelope to the bakery, and they find out together with their family when they cut open the cake.  We chose to go with option number two with a twist.

In addition to being really awesome at making babies, Ellen is also awesome at making cakes. So much so that she has a side biz ExcELLENent Cakes (you can see some do her awesome work here). Who better to make our cake for our gender reveal party than Ellen?  At 10 weeks, Ellen took a blood test that, among other things, revealed Baby O's gender.  Ellen is also awesome at keeping secrets as she found out this info about a week and a half before she shared it with anyone else (aside from her husband Chris). We were so excited to find out together at the Gender Reveal.  My parents flew in from Florida, Jason's sister came in from New Jersey, and Jason's mom and my sister, brother-in-law and nieces and nephew "watched the game from home " via FaceTime.

In sticking with the womb divided motif we went with a football Pink vs Blue/Gator vs Seminole  theme.  Here is our ticket to the Gender Reveal Showdown.

I had a lot of fun decorating for the party. Jason thought I went a bit overboard but we waited a long time for this baby so I figured I was entitled to go all out!


This is the pink and blue beverage table. We served pink lemonade, Blue Moon and Dos Equis.

We also served Pink champagne and blue raspberry martinis (they looked a lot better than they tasted) 
Jason and I made a football field dessert table and here are some fun signs that I made (Editors note: Sign ideas stolen from Pinterest)
                      The Old Wives' Tales weren't much help since it was split pretty evenly.




 Team Pink and Team Blue were split pretty evenly too.

I used the party as an excuse  to buy a cotton candy machine and put Ellen's kids to work making and distributing the cotton candy.

Jason and I with our family (my folks and his sis) with our cotton candy picks. It was so nice sharing in this moment with them.  Ellen and Chris didn't take any cotton candy since they already knew what we were having.

And here is the adorable cake.
So without further ado...watch the videos to find out the gender and our reaction!

                                       
                                                        
video video

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day or How Jason Learned He Was Going to be a Dad!

I used to see videos and pictures of cute ways that wives surprised their husbands with the news that they were pregnant but knew that I would never get the chance to surprise Jason that same way.  It was never a secret when I was expecting my period or when my beta was, so we would typically find out the good, or in most cases, the bad news together. That all changed when Ellen sent me that text.  It was a Wednesday, two days before we were expecting to get the beta results.  And Jason had no idea that Ellen was considering testing early.

Before the news really even sunk in for me, I knew I had to figure out a way to surprise Jason who was already on his way home from work.  I decided I wanted to get him some kind of baby gift (onesie, toy, book) that related to "the current".   I ran to Target and found the perfect card.  I was looking for some sort of sailboat or fish-themed gender-neutral gift and finally settled on a onesie with a whale on it.  There's an Office Max in the same plaza as the Target, so I decided to print out a picture of Ellen's text and stick it in the card. This is what I ended up getting him:




When I pulled up, to my surprise Jason was sitting on our front porch with a bottle of wine and a bouquet of sunflowers.  I was totally confused- did he already know?  When I walked up I asked him what the occasion was and he said, "Just because".  He knew I had given a workshop earlier in the day and said that he just wanted to celebrate it having gone well.  Little did he know we had much more to celebrate!

Jason knew I was hosting a bridal shower for my best friend Trish that weekend, so he wasn't fazed when I showed him the card and said, "Look at this card I got for Trish".  He read the card and I watched for his reaction. He was clearly confused.   It took him a minute but he finally got it.
 And this is our "We're going to be parents!" selfie


So on this first Father's Day, I couldn't be more excited for my amazing husband who is FINALLY closer than ever to achieving his goals that he set when he was just 22 years old. This is a journal entry that he wrote in May of 2001.

What 22 year old guy's top three goals involve getting married and starting a family?  My smart, fun, caring special guy- that's who! HAPPY FIRST FATHER'S DAY JASON!  Next year we you will be celebrating with Baby O in your arms!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Progression

Baby O went from this:
To this:
 
5w6d measuring right on time



To this:
6w6d measuring 6w1d Heartbeat 132 BPM (beats per minute)
 But Yikes- why did it only grow 2 days worth in 7 days???
 



