Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Farewell to March!

Can you believe it?? March is truly over after today and we will be 1/4th of the way through 2011 already! It's been a busy, fast and very full month and it's seemed to really fly by for me. There are a lot of appointments coming up in the next couple weeks and I'm sure April is going to move quickly as well. This week has felt very disjointed to me for some reason. I'm not really sure why - maybe because it's been so abnormal in terms of having an appointment and having to leave for an hour or so and then come back to the office twice this week, and I will be doing so again today to pick up supplies for a surprise birthday party for our office manager! But since I have to pop out around noon I am now debating a yummy bagel sandwich from Einstein Bro's which I've been craving for the past couple weeks... mmmmm. :)

It's another kind of gray and overcast day here, but I really, really hope maybe by this weekend we get some sunshine! I am ready for the warmth again and would love to be able to open the windows up again; we've actually had the heat on the past couple days and it's been chilly, especially in our bedroom for some reason. Probably because we keep the door shut most of the time so L.B. (one of our chihuahuas) won't go hide under the bed making it about impossible to get him out for potty breaks and dinner time. He's such a mess! :)

So good-bye March! You've been a great month, full of some very memorable get togethers and happenings. I hope I do not see a repeat of the incident with Kenneth's back from last week, but I do hope for repeats of get togethers with Jenn and Chad, more relaxing massages from Spa Qi, discovering new and tasty recipes to cook for my family, and lunch outings with wonderful friends! :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Recipe: Easy Caramelized Onion Pork Chops

Here's a new one from AllRecipes we tried out this evening that went over pretty well. In my opinion there was a bit too much salt and pepper, so I'd maybe cut back by about 1 tsp but I also only used 3 medium sized chops, so maybe if I'd used 4 per the recipes instructions it wouldn't have been overly seasoned? Kenneth said he didn't think it was too peppery but that was about the extent of the feedback I got from the ever so helpful boys!!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 (4 ounce) pork loin chops, 1/2 inch thick
3 teaspoons seasoning salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 onion, cut into strips
1 cup water

Directions

1.Rub chops with 2 teaspoons seasoning salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

2.In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Brown pork chops on each side. Add the onions and water to the pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

3.Turn chops over, and add remaining salt and pepper. Cover, and cook until water evaporates and onions turn light to medium brown. Remove chops from pan, and serve with onions on top.
The lid on the pot I used had a steam vent, so I didn't have excess water to boil off at the end so I didn't need to leave the top off, but if yours doesn't vent well you would probably need to leave the lid off for the final simmer.
 
I also thought the chops could have maybe used more time to get a little more tender, they were ok, but still a little tougher than I like them. Flavor wise it was good, and we like cooked onions and the combination was nice. I also threw in some garlic powder to the seasoning mix since we're all big garlic fans! Served with baked potatoes and some green peas for a satisfying dinner.

Test Number One - Check!

This morning was the personality assessment inventory at ACRM. It was nice to get to find the office (which was actually really easy and I got there in maybe 5 minutes total) and also get to meet Tammy, one of the coordinators I've been communicating with. The office is really nice, very cozy and comfortable furniture in the waiting area and the staff seems very friendly and nice. Tammy took me back to a conference room that had a laptop set up ready for me to check off my answers and after she did a brief overview of how to take the test I signed the waiver form and she left so I could take my time filling it out. I was probably in there maybe 30-45 minutes actually taking the test. Some of the questions leave you feeling a little confused about the intent, but most of them are pretty obvious one way or the other. Hopefully, once again, I will be deemed JUST crazy enough to be a Gestational Surrogate ! :D I assume they'll review the results of the PAI prior to our joint counseling session which is set up for Monday and Kenneth's lab work will be done that day as well. I'm glad I know where they're located now (they're actually even closer to me than the other two R.E. offices I've worked with over the past 5 years).

I sent Jenn a quick text when I got back to my office to let her know that one is now done and can be checked off the list! It was her birthday last week and I am looking forward to hearing if they got to spend lots of time celebrating this past weekend!

It's another fairly overcast and icky day today; I am glad for my long, warm, wool coat to stay bundled in all day to help keep the cold out at least a little. It's a good day for warm drinks and soups, that sort of thing I think! :)

So, in honor of the P.A.I. this morning - you tell me: Do you have many brilliant ideas? False, Slightly True, Mainly True or Very True!!! :D

Monday, March 28, 2011

2 more days on BCPs...

