Friday, September 24, 2010

A leap of faith

OK, I admit it, I'm nervous. I know, those of you who know me well are gasping in surprise. "What?!?! Tiffany nervous about meeting someone?? Can't possibly be!" But it is true, honestly. Why, you ask? Well, we've matched (yay!) and are heading down to Portland tomorrow to meet our potential surrogate and her husband.

This surrogate was the third application presented to us, and things just seem to "fit". Out of respect for her privacy I'm going to give very few details other than to say she's married, has two kiddos, and lives in the Portland area. In our application I shared that I am writing a blog about our experiences with surrogacy, but the last thing I want to do is spread her business all over the internet. I, on the other hand, am currently an open book. :)

So here's the thing, what the heck do you say to the woman who might carry your child for you? "Hi, nice to meet you! well do you plan on taking care of yourself for the next 10 months? Are you trustworthy? Do you have a cervix of steel to hold a baby in place until it's really, truly time? If you sense any sort of teratogen entering your personal space by land or air or in your food will you run screaming in the other direction? Do you like us? Will you make us feel as included as if I were carrying the child myself only I'm not and we live over 3 hours away and instead of spending 24/7 with our child-to-be for 9 months we'll only get to hangout maybe an hour every two weeks or so?" Those questions might send her running as fast as she can in the opposite direction. But really, what do you ask? I mean, picture this: you're having a first date with someone, and in the span of an hour and a half you have to decide if you want to have a baby with this person. Maybe if I had been single until an age where I really felt my biological clock ticking I would have approached dating that way but I never really did that.

Actually, as I've thought about this, worried, wondered, prayed, stressed, whatevered, I've realized that no matter what questions we ask, no matter what our impression of this woman and her husband is, no matter what the medical and psych reports say, no matter how great the surro-matchmaker thinks we'll be together, when the decision needs to be made, ultimately it's a matter of faith. Whether one has a child through traditional means, fertility treatments, adoption, surrogacy, stepparenthood, or any other way there is a moment where one has to pause, take a deep breath, and step into the arms of faith. Faith that this is the right step to make. Faith that having a child is the path one is supposed to follow. Faith that whoever else is involved in the process is as committed as you are. This proverbial leap of faith is something everyone has to take whether religious, spiritual, agnostic, atheist, or anything in between. Because nothing is guarenteed. Nothing is for sure. There are so many times when I've been terrified. When I've been angry. When I haven't understood. And yet Aaron and I keep pressing forward, believing in faith that this is right for us.

So I guess that's the bottom line. We're going to meet this couple tomorrow and decide if this is the woman with whom we make that leap of faith. Sure the questions matter, sure the conversation is important and the details we'll talk about, about what kind of relationship we'd like to have and how we'd like to go about this. The chemistry will be key. But, when the decision needs to be made, we'll all hold hands, take a deep breath, and jump off the cliff together, in a leap of faith.

"For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Strike Two...

For those of you who follow baseball you'll understand the analogy. For those of you who don't, just read the wrap up. To continue with the baseball from the previous post, the catcher pointed to the first base umpire to make the call on what the homeplate umpire said was a ball, the homeplate umpire deferred, and the first base umpire ruled it a strike.

Now for your non-baseball fans, what had been our "ball" (the second surrogate applicant who might work) is now a strike. We got the medical report, and the doctor who did the report feels that the surrogate is too heavy to be a good surrogate. If she loses weight she'll qualify, but he's recommending a significant amount of weight, so we're not looking at any time in the next couple months. Sigh. So, we've got our third application that we should be receiving on Monday or so. If you are the type, please pray that this is the match for us! If you are not the praying type, if you could please conjure up good thoughts, karma or whatever you believe it, we would really appreciate it.

I'm starting to feel a bit discouraged. We were supposed to have a meeting on Wednesday with the IVF clinic to go over the details of our IVF procedure, however it had to be cancelled and can't be rescheduled until the 22nd. And we've now had 2 surrogates we've rejected. I don't feel bad about rejecting the surrogates, I mean, if we're going to be choosing someone to carry our baby I really want the right fit (think 2010 Rav 4, not a 1995 Echo), but I am discouraged in how long this is taking. I know you all have been reading this since maybe July, but for Aaron and I we're about 2 years into this process between looking into me carrying, then adoption, then surrogacy. I just want everything to fall into place. What if this third applicant isn't a right fit either? The waiting weighs on you after awhile and I'm starting to feel discouraged and tired. Maybe it's just because I worked a 10 hour shift at work. I'm sure things will look brighter in the morning. I just thought once we signed with an agency things would move a lot faster.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Strike One, Ball One

We got the first application from our surro-matchmaker. After talking it over, we decided it doesn't really work for us, for a number of reasons. Anxiety is starting to set in a little. What if we don't find someone? I just want to get the process going. Waiting is so tough. Fortunately, when we told our matchmaker that it didn't feel quite right she was very understanding. The next application she sent us seems great, although the woman lives a little farther than we'd like. She said she's in the process of screening someone who she things would be a "really great" match for us, so cross your fingers everyone! Hopefully the third times the charm!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Married, Child-Ready Couple seeks Woman with Great Endometrial Lining

