Following My LDS Surrogate Experience and More!

A PERFECTLY IMPERFECT PERFECTIONIST

Following my LDS Surrogate Experience and More! I hope to share my experience and perspective with you. My adventures starts back in September of 2011, and I hope you can follow along and be a part of my journey! I follow one successful and one unsuccessful attempt at gestational surrogacy. Also, make sure to visit my Intended Mother's blogs (with a link to the right) The purpose of my blog is to educate people all over the world about gestational surrogacy and a little about the LDS Church's position regarding surrogacy. If you are somewhere in the process, whether you are an intended parent, a surrogate, or you plan to become one soon, I hope my blog can help put some perspective in your life. Please feel free to leave comments. I have the opportunity to be involved with such a unique and special experience. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I also plan to express my love for the Gospel throughout my scribblings. Thank You for visiting!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Lot Can Change in a Week...

I was reminded this weekend that no matter how hard I try, I’m not always the one in control. I went in for another ultrasound on Friday, and I wasn’t expecting half of what we found out. I was told that our third baby’s heartbeat had stopped. I was told that despite what I had been told by the nurses on that very first day, the baby had been significantly behind the other two from the beginning. Its little heartbeat was slower than the other two, and from the very beginning, the doctor expected that we would not be able to hang onto our third little one. My heart sank a little. But he made it very clear that he suspected this would happen, and that it was probably for the best. Triplets had made him a little nervous. What came next was even more unexpected. Our second baby, the one that would have been a healthy twin, had split, which meant we were altogether pregnant with 4 babies. Only the identical twins that now shared a sac were both gone as well. One was of course stronger than its twin, and neither of them made it. So in reality, we lost 3 babies. I didn’t say anything to the doctor when he explained what he found to me. I couldn’t find words. My heart sank even more. He explained that all the babies that we lost were gone for a very specific reason. It wasn’t just some freak thing that happened. I couldn’t help but think, well am I gonna come back in a week and find out we lost our last little one? He assured me that our healthy and strong baby is on the far right side of my uterus and the others are all on the left. He was very confident that they would just disappear without bothering or affecting our healthy baby. He also said that he was quite relieved that mother nature took care of the risks on her own. He said that identical twins inside one sac along with the triplet would have been so risky, and there was almost no chance at all that the babies sharing a sac would have made it longer than 20 weeks or so. And If we lost them that late in the pregnancy, we would most likely have lost the entire pregnancy altogether, resulting in no babies at all. He said it was a blessing that the pregnancy took care of itself, and now we are pregnant with one strong healthy singleton baby that will without a doubt be safe and just as normal as all my other pregnancies. This was a small silver lining in a dark cloud of disappointment and sadness. He asked me if I wanted to call Hope, or if he should. I just sat there. What on earth would I say to her? I could never be the one to deliver such news. I wouldn’t even know how to explain it all to her. I hadn’t even had a chance to wrap my mind around it all. I sat there and watched him repeat everything he had said to me, to Hope. The nurse that was in the room with us kept glancing over at me, and I couldn’t bring myself to meet her eyes. I just watched my doctor’s mouth move, and then my mind started racing. I didn’t want to leave that small room at the clinic. I just wanted to stay inside, by myself, and not see or talk to anyone. I wanted to stay there and pretend we still had three babies that were all going to be perfect, because I was so sure and so excited. When he was finished talking to Hope, he handed me the phone and him and the nurse left the room. I lifted the phone to my ear, and a quiet and hesitant Hope whispered, “how are you?” I still didn’t know, and I stammered something that I’m sure was inaudible before I started to cry. Dangit I didn’t want to cry. She was at someone’s house picking up her girls, just standing on their front porch. She was in no position herself to discuss her thoughts, or to try and talk it through with me. I did my best. I can hardly remember our conversation. I remember saying, I can understand the one that was a little behind, but then one split and we had four babies! The doctor said the odds were somewhere like 1 in 15,000 that this would have even happened, and that he had never ever seen this before in his career. I walked out of my little room and I still hadn’t managed to get a grip. Dr. Foulk came over to me and gave me a hug. They were all very sweet. We scheduled our next visit and they gave me my weaning schedule for my injections. They said I could start weaning on December 26th, and that it was their Christmas present to me. I said goodnight, and headed home. I still had thoughts running through my mind, and I was dreading walking through the door and having to tell Clark. He had been so cute. He took to calling the babies by their last name, and he would ask, “How are our little “Nelson” babies doing?” So when he asked this time, I just managed, “Well some things have changed,” and then I started to cry some more. Good grief, I just wanted to hold it together long enough to put two sentences together. I explained to him what we found during the ultrasound. He just hugged me and I cried. He was so sad, which made it that much harder. Clark has started hosting an online radio show once a week for Mitt Romney Radio, and his first live broadcast was in an hour. He was still trying to wrap his mind around what I had told him, yet he needed to go live in a matter of minutes. He started saying over and over, “I need to cancel. I just need to cancel. I can’t do this right now.” He started walking in circles, pacing back and forth and talking faster and faster. I sat him down, told him to put it out of his mind for the next hour, and go on with his show. He had already been nervous, but now he was in the bathroom getting sick. I took the girls, and left the house so he could have it quiet. We got dinner, and took our time getting home. Clark managed to do very well on his very first broadcast, and his parents and Hope and her husband were able to listen in. Hope blogged during Clark’s show. She told me the whole time during his broadcast, they wondered whether or not Clark knew about the babies, considering he was doing so well. I didn’t sleep well that night, and the whole next morning at work, I was a mess. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it. But I was emotional and tired and grouchy, so I eventually said something to my boss. I knew that if everyone reacted the way she did, I was screwed. It occurred to me that day just how much I thought about Hope, and the babies and the pregnancy. I didn’t realize just how often it all popped into my head until now. Because now, every time it crossed my mind, I physically felt sick. Then my girlfriend showed up to work, and in the midst of being super busy, she was trying to ask how my ultrasound went. Gah. I made it through work, and slowly through the weekend. I wasn’t ready to read Hope’s blog yet. Clark read it, but I waited. I didn’t want to know the hurt they were feeling. I was emotional as it was; I knew I wasn’t going to handle reading her blog very well. As the weekend went by, I was slowly able to sort out my feelings a little more. I hated the idea of un-announcing triplets. I had been so unbelievably excited. I had been confident, anxious and positively ready. I was also heartbroken for Hope and her husband. They had the hardest time wrapping their minds around triplets. When they finally did, all they could do was talk excitedly about the prospect. They talked about having their “instant family” and how much their lives were going to change. She said they were planning to hire a full time nurse maid to help with all three babies. She told me I had a Christmas present in the mail that had to do with the triplets. Hope would tell me about how excited they all were. And now this. Talk about emotional whip-lash. For them, and for Clark and I. He had a hard time wrapping his mind around triplets also. Now we are trying to unwrap our minds. The emotions that I have felt have all been very foreign to me. A whole new set of emotions that can only come with being a surrogate. I am not even sure how to put it all into words. I am sad for the loss of their babies, not my own. It is their loss. Their children; and it breaks my heart. It has had nothing to do with the fact the babies were within me. This has been, in some ways, an assurance to me that I will not attach myself to babies that are not mine. I always knew this about myself, but I guess you can never truly KNOW until you are in the situation specifically. I have definitely felt the emotional whip-lash myself. Even though I was excited, I was doing everything in my power to prepare for a high risk pregnancy. I was trying to get my house in order. I was trying to organize our life financially so I could leave my job when the time was right. I was trying to prepare myself mentally for what would have been at least 10 weeks or so of hospitalization, on top of bed rest. I was also trying to prepare my body physically for triplets. It’s not that I was nervous or worried about any of these things, but they were constantly on my mind.

