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!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Surrogacy Video & Some Overdue Updates!

This is the video Hope's hubby put together shortly after Spencer was born. It's beautiful, and you're almost guaranteed to cry! I was feeling a little sentimental tonight, but it finally got me to update my blog! If you wanna see the video in a bigger screen, look at hope's blog (on the right side of the screen)


After we left the hospital, Clark made a comment that totally caught me off guard. 
He said, “I sure would have liked to hold the little guy.”

Oh. My. Goodness.

In all the excitement, we never passed the baby to Clark! He never spoke up, and I was just so involved with how excited Hope and her family were, I totally spaced it. I told Hope. And she had the same reaction as me. She felt terrible. She said, “Why didn’t he speak up!!”

His response was, “They have been waiting for this little guy for years now, and I didn’t want to take him away from them.”

Which was totally silly! Everyone said so. But so so sweet. Hope said that she was so focused on trying to make sure I wasn’t made to feel like  they were gonna take the baby and split, she didn’t even think about Clark. We all felt so bad, and he had been so great the entire time.

So they planned a special evening to come over and let Uncle Clark see baby Spencer. It was so great. He held him and bounced him and talked to him. I loved every minute of it. I love my husband <3

That same night (before they made their way back to Illinois, Hope and her husband gave me one final gift.

It was this beautiful picture frame with our pictures, and a Poem that Hope’s hubby wrote, along with some input from her.

That’s right. They wrote this themselves, and I cried and cried after I read it.  It hangs in my bedroom next to my bed. I sure love them <3

This is what it says…


When you ask how you came to be
And why not by the normal way
On how you joined our family
This is what we’re going to say:

Four years of seeing life and death
For the chance to bring just one
Those failures left us helpless
Nearly thinking we’d be done.

In our shortcomings and heartbreak
To start your path to infancy.
God sent an angel for your sake
To bear that yoke of pregnancy

This new and inspired dear friend
Whose Christ-like actions brought you here
Without complaining for this end
Sacrificing comfort, health and care.

She provided what we could not
She asked if she could sacrifice
The very thing that we had sought:
The Hope to sustain your gift of life.

So if you feel that there’s another
Angel to love and revere
Thank your surrogate mother,
And God who sent you two here.

Hope has sent me lots and lots of pictures in the last 3 months. Can you believe it?! He's 3 months old! Here are two of them :)

Spencer was blessed just this last Sunday! They finally got his official Birth Certificate. He is SO handsome and I wish I could have been there!

Quick surgery insert... 

As most of you know, about 3 weeks after Spencer was born, i was tested for Carpal Tunnel and had surgery on July 28th or something like that. I still hadn't fully recovered from the deliver and the big move. It was a rotten way to spend my summer. I had to do both wrists at the same time since I was losing my insurance in just a matter of days. I was in braces for weeks, stitches were so painful to take out, I was literally handicapped and helpless. I received so much help from my wonderful husband, my family, and my ward & friends. It was difficult with a BUSY two year old. My hands still don't have full strength, and my scars itch all the time. They are sore and the dr said I will probably still be sore for about 8-9 months. I will take it over that terrible horrible carpal tunnel. That was my short version. Have I ever given the short version on anything? Love you all... ;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spencer Meeting Dr. Foulk :)

Hope and I went to visit our favorite fertility clinic! We were so lucky that everyone was there :)

These were the two nurses that we dealt with throughout the process... They are so wonderful. 

I love the smiles on all their faces :) 

They were looking at the pictures we brought into them. We gave them one of Spencer in the basket, and another of our "surrogacy shot" :)

And there's the man that made it all happen! Dr. Foulk had a smile from ear to ear :) it was so much fun to see everyone and share our adventures!

All of us together by the wall of fame :) 

Hope started to thank everyone. She has been working with this clinic for so long, and they've been there through all her ups and downs. Everyone that made this possible was standing in the room together, and everyone teared up. It was a tender and wonderful moment :)

A big thank you to Dr. Foulk and all our friends at the Utah Fertility Clinic! Thank you for being a part of our Miracle :)

Our Special Surro Picture!

Here it is! Our surro shot :) Our before & Afters! 

I'm very happy with how they turned out :)  -I didn't realize how hard it was to mimic the same shot weeks apart...

