Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Another day in the life..

Not much to update today.. just a couple little things.

#1- I got a call from the Allied Defense League. We went over the case and they are discussing it with their team and will hopefully get back to me today about whether or not they think they can help me.

Apparently the IPs went to the only surrogacy lawyer in the state (or, one of two I guess since she referred me to someone else) and met with someone in her office for a consult in between the time when I emailed with her and yesterday. So the bad news is that I can't use her.. but the good news is neither can they; it's now a conflict of interests. Lets hope I get good news from the Defense League today.

#2- I found out that I am too late to take a session off from school. Which majorly sucks. However, they were able to drop me down to taking one class instead of two, and they were able to switch my classes around so that now I am taking a dumb nothing 'Careers in Psychology' class instead of the more difficult and thought-intensive classes of 'Organizational Psychology' or 'Foundations of Psychology-the Brain'

Even though I was just complaining a week ago that my classes were mindless and boring, I think this is going to work out well for me. By going this route even though I think this class in general is stupid; I don't need to learn about careers in psychology.. I already know what I want to do with my degree that's why I got into the program in the first place; it will be an easy class that will take up the session and allow me a bit less stress in the school-related field, so I can focus on taking care of what needs to be done in the legal and medical arenas.

Baby is doing well.. She's been more active in the last 24 hours than I can remember during this whole pregnancy. It's very reassuring.

So that's it for now. I have a paper that seriously needs to get finished so that I don't flunk the class that I talked the instructor into giving me an incomplete for so that I'd have an extra week to finish.. It's due tonight. Wish me luck.. 15 pages.. eesh!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Resolution.. kinda

When I say resolution.. I only mean my own.

I've made my final decision. Baby S was given to me for a reason. There is no way I can dispose of her.

I've made my peace with the fact that the future is uncertain.

It's not something I enjoy feeling; that I don't have a plan and I don't have a clue what is going to happen. Hopefully some miracles come through for us and I can pay the rent, utilities, cell phone and car insurance this coming month.

I've been hit very hard with the possibility that Baby S may not make it to term. This is something I do not currently know for sure, and I probably won't find out for at least another month. But I do know that if she isn't to make it; it won't be because I wasn't strong enough to fight for her. I will not have her blood on my hands; my own blood as it is right now.

So- here goes nothing! Calling the lawyer tomorrow, Birthright on Tuesday.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My darkest hour..

You all have been fantastic. I can't thank everyone enough for everything that they have done for me and Baby S.

I am having, what I believe is a mental crossroads; a brick wall experience of sorts.

Don't get me wrong.. this baby- she has influenced me in ways that I can't even explain. But this stuff has been weighing so heavily on my mind and heart that I feel like I'm losing my mind. My anxiety is out of control, I don't think I"ve stopped crying for more than a few moments in the last two days.

What if I'm not doing what's right?

What if she dies anyways?

What if my family ends up in a worse situation because of this?

Are these things I can really live with myself if they happen? Are these chances that I am willing to make for a child who really isn't mine? A child who's parents believe that her best chance at peace is not to ever be born?

I don't think I"m strong enough for this!

I know what I believe.. I know how I feel. But I also know that if I don't take the offer that the intended parents have made; I am going to put myself, my children, and everyone around me in a terrible situation. I'm going to lose my house. I'm not going to have the resources to keep my family together, safe, clothed, or properly cared for. Can I really put my family in that position?

I wish I knew. I wish I had a crystal ball and I could see into the future. I wish I knew if this little baby is strong enough to survive everything that is being hurtled at her and make it through to be a happy person.

It isn't fair for people to have to go through this. I didn't become a surrogate to put people's lives in my own hands. I didn't do this so that I could be the one to make the life and death choices for others. I did this for LIFE. I did this for JOY.

But all I feel is pain.

I have to live with the choice that I make. I have to live with putting my family in harm's way if I choose to continue this pregnancy against the wishes of the IPs. And I have to live with the thought of letting someone end a human life if I don't continue it. How does one go about making that choice?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Overwhelmed with support for baby and I

I want to say thank you to everyone who has shown their support for both myself and Baby S during this incredibly difficult time. I have no idea still where this is going to go, but I have never felt so much love and support.

At the urging of a lot of my Facebook friends I have decided to go forth and create a chip-in account just for Baby S.

At this point the contributions will go towards hopefully getting an amnio done and obtaining legal counsel. I am not sure exactly how much this is going to cost so I have set the goal at $5,000. The doctors at the specialist office speculated that the amnio would cost at least $2,500 if not more. The retainer for the lawyer that I am looking to hire is $2,000. Anything extra will go towards paying the bills so that my family and I will be able to continue to live in our home.