As a mother pregnant with your own child, you spend your nine months of pregnancy thinking about EVERYTHING. The pregnancy, labor and delivery, being a new mother, what it will be like to finally see your new baby, and making sure your family adjusts to the newest member of your family. You think of baby names, you get to buy stuff, you get to make stuff, and have a babyshower. You of course get to imagine what the next 18 years will be like. You plan for your child’s future. You plan for dance lessons, baseball practice, scouts, schooling, college, missions, and marriage. You get to put your heart and soul into being the best mother you possibly can, and you know it doesn’t end in nine months. As a surrogate, my only job is to grow a healthy baby, and that’s it. The only part I get to plan for is the next 9 months. The pregnancy, the labor and the delivery. Because I am not investing all my time, energy and love into the next 18 years, I am putting all that I normally would into my part alone. If all I have a part in is the pregnancy, then I will put everything I have into making sure I eat healthy, rest when necessary, take my vitamins and medications as instructed, make my appointments, and prepare for delivery. I guess my point is that because we were having triplets, the amount of emotions and energy I started to invest just lead to stronger whip-lash. I also wanted so badly to be able to give them more than one baby. I think losing one would have been a little easier to handle than losing two or three. Twins would have been so wonderful.

People aren’t sure how to react to the news. But one thing I can’t stand hearing is that “it’s probably for the best.” “It’s safer. Less risk.” Or here’s another one that gets me. “At least you still have one.” Hope, Hope’s husband, Clark, Dr. Foulk and I have all tried to find the blessings that have come from this. We have a safer low-risk pregnancy that will most likely make it to full term. We still have one little baby growing safely inside. It has significantly lessened the financial burden placed upon Hope and her husband. But none of this seems good enough. Not for any of us. We are all torn in both directions. We see the good, and we are sad for what was lost. We had embraced the idea and we welcomed triplets. Un-announcing has been hard. I haven’t been able to blog. I haven’t really known what to say. I would much rather have people read the news though than explain what happened to each person individually. Hope has a blog that explains what someone should do to show their love and support when someone is hurting. You say you’re sorry, and you love them. You don’t ask how they are, because they feel like they have to lie. You don’t try to comfort or “fix” it by saying, “it’s probably for the best” or “at least you still have …….” It’s hard to see reason when you’re sad and hurting. My mother-in-law was wonderful about this when she heard the news. She was genuine and it was simple. “I’m so very sorry.” I appreciated her for that. I wondered if it would be easier to see this as –-we transferred 3 embryos and one took. -- It’s not that simple of course, because it’s harder to lose something that you had, than to never have had it in the first place. I was just so excited. And now I’m truly paranoid that we will lose the only one we have left. I wasn’t expecting the news we got on Friday, therefore now I’m afraid of finding out something else that will completely blind side me. I don’t want to be this way though, and I’m sure the paranoia will wane over time, but it’s hard to not think that way right now. I am not a negative person, and I don’t want this to turn me into a pessimistic downer that is always afraid of what MIGHT happen. I know the Lord has had his hand in this. No matter how I am feeling right now, I shall always come back to that. He has his reasons. There are things I need to experience, trials I need to face, lessons I need to learn. And I will be judged on how I handle those trials. I am thankful, despite the sadness we feel, for our healthy little one growing right now. I am thankful for Hope and her husband. Despite how they are feeling, they have not made me feel guilty or to blame whatsoever. I am thankful for the safer pregnancy and for the burden that has been lifted from Clark’s shoulders.

I had a thought the other day. This thought has not had a ton of time to be processed or smoothed over, but maybe it will make some sense to you. I don’t think I could ever do this for a relative or a loved one. People I talk to say the only way they could ever do this is if it were for a loved one. I have to disagree. There are so many things that could go wrong. It’s kind of like, you never go into business with family, or you never involve finances with family. Same idea. You don’t know what will happen, and you don’t know how people will react. Whether it’s your sister or your cousin. What if I was having a baby for my sister, and the baby was still born? Would she hold me accountable when it was nobody’s fault? Would there be feelings of mourning that would forever be associated with me? And years from now, on Christmas, would my sister still look at me and only see her still born baby? I think it’s dangerous. In a perfect world, situations like this would never happen. But I would never risk those feelings among family. What if I do somehow become attached to the child? And that child was forever at family gatherings, birthdays, weddings and holidays. You wouldn’t be able to separate yourself from those feelings, or the child for that matter. I think it’s too risky. What if money became an issue? Someone feels like they were taken advantage of. People show their true colors in times such as these. Even family. Just as they do when you go into business with family. It’s not wise. Therefore I don’t think I would ever be a surrogate for someone close to me and risk that relationship. In this situation with Hope, things were understood from the beginning, and although it is a business transaction, it doesn’t need to be treated as such. We have gained a love and a friendship that can last a lifetime because of the intimate thing we are doing together. But if things went wrong, we wouldn’t be forced to spend Christmas and birthdays together every year. I say this because it was a thought I had, and because I hear quite often that someone would only consider doing this for family or friends. For those of you who read this and have similar thoughts, it’s just something to think about. I pray that nothing like that ever ever happens between Hope and I. I would be heartbroken. I just wanted to share my thoughts on the subject.

On a similar note, it is easy to think that when something does goes wrong, it is your fault. The thought crossed my own mind when I found out we lost three of the four babies. I know that for women who have miscarriages, the thought can cross their mind, and they can find ways to blame themselves. I caught myself wondering, “was it something I did?” Thoughts such as these can eat you alive and they are dangerous. I know this was nobody’s fault. There was a logical medical explanation as to what happened with this pregnancy. Thoughts such as these have everything to do with the adversary trying to bring doubt and negativity into your life.

Ultimately, I think I’m doing a little better now that I have had time to get over the shock of the loss. I am thankful that Hope and her husband were prepared for news such as this, it has seemed to make it a little easier for them to swallow. They had braced themselves for news such as this from the moment they found out we were having triplets. I am sad that the excitement of multiple babies is no more. I am thankful for my husband who has been truly incredible throughout this entire process. I love him more than life itself.

We are back on for a due date of July 21st, 2012. We don’t know whether we are having a boy or a girl, so it will be exciting to find out in the next 10 weeks or so! A lot can change in a week and I am reminded that my Heavenly Father is in control, not I. I thank you all for your love and support. I am still so happy to be a part of this journey. Here’s to the next 31 weeks!

Hope's Blog :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

One? Two? or Three!?

We have all been guessing, and wondering, and hoping for a number. I have been anxiously waiting, along with of course Hope and her husband. I have had dreams. Friends have guessed, and a week or so ago, I told the clinic how many babies I thought we were having. But we needed an ultrasound. You remember how my HCG levels were pretty darn high at my first and second blood draw? Well the week of Thanksgiving I went in for another blood draw. They wanted my levels to be at fifteen hundred (1500). My blood draw was in the morning, and that evening we took our kids swimming at the Lehi pool. We were in the food court waiting for Clark to meet us when the clinic finally called. Fourteen Thousand, Four Hundred and Sixty Two (14,462!!) “Holy Crap!” was the first thing out of my mouth. “You wanted 1500, and my levels are at 14,462!?” But the nurse did say that she see’s these numbers with both twins and triplets. So we still had to wait for the ultrasound. Once again, the waiting was torture. The waiting has also consisted of PLENTY of morning sickness. It really hit me 6 days ago. I was officially 6 weeks along and the morning sickness bellowed, “Hello! Missed me!?” Can’t say that I did. But I’ve managed okay. My Zofran went missing right before the morning sickness hit me. Hope sent me a huge bottle of it. I had it sitting right next to my prenatal vitamins in my cupboard, and then, POOF. GONE. We can’t find it anywhere. So this last week has been rough. My ultrasound was at 1:15 yesteray afternoon. My amazing cousin took the girls, and I swear I got stuck behind every flippin’ old person from Lehi to American Fork. (and I’m talking almost point of the mountain Lehi to American Fork Hospital area) I bounced right in, stripped right down, and got cozy up in stirrups. We got Hope on the phone so she could find out LIVE! Well, see for yourself!