Tonight and tomorrow PM are my last 2 BCPs prior to testing! Yay! :) Tomorrow I have my next chiro adjustment and massage and Kenneth has his MRI in the evening (I am very much looking forward to hearing the results from that and getting a better sense of how his back can be helped, though he already seems very happy with Physical Therapy, so hopefully he won't need much more than that!) I have the Personality Assessment Inventory on Wednesday and then leave a little early from work Wednesday evening to get Kent from his next Science Club Meeting!

Which reminds me... my baby boy has a girl friend...!! He's been telling me a little about this girl at school that he likes and he thought she liked him too because someone else told him she did and then a couple days later he says "Mom, I have a girlfriend!" It probably wouldn't have taken much to knock me over at that point... I cannot believe my baby is growing up and yes, this is probably one of those things that will last a couple weeks and that's that, and they probably don't ever even see each other or talk to each other (believe me, I remember my first 6th grade "boy friend"!!) but it's just such a huge "he's growing up" moment! Ack!!! I told him he could give her my cell phone number so she can call him sometime if she wants to... Sigh... what else can a mother say?!

In any event, I'm sure the next couple days are going to pass quickly with lots of appointments and things to get done, our next testing appointment will be for me and Kenneth next week on Monday for our joint session. I am glad we get to start checking things off the list! Can't wait to hear from the clinic when they would suggest cycling! :)

Groupon Deal for the Atlanta Area Ladies Who Love Bath and Body Products!

If anyone out there loves bath products as much as I do, I figured you might want to hear about this Groupon too!

$20 for $40 ($45 if Redeemed by April 2) Worth of Skincare, Bath, and Beauty Products at The Body Shop! Link here. (Valid at four Atlanta area locations including Lenox Square, Town Center at Cobb and Perimeter Mall).  

I've never bought anything at The Body Shop before, but I am a devoted fan of Bath & Bodyworks and Lush too, so I figured this one is probably worth trying out; I'm sure they have lots of goodies that smell yummy and feel great on your skin and I'm looking forward to trying it out!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our Adventuresome Saturday!

I thought this morning would be relatively quiet. I knew I wanted to get out of bed no later than 8:00 so I'd have time to fix some breakfast and get that cleaned up before a man and his son were coming buy to look at the Pokemon toys we'd listed for sale on Craigslist. I was about half way through cooking the pancakes (Mom's Buttermilk Pancakes made with whole wheat flour and blueberries) when I heard all the dog's start FREAKING out barking outside. I looked out the kitchen window and saw two other dogs walking along the fenceline, they were wagging tails and looked friendly so I took two leashes and went out the front door and called them. One came to me right away, a sweet older shepherd mix and the other was a young male pitbull mix. Cute as could be and sweet too. The shepherd had a phone number on her collar, so we called it and the owner lived in Dacula, but the dog had gotten away from his parent's, who lived just down at the end of our road. So we walked the shepherd home and called animal control to come pick up the pitbull which we took back home with us and put him in the backyard and brought all our dogs into the house. Not a few moments later, the shepherd was back in our yard, out again!! We put her in the backyard with the other dog and let them hang out until animal control showed up in the afternoon. We told him where the shepherd was from and that she'd gotten out right after we'd taken her home so he said he'd take her back and tell them they need to fix the problem, we were hoping they might pay more attention to him than they did to us! I know this is the country and people seem to let animals run loose around here all the time, but it drives us crazy because we're right off a pretty busy road and it wouldn't take much for them to get down there and end up hurt! :(

The man and his son did come by and get the Pokemon toys which Kent was happy about, one more thing of his sold! He's got quite a little "cash fund" going right now and I know he's itching to be able to go out and do some shopping with his newly found "wealth"! :)

The weather has been pretty overcast today, with a little bit of rain. I napped a couple hours this afternoon and feel much better. I've been napping a lot the past few days, but I think it's slowly helping to make up for this past week of very little and very interrupted sleeping and I'm slowly getting back to normal!

I'm working on some homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza tonight using my mother in laws homemade pizza crust! I haven't fixed that in ages, and it sounded good to everyone. I love, love, love my Kitchenaid mixer on nights like this - it is the BEST for breads that have to be kneaded - set a timer and walk away! :)

Here's hoping for a peaceful and quiet Sunday morning, and hoping those two puppies that came by to "visit" are safe and sound this evening!