Please contribute if/what you can. No obligation, and no hard feelings if you can't offer anything

We are also thinking of doing an online benefit auction. If you are interested in donating please use the comments and I will try to get in contact with you.

Baby S is in trouble...

My hands are shaking and my stomach is upset as I sit down to write this update.

Things did not go well yesterday. I'll try to be as brief as I can, but this may get lengthy and I apologize.

SO I had the level 2 u/s yesterday. It wasn't pretty. The IPs were there. The u/s tech was very sweet, but the doctors definitely dealth the worst blow I could imagine in this situation:

"We're seeing multiple problems".. first thing she said directly to us.

To make a very long discussion fairly short.. the cleft that I saw on the u/s on Monday was verified. The baby has a mal-formed heart... but they couldn't tell us exactly what the malformation was, just that it was a significant heart problem. There was still no stomach bubble, so they said that it could be a structural problem, it could be a blockage, or it could just be that the cleft is preventing the baby from swallowing the amniotic fluid. They suspect a chromosomal problem or a genetic mutation. They did rule out Down's Syndrome though as none of the combined problems are indicative of DS.

*On another related note I got my Quad Screen back today also and it was negative for DS, Trisomy 18 and Neural Tube Defect*

We had a long discussion afterwards. The IPs wanted to know what percentage this child had for having a 'normal' life. They wanted to know how the child would fare without surgery. They wanted to know how many surgeries the baby would need. I know the doctor did her best to answer, but her answers were clearly based on 'worst case scenario'. We talked about how to go about getting more information; doing an amnio, etc. And I heard from behind my head "but what would be the point."

My worst nightmare. What would be the point!? How about knowing what is going on with this child that we all know you were so excited about; that you wanted so much. How about giving your daughter a fighting chance!? How about knowing what her real problems are so that you can better evaluate the situation!?

They've given up. They've decided that they want to terminate and that is the only outcome they are going to accept. We sat in the office of the genetic counselor for almost an hour. They told me I was unmerciful; I told them I was being the most merciful I could be by allowing the child the chance at life. They told me that the child would experience nothing but pain and suffering. I told them that with the information we had we couldn't be certain of that. I asked for the amnio, they said there was no point. I said I on't do it without knowing that her situation is an absolute confirmed death sentence. They said 'there is no point'. They tried to tell me that God gives you things, but even God is merciful so please be merciful and that was the last straw. I told them 'This is not God.. this is you. This is you making a choice and putting God's name on it." ... and I walked out.

The amount of anger that I still have about that meeting.. about the tactics they used to try and 'convince' me that getting more information was impertinent.. I can't even begin to tell you how upset and angry this makes me. If you know me at all you know that I am very pro-life. With this situation, if the baby was clearly not going to survive I would probably emplore the parents to allow me to carry until birth and then stay with the baby as she passed. However, they will not allow me to get enough information to make an educated decision about the likelihood of the child to survive. I might even consider terminating if the child was going to live a life endured in pain.. but how can I tell when they won't let the testing occur that would tell me so.

I know what some people are going to say. 'You are the patient, you can be the one to ask for the testing' but let's remember that I am uninsured at this point. As long as I am under contract, I have no way of obtaining that testing without paying for it out of pocket. That's anywhere from $2,000-5,000. I lost my job just before transfer. I am a single mom with two small children. Even with my surrogacy compensation I'm not rolling in money here. To be honest with this happening I don't know how I"m going to pay my rent in March. But regardless of all of that; it just isn't feasible for me to pay for the procedure out of my own pocket. People have suggested a fund-raiser or a donation service.. but I don't know how much I can trust that people aren't going to say that I'm just doing this for money, or that I'm scamming people. Lord knows I've already gotten that one.

So basically I"m still in the same holding pattern I was in the other day. I have more information, but not what I need to be comfortable making a decision. I've been through the experience of losing a child; having a baby born too early to survive. I can't voluntarily end the life of a child that could very easily have a fighting chance at life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Surrogacy.. where we are right now.

So up until now this pregnancy has been uneventful. Baby girl S is happy, moving, with a good heartbeat and loves to kick the bejeezus out of anyone who dares lay their head or body on 'her' belly. Things have been nice..

The day of my 21 week anatomy scan everything changed. I went in for the ultrasound by myself; the IPs could not make it down for the appointment. I saw flickers of concern on the tech's face as she did the scan, but of course she didn't say anything to me. I thought I saw a couple of 'things' but I kept my questions to myself, knowing that if anything was perceived to be wrong the midwives office would call me and let me know what was going on. My IPs had asked to receive a copy of the report, so before heading home I stopped by the office and signed a medical release so that the midwives could contact them about the pregnancy. Little did I know that telling the midwives to call them first would prove to have been a big mistake.