3 little individual sacks with 3 strong heartbeats, all measuring at 6 weeks! Just like we want!

TRIPLETS!!

I wish I could have been on the phone with Hope when we finally knew. But I was lying on the table laughing and smiling. I got to see all three sacks on the ultrasound monitor. I watched them measure all three babies. The nurses and I were all smiling and visiting excitedly. We hung up the phone, and I asked how Hope was doing. “She’s very…. uhhh….. very.... reserved.” I smiled. “Hope’s a Nurse. She’s supposed to worry :)” She has been worried about triplets since before we transferred 3 embryos. She is worried about me, and of course the babies. There are of course, extra risks involved with triplets. But I’m not worried. They printed me out several pictures from the ultrasound. We scheduled our next visit, they wrote me a prescription for Zofran, and I headed out to get my girls. I called Hope. I got to talk to her and her husband on speaker phone : ) It was so cute to listen to the two of them. They asked me how I was doing? I am Fantastic! They asked what I thought? I am stoked! We visited for a while. I told them every detail of the ultrasound. We are measuring right where we want to be for triplets! All the employees at the clinic came out of hiding to sneak a peek at the ultrasound pictures : ) receptionists, phlebotomists, nurses. All three babies are in their own individual sack. This was fantastic news. When babies share a sack, it can cause more risks for the babies. Sometimes one can become stronger than the other, they have to share everything in their environment. I can’t explain it very well, but it makes sense. When they each have their own individual sack, they have their own individual placenta, and so on. It was great news. Just one more of those things that goes so well on our list of things that goes so well. (our list BTW is getting quite long, which we are very happy about :)

Hope listed off her concerns to me. We talked about being on bedrest. We talked about being hospitalized. The nurse at the clinic told me there will most likely be hospitalization. We talked about my family, my body, the babies, and so on. I know there will be bedrest. And hospitalization. And planets will pretty much orbit around me. I’m not worried. I can’t help but be excited. I can’t imagine a few months of hospitalization masking the excitement of Hope and her family having three more children for the rest of their lives!! That’s all I can think about. 3 new babies coming into this world. Going to a beautiful home. Being raised in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I get to be a part of it all. This experience is once in a lifetime. It is unlike any other. I might hate the next 9 months, but it is still an incredible experience nonetheless. And the friendship, relationship, and love I have for their family will also last a lifetime. I am so blessed.

I think I knew it was triplets. The nurses looked at me during the ultrasound. One said to me, “You knew. You knew this whole time. You came to me before you even had your blood draw, and you said, “It’s triplets. I just know it.” Yet there was no way you could know! But you knew!” I laughed when she said it. I had a feeling. I didn’t really emphasize that inkling to anyone, cuz I hate being wrong. But I think I kinda knew. Other nurses said the same thing to me after the ultrasound. “You knew!” they kept saying :) and we had a good laugh. I think I've had time to wrap my mind around it all. We are pregnant with two boys and one little girl. How incredible is it to be able to know the genders already! They drew my blood once again to continue monitoring my HCG levels. The next ultrasound will monitor that the babies are growing just as we like them too. I will meet with Dr. Foulk soon enough. He has to discuss selective reduction with both parties, whether we are for it or not. On that subject, this is what I said to Hope and her husband.

When he came to me and said -3 good embryos. Wanna transfer all 3? My very first impression was –YES. TRANSFER ALL THREE. I had the best feeling in the world, and that feeling of peace and confidence never wavered. Not for one single moment. To this day, I have never regretted transferring all three. I came home from the clinic the day of the transfer and told Clark we transferred 3 embryos, and he said, “YOU DID WHAT!?” He wasn’t angry, he just needed to process it all. Since then he might have mentioned that he would kill me if we were pregnant with triplets : ) of course he was teasing. But in all seriousness, he is like Hope. Hesitant, careful to take risks, very cautious, very practical. He just knows that it will mean a longer and harder pregnancy, as does she. Nevertheless, I have been very confident and very at peace with the decision to transfer all three embryos. On a similar note, I have been ever so at peace with the idea of having triplets. I have not once had a negative or hesitant thought. Every impression that I have felt has been a peaceful one. I can’t think of any other way to explain to you how I’ve felt, other than peace. Calm, relaxing, peace. I believe the Lord has had his hand in this from the very beginning. From me finding Hope, to the insurance, to the transfer, to the pregnancy, and so on, he has been very much a part of our lives. There is something to be said about knowing that Heavenly Father knows and loves each and every one of us. Knowing that he knows Hope’s heart. He hears our prayers. He shares our joy. He has had his hand in this entire adventure, and he has blessed our lives in so many ways. I know the Lord will continue to guide us, watch over us, and bless us throughout the rest of our journey. We have not come this far for no reason. The peace that I feel knowing that he is watching over this pregnancy is good enough for me. I will not fret, or concern myself with things that don’t exist at this point. I will worry and pray when we have a reason to be worried. There have been so many ‘what if’s.” What if we don’t have any embryos? What if we don’t get pregnant? What if something goes wrong with a multiple pregnancy? What if the day the babies are born, something goes terribly wrong? There are always the what if’s. Any of those things can or could have happened. But we have no control over any of it. It is all in the Lord’s hands. If I spent every day worrying over things that MIGHT happen, my hair would turn gray, I would binge eat, I would be negative and pessimistic, I would be unhappy, others wouldn’t want to be around me, etc. Instead, I am going to welcome the happiness that I feel and embrace each positive thought that overwhelms me. I have tears in my eyes. Hope is going to have her big family. I get to be a part of it all. She has spent all afternoon making her big announcement to her blog, to her family and friends! She told me that they are having so much fun telling everyone in their lives.

Clark just walked in the door. His phone has been dead all day, so I haven’t been able to tell him the news. He looked at me and asked, “So how many babies are in there!?” Brionna screams, “THREE BABIES! THREE BABIES!!!! THREE BABIES!!” His eyes got huge. I’ve never seen him have such a hard time pronouncing the word “THREE.” Hahaha. I got quite the kick out of watching him try. He hugged me and we danced and he kissed me and he laughed. “We had a 3% chance of having triplets. 3%!” I showed him the pictures from the ultrasound. It’s mind boggling and exciting and insane. Gosh. Here goes.We are having TRIPLETS! Whoohoo! :D

We have been given a fantastic recommendation for an OBGYN we should use. We have heard great stories of confidence and success. I was thrilled to get the recommendation. We will also be delivering at Utah Valley Hospital. It is where I delivered Brynlee and I am happy to go back. They are the best Hospital in the area, and they have the best NICU. Hope is planning to come stay in Utah when my bedrest officially starts to help us out. I will be excited and thankful to have her. I will try to work as long as I can, until my doctor says it's time to stop.