Friday, March 25, 2011

T.G.I.F.!! :)

I'm so glad it's the weekend... even though this was a very short work week for me since I was home taking care of Kenneth Monday through Wednesday, I am just completely wiped! It's been a VERY eventful week, some good, some just plain draining. I am so glad Kenneth is doing better today and he said he had a good physical therapy session so that is VERY encouraging to hear.

Last night when I got home around 5:00pm I was so sleepy and told Kenneth I just needed a little nap and then I'd get going on dinner... I ended up sleeping for TWO HOURS before finally waking up and then I slept ok last night. I had a hard time getting to sleep, and woke up once or twice, but I'm pretty sure I slept solidly from about midnight until the alarm went off just after 5:00am. That was a good chunk of time compared to most of this past week's choppy sleep! PLUS we actually slept in the BED for the first time in about the past week instead of on the floor (it's felt better on Kenneth's back). But the week is definitely catching up to me and I feel pretty worn out right now and the idea of a nice afternoon nap is very tantalizing.

I'm hoping I can get in a few more good hours of work and maybe I will be able to pop out a little early this afternoon and go home for a little nap... we had T.G.I.F. at work today (we have one every pay day Friday) and they brought in Chick Fil A biscuits and yummy Einstein Bros bagels! Mmmm!! :) Great way to start the day! When I was pregnant with Fiona (my first surro baby) I used to crave Einstein Bro's cinnamon raisin bagels and had them for breakfast a lot!!

We're down to just one more week left in this month and then on to April! This year is already zipping by and I'm sure the next couple months are going to feel like they're flying as well with everything coming up! Hopefully in another couple weeks we'll know more about the potential job Kenneth has been interested in and get an idea of what they would need and what that timeline would be and we'll have to start working towards getting him ready to go for that and we should be all done with testing and contracts by the end of next month as well, or at least done with testing and maybe finishing contracts in May, we'll see how it goes - but I know it's going to pass quickly for sure and there will be a lot of good stuff to keep us busy! :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Introducing...!

In beginning the introduction on here to my new IPs, here is their ad that I saw on SMO about a month ago and am so glad I replied to!
"We are looking for a gestational surrogate, and we are hoping that you might be able to help us. We are both 35 years old. We have been happily married for almost 4 years and have been together for 10 years. We live in our own home in Atlanta, Georgia. We don’t have any children yet, but we would love to start fulfilling our dream of adding to our family. We feel like our lives will not be complete unless we can love, teach, and raise children together.

We currently have 8 frozen embryos created from our own eggs and sperm and are looking to start the pregnancy process as soon as possible. We have our frozen embryos at a local fertility clinic here in Atlanta.

We are flexible to using your OB and delivery at the location of your choice. We hope to be able to attend prenatal visits to the OB. We are honest, pretty low maintenance people with a good sense of humor and won’t be demanding of you during pregnancy. We are just looking for a non-smoking, drug-free person who won’t drink during pregnancy and is willing to take a multivitamin. We would like to find someone who is open to selective reduction/termination, if it was necessary. We are also open to contact after delivery, if that is desired by the gestational carrier.

We are willing to offer appropriate compensation and fees for your time, sacrifices, and efforts. We think it is an amazing thing that you are willing to help others achieve their dreams of being parents. Please e-mail if you are interested."
Jenn and Chad both work in the medical field and are mom and dad to an adorable Shih-Tzu named "Boudin".  We talked through pretty much all the important topics within a couple days of my response to their ad and I was so thrilled that they are open to me posting pictures of all of us throughout our journey and after delivery, they are open to staying in touch and genuinely seem interested in building a good relationship and being in touch frequently throughout the surrogacy which are all important things to me! They are very easy to talk to, and I have really enjoyed the in-person get togethers we've had and our phone conversations. They always teleconference with both of them on the line which I think is awesome - it is great how involved they both are, I think it's super sweet how much of a team the two of them already are in this journey, and hope I will complement their team well and be a really good addition! :)

