Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Background Checks Done, Now Contracts!

My head is just spinning! Fran and I spent about 2 hours on the phone last night going over contract related questions, from life insurance, to how many attempts I'm willing to do, to childcare expenses for a multitude of possible circumstances, invasive procedure fees, would I stay on life support, to contact after delivery!! It was a huge list, and there are so many "what ifs". I want VERY much to be fair to the IPs, and it makes it hard for me to pick a good dollar amount for things like childcare while on bedrest, because the numbers sound so high, but at the same time I want VERY much to make sure that me and my family are covered, because I don't want to be stressed out by worrying what might happen to us if something bad did happen and I didn't feel like the contract would adequately cover our needs... I do also feel confident that if for any reason our actual expenses exceeded the contract allottments, that the IPs would allow a contract amendment or would help us take care of the problem, so I guess I really do feel ok about just picking a dollar amount to put in the contract and going from there! I am so ready to move forward!


We talked about where I'm at in my cycle, and whether or not we'll be able to make the June date or not; I will have to stay on active pills until contracts are completed and we can get my meds protocol in place. I think we're still hopeful that I can just extend by maybe a week on active pills, and that will get us where we need to be. (That would be 10 more days on active pills from today.)

So, obviously since we're moving forward with contracts the background checks came back fine! Apparently, because we've moved so many times thanks to the Marines and our semi-nomadic lifestyle our first 6 years together the complete background check would have been very expensive, so I think they ended up just running it for our current state (we've lived here over 2 years now though).

Things are just zipping along! Here is my "summary version" so far:

3.14.06 - Faxed application to Fran
3.22.06 - Had phone "interview" with Fran
3.25.06 - Had initial teleconference with T&I
4.18.06 - 4 Preliminary cultures taken
4.27.06 - Culture results from OB came back
5.11.06 - Fly to NJ, meet T&I and Fran, have sono-hysterogram and labs at Cooper
5.12.06 - Pyschology Appointment, fly back to Atlanta
5.16.06 - Most labs back, all clear
5.17.06 - Faxed background check authorizations to Fran
5.22.06 - Background checks came back clear
5.23.06 - Spoke to Fran for 2 hours going over preliminary Contract questionnaire

Just over 2 months from when I initially contacted Fran, and we're already into contracts!! I'm really excited and ready to move forward with my wonderful IPs.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Background Checks Underway!

Well, I faxed off our background check authorizations yesterday morning, and had an e-mail from Fran yesterday afternoon asking for a more detailed list of the cities we'd lived in with dates; it's a good thing we started keeping track of all of that, because between be-bopping around for school and the Marines, that list is LONG! I think she said there's about a 1 week turnaround on those, and we can't start contracts until those come back clear. Then she said to expect a 1-2 week turnaround on contracts.

We're supposed to be chatting hopefully tonight, maybe over the weekend to go over a preliminary "contract questionnaire" to start filling in the blanks and customizing the contract for us.

I've been trying to read up on the Contract board on SMO to get ideas for the things that are important to me, and the wording I want to use.

I asked T & I about my sister coming to the transfer, and they said that would be fine, they understand being on bed rest for 2-3 days alone could feel very isolating, and though they will be at the Transfer and will probably spend some time with me over the following couple days, they will both be working as well and I wouldn't expect them to stay at the hotel with me! I think it will work out really well to have Ruth there, and hopefully be able to bring Kent along too. I will feel better if he's there with me, and I know it will be like a little vacation for him, being able to hang out and watch TV and movies and play games, and maybe go on a day trip with his Aunt.

Anyhow, we're working our way through the process! Hopefully I'll have a better update in a few more days, when I know more! I still haven't heard the final ok on Kenneth's urine culture, but that either means they're not back or they were fine! :)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Back from Testing!

I was going slightly crazy at work, with excitement, on Wednesday, so I left a little early. Honey, Kenneth's grandmother, had agreed to pick Kent up from daycare and take him to Ken & Donna's (MIL & FIL). So, Kenneth and I took advantage of having an evening free and went to a movie (Mission Impossible 3) and had dinner at Outback, which was very nice! We got home, finished packing and went straight to bed.

