Following My LDS Surrogate Experience and More!


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!


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!!!