Thursday, June 23, 2011

Heartbroken.. amongst other things

You may not have noticed, but I've been very quiet over the last week. My facebook page has lacked its usually upbeat demeanor, and a quiet storm has been brewing. I wasn't ready then to let it all out, but I feel now is the time.

I am no longer a surrogate.

It breaks my heart, but things have gone badly over the last week and my intended father has been convinced to find another surrogate to carry his child/ren. I'm still coming to terms with everything that has happened, so I will try to make my re-cap short and sweet. Forgive me if I start ranting..

On Tuesday June 21st I had my baseline ultrasound. This was my first ultrasound for this cycle, and was supposed to be a short, simple procedure just to take a few measurements and such. I should have known something was wrong when the technician took forever and asked if I"d been bleeding heavily. Of course, they didn't disclose the results to me, so I went home to prepare for a very long drive to the lab in Norwich to get my FDA and STD testing done. As I was on  my way, I got a phone call:

Clinic Coordinator (K):"We're going to have you hold off on getting that lab work done. Something showed up on your ultrasound and I need to speak with the agency coordinator before we proceed."
Me: "What is it?"
K: "You have a polyp on your uterus. Normally this would have been found during your preliminary hystogram, but your agency coordinator refused that test for you and this puts a bit of a kink in things."
Me: "What does that mean? What is the next step?"
K: "A polyp is a growth in your uterus. We don't really know why some people get them, but they can make it very hard for you to keep a pregnancy, especially with IVF. You're going to have to have a minor surgery to get it removed before we can allow you to go through with an embryo transfer."


Ok, so this is bad news! According to the clinic though, its just a hiccup, and as soon as I have the surgery and recover (about 4-6 weeks she tells me) we can go through with the procedure as planned. Not great.. but ok.

I freaked a little about that.. we all know how fond of doctors, hospitals, and general anesthesia I am..

So now I"m driving home, and wondering what the agency coordinator is going to say about all of this. I have an email when I get home from her
"I'm waiting for clarification from (K). Will be in touch."

When she finally calls me, there's a lot of commotion, her saying I"m so sorry, this could mean cancer, this could mean this that or another, don't worry you have to get it taken care of but once you do we can match you with another family, etc..
What do you mean!!? The clinic just said I could carry for my intended father in about 4-6 weeks!

Apparently she had her mind already made up. I didn't hear from anyone back that day, but I did make a doctors appointment for June 30th to find out what all this means and just how long it is going to take to get this polyp resolved. I emailed the intended father myself the next morning, letting him know what was going on, and how I had been told that in 4-6 weeks we should be able to continue if he wished to do that. I completely expected him to email me back saying 'yes of course we will wait, don't worry about it' He has been so kind and understanding through everything that I never expected what I got next.

This morning, I received an email from him. He says that he is sorry, that the clinic will not accept me as a gestational carrier because of this complication and the risks it may pose after the surgery. Best wishes to me, move on with your life. Of course those aren't his exact words.. but you get the gist.

I was devastated. Along with very confused. After all, the clinic told me there would be no problems. Being the person that I am, I immediately emailed the clinic asking them why they would tell me such a thing. Turns out they didn't. My agency coordinator told him something. It's the only thing that could have happened, because (K) did not speak to him, and stated that she would have told him that this was an easily remedied situation and that the process could easily be re-started as soon as my recovery from the surgery was complete, as long as the polyp was found to be non-cancerous (of course).She states how all this could have been avoided if we had just consented to the test in the beginning.
(R), on the other hand (the agency coordinator) insists that she has no idea why they didn't do the test in the first place. She tells me in emails that I should focus on getting this taken care of, and then 'we'll see what the clinic says'. She is 'hopeful that I can carry for someone in the future', but will not admit that she told the intended father some heavily biased and blatantly wrong information, and that he is making the decision to find a new surrogate based on flawed information. Of course I am in no position to write to him myself; I would seem desperate and probably very mis-informed since (R) is supposed to be an 'expert' in all things surrogacy related.

I am in pieces right now. There goes everything. My plan is in shambles, my emotions are out of whack from the hormones already and I feel misled, deceived, and rejected. I'm scared to death of surgery but I know its necessary. I have to get this thing out of me, especially if I want any chance of being a surrogate.. EVER. I feel as though I've been strung along to keep me happy and quiet..

I feel like a failure. I'm failing my family, and I've failed myself. My body has failed me, and I haven't felt that way since before I had children. I can't take care of my children the way that I want to without this, I've prepared for being pregnant for the last few months to the point where now I just want to GET pregnant so that I can feel happy and ok with my circumstances again. I know that's not a smart decision; I know that's a bad choice, so I won't do it.. but the urge is definitely there. I feel like I"m tottering on the edge of yet another depressive episode, one of those things that I've worked so damn hard to keep at bay while I"ve been waiting for this.