_______________________________________

As a side note, I don’t want to hear any more about concerns for this pregnancy from anyone except Hope or Clark. I know what is involved, I know what risks I face, I know that I will be carrying 3 babies in my small body, and that I will be hospitalized. I will have help. I have Clark, I have Hope, I have the Relief Society and the Church, I have friends and neighbors and family. It is for a short time that we will have to work through the hard parts. Not once has the thought of being scared or nervous even crossed my mind. Clearly, enough of you share that feeling that I don't really need to. This is already turning into --how many people can find a new way to tell Vanessa there are concerns and risks?-- It is negative and I don’t want to hear it. Clark and Hope can discuss it with me because it directly involves them. I am already hearing it from people that have found out and It makes my blood boil. I've got to say that the negative comments are taking the excitement out of all this for me. That's not fair. If I'm not worried, you shouldn't be. This is time to be happy!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

8 Pregnancy Tests Don't Lie!

WE ARE PREGNANT!

The official “knowing without a doubt” that we are pregnant has finally come!

They let Hope call me as soon as she got her phone call! She was crying and laughing at the same time. I was smiling from ear to ear. I had always been pretty darn sure, but there was just something about having every doubt wiped completely away. We are having a baby. At least one! Hope, Hope’s Husband, Clark and I are all having a baby. I wish I could truly describe the emotions behind it all. It is an experience unlike any other. I have never experienced anything like it. Having a child of my own is the only thing that can remotely compare to the excitement, but then there are of course so many differences in the emotions behind it all. Hearing her voice so elated on the other end of the phone line was something I have been waiting for and dreaming about for so long now. I could almost see her face. I turned to Brionna and said, “Mommy is having a baby for Hope! Her baby’s in my tummy!” She jumped up and down and danced in circles and I danced right along with her. I called Clark. He had been waiting for my phone call for hours, seeing how they promised us a phone call by noon, and it was going on 2:00pm! I could hear his smile when he talked. He couldn’t bear the thought of letting Hope down any more than I could. He wouldn’t allow himself to trust the pregnancy tests. He was holding out for the blood test like the rest of us. Hope said there is a good chance she will come up for the ultrasound when we try to find out the sex of the baby(s). It will be so much fun to have her there with me! There is a pretty darn good chance we will take a trip to Illinois to visit her family in the next few months. I figure we will head down when my belly is good and round, but we won’t cut it close to the end, especially if we are having more than one baby. I have always wanted to go to Nauvoo, and I can’t think of a better opportunity to go than now! There will be so much more to the trip than just the sights; I can’t wait to spend more time with Hope, her husband and her girls!

It’s all so surreal. She said the very same thing. They have been working so hard, with no success, and it’s just so hard to believe it this time around. I have had one specific thought all morning long though. It was meant to work this time. All the other times that it never worked out, it was because it wasn’t the right time. I know it was so hard for them to have disappointment after disappointment. There were times it felt hopeless, and they felt like giving up. I’m so glad they didn’t. I never would have found them. We never would have come so far, we never would have gotten pregnant! They now have a baby on the way, and I get to be a part of their experience, I get to share in their joy. And the experience that I get to take away from it will forever change my life. I have already learned so much. I am so very anxious to know how it is all going to happen. The next 9 months will be filled with so much, it’s overwhelming to try to picture it all. Hope said she has never allowed herself to dream past the transfer, and now there is so much to dream about. She said she is ready to join me in the blogging world! She is ready to announce to her family that they have a baby on the way!

I hope she doesn’t hate me for sharing this with you, but I wanted to share a small part of an email she sent me a couple days ago. It was after we had several positive pregnancy tests. Her email was so simple, but so sweet. I cried.


"This is surreal. I just can't believe this is actually working this time!!! I've already been calculating due dates and as best as I can guess it would be around July 25th. I'm so happy that I don't have to worry about whether or not you care about my baby. There is so much comfort in having a friend carry my most precious possessions. Words can't express how happy and excited I am. I'm really glad that the news has come on gradually. The phone call from the clinic always about gives me a heart-attack. I can literally remember tiny details of every time they called me with news in the past (where I was, what the smells were, what I was eating). They are traumatic memories to me. I'm glad that when I pick up the phone on Monday afternoon, I'll already know what they are going to say and that it will be good. I wish I could be there-- I want to help you out. The money doesn't seem good enough. Meals and a babysitter is what you need when you are so exhausted. I hate being so far away. Vanessa, you truly are my angel. I hope you realize that this act of service is the ultimate of Christ-like service. You are doing for me what I cannot do for myself and you will have lots of suffering as a consequence. I think about how it is not only you suffering but also your family as consequence. I recognize this fully and want you to know that I APPRECIATE IT so very much. I know your sweet little girls will get less mommy time and Clark is going to have to take on so much more. Thank you all. Thank you for saving my husband and I from broken hearts."


I want her to know that the happiness that I feel is no sacrifice. I wish she could be closer also, because I want her to be able to be there every step of the way with me. She is of course planning to be here weeks before the expected delivery. My official due date is July 21st, 2012. Of course it might be adjusted if we have more than one baby in here! Which reminds me; we know what my HCG levels looked like with the last two blood draws. It’s hard to explain, but sometimes with multiples, your HCG levels can read higher than with a single baby. I have linked a simple HCG Chart so that you can see for yourself. I am considered to be 4 weeks along, even though the transfer was 12 days ago. But 8 days after the transfer on my first blood draw, my HCG levels were 213. 4 days later on day 12 (today) my HCG levels were 1162! It more than doubled in the last 4 days (by a lot.) Take a look at the chart and tell me what you think. Exciting stuff! I am totally fine with having more than one baby. People think I’m nuts, and I know I’m not a very big person (considering I’m not quite 5 feet tall) but this will be so exciting. Maybe I am crazy. Who knows!

On a side note, I am not only EXTREMELY tired, but now I feel like I’m starving every 3 hours! And my Progesterone Injections don’t seem as bad any more. It might just be that I’m used to them, but now I’m just real tender. It’s no longer the extreme amount of pain that made it impossible to sit on the potty, or walk or even sit. I have learned however that it’s not a good idea to jog at a slow pace. That still really hurts ; ) (I learned while trying to hurry inside the mall since it was so cold outside) The shots still hurt going in, don’t get me wrong, but the aftermath doesn’t seem as severe. So I guess the bad pain only lasted about 2 weeks, for any of you wondering if this might be for you.