The 1st picture was taken June 30th (the day before Spencer was born) and the second was taken on July 17th. (He was 2 weeks and 3 days old :)

& some Extra pictures...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Financial Arrangements, Negatives, and a Beautiful Video

Hope has the most beautiful video on her blog. Her husband put it all together. I am speechless. He did the most amazing job. My husband sent me a text this morning before I was even awake, telling me I would want a box of tissues by my side before visiting her blog. Well I didn't follow his advice, I just sat down at the computer. I of course bawled my eyes out, giggling at Hope's girls throughout the video, but I still cried the entire time. I want to make sure everyone see's the video, but I want to keep that special for their blog. So here's the link to Hope's Blog.

Hope has another post giving some perspective to this whole post baby part of things. She asked me to think of the most negative aspects of this journey and write about them, to be a resource for others looking into gestational surrogacy. 

my wheels are turning, but I'm having a hard time finding any biggies. I feel like I mentioned things throughout my blog this last year that were more negative than others, but a lot of that was probably me being more negative than the situation actually was. 

so negative aspects of all this.
Obviously the pregnancy was my hardest, not because it was a surrogacy pregnancy, but because it was my fourth. I still haven't recovered from my carpal tunnel. I'm really hoping it will be resolved by my 6 week check-up. I can't feel my fingertips as I type this. The delivery was also my most painful, but that was just because my water broke at home and I never got the epidural. I can't complain too much, baby was out in one push. I guess none of those negative aspects had to do with surrogacy per say. And since this is meant to be a resource for people looking into surrogacy, those first few thoughts don't help anyone much.

Here are some thoughts on the actual surrogacy part of it. 
The shots are tough in the beginning. It's hard to wrap your mind around sticking yourself with a needle. I got used to it just fine. And I was sore for quite a long time with the deep tissue shots in my rear end. It didn't last too long, but it was something you really have to be okay with if you're gonna pursue this. 
In the beginning, I had to ween my 11 month old off of nursing at a moments notice. I had less than a week to have her completely on a bottle, because I had to start my medications. That was tough. I loved nursing, and I wasn't ready to be done. But she had also had a good 11 months, and it wasn't the end of the world. Weening almost completely cold turkey was rough. I had engorged of course, but I was really glad I was on top of it. Nursing would have set us back in this whole process.
Which kind of leads into the engorging at the end. My milk came in 4 days after I delivered baby spencer. They don't give you medication anymore to stop the milk, so I was on my own with it. cabbage leaves and wrapping tight didn't do anything. Being engorged just lasts a couple days, so it's not a huge deal. I've still got milk now, and I leak constantly, but I'm not in any pain. Just something to think about. The bummer part is that nursing helps shrink your uterus, and it burns calories. I don't have that luxury this time around.
REmember a few posts back, I told you how a friend and I were discussing the losing baby weight part of having a baby. She made an off the hand comment about how I wouldn't be carrying around a newborn, but i would be walking around with a jelly belly. (forgive me, i can't stand that word, but it is what it is.) Well my friend could not have been more right. I have never been more self aware. We have had an insanely busy week, and i have ran more errands than i could count. My belly is an after baby belly, and I can't do much to hide it right now. I've never paid much attention to the belly after a baby before, and I think it's because when i'm packing around a newborn, people don't seem to think twice about the belly. They think, "Oh look, she's got a brand new little one," and the baby gets the attention. Even I have to admit, when I'm out and I see a new baby, I don't think twice about the mommy's belly. But when I'm out and someone's gut is hanging out, and they don't seem to have much of an excuse, I just think, "suck it in. That shirt doesn't flatter you girlfriend." I know that's not very christ-like, and i'm probably so self aware because it's payback for having those thoughts about other people. Now I think to myself, "i wonder if she's just delivered a baby. Probably bot, but I would like someone to give me the benefit of the doubt." Anyways, that's probably been the hardest part. I'm very uncomfortable in my own skin. Hope and her husband were so wonderful. After the baby was born, they gave me a membership to a local gym as a gift. it was seriously the best gift ever. I will start going as soon as I get clearance. I am of course in that 6 week -you can't do anything- stage. No baths, no swimming, no tampons, nothing. I'm sorry, but pads are the worst part of having any baby. Period. 
So when I get the go ahead, I plan to take full advantage of my gym membership :)