To this:
7w6d measuring 7w1d (still behind but at least its a week of growth!) HB 167 BPM

 To this:
9w4d measuring 9w1d- HB 183 BPM

and in 3-D this:

9w4d- A bit alienesque- a face only a mother could love!
To this:
10w5d measuring 10w4d   HB 167 BPM
To this:
13w measuring 12w4d HB  164 BPM   






During our second ultrasound, the tech first told us what the baby was measuring which was 6w1d.  When I heard that I had a minor freak out.  She explained that there is a  4 day +/- margin of error.  While this was all well and good, I was alarmed that it had only grown 2 days worth in 7 days.  So when we got to hear the heartbeat for the very first time I have to admit, I don't think I was nearly as excited as I could have/should have been.  I've heard heartbeats before and all I could really focus on was that something was wrong- it was measuring behind.  I felt a little guilty because I think I kind of ruined what should have been a very exciting moment for Jason and Ellen with my skepticism.

Fast forward to the following week.  Apparently, the tech was new as there was a supervisor in there with her.  It took her forever to find the heartbeat and we all held our breath- bracing ourselves for the worst yet again.   After we heard it, we asked permission to video.  While this doesn't quite depict how long it took for her to find it the first time, it will still give you an idea of the stress that we experienced during that silence (in this case it was 19 seconds- which felt like hours- though it was probably double that the first time). Afterwards,  Jason was like "Get that rookie out of there!"
video


Two weeks later, when we got to hear the heartbeat right away it finally started to feel real.  Listen to our exclamations in Part 1 of the video.  The excitement from Jason is palpable.  And me-with my "It's happening"- it was finally starting to sink in.  
                                        video

                                             The excitement continues in Part 2:
                                                video
 It's a bit hard to hear but at the end, I say "It's working".  Finally. After all this time.  After all these attempts.  After all this effort.   It's really working!


                                 

Monday, June 9, 2014

I have a confession to make

I have a confession.  Most of these posts haven't been in real time.  We actually transferred two months ago not two weeks ago.  That positive home pregnancy test that we got? That actually happened on April 2nd.

I hope you will forgive me for the delay in posting and for keeping this a secret.  While we've wanted to shout it from the rooftops for a while now, we also knew that we had to be patient.  With so many previous losses, we just knew we couldn't announce a pregnancy on the interwebs without knowing for sure that it was really going to happen this time.  What if we posted on the blog that we were preggers and then something awful happened? Given our history, we knew we couldn't post in real time.  I'm going to use the next several posts to catch you up so please excuse the length of these posts. Brevity has never been my strong suit.

Something awful did happen early on in the pregnancy.   At first, everything went really well. Ellen took that HPT  on Wednesday, a couple of days before our beta.  Though we were overjoyed, we also knew that the beta was more important that the HPT so we waited on pins and needles that Friday.  Dr. Toledo called and shared the good news- she had a nice, strong beta of 119!  Three days later her beta had risen to 452, which meant it more than doubled.  Her final beta a few days later was 2249.  We were relieved and excited that it was rising just as it should.  Our first ultrasound was scheduled for the following week when she would be 6 weeks pregnant.  If we were lucky, we would be able to hear the heartbeat as around six weeks is when the heart starts beating.  As excited as I was for that first ultrasound, I was a little nervous that 6 weeks may be too early to see anything, and afraid I would just end up worrying if we didn't.  Little did I know that my worries would grow even bigger.

On Wednesday, just two days shy of our first ultrasound,  I was leaving a meeting and noticed that I had a missed call from Ellen's husband,  Chris.  I also had a text message that said "Kerri Ellen is on the way to the dr office.  She was having some bleeding and cramping. She is seeing Dr. Best at 11".  My heart sunk.  I looked at my watch. It was 10:48.