So I guess it’s safe to say that 8 pregnancy tests don’t lie! :)

Stay tuned. I think we get to officially find out how many babies we are having in about 2 more weeks. Fun stuff!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

From Cautiously Optimistic to Pleasantly Optimistic…

If I were to say that this last week has been full of anxiety, torment and torture, it would be the understatement of the century. Anxiety doesn’t even come close to describing how hard it’s been waiting and not knowing. Hope was absolutely right when she said this would be the longest 12 days of our lives. I cannot handle the not knowing. Neither can Hope for that matter. I try to distract myself and occupy my time, but it doesn’t work. I try to not think about the fact I’m just barely halfway there. The 14th might as well be next year. Hope has emailed me a time or two. I talked to her on the phone Sunday, and she sounded just like I felt. I was incredibly emotional on Sunday. I was a rollercoaster. One minute I was crying, the next I was grouchy. Then I was tired, then I was crying again. Poor Clark has been so patient with me. I know it’s all the hormones, on top of the waiting. I have been so tired lately. Much more tired than I normally am with my early morning job. I go to bed every night by 8pm, but I can’t hardly keep my eyes open by 7:30. I have chalked it up to all the hormones. I was really nauseous on the third day after the transfer. Then I had a dream that the nausea was the embryos finally attaching. Talk about torture. Now every time I seem a little nauseated, I try to gage my surroundings. Am I just too warm? How long ago did I eat? Could it really be? But that dream was NOTHING compared to the one I had two nights ago. Good Grief. It was so vivid, and ever so real. In my dream I took a pregnancy test, and there were two pink lines! I was so excited that I took another, and another, and another, until I had a whole pile of pink lines. I was sure. I called Hope and I could see her face when I told her about the pile of pee sticks! The joy that reflected off her face was so real. I started to cry the moment she did. When I woke up, I thought it had all been real. I was elated with the news that we were pregnant. I was so happy, I was so relieved, and I was so glad that we FINALLY KNEW! And then the realization set in that it was the middle of the night and I was no closer to knowing. I had to go back to wondering and waiting. It was even harder than just not knowing. I wished the dream had never happened. Now that I’d seen what her face would look like, I couldn’t bear the thought of having it be any other way. I felt like crying at the thought of her disappointed face if this didn’t work out. And the dreams just kept coming. More and more, and they were all so random and vivid. I dreamed the same way when I was first pregnant with Brynlee. I started peeing on pregnancy tests only two days after the transfer. I knew I shouldn’t. I knew that seeing only one pink line would make me a little sad, and a little discouraged. It was of course silly to think there would be any kind of results after only 48 hours, but I couldn’t help it. I wanted to know the moment there was any sort of change, and I was curious as to how soon anything would show. So I continued to take the pregnancy tests. At least two a day, with no change, which I knew was to be expected, but again, I couldn’t help it. When I woke up yesterday morning after having that dream, I was even worse. I had a harder day yesterday. It was day 6. Halfway point. I tried so hard to not think about it. But I still took a test that morning. Still nothing. I ran errands, I went and bought a whole cartful of pregnancy tests while I was out, and I couldn’t even wait ‘til I got home. I went potty in Walmart, and again, no surprise at all, there was only one pink line. I still didn’t know. Every time I took a test, I told myself to get a grip, and just stop until you at least had a chance. But since I of course have no self control, that wasn’t really going to happen. I came home from Walmart, cleaned, sewed, ate, and played with my girls. Clark got home and we had a nice evening together, but he could tell I was a little off. My visiting teachers came over, then the girls went to bed. And of course, as I was getting ready for bed, I took another test. The Walmart test was only like 5 hours ago, so of course nothing would have changed. Only this time, there were two little pink lines! I ran out of the bathroom and showed Clark. My head was spinning, but I was so happy to finally see two pink lines! I knew, and I had to continually remind myself that it could be a false positive, and that I still needed to wait for the blood tests, but in all honesty, I didn’t care at all. All the discouraging and hopeless feelings that I had been flooded with over the last 6 days instantly disappeared. All I needed to see was those two pink lines. Right away Clark said, don’t you dare tell Hope. You don’t need to get her hopes up. “You’re right, I know,” I said. Only I went straight for my phone. I couldn’t help it. I emailed her and said, “I have such a good feeling!” But then I thought, I can’t wait for her to check her email. So I texted her and said, “Clark told me not to say anything, but I think I’m pregnant!” My finger had been off the send button for half a second when the phone started to ring. Clark glared at me. I bounced into my bedroom and told her there were two pink lines! “How pink is the pink line!” She asked. “Pretty Pink!” I sang. I was laughing as I talked, I couldn’t control myself. I was thrilled. She started talking so fast I could hardly understand her. We both knew we still needed to wait for blood results, but it was good enough for us at that very moment. Oddly enough, she said that it had been the hardest day for her also. She had wanted to call me all day, but didn’t want to seem too pesky. Of course she wouldn’t have bothered me one bit, I just wouldn’t have had anything new to tell her. She said she was imagining herself there with the little pregnancy test, seeing the pink lines for the first time. It was her baby. She was pregnant and they were going to have a baby! I was so happy for her. I told her that I would let her know if I got another positive result on another test. So here it is : ) I took another one before bed, I took a test in the middle of the night, another one first thing this morning when Clark did my Progesterone Injection, and then I took another one an hour ago.



The very top test is the first one from last night.
I'd say those pink lines are pretty pink.

And the one from an hour ago!



It’s good enough for me right now. I have every confidence that we will get great results tomorrow and again in the 14th. I told Clark that seeing these pink lines was so different than when they were my babies. He didn’t know what to think of that at first, but I explained that I never had to work for my babies. I never even suspected I was pregnant ‘til I got a positive result on a test. They were easy! But I have worked so much harder for this. So much effort has gone into this. Weaning Brynlee from nursing, getting everything lined up, the blood draws, the blogs, the injections in the tummy, the painful injections in my bum, the pills, the transfer, the suppositories, the waiting, the not knowing. All of it has led up to whether or not I have two little pink lines! And although it is such a joy to see them, it is of course a different kind of joy than when it is my own child. It is a joy that I feel for Hope, her husband, her family, my family, and myself. It encompasses so much. So here I am. Day 7. We transferred the embryos one week ago today. Waiting for the 14th won’t be nearly as hard now. I’ve heard that if your carrying multiples, it can show sooner because of the extra amounts of hormones. Does anyone have any real information on that by chance? Google only has so much to offer. I won’t let myself worry about it though. For now I’m happy and content.
I have gone from being cautiously optimistic to pleasantly and positively optimistic : )


Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Message From Clark...

Vanessa has been waiting on this post for quite awhile now. She has a funny way of asking me to do things. She doesn’t want to feel like she’s telling me what to do so she’ll say things like “What would you think of…” One afternoon while driving somewhere she said “What would you think of writing your perspective about the surrogacy on my blog?”

Translation

“Honey, I would Reeeeeally love it if you wrote on my blog.”

Its funny little things like that that make me love her with all of my soul.

For those of you who don’t know, I met Vanessa while serving my LDS mission to Tacoma, Washington. After I left the area where she lived, we exchanged weekly emails. Because I was still a missionary we were very careful to keep it very platonic. The ooey gooey came later.

It was in one of these emails that she shared with me that she thought it would be a wonderful experience to be a surrogate mother for another LDS family who couldn’t have their own children. That is the kind of person Vanessa is. She never thinks twice about her own comfort or convenience. Her first thought is always for someone else and I was blown away by it. I can remember thinking “That’s incredible that she would even consider that. I wonder if she knows the church discourages it.”

Similarly, that was my first thought when the subject came up again when she first approached me about Hope and her situation. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel for Hope and her husband but I always try to make my first priority being obedient to the principals that I believe come from God and make me happy. I told Vanessa that based on the church’s stance; I didn’t think it was a good idea. I was firmly opposed to the idea.

That was until I thought about it some more.

For those of you familiar with LDS Doctrine there are some things that we believe God has absolutely forbidden. However, when I read the church’s official statement on surrogacy it did not read (or feel) like one of those “forbidden” things. Our Father in Heaven is perfect. He is never vague or unclear about anything. For some reason he had chosen not to expressly forbid surrogacy and I felt that must mean that there were circumstances under which he (and by extension his Prophet on earth today) would approve of. For more information regarding what the church does expressly prohibit see some of Vanessa’s earlier posts.