We were up at 3:45 on Thursday morning, we showered, changed, put last minute items in our overnight bag (we managed to travel with just ONE duffel bag) and got the dogs settled. Then we headed out at about 5am for our 7am flight. We got to the airport, parked in long term parking, and checked in curbside. We got to our gate with about 45 minutes to spare, and boarded about 20 minutes later, it all went very smoothly and quickly. We were delayed about 20 minutes getting off the ground due to radio trouble with the Flight Management System, but they got us moving eventually. The flight was nice and quiet. We got delayed another 15-20 minutes once we arrived in Philadelphia because of all the air traffic and too many incoming flights!

Eventually we landed, and headed to Ground Transportation. We got our Rapid Rover, and headed to the hotel where we found T & I waiting for us with a beautiful gift basket full of New Jersey treats!! It was wonderful to finally see them in person! We got checked in, put our bag in our room, and once Fran arrived we headed over to Cracker Barrel for a late breakfast. I was starving by then and enjoyed my eggs and bacon! Kenneth and "T" both have military backgrounds, so they hit it off and talked quite a bit about war history, and military related topics! "I", Fran, and I got to know each other a little better and talked about "I"s work in real estate.

Pretty soon, Fran headed off to Cooper to get things lined up there, and get paperwork and payments taken care of. T & I drove Kenneth and I over there around 1, and I began filling out the mountains of paperwork. T & I left us there, and said they'd be back around 3 to pick us up. Kenneth and I had our consult with Dr. Brasille, who I really liked. She was very knowledgeable, thorough, and gave us plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

Next Kenneth went back to the lobby, and I had my sono-hysterogram (which albeit unpleasant didn't last too long)! I was told everthing looked great, so we could proceed with our bloodwork. Kenneth and I took our turns at the Vampire Den, and then Kenneth had a urine culture and that was it! We spoke with Kim, Fran's assistant, and she went through her "list" to verify we'd had everything neccessary done. Then T & I took us back to our hotel, and they went to do some shopping and "I" had to handle some business while Kenneth and I relaxed a little - well, he went for a run, and I took a nap! T & I came back around 5pm and took us to dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant! We talked for about another 3 hours, before they returned us to our hotel and headed home. The time just flew by!

The next morning, T picked Kenneth and I up, we checked out and threw our bag in the back of his vehicle, and he took us to our pyschology appointment. We were a little early, so we chatted for a little while before the counselor arrived. We were with her about an hour and half and were asked many questions about our health and family histories, our relationship, what had drawn me to surrogacy, and other questions designed to find out if we knew what we were getting into, and determine why we were getting into it! She was very nice, very up front and honest with us, and made me feel very comfortable. It was nice for me to hear Kenneth expressing his support in such a verbal manner. I KNOW he supports me, and I KNOW he gets why I feel compelled to be a surrogate, but to hear him say it out loud was really special for me.

So, then "T" met us out front, and we went and had coffee at Starbucks before heading for the airport. "T" dropped us off curbside, we said our goodbyes, and I gave him a copy of "Surrogacy Was The Way" which I really enjoyed and thought they would as well. Kenneth and I checked in and went to have a drink and a leisurely lunch (we were over 2 hours early). It was nice to relax a little!

The flight back was an "express" flight - and was super tiny! It was fine up until landing which I found incredibly turbulent, and it really upset my stomach. When I told T & I they said they would make sure my flight home after transfer was much smoother!! :) No one wants to shake my stomach up more than neccessary after transfer!!

So, we are home, we are tired, and we are thrilled with how everything went! I can't express how attached I am to T & I and how excited I am at the prospect of being their surrogate and helping them become parents, which they so obviously want!!

Next comes background checks and contracts, hopefully we can get moving on contracts by next week so we can aim for a June cycle/transfer.

Monday, May 08, 2006

It's Monday! 3 More Days Until the Trip!

Well the weekend was great - it flew by though. I spent my Saturday morning on SMO, then headed out for lunch with a few other ladies at Smokey Bones, and got there right at noon. 3 surrogates and 1 IM attended, and it was fabulous to meet them all! I loved hearing their stories about their past surrogacies (2 are on their 3rd surro-pregancies, both pregnant with twins, and the other surrogate is finishing up contracts for her 2nd surrogacy).