On my way home I started receiving ominous texts from the mother. 'This is not good, this is a problem' 'We have to do something right away' I had no idea what this all meant until she called me. I couldn't make out a lot of what she was saying but the impression that I got was something was wrong with the baby. The midwives office called while I was on the phone with her, but I couldn't answer it in time. So I called them back.

The baby definitely has a cleft palette. She also has a cyst on her brain, which will likely resolve itself before birth. The ultrasound was unable to detect a stomach bubble, which is indicative of some problems which may require surgery immediately after birth. And (this is the 'big' one) they suspect the baby has Down's Syndrome.

They requested I get the Quad Screen done, which I immediately went and got done. And then came the kicker. The mother called me, still in a state of hysteria I would say, and tells me that 'we do not intend to bring a child into the world that has a significant disability and will require several surgeries to survive'.

WHAT!? What happened to 'this is my child I can't just throw him/her away'?? Where is this coming from! As I try to explain that nothing they are saying is 'wrong' is a death sentence for the baby. The physical problems are fixable, and Down's Syndrome is a socially accepted condition that has the potential for the child to be a thriving part of society. She is still talking termination. I remind her that this does NOT qualify under the terms of our contract and she states that she disagrees. I start to question what we put in the contract. I was so sure that they were not the 'baby's not perfect, let's terminate' type.. I didn't stress over the language regarding abortion/reduction. Even as it is, looking at my contract later it states that there must be 'severe fetal abnormality' which to me means life-threatening condition where the baby most likely will not survive outside of the womb. This does not qualify!

I'm appalled. I'm disgusted. I'm in a state of shock. I'm contacting a lawyer to see what my options are. But altogether.. I'm really just stuck once again.

And so here I am: sitting in my living room the night before the big peri-natologist appointment that will give us some much needed answers, unable to sleep for the fear and anxiety that is building up every moment that I have to realize that the time to see the IPs and the time to have the ultrasound is getting closer. I can't even fathom what I"m going to say to them or how I"m going to react given the runaround that has happened since Monday. I really wish I wasn't going to this appointment alone.

Wish me luck you guys.. I'll have more info tomorrow. And either I'll be posting in elationn that the u/s was wrong and Baby S's fate has been spared.. or I might be posting in anger and plotting what my next step will be. Who knows.. only time will tell.

Surrogacy as it goes.. How it's been..

Hello all!
It's been quite a while since I wrote anything.. and I'm sure what has been happening over the last couple of months most of you already know from following me on Facebook. But I feel that the time has come that I have to write it all down; as a record for posterity, and as an act of respect for the little life that I'm so blessed to be holding.

On October 8th 2011 I drove down to PA for an embryo transfer. The couple that I decided to carry for is an established family with three other children in NY. Their mom carried the older child and then twins, but doctors decided it was unsafe for her to carry again because all of her children were born premature and her pregnancies were very difficult. The couple had two embryo's still frozen, and the thing I remember her saying that made me believe that they were the type of people I could be confident carrying for was when she told me 'they're my babies, I can't just throw them away'.

Two embryo's were transferred.. and then we waited. and waited and waited. Impatient me of course went out and bought a box of 3 home pregnancy tests. The first one (5 days after transfer) was negative. The second (7 days after transfer) was also negative. I became quite discouraged. I had a scheduled blood test on the 9th day post-transfer.. but I also had one home test left. I contemplated not using it and just waiting.. but I really couldn't just let it be. 8 days post transfer I got a very faint positive on the HPT. I was thrilled. My IPs wanted to wait for the official blood work before getting excited, but sure enough the next day it came back positive and they were absolutely thrilled.

The next couple of months were a little rough. I didn't have a lot of morning sickness because of the medications that the clinic had me on to maintain the pregnancy. I had an ultrasound at 8 weeks to measure the baby and make sure everything was growing well. Everything measured perfectly. We worked on getting insurance set up, however because of the regulations with insurance in the state of Connecticut, we were not able to get private insurance, and I was not able to use my state insurance for any of the pregnancy costs. We were stuck.

Luckily we found the wonderful Childbirth Connections Birth Center and midwives in Danbury. My first appointment I was 14 weeks. I lost 4lbs between the initial ultrasound and that date. However shortly afterwards I regained my appetite and I gained 7lbs in the next 4 weeks. Things looked good, baby's heartbeat was strong, and I was starting to feel movement.

We had an anatomy ultrasound scheduled during my 18th week. The tech was not happy about doing the scan at that gestation and wasn't able to clearly see the heart and the head as she wanted to; so I was scheduled to come back in 3 weeks, when I was 21 weeks. We did, however, find out that the baby is a girl!