I have never filled out an application for online dating. OK, I'll admit having checked out when I was single, but I never even contacted anyone from there. And now Aaron and I had to fill out an application to help pair us with a surrogate. Oy. I mean, what do you call EHarmony for babies, ECooing? The idea behind the app is that the surro-matchmaker will read it, and then in all of her glorious wisdom read through all of her gestational surrogate applicants and miraculously match us with the perfect GS. She then sends the GS' application to us. If we approve and decide to go forward she then sends our application on to the GS. If the GS agrees then we meet. And zap! the chemistry flies, Aaron and I adore her and she adores us and in about a year we all have a baby together. So this is important. We have to capture our personalities and how cool we are in a couple of typed pieces of paper well enough that the GS is going to adore us and want to work with us. No pressure. Yeah, we can sum up ourselves in 5 pages of less. riiiiiiiiight.

So the first part is easy, vital stats. Name? Got it, and I've even been able to spell it since preschool. Social Security Number? After several college applications I had that one memorized! Have you ever been arrested? Nope! At this point both Aaron and I are thinking, "No sweat! We've got this covered!" Then things get significantly trickier.

What has led you to this decision? Well, I can think of a variety of answers. The internet? The Holy Spirit? Desperation? But somehow we decide those aren't quite what we wanted to share. So then how to sum up: my medical condition and the challenges it presents + being unable to adopt= Surrogacy? A simple equation and yet so complex. I mean, we're supposed to sum up everything we've been going through around this for the past 4 years in a few sentences? Oh man, Reader's Digest never had it this hard!

OK, moving on....Do you wish for the Gestational Surrogate to carry multiple fetuses? Wish for her to? You mean like, do we want a two-for-the-price-of-one deal? If it happened that way I'm sure we would figure out a way to make everything work, but wish for? Like, on a star? Um, no.

The next one is easy: What is your time frame for being paired with a Gestational Surrogate? Yesterday! ;)

Of course, that easy one lulls us into a state of ease that is quickly shattered by the next (essay) question: Please list the characteristics you are seeking in a Gestational Surrogate (i.e. personality, hobbies, occupations, etc.)Oh boy. I mean, what's a person supposed to say to that? BMI less than 25? A strong preference for leafy green organic vegetables? Great birthing hips? Willing to read the dictionary to her growing belly and play Mozart symphonies for it? All kidding aside, how do we say we want someone who would take as good of care of herself when pregnant as I would when this person is not me and is not going to do 100% of the things that I would do if I were pregnant. I mean, I don't even know all of the things I would do if I were pregnant, since I've never been pregnant! And, frankly, I want someone who would take even better care of herself than I would take of myself! But this is a person on the other end. A person we want to respect and show respect to, and value in, what she can bring, womb aside. We want a relationship based on trust, mutual respect, communication, and a healthy sense of humor. So I, now being a Blogger Extraordinaire, write the perfect paragraph extrapolating on those themes.

Then, another tricky question: Please describe the kind of relationship you hope to establish with the Gestational Surrogate (before, during, and after, the pregnancy): Um, hello! How the heck are we supposed to know that? I mean, ok, we can talk about what we think we'd like before, that's pretty easy, because that's pretty much where we are right now. And we have some idea of what we think we'd like during the pregnancy but I'm sure that's going to change throughout the pregnancy and what we think we'd like right now may be way off from what we actually want and where it actually goes. But after? Come on, I have no idea! Who knows where our relationship with this person will be? Maybe we'll be really good business partners and once the project is finished yearly Christmas cards will suffice. Then again, maybe we'll all become BFFs and see each other several times a year. Or, maybe we'll just be Facebook-type friends where we catch up with each other through reading status updates and that's enough. Isn't this a little bit like asking someone before a first date where they see the two of you a year from now? Ay yi yi! The panic sets in. Sweat drips down my brow. OK, slow deep breaths. We can do this. Somehow, I can write all of the above in a way that makes sense. I don't know how, but I am a Blogger Extraordinaire! I will not back down from this challenge!

OK, we're to the last essay question: Please write a personal note which describes you and your family. Here it is, the in-500-words-or-less-sum-up-everything-you-and-your-husband-are-in-life-and-to-each-other-and-those-around-you-ok-ready-go question. Because how am I supposed to describe how amazing Aaron is in less than a novel? How he'll get up in the middle of the night to warm up a heat pack when one of my muscles cramps up even though he has to get up at 5 am to work and he really wants to sleep? And how is he supposed to describe my quirky sense of humor that takes all of the craziness in my medical situation in stride and decides to laugh 95% of the time and cry 5% of the time instead of the other way around? And how do we describe the 4 grandparents who will pour everything they can into this child (and spoil him or her rotten if we let them!)? How do we write about how we feel so perfectly complete and content right now, yet at the same time we would be a thousand times more complete and content with a child? There's no way to sum up everything we are on paper. It can't be done. So we do the best we can. And we know with God's blessing though our answers on this application are woefully incomplete in describing everything we are desiring in a relationship with our GS, everything we are looking for in the woman who will carry our child, everything we are to each other, and may even include typos on something like our social security numbers, He, the Matcher of Matches (I'm sure that falls under one the domain of one of the names of God in the bible) already has the perfect GS picked out for us.