I sat there, frozen.  Not again.  This can't be happening again.  What do I do??? Ellen lived in McDonough, about 45 minutes away and because I didn't recognize the name of the doctor, I assumed she was heading to her own OB near her.  I obviously couldn't make it there in time, and frankly, wasn't sure if I should go anyway.  I have never felt so completely powerless.   I knew that if Ellen had asked Chris to get in touch with me, it meant she wasn't up for speaking with me herself. I figured that she must be really upset and I felt awful for her. I didn't want to upset her more by showing up. And yet, this was my baby.   I asked Chris (via text) if I should call/text her or just go through him and he replied that she was driving but she said I could text her. Then he texted that I could call him if I had any questions, so I did.   It was during that phone call that I learned that she was heading to our fertility clinic, not her own OB. Chris said he was heading there too. The clinic was about 10 minutes from me.   Once I realized that, I decided that I should go to the clinic.  If it were bad news, I didn't want Ellen to have to be the one to tell me. I figured it would be easier on all of us if I heard it straight from the doctor.   I texted and spoke with Jason, and we both decided that we needed to be there.

Driving to the clinic, I was a jumble of thoughts and emotions.  I was no stranger to bleeding during pregnancy, as it had happened to me twice. My very first pregnancy I began bleeding around five weeks. The nurse told me bleeding was very common in early pregnancy but I could come in for an ultrasound for peace of mind.  Though I was certain it was a miscarriage, the ultrasound showed that everything was fine.   Sadly, a few weeks later I did end up miscarrying.   My last pregnancy I began bleeding again, also around the 5 1/2 week mark.  This time I was more informed and had several friends who told me the same thing had happened to them and it turned about to be an SCH or Sub-chorionic hemotoma.  An SCH is a gathering of blood between the membranes of the placenta and the uterus (like a blood clot).  Depending on the size, they can be concerning but most resolve themselves and though frightening, do not necessarily mean a miscarriage is imminent.  I did have an SCH during my last pregnancy, and we were relieved to see that along with the heartbeat at my emergency ultrasound. Several days later,  at my regularly six week ultrasound, the heartbeat had slowed down and we ultimately had yet another miscarriage.  So while I knew this could be a fairly innocuous SCH, I did not have good experiences with bleeding in early pregnancy myself and was pretty upset.

On the ride over, I  vacillated between telling myself everything was going to be okay, and telling myself that it was over.  I told myself at least we had one more embryo, and then told myself that I couldn't possibly go through this again.  I had all the usual range of emotions that I have when I think I am losing the pregnancy- fear, sadness, anger, defeat.  And yet, I had a new emotion this time.  I found myself concerned for Ellen's well-being.  I was worried about how she was doing both physically and emotionally.  I was almost more worried for her than I was for this baby that I feared we may be losing.

The ride to the clinic was pretty quick-  I got there at about 11:15.  As I was pulling into my parking spot I received my second favorite message from Chris:


















I got there in time to meet with Dr. Best, the on-call doctor.  She assured us that Ellen was measuring perfectly on time, 5w5d (5 weeks, 5 days). She said it looked liked there may be a tiny SCH which was likely the cause of the bleeding.  Dr. Best said it was too early for the heartbeat but we could expect to see it at our next ultrasound, which she recommended would be in a weeks time.  And she assured me that she would be managing my expectations if she thought that she needed to do so.   

I left the clinic with my head spinning, relieved but still concerned.  Ellen texted me later that day to let me know that she hadn't had any bleeding since she left the clinic.  The next day, we had this text exchange:

While I was half-joking, I couldn't have been more pleased that she indulged me. For about a week, I regularly got text messages like this one:






Happy Friday indeed.  Fridays mark the start of another week of pregnancy.  This past Friday marked 13 weeks!  We are finally out of the woods and out of the first trimester.  Woo hoo!   This is really happening folks!  We are going to have a baby!