They say everything happens for a reason. I wish I knew the reasoning behind this one, because I really feel like its going to break me into a million pieces. That could very well be the residual effects of the hormones (I've only been off them for a day), but knowing myself as I do.. I've got to be very careful over the next month or until this surgery is over and done with. I'm standing on the edge of a very deep chasm, and it's going to take everything I've got not to fall in.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This is nothing!!

Day three of Lupron. I can handle this!

At least that's what I thought..

I've been doing my own injections now for three days. The first day, I'll admit, I had a bit of an anxiety attack taking the cover off the needle and realizing that I had to put that in my skin. But I held my breath and did it, and it actually didn't hurt! Apparently the 5/8" needles are small enough that they really don't make that much of an impact. These are called subcutaneous injections; they only need to go into the fat under the skin, not all the way through to the muscle. The muscle shots are the ones that hurt.
...or so I'm told.

So, of course I was feeling pretty good about myself when I talked to my clinic coordinator yesterday about what was going to happen after the transfer. She had a list of medications that she had ordered for me, and wanted to know which ones I had gotten and which I hadn't. Sadly, I hadn't received a single thing on the list.. including the 1 1/2" needles that I noticed at the top of the list.

Seeing that, I kind of freaked. Somehow I had convinced myself that I would only have to continue these subcutaneous injections, since they were a piece of cake. I could do those for 3 months if I had to! So I started asking questions, trying to find out if the shots were absolutely necessary, if there was any other option, etc.

Well I guess I ruffled some feathers. Suddenly I"m receiving worried emails from my Intended Father asking why I was upset about the shots and didn't want to do them,.. emails from my clinic coordinator saying 'this is the only way we can do this' which I know is a load of crap.. and this morning came the kicker..

Now, I was just looking into my options. Yes, I panicked a little. but let me explain something. I'm the one who at the age of 15 had a severely traumatic experience getting my final set of shots from the doctors office. I'm the one who at the age of 16 had to have radioactive dye shot into my bloodstream to determine if my mysterious ankle pain was blood-flow related. I made them chase me around the treatment room and hold me down to get that into me. I am not fond of needles. So just me saying that these injections that I"m doing now are a piece of cake is a HUGE step. I think I have come a VERY long way in my ability to deal with things that I am uncomfortable with. Additionally, they've had me on hormones now for three weeks. I've been on birth control, which makes me angry.. and now they have me on Lupron, which suppresses my estrogen production, makes my milk harder to produce, and has made me very highly emotional. I don't think a day has passed since I started these injections that I haven't cried for a substantial amount of time. So yeah.. maybe I over-reacted. But seriously, give me a break. I was just trying to find an alternate solution, if there was one. I didn't involve anyone else because I wanted to find out the options for myself before concerning anyone else. I'm very analytical about those types of things and usually do a lot of research and discovery before making any sort of decisions.

At 8:30am my phone rang. My agency coordinator is on the other line, saying 'I received two emails, one from (Intended father) and one from (clinic coordinator) saying you have concerns and are not willing to do the progesterone injections. What is going on?'

Are you serious?? That is NOT what I said!
As I'm trying very calmly to explain this to my agent-lady, she reminds me 'when we originally talked I did say there were other options for the progesterone, but we always go along with what the doctor recommends'. So, since the clinic was unwilling to discuss alternatives, I'm stuck with the shots.
And that's when the shots started showing their true colors.

I started crying.. told her how I'm terrified of the bigger needles, that I'd convinced myself it would be all the small needle shots which I can do but I am not sure I will be able to handle the intramuscular shots every day for 8-10 weeks after transfer.
Luckily, my agency coordinator is very sweet. She has been so understanding and encouraging with me through all of this. She assured me that we could find a nurse that would be able to come and give me the injections so that I wouldn't have to do it myself. She also told me that she speak to the clinic coordinator and figure out what the problem was. It was clear this was a communication issue, and I expressed my disappointment in the clinic's ability to clearly communicate to me what was supposed to happen when, the mix-ups with medications, and how I felt completely in the dark about what I was supposed to be doing.

I feel a little better as the day has gone on and the conversation is in the past. I was really mad this morning that the clinic went over my head and caused such a rift in communication with my intended father and agency coordinator. But I guess they were just doing their job.

Like I said.. I can handle this..

Monday, June 13, 2011

Remember how I"m terrified of needles?

So tomorrow is a big step in the surrogacy journey. A BIG step. And I'm a little freaked out.

I have to start injections tomorrow.


The girl who's scared to death of needles..

Injecting myself.

What did I get myself into???

I mean, granted.. I've been pregnant twice now. I've gotten stuck plenty of times. Getting poked for bloodwork has almost (almost) become a non-event to me. My fear of needles and absolute and utter horror at getting shots and blood drawn has become pretty tame after two pregnancies and all this pre-surrogacy testing. But that's when someone else is doing it to me. I don't have to watch that!