One of the people who had a tremendous influence on my life is Elder Kevin W Pearson of the First Quorum of the Seventy (for those of you unfamiliar, this is a body of church leaders whose job it is to support the modern 12 apostles. See Luke 10 in the New Testament) Elder Kevin W Pearson also served as my Mission President. The last thing he said to me was “Elder, please remember that the key to life and happiness is to learn the will of God and do it.”

I decided to humble myself and learn the will of God.

Sitting in my car in the parking lot of my office I bowed my head and asked. I don’t normally get an instantaneous answer but this one was immediate. After I received my answer I prayed that my Heavenly Father would help me further understand it. I also asked him to help me fulfill my role in this process as he would have me do it.

It has been in interesting adventure thus far. I truly don’t mind waking up extra early to poke Vanessa in the butt. If I can help in any small way, I want to. I feel like, if my wife is willing to sacrifice her body and her comfort for Hope and her husband, then I can certainly not complain about a few less minutes of sleep. When and if Vanessa actually does become pregnant, I will be the one running to the store for strange combinations of peanut butter and pickles. I wouldn’t feel good about myself otherwise.

It seems only appropriate that with Thanksgiving approaching I should express my gratitude. Hope, if you’re reading this, I am grateful to have met you and have the opportunity to do this for you. I’ve gotten to know you enough to know of your tremendous gratitude but please know I feel a deep sense of gratitude for this whole process. Vanessa my sweetheart, I am grateful to you for continuing to teach me Christ like service every day. Not just with this surrogacy thing, but in everything. I am also profoundly grateful to God. It has been his answer to my prayers and a continuing reassuring influence that has made this process possible. No matter the result of last week’s transfer, I will be grateful for this experience.

That’s all for now, I may blog again in the future. I will just have to wait for Vanessa to ask me how I feel about it : )

Thursday, November 3, 2011

And Now We Wait....

So last Friday, Hope went into the clinic for her egg retrieval. She went in at 6:30am, and the anesthesiologist knocked her out ‘til noon. They were able to retrieve 22 eggs. I went to see her later that afternoon. She looked so tired when I got there, but we visited and I got a chance to spend time with her mom and sister. I had such a nice time, and Hope had a small gift for me! It was ever so appropriate. Pregnancy Tests : ) along with darling drawings from her girls, a movie gift certificate, and kit kats! I loved it. It was the perfect gift.

Her little girls even wrote my name! Cute huh

I made sure to take pictures of their phenomenal play house before I left. I totally wish I had a playhouse just like it when I was a little girl.

This was the front, and you can see the basket attached to the pulley that can be reeled up to the fort! How fun is that

America's cutest front porch, complete with mailbox and birdhouse!

Sofa made by hand, with matching valance and curtains! See the cute little pillow! Mop, and vacuum are in the corner... there is even electricity. They thought of everything!

Kitchen, cupboards, table and chairs, shelf with china, and that little white circle on the wall is a pipe that makes it possible to talk to the kids upstairs!

The fort upstairs. There is a telescope and a treasure chest on the other side, and that opening straight ahead is the balcony that leads to the slide!

The view from the side...

and pictures of their beautiful yard


We said our goodbyes. We won’t see each other again, at least not until we have a baby! It was hard for me to say goodbye. I truly hope that wasn’t the last time I will ever get to see Hope.

We found out a few days later that out of her 22 eggs, only 8 survived. Out of the 15 that were frozen from a previous cycle, 9 survived. That was to be expected. So we had 17 embryos, and we had to wait to find out if any of the embryos were good enough to actually transfer. The doctor and nurses were optimistic, and so was I. Hope and her husband said it perfectly when they said they were cautiously optimistic. We are all trying to not get our hopes up too much. The transfer was to take place 5 days after the retrieval, so I sat around and impatiently waited for Wednesday, November 2nd.

The day of the transfer finally came. I wasn’t nervous at all. People kept asking me if I was nervous or anxious, and all I could say was, “I’m SO ready!” I didn’t have any butterflies at all going into the clinic. I had waited and prepared for this day for what seemed like forever, and I was just READY. A good friend of mine dropped me off at the clinic because they didn’t want me to drive home. They had me show up a half hour early so I could take a valium. The valium was supposed to relax me, but I never felt the effects of it at all. They wanted me to have a semi-full bladder, and I worked hard to drink just the right amount and go potty at just the right time so that I wouldn’t be doing the potty dance before the transfer. While I waited in the waiting room, I called Hope. She was sitting by the phone waiting for the phone call from the doctor telling us how many embryos we had. She was so anxious. We figured that since they hadn’t sent me home, there had to be at least one good embryo. We talked for a moment, and then I let her go back to staring at her phone. I got my comfy tissue paper blanket around 1pm, and I waited. And waited, and waited. What was supposed to be an all around hour and a half visit to the clinic turned into 2 and a half hours (which was a bummer for my ride) My nurse came in and found the right position for my tummy ultrasound so the doctor could see what he was doing on the inside. We visited for quite a while, and she kept saying over and over, “We all have such a good feeling about you.” “Your lining is truly thick and spectacular, I can hardly believe it!” and “Your bladder is EXACTLY where we want it!” All of those are things that I of course wanted to hear, but she said it over and over which of course only gets my hopes up even more. I told her that I still wasn’t feeling the valium, which surprised everyone. It was a good thing I wasn’t nervous at all. The main reason for the valium is to make my body and muscles relax during the transfer, and it was easy enough to relax on my own. I spent a little while on the table alone while I waited. I was thinking about everything, and I was wondering how many embryos we would have. Only one? Would there be at least two like we hoped? If there are more than two, they will most likely freeze the rest for a future attempt. I remember the clinic telling me in the very beginning that they never transfer more than two embryos. And then I had a thought. I kind of wish they would be willing to transfer more than two, that is, if there were even that many available. It seems like such a waste of a good embryo to just not use it and freeze it away. Hope has spent so much time trying to make this all work, without any success at all. I just wish we could give her all the odds. A moment later, Dr. Faulk walked in. He had a huge smile on his face, and he was bouncy and full of energy. He sat right down and said, well we have 3 fantastic embryos! And a fourth that is good, but a day or two behind the first 3. He was so thrilled with how well the 3 embryos were doing! My stomach did a flip flop :) It was wonderful news. He handed me a picture of one of the embryos!

He still needed to call Hope and tell her the news, but he stopped and looked at me very seriously. “Vanessa. Hope has not had any success. We have worked so hard to get here, and I want to give her every possible chance of making this work. What do you think of transferring all 3 embryos?”

I practically jumped right off the table when I said, “Absolutely! You practically read my mind!”

He said, “You realize that puts you at risk of having triplets. There is only about a 3% chance of you having triplets, and we can always do selective reduction if there is any kind of problem. Is that something you are willing to do?”

I was so sure. I felt so good about it. There is a chance that we could transfer 2 embryos, and none of them could even take. We could transfer 2 and then both could take. We could transfer all 3, and none could take, or only one! Or two. Or there is that 3% chance all three could take. It was worth that small risk to be able to give us all the odds. I felt so good about transferring all three.

He needed to call and talk it over with Hope and her husband. So now my waiting consisted of excitement at the thought of transferring all three! I hoped she would go for it. They all talked, and it came down to whether or not they were okay with selective reduction if the situation presented itself. The contract, and all adults involved, agreed that selective reduction would only take place if there is a threat to my life, or the life of the babies. So they left the decision up to me. If I was willing to take that on, then we would transfer all 3. DONE.