While I in no way would wish that scare on anyone, I do think it helped to give Ellen some insight into what pregnancy has been like for us.  Ellen's previous pregnancies have all been a breeze- she didn't even have an ultrasound with her second two girls until 20 weeks.  That's a far cry from the six ultrasounds that we have already had up to this point. With each ultrasound we gain more and more reassurance.  On Friday, we had our last ultrasound for about seven weeks (gulp). I know it will be challenging to wait but also know this is what happens in normal pregnancies.  And we finally have a normal(ish) pregnancy so I'm just going to try to stay busy, think positive and maybe, just maybe, start thinking about nurseries.    

Saturday, June 7, 2014

When you know, you know...

Prior to transfer Kerri and I discussed the whole issue of whether or not to pee (see her earlier post).  Like she said, we agreed to wait til beta.  The ten looooongest days EVER!!!  That being said, I'm a big believer in gut feelings.  Just like I knew in my gut from Kerri's very first Facebook message that we would be friends and I'd be her surro.  I just knew it.  It's one of those things you know, but can't quite put into words.  That's why before the 10 days wait was over, I knew I had to test.  I just knew I was pregnant.  I had no reason to think otherwise.  No secret that I have never had issues getting pregnant.  As much as Kerri and I have in common this is one arena where our paths have been vastly different.  I've never struggled with infertility, so when Dr. Toldeo said my uterus was good looking (putting that on my resume.  Ha!), that the embryo was perfect, why wouldn't it work?  That digital test she included with my meds was just sitting there.  Taunting me.  Teasing me.  Begging me to pee on it.  Digital tests didn't even exist last time I was pregnant.  No squinting for lines...it tells you - in words - plain as day.  You're pregnant or not.  I had to pee on it.  Just had to make sure Kerri was okay with it first.  So, I did it.  Even though I already "knew," seeing that word pop up was exhilarating.  Knowing that Kerri & Jason were going to be parents just filled me with so much joy,  knowing that this was it for them, finally.  Finally.  When you know, you know...

Friday, June 6, 2014

So..........



That's what I saw from Ellen.  She sent me the word

and then, for what seemed like an eternity all I saw was this

 For those of you who have an Iphone, you already know that those floating ellipses mean a text is in progress.  It means the person you are texting with is in the process of typing something.  Is she typing what I think she is typing??!?  Did she do it?!? Did she test?!?  Why won't she finish typing already????


 Do I ask her if she tested???  What if it has nothing to do with testing at all?!? Surely it must.  Finally I couldn't wait anymore so I typed this.
And still I got this                                                                                                                 
And then finally 




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

To Pee or not to Pee

The two week wait (2ww). Well really, 10 day wait.  I have gone through countless 2ww's in the last five years and in short, its pure agony.   You read into every twinge, every "symptom", every "non-symptom".  Am I peeing more?  Am I nauseated?  Do my boobs hurt?  Do things taste funny? After an IVF cycle if you do have symptoms, you can always chalk them up to the progesterone shots that you have to take, as these often mimic the symptoms of pregnancy.  I've been pregnant enough times to know that symptoms mean NOTHING!  Twice when I was pregnant, I had cramping and was certain that it was my period coming (it was actually the embryo attaching itself to my uterus). Twice when I was pregnant I had no cramps.  I had sore boobs when I was pregnant. I also had sore boobs when I wasn't pregnant.  So, analyzing symptoms is crazy-making, a complete waste of time, and yet impossible not to do.

Unless it's not you experiencing the symptoms.  Don't get me wrong, its still crazy-making.  Except now, if you want to know if your surro is experiencing any symptoms, you can't hide your crazy.  I waited until Monday (a whole five days post transfer aka 5dp5dt) until finally I caved and sent this.