A somewhat weird but very cool thing is that they know my last IPs! It is crazy! My former IM "L" had actually sent me an e-mail last August when I was pregnant with Miss "S" telling me about Jenn and Chad and asking if I knew anyone searching. When I first read Jenn and Chad's ad their names sounded vaguely familiar to me, but I didn't put it together until after we'd gotten together for lunch the first time and I went home and searched my old e-mails and found their info! They had said after our lunch they were thinking I must have been L&N's surro because I mentioned my FIM had been a transplant patient and Jenn is as well, and the local transplant community is pretty small especially when you add in a gestational surrogate!! "L" recently sent me a note that said: "Congratulations on matching with Jenn and Chad. They are extremely lucky to have you and I wish you all the best. I can't wait to follow your next journey. You are such an amazing person to do this. As I have said before, we can't thank you enough for bringing "S" safely into our lives." That was such a great note to receive from her. I am very glad that she is supportive of us matching as well. I was a little concerned at first that it might be a little awkward, but it doesn't seem to be for anyone and it's kind of neat to think that maybe two babies I carried via surrogacy might get to know each other and grow up together! :)

Kenneth and Kent are both very supportive of this match and feel really good about Jenn and Chad as well.  Kent hasn't had the chance to meet potential IPs before - previously he met our IPs at the hospital during delivery, so it was nice that he's had the chance already to meet Jenn and Chad before the official decision was made so he could truly be a part of it. He already told me how much he likes them and he's glad we get to help them. He practically "claimed" Jenn when they came for lunch on the 12th - bonding to her right away (he loved that she let him tell her all about his lego and bionicle creations and that she was interested in what he was showing her and that she had lots of patience and attention for him!!) :)

So that is my introduction to Jenn and Chad, my IPs for our 2011/2012 Gestational Surrogacy journey and adventure!! Here's hoping things will be smooth for us throughout testing and cycling and that soon we will be well on our way to a positive and successful transfer and a baby or two for them to love!

Updated Testing Schedule!

After talking to Jenn and Chad last night, and sending the coordinator Kenneth's availability we went back and forth this morning a few times trying to iron everything out, and this is what we've come up with!

Wed. March 30th, 8:30am - Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI)

Mon. April 4th, 10:45am - Individual Psych (also Kenneth's labwork)

Tues. April 12th, 2:00pm - Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)

Wed. April 13th, 9:15am - Nurse Consult
10:15 - MD Consult
11:15 - DXN Hysteroscopy

So, not quite so condensed anymore, but it will be nice to start checking things off the "to-do" list starting next week! :)

We still have to schedule the joint counseling session with all 4 of us, but the coordinator is just waiting to hear back from Jenn & Chad on their schedule preferences and we'll go from there! I'm not sure if I've heard of the P.A.I. before, but it looks like it might be similar to the MMPI test which I've taken previously. I guess I'll find out next week! :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yippee!! Onward and Upward!!

We got the official OK from the R.E. yesterday! I'm cleared to move forward for testing and J&C asked me if I would be willing to and after talking with Kenneth about it in depth the past week he was ready to say yes too! I'm so excited! I've sent the coordinator my info - I should have a new cycle in about a week and a half and they'll set up any necessary appointments and testing around that. I should hear back soon what all needs to be done and when. YAY!! I am so excited!! :) It still feels so surreal too! I thought for sure it would take a few months to even connect with the right couple this time, and thought they would be in another state and that I'd match through my old agency - and somehow an amazing local couple who happens to know my last IPs were right here searching at the same time I was and we connected independantly. I hope to "officially" introduce them soon! :)

I should have a testing schedule soon! Yay, yayayayayay!! :)

Afternoon update: I got an e-mail from the coordinator with a pretty condensed testing schedule - they fit it all in to two days! However, I should have sent her Kenneth's school schedule first because the day they picked for him to be there for the pysch eval doesn't work. I sent her back a note with his schedule and we'll see what the update is. However, I imagine most of the rest of it should stay the same, in which case the initial testing (an HSG and Personality Assessment Test for me) will be on April 12th. There was supposed to be an RE consult, Nurse consult, Hysteroscopy, Individual Psych Consult (with me and Kenneth), then a group consult with all 4 of us the following day on the 13th (essentially a full day of appointments, from about 8:00 - 2:00).  We'll see if they want to keep everything but the pysch consults that day or if they move all of them to a better day for Kenneth's schedule. Sounds like once those are all done we'll definitely have a good idea of what the game plan is and what the tentative timeline from there woud be! Three weeks to go!! :) J&C are planning to call and touch base this evening. Yay!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Recipe: Seared Pork Tortas Recipe

I fixed these again last night for dinner; I used the whole wheat hoagies I'd picked up from Sam's Club. One hoagie made about 3 medium sized sandwiches. The bread was fantastic and I just love these sandwiches! The combinations of ingredients works really well together. The bean and salsa mash is probably my favorite part of it and I love the fresh avocado and tomato in it! I omit the onion and jalepeno for personal preference but otherwise follow instructions. I also have had to slice the pork smaller to get it to cook through in a decent amount of time. It would probably work best to just dice it to your preferred size before coating with the seasoning and cooking.