They dimmed the lights, they propped me up in stirrups, and we transferred all three embryos. I got to watch it all on the ultrasound screen. I could see the white line of the instrument he used to place the embryos, and I could see the 3 small air bubbles that held them. It didn’t hurt one bit, it was just uncomfortable when they pushed on my bladder (which by this time had quadrupled in size.) Once he was finished, he very slowly lowered my legs, and he told me to hold very still while he slid me up on the table so that I didn’t use any muscles to move. He shook my hand and said, “Make us Proud!” I had to lie on the table for half an hour, and then they came in to give me instructions. I could get dressed, go potty, and then schedule my appointments to have my blood drawn in order to test for the pregnancy hormone twelve days from now. They told me to of course continue my estrogen shot, continue my evil progesterone & oil shot, my prenatals and baby asprin, and I was to start a progesterone suppository every night before bed. I am to spend the next two and a half days sitting or lying down. No lifting or doing anything that excessively works my stomach muscles. I am instructed to then spend the next 10 days without anything that would break a sweat, increase my heart rate, etc. (which will make Fridays and Saturdays at work tough) Before I left, the clinic gave me a complimentary gift certificate for a one hour massage! It was so nice of them, and totally unexpected, and now I’ve got to hide it from Clark ;)



I came home from the clinic, and propped my legs up. I have done my very best to take it easy. I try to sit and fold laundry, sew my tree skirt, dink around on the computer, and nap. It’s real hard with a baby running around. I don’t have a problem getting on my knees and changing a diaper, or letting her snuggle with me on the couch. I can stand up to make something to eat or shower, and when I walk I try to walk slowly. I’ve got one more day to go, but I honestly don’t mind it at all. I like knowing that sitting on the couch is potentially increasing our odds. I spent two days before the transfer cleaning my house so that sitting didn’t make me feel totally helpless and unproductive. I made sure to stock up on food in the house, and my incredible babysitter has spent the last couple days over at our house to help with the girls. They all went to the park today and I was able to rest. She also made fudge : ) My husband has been truly incredible throughout this entire process. From day one he has been so supportive, and excited. He loves to hear what Hope’s newest email has to say, he always asks questions, and he has such a positive attitude about it all. Ever since the transfer, he has made sure everything is taken care of so that I don’t feel the need to move around. He brings me what I need, he’s even at the grocery store right now with the girls. He’s been truly amazing and I am so thankful to have him.

Hope called me at bedtime the day of the transfer. She told me that they transferred two boys and one girl! That was exciting news! I had a dream that we had twins, one boy and one girl. Hope’s husband also had a dream that we had one boy and one girl. We are all really trying to not read too much into the dreams, but it’s been really interesting nevertheless. Two boys and one girl. It’s incredible to me that they can even know the gender. Of course, depending on how many embryos take, we won’t know which ones stay until I’m a good 16 to 20 weeks along. Hope also told me that we have had every chance there ever was. All the odds have been in our favor, and if this doesn’t work, she can be at peace knowing it isn’t supposed to. We did everything we possibly could, and Heavenly Father might just have another plan for her family. Hearing her say that made me feel better.

So now we wait. They will draw my blood at 10am on November 10th to test for the pregnancy hormone. They won’t tell us the results of that blood test. They will then draw my blood again at 10am on November 14th, and that blood draw will officially determine whether or not we’re pregnant! I’ve heard that sometimes it will show up on a home pregnancy test a few days before, so I might just give one a try. But I’m not sure if I’ll actually reveal the results. I would hate to give anyone the results of a false positive. But it’s all so exciting! Hope said this is going to be the longest 12 days of our lives! I think she’s right. Again, we are all trying to be cautiously optimistic, although I’ll be honest. Caution has completely gone out the window on my end. I know that it will make this all the more devastating if this doesn’t work.

I cannot give myself my progesterone & oil injection. It hurts terribly bad. It is slow and painful and I couldn’t do it myself even if I wanted to. I have to take it in the morning at the same time every single day. So I take it at 5:00am, and Clark has been so very wonderful about giving me my shots. I feel so bad that he has to wake up out of a dead sleep every morning at 5am to stick me. Even on Sundays when we both get to sleep in, my alarm goes off at 5 so he can do my injection. He has never once complained, and only apologizes for having to give me yet another shot. I love him dearly. The Prog & Oil shots have been by far the worst part of this experience. The injections hurt like crazy. And my bum is EXTREMELY sore for three solid days after the shot. And since I rotate sides ever day, it only gives the one side a day to recover. Therefore, I have MULTIPLE sore spots on each side on any given day. The medication is so thick that it just stays in a small lump about the size of a quarter. I spend hours sitting on a heating pad, hoping to disperse and relieve some of the medication and pain. It doesn’t really work. The clinic says it’s normal. My bum is black and blue. It hurts to walk, it hurts to sit. It hurts to sit on the toilet, it hurts to lay down. It hurts to drive because the small muscle you use to push the gas and break pedal makes it hurt. I am in so much pain that I limp around, thinking that there will be some sort of relief if I wait a split second longer to put pressure on my leg. But at the last possible moment I realize that it didn’t make any sort of difference because it just hurt really really bad to take that step. It’s been hard to work with me being so incredibly sore. It was so bad the other day that Clark was putting my shoes and socks on for me and I started to cry. When I drive, I make a fist and keep it under my thigh so that there isn’t as much pressure on my behind, which of course doesn’t seem to help either :( Like I said, it’s been the hardest part of all this. It will all be totally worth it if we are able to have a baby! Hope keeps apologizing for my bum being so sore. I don’t want her to feel bad or be sorry at all. This is all part of what it takes, and it’s truly not the end of the world. I can still work, I still drive, I still somehow manage to pee :) I would take this over morning sickness any day. Only 53 more injections to go… so long as we are pregnant!

The transfer is over. This is it. We will wait out the next 2 weeks, trying hard to not think too much on it all. Hope said she didn’t sleep at all last night, so wish us luck. I keep wondering what it would be like if we were told all three embryos were growing inside me! How stinkin’ exciting would that be?! Obviously triplets would be insane, and very hard on my body. But people manage it. People manage twins too. I won’t concern myself about it unless there is a need to be concerned. I am happy we transferred all that we could. Clark started singing Phoebe’s song from friends last night and made me laugh so hard :)

“Are you in there little fetus? In nine months will you come greet us? I will buy you some Adidas” haha :) Needless to say we’ve been on a Friends kick for a while now.

Clark is planning to post a blog on here soon, so stay tuned for what he has to say! I honestly have no idea what direction he is planning to take, so it will be a lot of fun to read about his point of view. I have the best husband in the world. Thanks for following along friends! It’s been fun, and hopefully there is a lot more to come in the next year!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Afternoon with Hope

The stomach flu finally passed through our family, which meant it was time to see Hope! I spent the entire day with her on Monday and had a fantastic time. I made something special for her little girls before I made my way out the door. We spent the entire afternoon outside in her parent’s truly exquisite yard! It was a beautiful day that didn’t even require jackets. The girls played their hearts out. There was a magnificent playhouse that Hope’s parents built in the backyard. It was two stories tall, and the bottom floor was a miniature house complete with porch, mailbox, electricity, play kitchen, miniature sofa (with matching valances) and a table and chairs! Once you climbed the ladder to the second floor, you entered every little boy’s dream fort! There were binoculars and a telescope, a cot, a wooden chest and of course, more electricity! There was even a pulley attached to a basket where you could let down the basket to exchange secret messages, and then real it back up! The only way to get down from the fort was to slide down a built in slide! I have never seen anything like it in all my life. I sure wish I had gotten at least one picture of this playhouse. Needless to say my Brionna had an absolute blast. The girls played on the trampoline, they rode down the hill in toy cars, they picked strawberries and raspberries, they went on a treasure hunt for golden leaves and flower petals, they played dress up and had a princess parade, and we even took a walk down to a beautiful wooded wonderland covered in leaves! All this time, Hope and I were able to visit. When the girls were finally all played out, I took Hope out to dinner! Clark was wonderful about keeping Brynlee and Brionna for the evening, and Hope’s girls were able to stay with Grandma and Grandpa. We went to Crackerbarrel (where else is there?) and dinner was ever so tasty! We must have sat in that restaurant for at least two hours, and I’m sure they started to wonder if we were ever going to leave. Hope and I talked about everything under the sun. We talked about babies, surrogates, families, babysitters, pregnancies, my son, the Church, and of course, the transfer that is just around the corner! Goodness we probably could have talked forever. I had a wonderful time.