Now that i've started getting to know ladies from this surrogacy group that found me, i've started to realize just how different every surrogacy situation is. So many arrangements turn out so much different than ours did. SOme families don't want to stay in contact with the surrogate. Some surrogates want nothing to do with baby. So many arrangements are set up as business transactions and nothing more. I can't even wrap my mind around any of that. I don't think i could ever have gone through all of this to never again have any kind of a relationship with my intended family. I just couldn't. I also could never comprehend never wanting to be a part of their lives, even if it is just a small part. If I myself decided to use a surrogate to carry my baby, I would want to know that I could trust her completely. I would want a friendship. Throughout this entire journey, I made sure I treated every moment the way I would want it if I was on the other end. I treated the pregnancy just the same as I would my own pregnancy. I would certainly want my surrogate to do the same. 

dealing with the insurances and the lawyers was a nightmare. And I don't even have room to complain, because hope dealt with most of it all. THe small portion i did have to deal with was such a pain. Like i said before, or lawyer never got us our pre-birth order, so now we have to jump through a bunch of hoops to sort it all out. Hope went into more detail about what kinds of things we went through, but a lot of it had to do with an unreliable lawyer. I would probably have a lot more to say on the subject if I had been in Hope's shoes.

Lastly, I wanted to address something that I would say was probably my biggest negative. As you know, there was a financial arrangement between both families. Neither of us have ever really discussed the actual amount of compensation we received for the surrogacy. I considered it a few times. I even wrote a whole blog at one point diving into what I'm about to say, but then I decided against it and erased the entire thing. To be honest, I was pretty bent out of shape about this at the time, and I vented in my blog, so it was pretty negative. I erased it because I didn't want to put those vibes "out into the universe" if you will. So anyways, I'll try to briefly explain what was most negative for clark and i. 

Going into this, we knew there was compensation involved, although that wasn't our biggest motivator. First and foremost, we wanted to have this experience and we wanted to help a family bring a baby into this world. When we met hope and her husband for the first time, they asked us what we intended to do with the money we would be getting. We told them that our plan was to get out of debt and get a reliable vehicle. to us, the compensation was more than enough, but it wasn't as much as you hear about if you were to go through an agency or if you've been a carrier before. We all agreed in the very beginning that we were so happy with the arrangement. We were helping them have a baby, they were helping us get a little more stable in life. 

I don't think Getting out of debt and getting a reliable vehicle is too extravagant. Clark and I had a tremendous amount of medical debt that we wanted to have out from under us (around $1,500) We still owed my lawyer quite  a bit of money from a nasty custody battle that I had gone through before Clark and I were ever married. (around $4,000) We owed family some money from when they helped us out the first year Clark and I were married. (around $2,000) We owed 2 colleges money for tuition and financial aid (around $3,000) No credit card debt, no car payments, no mortgage, no loans. Just unfortunate debt from circumstances outside of our control. Then we were planning on putting about $10,000 towards a reliable vehicle. The two vehicles we have now break down on us every other month. We don't even like taking them more than an hour away from home. It's a nightmare. So that was our plan. Debt free and mobile. We were feeling real good about our plan. Unfortunately, sometimes heavenly father has his own plan. Things don't always work out the way you think they're going to. 

The first thing you have to understand is this. We weren't just getting some huge lump sum of money all at once. Our surrogacy installments came a little at a time. At first, we would get $5oo. THen we would get $1,000. The second thing you have to understand is that nowadays, money doesn't stretch as far as it used to. 

We started chipping away at our debt. That was our first priority. We would send $400 to the lawyer, fill our tank with gas, buy a box of diapers, and get a few groceries. There was the first $500. When we had $1,000, we would send $800 to the college, get the brakes fixed on the car, and have an extra $50 bucks to order pizza and take the kids swimming. Life stinks like that sometimes. There is always something that needs fixed. At one point my husband needed an emergency route canal. Every so often, we needed to buy my son a plane ticket in order for us to exercise our out of state visitation. it was always something. Shortly after we started the whole surrogacy journey, my husband was laid off from his job, and he was out of work for a solid 4 months. From January to April we were using our surrogacy installments to supplement his income. At this point our installments were around $2,000 a month. That wasn't even a whole paycheck. We paid rent, paid our bills, and still had those unfortunate life circumstances that popped up. OUr installments did not stretch very far at all, not in this day and age. We quickly realized that if we had to rely on the surrogacy money to survive, there was no way we would also have enough to get completely out of debt and get a vehicle. We still did our very best to chip away at our debt. We were just getting by...

So here we were. Just Getting by. so very grateful to have the surrogacy money to fall back on at all. We had no idea what we would be doing if Clark had been laid off and we had no way to supplement our income. I can't even imagine what kind of situation we would have been in. 