These are very hearty sandwiches, filling, fresh and tasty and we really enjoy them!

Ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 (2-ounce) boneless center-cut pork loin chops (1/4 inch thick)
1 (12-ounce) baguette, cut in half horizontally
1/2 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons refrigerated fresh salsa
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
1 large tomato, cut into 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 ripe peeled avocado, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices

Preparation

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine cumin and salt; sprinkle evenly over pork. Add pork to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Let stand 5 minutes; cut into thin slices.

3. Hollow out top and bottom halves of bread, leaving a 3/4-inch-thick shell; reserve torn bread for another use. Place bread halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Broil 2 minutes or until golden brown.

4. Place beans and salsa in a small bowl; mash with a fork until almost smooth. Spoon bean mixture into the bottom half of baguette. Top with pork, cheese, onion, tomato, jalapeño, avocado, and top half of baguette. Cut into 4 pieces.

Quick Check In

The clinic coordinator did send me a quick e-mail back to confirm the RE did have the file to review and it shouldn't be too much longer until we hear back but he hasn't returned the file with the "ok" stamp just yet.  So, working on finding patience for a little while longer. :) I sent J & C an update with a copy of the e-mail from the clinic and they replied that they'd called and e-mailed the clinic and heard the same thing!  So we will give it a few more days and hope maybe by the end of this week we'll hear something!  I hate being pesky, I just hate not knowing what's going on even more! :)

Kenneth had a really rough night and I am exhausted this morning and hoping I can sleep a little more before his appointment this AM at the spine specialist. He just couldn't get comfortable, every position hurt, his back was REALLY hurting and nothing was giving him any relief; not even the meds the doctor prescribed when we saw her yesterday afternoon.  I am hoping VERY hard the spine specialist will be able to give us some idea of what is going on and how to help Kenneth heal. It is killing me seeing him so miserable, so in pain, and so exhausted after days on end of this.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quiet Weekend

It's been a very quiet and pretty uneventful weekend at our house; Kenneth's back has been bothering him all week and he had a chiro adjustment and massage on Friday afternoon and came home in a LOT of pain and it seems to just have snowballed from there. He's spent the entire weekend in pretty much agony laying on the floor which seems to be the only position he can get any relief in. The chiropractor gave him 3 natural supplements to help, but they're not doing anything for him yet and neither are any of the prescription meds he already had. They're just not touching it. Ice seems to help numb the area for a short period of time, but other than that nothing is giving him any relief. He asked me to drive him to the doctor tomorrow and hopefully we can start working with the doctor towards some sort of actual pain management and recovery plan for him. His back has been so messed up for years now, and he's been going to the chiropractor for about a year or so now and he's still experiencing SO much pain off and on, although this is the worst I've seen him in a really long time.

I think he needs a new x-ray and some pretty aggressive pain management and treatment. I'm not sure what they'll suggest, but I know the level of pain he's in and with how much this has affected his ability just to function normally something drastic really needs to be considered. I hope the doctor will have a good suggestion. I worry about him and I hate to see him hurting so much and feeling so debilitated!

I've tried to take care of him and be with him as much as I could though I finally popped out for about an hour to Sam's Club and re-stocked us on groceries and a few other items we'd run low or out of. I got a lot of good fresh stuff - tomatoes, baby carrots, grapes, bananas, blueberries, colored peppers, apples and oranges along with some bakery breads, steaks, drinks, dog food, bird seed, and a few other odds and ends. One stop shopping! :) I love being able to buy in bulk there and get such great deals on everything. We've only recently started getting fresh produce there but it's a great cost effective way to buy produce and it allows us to enjoy it a lot more often!