I brought my son, and one of the other moms brought her 3 children, and the IM brought her two older sons. They sat at the table next to us and were very good - I realized as we wrapped things up we'd been there over 3 hours! Wow!! Time DOES fly when you're having fun! I had thought to bring our portable DVD player, so Kent and the other kids were pretty well entertained watching Spy Kids and Harry Potter while we chatted.

I rushed home, threw the ribs in the oven, tidied up the house, and got dinner ready for when my MIL, FIL, and SILs came for dinner at 6:30. We had a good time, and it was nice to spend some time with them! Then Sunday was a lazy rainy morning, Kent and I watched TV had breakfast, and I played on the computer. We got ready to go by 1pm and ran errands for about 3 hours, including SAMS, Wal Mart, the bank, and The Shane Co. (for Mother's Day)! I had to get Mother's Day cards and gifts, graduation cards and cash, and a Baby Shower card and gift! I was so tired by the time I got home! We had tons of leftovers, so I just put the ribs back in the oven, made a few extra mashed potatoes, and heated up some green beans and rolls. The dogs have been THRILLED to have the bones to chew on. I also had to get several packages ready to go, and need to mail them today. I sold some of Kent's summer clothes from last year on E-Bay, so that's going out, along with my mom's present, and a care package for my brother's baby, Sofia, for her upcoming time in the hospital for her next open heart surgery. (http://www.caringbridge.com/visit/sophia) I sent her a couple soft squishy stuffed animals to keep her company, and lots of movies Kent has gotten too old for (they have their own TV and VCR in her recovery room) to help keep her entertained. I think I put a book in there as well.

Now I'm gearing up for Thursday, I'm so excited and ready to go. I'll probably start packing clothes tomorrow, and finish up with all the bathroom items on Wednesday evening. I just need to find out about our e-tickets (I've only received my itinerary so far, not the actual tickets) and then we're outta here!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Quick Update

Just about 1 week left til it's time to head on over to NJ!! Yay! I talked to Fran on Monday, she'd had some internet issues and hadn't received my e-mails, so we chatted and she said she'd gotten the results from Memorial after a little drama over the fact that my OB failed to add the "s" to the end of my last name on the culture vials. They were, of course, negative. She also received the letter from my HR manager stating my income amount for reimbursement purposes, for the trip as well as for contracts (which will hopefully be starting SOON)!

Its been fun, on SMO there are several of us all using the same agency, and it sort of bonds you instantly, because you feel connected in such a unique way. There are also several of us in the same area here in Georgia who will be getting together this weekend for lunch at Smokey Bones, which I'm super excited about! I realized I would love the opportunity to meet with some surrogates who have "been there and done that" to ask questions and just hear first hand their thoughts and opinions and advice, so I posted about a lunch date on SMO and got a good response. I'm really looking forward to Saturday! We're also having Kenneth's family over for dinner Saturday afternoon, so it will be a really busy weekend (again)!

This past weekend was crazy, but lots of fun. We were supposed to go to the Air Show at NAS Atlanta on Saturday, but we got to the parking lot at 2pm and they had JUST closed the base, they were over capacity. I was so bummed! But, it gave me time to go home and relax a little before our friends came over for dinner around 6pm. They stayed til 9 and we had a really good time together!

On Sunday we met my Grandmother (who was visiting from Washington) at the Georgia Aquarium and had an afternoon there, and then went to dinner together. That was really fun, the Aquarium is just amazing, and Kent had an ABSOLUTE blast! I promised him I'd take him back sometime, hopefully in the near future. We didn't have very much time for him to play in the Explorer section, where they had tons and tons of hands on pools, you could touch everything from starfish, sharks, stingrays to shrimp!!

We're meeting Kenneth's grandmother tonight at Kohls for some summer shopping for Kent, which will be helpful - he's just grown out of everything from last year! I caved and bought him several new pairs of shorts 2 weeks ago, but I'm realizing he needs new t-shirts as well, and definitely new shoes. He tears his shoes up every 3 months, I swear!