___________________________________________________________

Hope asked me if I decided to “name her Hope” because of the picture hanging in the clinic. I never realized there was anything hanging in the clinic! When I decided to call her “Hope,” it was the only thing that seemed fitting. It is symbolic. I would like to come up with a name for her husband, but nothing seems to fit like I want it too. She sent me a picture of the wall hanging in the clinic.


She asked me if I would consider being a surrogate again, whether it was for her or another family. It gave me a lot to think about. I feel like now is the perfect time in my life to do this. I’m not quite ready to have another baby in the house, and my little Brynlee is so perfect, I don’t want to make her grow up any faster! So this period in between Brynlee and our next baby seems so ideal for helping Hope. But I do plan to have more, and I don’t know how much more I can take, considering I’m not getting any younger and I already have a good 10 years of child bearing years stacked against me. I guess for now, my answer is I don’t know. We will see how things go and what life has to offer us a few years from now :)

Hope surprised me at work the other day! I was so excited to see her, but I was totally embarrassed. She just laughed and then snapped a picture of me! I am embarrassed to put the picture on here, but at the same time it was just another fun part of all this :) However, just so we’re clear, I get up at 4am. I’m not trying to impress anyone!
___________________________________________

Clark gave me my estrogen shot on Friday night, and once he stuck the needle in, he accidentally dropped it! In other words, once the needle was in, it bent, and OH BOY did it burn! It burnt for about an hour. It wasn’t my favorite thing in the world, but I lived.

Hope and I compared scars on our tummies from all the injections. Hers seem to bruise, and mine just look like little poke marks. She said her ovaries are starting to feel like rocks because of the medications she is taking. I am not quite sure how it all works, but from the sounds of it, it seems like the medications she is taking act like steroids to her ovaries and whatnot. Her abdomen is starting to swell. The official day for her egg retrieval is Friday the 28th! Which is great news for me because that puts the transfer date on November 2nd. It shouldn’t effect work at all, or Halloween with my girls :) Hope was supposed to fly home on Friday, so she had to fudge her flights around a bit. They are having the embryos genetically tested to weed out the genetically bad embryos. This reduces the risk of a miscarriage, among other things.

I officially start my Progesterone and Oil on Friday, the same day as the retrieval. The clinic just called me and gave me my schedule for the next week. It turns out that Progesterone is the hormone that your body naturally produces to maintain a pregnancy. So I am supplementing the hormone until my body naturally produces it during the pregnancy. I have to take this shot every morning for the next 9 weeks.

Hope and I both feel so helpless at this point. We are just kind of waiting, wishing there was something we could do to ensure or guarantee a baby. I went out and bought myself a ton of airborne. I figure if all I can do is make sure I don’t come down with something the week of the transfer, that’s better than nothing. I was told that the embryos are incredibly sensitive during the transfer. They are exposed to everything, therefore I cannot wear fragrances or perfumes, nobody can talk during the transfer, etc. I will be prepped on the procedure the day before, but I am currently under the impression that I will have to stay on the doctor’s table for an hour after the transfer, and I will not be able to drive myself home, followed by 2 days of bed rest. I am so anxious! It will take 10 days to find out whether or not Hope and her husband are going to have a baby!

I have been on my knees a lot lately. I’m not sure what to say to my Father in Heaven, but I want him to know that I love Hope, and that I am so very thankful for the blessings in my life. He has a plan for each and every one of us, and he knows what is best for us; despite what plan we might have for ourselves. Hope has always dreamed of having a big family. Heavenly Father knows her heart, but he also knows what trials she will need to face in order to grow and progress. Hope is the most wonderful mother. I’m not just saying that because of this whole situation, because she truly is the most tender, compassionate and patient mother I have ever met. A would never have known that until I spent time with her and her beautiful girls. I am not the most patient person in the world, and I humbly admit that. I admire Hope. She deserves this baby more than anyone I’ve ever known. I want to give her this baby so much it hurts.

There is a lot to come in the next two weeks. Please keep us in your prayers.

As Sisters in Zion / We'll Bring the World His Truth


This is a beautiful arrangement, and two of my most favorite hymns. I included most of the lyrics below

As Sisters in Zion, we'll all pull together,

The Blessings of God on our labors we'll seek:

We'll build up his Kingdom with earnest endeavor;

We'll comfort the weary, and strengthen the weak.


We'll turn from our follies, our pride and our weakness,

The vain, foolish fashions of Babel despise;

We'll seek for the garments of truth and of meekness,

and learn to be useful and happy and wise.


We'll wear what is sensible, neat and becoming

The Daughters of Zion - the Angels of Light;

We'll work with a will, while the Angels are scanning

Our aims and our actions from morning til night.


We'll bring up our Children to be self-sustaining;

To Love and to do what is Noble and Right;

When we rest from our labors, these dear ones remaining,

Will bear up the Kingdom and "Fight the Good Fight."


'Tis the Office of Angels, conferred upon women;

And this is a right that, as Women, we claim;

To do whatsoever is gentle and human;

To cheer and to bless in humanity's name.


Then, as Sisters in Zion, we'll all pull together,

The Blessing of God on our labors we'll seek;

We'll build up the Kingdom with earnest endeavor;

We'll comfort the weary and strengthen the weak.


I truly love this song, in every possible way. It brings tears to my eyes when we sing it as sisters in Relief Society. The words speak to me and bring joy to my soul. The song is not simply suggesting that we are any certain way, but instead it is stating who we are and what we will DO as women. As Sisters in Zion, we will build, we will comfort, and we will strengthen. We will turn, seek, learn, wear, work, love, bear up, cheer, bless, fulfill, and pull together. All of these are actions. Things we will do. I included a video that illustrates this song beautifully in my above post.
_____________________________

We have 13 Articles of Faith. The Articles of Faith state what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believes in. I love the 13th Article of Faith, which states:

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul - We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

_______________________________________

Our Young Women's Theme

We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him.We will Stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places, as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:

Faith

Divine Nature

Individual Worth

Knowledge

Choice and Accountability

Good Works

Integrity and

Virtue

We Believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the Temple, and enjoy the Blessings of Exaltation.

__________________________________


Our Relief Society Declaration

We are Beloved Spirit Daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:

Increase our Testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study

Seek Spiritual Strength by following promptings of the Holy Ghost

Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families and homes

Find Nobility in Motherhood and Joy in Womanhood

Delight in Service and Good Works

Love life and learning

Stand for Truth and Righteousness

Sustain the Priesthood as the Authority of God on Earth

Rejoice in the Blessings of the Temple, understand our
Divine Destiny, and strive for Exaltation.
_____________________________

I Belong To