Kenneth wants tacos and nachos tonight for dinner and I'm planning lasagna and steaks this week as well and will fix some yummy garlic bread to go with both to use the nice soft French bread I picked up. I have a recipe for a really yummy pork sandwich too that might go well with the bread since I already have pork chops thawed too, sounds like I have dinners all planned out for the week! One less thing to think about! :)

I'm very ready to hear back from Donna at the clinic tomorrow AM and have fingers crossed for a good update so we can figure out what comes next soon and move out of limbo land!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday... and yet we wait!!

I tried to be so patient ALL day waiting for the much anticipated e-mail or phone call from the clinic giving us the ok or SOMETHING... but no... not a peep!! I tried to be SO good and not be pesky or bug them, knowing they would contact us when they had an update... but did my patience pay off? NO!!! I should have been pesky earlier, then at least I would have an idea as to what the hold up was... :(

I wonder whether or not the coordinator works on Saturday?? Maybe she'll get my message tomorrow?!! I can hope, right?

What's a couple more days, really?? (She asks and then proceeds to laugh just mildly hysterically)!! :D Ok, I'm not really crazy, just tired and bummed we didn't get an update today. I hope Donna gets my check in message and gets back to us soon with an update. Fingers remain crossed for good news soon! :)

At least one more Craigslist item found a new home today - Kent's LeapFrog Learning System with 16 books and cartridges, from PreSchool on up; he used that thing for years but it's been sitting all forlorn and forgotten for a long time in the basement. It's going to a new home with 3 younger children and it does make me feel good to know someone else will get a few more years of enjoyment out of it. Kent used to play with that thing for hours on end... ah the good 'ol days!

Your Thoughts on Pee Sticks...

I was literally laughing out loud HARD last night following this exchange of e-mails with my potential IPs:

Me:
"I thought of something else we haven't chatted about yet - what do y'all think about testing with Home Pregnancy Tests after transfer? Would you want your GC to test, or not test? Would you want to know results, or if possible would you want to be the ones to see the HPT results in person? I have tested (slightly obsessively! ) after my previous transfers and with Fiona I got a positive at 7 days past, and with Samantha the first light positive was 6 days past transfer; but I know some would prefer their surro either not test at all or at least not tell them, and then others would like to be able to see the test results in person if they're able! Is that something you've thought about at all?"

"J" (potential IM):
"We had not really thought about testing at home, but would be fine with it. It may sound gross too, but if you do end up wanting to test at home, can you take a picture of a positive and keep the stick for us?"

Me:
"You're too funny! That's not gross at all - sending pictures is my favorite part of testing, showing the progression of the line getting darker is SO much fun to watch! :D"

"C" (potential IF):
"For the record, I'm fine if you keep the stick."

I was dying when "C" sent that follow up e-mail!! Kenneth was lounging on the couch in the living room and I had just checked my e-mail in the kitchen read that and started cracking up and had to pull it up on the laptop in the living room to show him... he got that smurky amused look on his face and shook his head at me... :)

And for fun - see proof of my HPT obsessiveness from last March:
And one of my pictures of my HPT stockpile prior to cycling:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

An Ode to Theo (Feel Free to Drool... a little)

Oh Theo, Theo how I love you... let me count the ways...

Ok, seriously, my brother introduced me to this Seattle gem when I went up for a visit in early December. Theo Chocolate produces premium organic and Fair Trade specialty chocolate (so not only does it taste absolutely amazing you can feel GOOD about where it comes from and how its produced too)!!

According to their website:

As the first and only organic and Fair Trade chocolate factory in the country, all of our ingredients are carefully screened to ensure they meet our standards for social and environmental responsibility. Theo’s standards and practices include:


Using only pure ingredients that are grown sustainably. We source our ingredients locally whenever possible.

Partnering with our growers by ensuring they earn a living wage and have access to education for their families.

Honoring and respecting our employees and suppliers. This is possible due to the unique fact that we control every step of our own manufacturing process.

Using green energy sources to power our factory.

Using sustainable packaging and printing methods.

Educating about social and environmental accountability 7 days a week through public tours of our artisan factory.
Jake and I took the tour of their amazing facility and store while I was there and it was awesome and I HIGHLY reccommend it to anyone who's in the Seattle area. Not only do I think their practices are pretty dang amazing, but holy moly their products are fantastic and there are TONS of samples throughout both the store and the tour. YUMMY!! :) I brought a few bars home with me in December and ate the last little bit just a couple nights ago (of a yummy Vanilla flavored bar) and so I decided no other chocolate would do and I spent the money to order a new stockpile and have it shipped here... So now I have a little collection to drool over and dream about enjoying for the next 6 months or so... I figure about one bar a month is fair, right?!