This, I have to do to myself. I have to pinch my skin (my belly skin.. not a fun place to get a shot!) I have to put the needle in my skin and inject the medicine. I have to do this for the next.. 14 days.

I don't see myself being a very happy camper for the next 2 weeks. Someone better find me a good place to hide from the world so I don't kill someone.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I hate artificial hormones!!

Let me just start by saying that I've been off of hormonal birth control for almost 3 years now.. with good reason.

When I had my oldest daughter, I went on the NuvaRing for birth control shortly after her birth. The doctors never mentioned anything about the synthetic hormones contributing to postpartum depression or hindering the production of breast milk when I made the decision to use it. By the time she was 5 months old I was so angry and depressed all the time that I was barely functional. I made the decision to stop the hormones, and while the depression took a while to subside, I noticed a significant difference in my anger.

When I had my second child, I made a conscious decision not to go back on synthetic hormones for birth control. I chose the Para-Guard, and while I hated having an IUD, I did not experience the postpartum depression or the anger issues I had with my first daughter. 

Since I am now a contracted surrogate and the process is starting to move along, the clinic I am working with has placed me on 'April', a birth control pill to regulate my cycle and bring me to their preferred 28 day cycle for transfer. It has been a long time since I was on hormones, and I'm not exactly liking the effects.

For one, I'm feeling angry a lot. Tired, irritable, impatient, and its affecting my relationships. This morning I flipped out on my dad for asking (numerous times) 'what?' Told him he was being nosy and to stop butting in on everything I did.
This of course led to a not-so-great morning and subsequently another fight when he said something about me having all the free time in the world to do things like make my own lemonade. He said I should 'get off Facebook and do something'. Like he has any clue what I do around here, how much I bust my butt keeping the kids happy, house cleaned, food prepared, and all the other things that I do. So yes, I got mad. I'd normally get mad, but I wouldn't normally start  yelling just for that. Of course, it only made things worse and he called me a 'neurotic psycho'.. which set me off even more.

This isn't the first time my dad has set me off, and I"m sure it won't be the last. Things between us have been pretty different after I had children. It's like he wants to be their parent, and treat me like just another child. But this is different. The last couple of days I have felt like my entire mood is getting worse. I"m feeling irritated a lot more, I'm much quicker to snap, and my poor kids have been getting the brunt of it. I certainly still try to stand by my values, I don't spank and we talk things out frequently, but I do notice that I am a lot quicker to yell before looking at what's going on and less willing to let them work things out for themselves. This is what artificial hormones do to me, and I am not a fan.

I am just glad that this will be short-lived. I"m only on the birth control for a two week period, and then start the <gasp> hormone injections. Those will probably make things worse, but at least its all for a good reason, and it will all be worth it in the end. My second and third trimesters of pregnancy are when I feel the best about myself and everything around me, so I'm looking forward to that change. I just hope everyone can deal with me until then!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Surrogacy.. the very very beginning

So the surrogacy journey has officially begun. The hurry up and wait is over, and we are on our way!

For those of you who don't know, I have wanted to do surrogacy since my first child was born. I loved everything about being pregnant; the way I felt, the way I looked, the feeling of having a baby in my body. I never thought I would want a second child though, mine was way too much to handle all on her own.

Then came #2. Very much of a surprise, very much unplanned. I was uneasy about the prospect of having another baby to take care of, even though I was very much enjoying being pregnant again. It was during this second pregnancy that I decided I would like to pursue the idea of being a surrogate. Infancy was never one of my favorite times of child-raising, and my own children give me enough trouble.. lol!! Having gone through nearly 10 years of believing I could never have children, I know very well what these couples, and single people go through believing and often being faced with the reality that they can never have children. I believe that I was given a gift when I got pregnant with my daughters, and I hope to give that same gift to another deserving person.

So, back to my journey. The last few months have been filled with lots of 'hurry up and wait'. There was the hurry up and meet the intended parent, the hurry up and get the IUD out so we can proceed. The contract period, the months of communication about processes and getting set up with the clinic. Then there was the hurry up and get to the doctors to do the blood-work so that we can.. you guessed it.. wait for your next cycle to begin before progressing.

It appears that is finally over. The hurry up and wait has moved along to emailed instructions and pharmaceutical deliveries. Right now I've got medication in the mail and instructions to start birth control. Soon will begin the daily injections and the preliminary ultrasound. Things are progressing quickly and I am excited, nervous, and a little apprehensive. My 'tentative transfer date' is in early July!!!

This process is crazy! I'm very pleased to be involved, and I am looking forward to helping a wonderful little family get its start. Follow me as I take this journey; I promise its going to be an interesting ride!