I wasn't REALLY asking her after all, so I thought it would be okay. I was very pleased when she sent me an answer to my non-question.  I was also pleased to hear that she was going crazy too!   Pretty early on in our journey I asked her if she is one to POAS (pee on a stick, aka takes a home pregnancy test or HPT).  She said that she was not.  There are really two types of people in the infertility world.  Those who are POAS-aholics,  who test multiple times a day starting just a few days after transfer to see if there are two lines, and then, continue incessantly to see if the lines are getting darker.  There are some girls who post "squinters" for opinions to see if others can see them and even invert the pictures (who even knows how to do that?!?) to try and find two lines that way.  And then there are those who patiently wait until the beta .

In the beginning of our TTC journey, I used to POAS. Not obsessively.  Just towards the end when the waiting got too bad and we felt like it would help to POAS.  However, we quickly realized it wasn't helpful because even if I got a negative, we would psyche ourselves out thinking maybe it was too early.  Several well-intentioned friends would share stories about how they didn't get a positive HPT until they were six weeks pregnant so that would give us false hope.   I will say once I do get the positive beta I become obsessive about testing. I like to make sure the lines are getting darker, meaning the beta is doubling.   However, I've also seen the lines get lighter and that is a sinking feeling if ever there was one.  

Since Ellen said she wasn't one to test,  we agreed to wait for the beta.  I was secretly disappointed but also thought that it would probably be good for me to have someone else helping me exercise patience.

And then I got this message.


She was starting to cave! I know I shouldn't be excited about this but I am. I'm also nervous. As much as I wanted her to test, we have been burned by HPT's in the past.  And I know Jason is not on board with testing prior to the beta.  It's funny, because I completely forgot that I had put a test in the meds bag.  I had one test leftover and knew I wouldn't be using it so figured I would give it to her just in case she changed her mind about not testing.  I felt more sure that the change-her-mind plan might  be working when I got this text later...

Oh my!  Have I created a monster? Do I really want her to test after all? Can I handle knowing the results???  Is it Friday yet?????

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Current

The evening of the transfer, Jason and I were talking over a glass wine (it was really nice being able to drink wine to help calm the nerves this time around!)  about how great Ellen is and how if we had to go through surrogacy at least we had found an amazing person (well, family) to share the journey with.  Some people have even suggested that maybe that's why we had to go through this- so we could meet someone like her.  Now that's a fine theory, but at the end of the day, we already have a lot of amazing people in our life. We did not have to go through all this heartbreak in order to add one more person (even though she is a super-awesome one!).  Then Jason told me about his own theory on how he believes the universe works. This theory really resonated with me.  He explained it by telling me about how things have unfolded in his life.

Before Jason moved to Atlanta, he "did behavior" as he always likes to call it.  He was working with Severely Emotionally Disturbed kids in a self-contained classroom. At one point, he thought he might make a career of this but then became extremely burnt out.  He was accepted to grad school and was getting ready to pursue a degree in Behavior Analysis when he realized he was miserable. Something just didn't feel right.  He was also in a relationship with a very nice girl, but something didn't feel right there either.  With some guidance from his good friend who Jason taught with, he decided to abandon the teaching field and attempt to pursue a career in graphic design in Atlanta.  He had no experience and no real education in graphic design but he did have a love and talent for drawing. He decided to give himself a year to try to make it in the industry.  Almost immediately, he was introduced to a couple of people who had connections in the field.  Within three months,  one of those led him to a job at Carter's, where he recently celebrated his 10 year anniversary.  Jason couldn't believe how easy the transition to graphic design was, but then realized it must be because graphic design is what he was always supposed to be doing.   Prior to that point, it was like he was swimming upstream. Everything seemed really hard because he was swimming in the wrong direction. Once he figured out what he was meant to be doing, everything fell into place. He was finally swimming with his current.   This theory proved true time and time again, especially when he and I met.  Jason had spent a good bit of time in an unhappy relationship and I hadn't dated anyone seriously in years.  When we met things clicked from the get-go.  Everything seemed easy and right.  We were engaged within six months.  We were in our current.