I got Hazelnut Crunch, Coffee Dark Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Dark Chocolate, Toasted Coconut Dark Chocolate, Rich Dark Chocolate, Creamy Milk Chocolate, and Salted Almond Milk Chocolate. All the Darks are 70% cacao!


So drool a little with me, and then hop on over to Theo's website and order your own fantastic and amazing chocolate bar!! (They do more than chocolate bars too, they have incredible confections, caramels, and more - but I'll stick to my bars please and thank you!) :D

Five YEARS!!

I have now been in the surrogacy community for FIVE YEARS!!! Holy moly... five years.... that is a long time!! March of 2006 was when I contacted Fran at A Woman's Gift all those years ago and I haven't looked back since. 3 matches, 3 transfers, a bunch of cycles, countless HPTs, lots of surro/IP get togethers, some really amazing friendships, and 2 deliveries later and here I am, hoping for another round! :) That is about the shortest way to abbreviate a portion of the past five years of my life. It has not always revolved around surrogacy of course, but it surely has been a big part of my life... it's amazing to me to think of how much has changed in that time, how much I have learned (some lessons harder than others), how much my family has evolved and grown in that amount of time, even how our animals have changed in that amount of time! And I think the biggest thing, is how much I have personally grown and changed, how much I have learned about myself, learned about what I want in life, what is important to me and what is not. I feel a lot "older and wiser" than I did way back then! :)

I wonder what the next five years of my life will bring!! I can't wait to find out, one day at a time!

I did hear back from the coordinator at the clinic, and she said the nurse coordinator for my potential IP's R.E. said everything looks good and they just have to get the R.E.'s final "OK" when he's in office on Friday! So I think things are going well and in the right direction there. I can't believe it will have already been 3 weeks since we first started talking on this Friday; time has really seemed to literally fly by... I guess that's a good thing - just seems weird too I guess!

The sun is coming up and giving all the trees that pretty early morning glow - it looks so peaceful outside right now! It looks like today is going to be much nicer, so hopefully that means a much better commute home too! :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rain, Rain Go Away!

It is dreary, gray, rainy and COLD today! After our gorgeous sunshiny weekend, well this is just downright depressing weather. Bring back my sunshine, please!! Kenneth seems to be having a hard time adjusting to the time change. It has all of us a little off schedule. Dinner has been fixed a little late the last couple nights because it just didn't feel as late as it actually was!!

We got rid of our LitterMaid Plus yesterday, thank you Craigslist, and are hoping Kent's big bin of Transformers might be finding a new home tonight. Fingers crossed. Slowly, but surely, we are clearing stuff on out of the basement! Yay! :)

I sent a quick check in note to the coordinator at the clinic and said I hoped I wasn't being super pesky, but asked if she might have a general idea on how long record reviews take and if we might hope to hear back maybe by the end of the week? I'm hoping that's about right. I would think one week should be enough time, but you just never really know for sure how each clinic handles things so I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask. :) At least they have very thorough and helpful paperwork with checklists and what to expect, what needs to be done, and in what order. This is probably the most organized in terms of up-front expectations on paper I've seen from a clinic so far. It doesn't say for the GS how long a "interdisciplinary team records review" will take, but for the IP's it says records should be received at least 1 week prior to New Patient Appt; so I'm hoping timeline is similar.

I just did a countdown to Kenneth's May 10th graduation and we have 56 days to go - just 8 little weeks away! :) I'm kind of thinking/hoping maybe in about that same time frame if everything goes ok with the records review and we decide to move ahead for sure, that should be a similar time frame for getting all of the preliminary paperwork and testing done between the attorney and clinic... we shall see! :) It still feels surreal to me how things have been going with J&C, how easy it has been to talk to them, how similarly we seem to feel on most all the important issues. I still keep saying "if" we move forward and "maybe" it will happen, and "we'll see" how it goes - but I know in my heart and in my gut that I feel really good about everything and I WANT to move forward and I HOPE we can soon and I REALLY hope they feel the same way! :D

