Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My 10 Step Program to Becoming a Gestational Carrier

Here is a brief overview of the steps I have taken/am taking to become a surrogate:
1. Research process/companies online.
2. Fill out form for company I like, wait for initial approval.
3. Fill out LONG application. Sweat for 2 weeks waiting for a response. I hate rejection.
4. Telephone interview with very together, self-assured lawyer who (through no fault of her own) makes me feel like a complete moron.
5. Realize lawyer is awesome; own the fact that self-doubt is MY problem.
6. Face to face family sit-down with lawyer, who is the company owner. Watch my children destroy her lovely sitting room in 2.5 seconds. Send children outside with husband.
7. Submit to psychological assessment, including the MMPI (personality inventory-is mine fully stocked?) and two interviews, during which I hate the psychologist because I used to be one and think her style sucks ass. Realize later I am hypersensitive, yet psych is indeed a stuck-up biotch (husband confirms as he has worked on her appliances before). Pass assessment with flying colors and glowing reference. Shocked.
8. Interviews with prospective Intended Parents (IP's), first on phone then in person.
9. Medical phase involving lots of hormone shots to sync up my monthly cycle with egg donor.
10. Transfer of embryo-conception-knocked up!

So I'm on Step 8, about to meet the IP's face to face, to ensure this is the right match for all of us. I'm pretty sure it is. When I spoke with them, I instantly felt a connection. I really hope I get to carry their baby for them. They have tried for years on their own and have suffered miscarriages time and time again, and that breaks my heart.
The matching phase is super important, and brought up issues I had never considered until I became enmeshed in this process. Issues like how often I'm willing to try to transfer if it doesn't work the first time, who will be in the delivery room, and deeper moral issues as well. I had to do some serious soul-searching on the heavier topics and take a definitive stand on those that were deal-breakers for me. I don't intend for this blog to be a huge moral/ethical discussion, but the reality is that a surrogate has to be very clear where she stands on any issues regarding termination of a pregnancy that may be problematic for various reasons. Sometimes pregnancy can be life-threatening for the gestational carrier or there may be severe genetic complications that the couple may not be prepared to deal with. I'm not getting into my beliefs on these issues because frankly, they are private and because that is not the point of this discussion. The point is that the surrogate and the intended parents have to be in agreement with those beliefs, whatever they may be. Dude, that is heavy stuff. Regardless, the couple's beliefs match up with mine and Russell's (my awesome hubby), so it looks like its a go...
Looking forward to my face to face with this amazing couple!

Monday, November 28, 2011

You're gonna do what??!!

Well, here I am, a place in my life that I never expected to be. Truthfully, I've found myself in unexpected places before, so that part isn't really unusual for me. What is unusual is that I am planning on carrying and giving birth to a baby that genetically has nothing to do with me.
You may be curious as to how I reached this decision, what my motivation is to do such a thing. There really isn't one answer, but the most simple response is that I want to help a family become complete. I want to do what I can to enable two people become parents. I want to use the abilities that I have been blessed with to make someone else's dream come true.
As anyone who is a parent can attest, becoming one is the most life changing event that will ever happen to you. It doesn't just change your lifestyle, it alters you in a fundamental way that shakes you to your very core. It is earth-shattering. It alternates between heights of profound happiness and depths of deepest self-doubt. Once undertaken, it is a job you never leave, and it colors your every perception of the world. And I love it. I am hooked, mind, body and soul. I am a junkie, a convert, a fanatic, a true believer that family, however you define it, is the most important thing on earth. My children have changed me irrevocably, each in their own ways, and I thank God every day for that.
The knowledge that there are those who want this craziness we call parenthood and are unable to have it, is not new to me. I have known several friends who have struggled with this issue in one capacity or another. What really brought this issue to the forefront with me was a book written by Jennifer Weiner, my favorite chic-lit author. "And Then Came You" is a fictional (highly fictional) account of surrogacy from all of the women involved in this one particular situation. It is not entirely realistic, obviously, but it really pulled at my heart strings. My midwife told me during my last pregnancy that I was made for it; I should have a ton of kids. And despite the fact that we are perfectly happy with our two amazing kidlets, she was right. My body handles pregnancy wonderfully. I get knocked up easily- both times it was the first month we started trying. I've never been sick, I feel great, and I have fast, amazing labors. My body goes into auto-pilot and I love every second of it. Labor is a beautiful, spiritual, empowering experience for me; I truly love it.
So here I am: a woman who loves pregnancy and childbirth but doesn't want to raise more kids; a dedicated birth doula passionate about the work and importance of birth; and a deeply emotional mommy. Surrogacy seems ideal- but will it be? There are so many unknowns. I invite you  to join me as I journey, as I learn, as I question, as I grow.