While all of this was going on, people started coming out of the woodwork. For some reason, people just assumed that we had come into a ton of money. They never stopped to think that we were trying to be responsible with our money. They never thought that we had plans. IT was like we had won the lottery, and had half a million dollars just chillin' in the bank. Family that we owed money to  suddenly began putting  pressure on us to get them paid. Friends I hadn't talked to in years showed up saying, "Hey, remember that one time I bought you lunch? YOu owe me..." A nanny that we had hired to watch our girls came to us out of nowhere and told us that she felt like we were obligated to pay her more money than what we had originally agreed to because apparently, she thought we were rich. That one in particular was the most sickening one of all. We were great friends, and she had started acting funny. I told my husband I had a bad feeling. A day or two later, she finally said to me, "I don't understand why you aren't  paying me more money." She felt some sort of entitlement, and even when i explained to her that our budget was still the same because all our money was going towards debt and other things. After that our friendship and nanny arrangement ended, and i took it really hard. 

I didn't understand any of it. Yes we were being compensated for our time and "sacrifices" (although i don't like to call it that.) But not only were we not getting our money all at once in some huge lump sum, we were trying to be responsible with it and do things that benefited our family and our stability. Then Clark was laid off and we had to solely live on the money. An incredible blessing. But we weren't rollin' on 20's. People treated us different. It was like we could feel their thoughts. Nobody ever really came out and said anything negative to us (other than our nanny) but you could tell that people were judging how we were spending our money. Like it's any of their business at all. Even if we decided we were going to take a cruise to Mexico, and blow all our money on heaven knows what, isn't that our business?

The part that really got to me is that we were treated as if we had won the lottery, and that because you were associated to us in some way, you were entitled to something. yet i hadn't won some huge sum, i was working hard to earn it!! I was putting myself through injections, i couldn't sit, i was throwing up, it got too hard to work a 4:00am job, i was miserable and pregnant, with every stupid symptom in the book, acid reflux, carpal tunnel, sleepless nights, restless legs, hemorrhoids, you name it. I was working hard for that money that was getting us out of debt and paying our rent. It wasn't just handed to me, and nobody was entitled to it. It was hard to swallow the fact that after the whole journey, we really don't have anything to show for it. OUr car is broke down and it is getting repaired tomorrow. That money is coming out of rent, the surrogacy money is gone. No new reliable car. We are in fact almost completely debt free, and that is the silver lining that we keep reminding ourselves of. At least we have that. We didn't go into this journey worried about our compensation, it just would have been nice to come out on the other end with some stability. 

When i originally blogged, I was pretty upset at family, friends and nannies who made us feel a certain way. I'm glad i never posted what I wrote so many months ago. At this point, i just want to illustrate to anyone looking into surrogacy of the potential problems with being compensated for your time. Money makes people do funny things. It changes people. I never expected the people in my life to behave that way. Don't think the people in your life are above it either. It's pretty sad. 

That was probably the most negative part of this experience. I don't want to end my blog on that note, so watch for before and after pictures and a post from Clark :)

And make sure you watch that video!! IT's amazing!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More Pictures!

Alright, we finally got the last of the pictures from our exciting weekend! The are all out of order at this point. I love Hope's commentary on these pictures, so I'll reuse some of her words! :)

At Texas Roadhouse just 11 hours before we headed to the hospital. All of us joking, "Now that we are all here and ready, baby won't come!"  :)

He really is the most amazing, supportive and attentive husband ever.  He's my best friend <3

Holding my little buddy for the first time :)

I was utterly exhausted, and it hurt my arms to hold him for very long. I remember thinking, I pray my arms don't do this with my babies. I wouldn't be able to hold and snuggle and take care of them!

The classic surro shot right! My favorite is still mommy bawling her eyes out. Like I said before... that's what made it all worth it :)

The #1 thing I craved while I was prego was ice! I bought gravel ice by the bag loads... i went through probably 3 huge bags a week. I still eat it... I love ice!

Hope calls this a photo shoot... I call it snapping crappy pictures with my camera in automatic. The actual photo shoot consisted of much better pictures of baby spencer and mommy! :)

Look at baby compared to daddy's arm!

Sweet girls meeting their baby brother <3

Going home :)

Visiting on monday, the very next day! I felt better than i looked... the stupid percoset had once again kicked in, and left me dizzy and seeing double. 

One more time...  how cute is that baby boy!?