Jason went on to explain that he believes surrogacy has always been our current- that somehow I was never meant to carry our baby,  only we didn't know it.  So we spent years and years trying to get pregnant and everything was really, really hard.  At one point, an adoption opportunity fell into our lap and we thought maybe that what was how we were meant to have our child.  Until that fell through also.  That wasn't what was supposed to happen either.  Surrogacy was our current, and as soon as we figured that out, things just fell into place. Finding Ellen took us just one month, not the 6-8 months that it often takes to find the right match. Once we decided to move forward, things moved at lightning speed.   Better than all that is the ease in which our relationship with Ellen has flourished.  We couldn't be more compatible.  In fact, sometimes it's even scary how like-minded we are.  There have been countless times when we have texted the exact same thing to one another at the same time.  We may joke and text "Jinx-you owe me a beer!" when this happens, but it never ceases to amaze me.   And it's not just us. Jason and Chris really get along as well. It's just kismet.

Yes, this theory really makes sense to me.   It also helps change my perspective about my inability to maintain a pregnancy...perhaps this is because I was never meant to do so.  Between my uterine septum which necessitated two corrective surgeries,   my history of a DVT which necessitated daily lovenox shots when pregnant and would have meant wearing that awful compression stocking again,  my body's inability to break down folic acid which necessitated a special prenatal vitamin and the elevated NK cells which necessitated steroids and IV infusions to sustain a pregnancy- it's pretty clear that pregnancy for me is swimming against my current.  So in this time of anxiousness when I'm worried that this transfer may not take, I am going to rely on the theory about our current to give me hope.  And I'm going to just keep swimming....

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Yay for Transfer Day!

 
In terms of surrogacy journeys, ours has been quick, and relatively easy.  Some matches take upwards of six months, or even years, so for us to go from matching to transfer in just a matter of months is quite expeditious.  Kerri and I are both super competitive and persistent.  When we want something, we will have it.  It may not always be through the quickest or easiest route, but we will get there.  This journey proves that without a doubt.  

Umpteen doctor appointments, meetings with attorneys, psychologist, acupuncturist, etc. all led to “the” day. My emotions were all over the place. I was excited, proud, nervous, scared, and thrilled all at the same time.  As all over the place as I was feeling, I tried to imagine what Kerri and Jason must be feeling.  It’s no secret that I have no issues with fertility and getting pregnant.  I can’t pretend to know what Kerri and Jason have been through.  To suffer the loss, pain, and heartache they have is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  While I wish I could take all the pain away from them, and wish Kerri could carry their baby herself, I am thankful that this journey and their struggle brought us together.  

When we arrived at the RE’s office, we met Jason and Kerri in the parking lot, where we exchanged nervous hugs and I gave them their transfer gift.  I spent quite a bit of time thinking about an appropriate gift, and finally decided on a card and plant.  Not just any plant, but an everbearing strawberry plant.  I loved the meaning and symbolism that comes with the name “everbearing.”  They gave both Chris and I the most thoughtful gifts, including our transfer t-shirts for our “womb divided.” Chris and I are die hard University of Georgia fans, while Kerri and Jason have the misfortune of being alumni from some little colleges in Florida, called The University of Florida, and Florida State University, respectively.  (Football season should be interesting.) My shirt is a maternity shirt that sported the UGA “G” and said “Who’s Your Daddy.” How awesome is that??! There was also a UGA shirt for Chris, and Kerri and Jason were decked out in their horrid Gator and Seminole wear.  

When we finally made our way into the transfer room, things got a little surreal.  It was hard to believe that we had finally made it.  The transfer itself is fascinating.  We were all able to watch via an ultrasound the embryo being placed in my uterus.  I know I’m biased, but that was the cutest little embryo I’ve ever seen.  Now the longest 10 days ever begins.  Years of hope, loss, heartache, pain, procedures, meds, etc. all lead here.  I’m so pleased and honored that Kerri and Jason chose me.  And trust me.  And here’s to that little embie sticking around for a while.