I enjoyed my chiro adjustment earlier and the fantastic massage that followed. I am so, SO glad Spa Qi introduced themselves to our office. I still associate them with the end of my pregnancy with Samantha - Kenneth used to have Saturday appointments and I'd go with him - we'd get Chick Fil A for breakfast on the way there and while he was in his 1 - 1.5 hour appointment I'd go for a long walk in the adjoining neighborhood. It was a very nice walk, lots of pretty trees and a lake and almost always others out walking and often with dogs. A great spot. I would walk, walk, walk and try to get some contractions going those last couple weeks before I delivered, before that I would just walk to get some exercise, but walking was really helping get contractions going towards the end - I remember a few pretty painful ones. Is it weird that I'm excited and looking forward to that part of pregnancy again? I love the anticipation, the excitement, the curiosity of it - when will baby decide to come? Are these contractions the real thing? How much longer do we really have? When will I be sure enough to call my IPs? Ah all those fun moments to look forward to again! :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Passing the time while I wait to hear...

Trying to keep busy and stop wondering (for the 100th time today) how long it might take for the R.E. to do a records review and get back to us all? I even posted on SMO to ask if anyone had been denied by an R.E. why they were. So far the only answers have been for pre-eclampsia and too many deliveries (according to a specific clinic's requirements). I've never had pre-e and have delivered three times so far, so I am pretty sure I won't get ruled out for anything like that. In fact, I'm pretty sure everything is honestly and truly fine and I just have to torture myself with the "what ifs" in the mean time.

Sigh. I'm a mess. :D

I have another Spa Qi appointment tomorrow with a chiro adjustment and massage and always look forward to those so much! I can't wait!

Kent managed to get a rash all over the side of his face and his eyelid from something he got into yesterday with his friends playing in the woods (and came home with soaking wet boots and jeans)! We gave him some benadryl and put calamine lotion on it last night and it looked better this morning. It seems about once every other month or so he gets into something in those woods that ends up causing a reaction! His eyelid was so puffy last night I was worried I was going to have to take him to the doctor, I'm hoping it looks like its healing when I see him this afternoon.

After taking a week off of P90X to get a bunch of things done around the house and work on projects last week I get to start back again today! I think I've decided to just start at the beginning of Phase 3 (the final 4 weeks) again so I can do them all in a row.

Phase 3 (Weeks 9, 11)

Day 1: Chest, Back, Ab Ripper X
Day 2: Plyometrics
Day 3: Shoulder, Arms, Ab Ripper X
Day 4: Yoga X
Day 5: Legs, Back, Ab Ripper X
Day 6: Kenpo X
Day 7: REST

Phase 3 (Weeks 10, 12)
Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, Biceps, Ab Ripper X
Day 2: Plyometrics
Day 3: Back, Biceps, Ab Ripper X
Day 4: Yoga X
Day 5: Legs, Back, Ab Ripper X
Day 6: Kenpo X
Day 7: REST

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Got to meet another surrogate today!

I haven't had the chance to get together with anyone else in the surro community for awhile and it was awesome to get the chance to meet up with Melanie from SMO in person! And the extra super cool thing was that I got to meet one of her IF's as well and I found out after she and I were trying to coordinate a day to get together that her IF is someone I had been communicating with awhile back when they were still searching for a match! I hadn't heard if they had found someone or how things were going for them and think it's SOOO awesome that Melanie connected with them. I'm super excited and hopeful for them and have my fingers crossed that their 2ww passes quickly and provides them very POSITIVE news and soon!! :D

We had lunch at Chili's and I had some super yummy shrimp tacos after we all shared some spicy queso and lots of warm tortilla chips and since her IF's birthday is coming up he had a free dessert and we shared a gooey hot chocolate brownie with melting vanilla ice cream to end the delicious meal. Yumm! :) The weather was fantastic this afternoon again, so it was a great day to be out and about.

I am so glad they fit me in and so glad I got to meet them in person!

Here's Melanie and her adorable 9-month old Wes and of course me!

La Cucaracha

Apparently the rescue group we adopted our rottweiler Sadie through failed to mention that somewhere in her lineage there is cockroach:


This giant 95 lb dog sleeps like this all the time (and I finally got it on camera)!! She is such a funny girl!! :D

I love...

I love...
... hot cocoa
... puppy snuggles
... warm sunshine and cool breezes
... Starbucks light frappuccino's with caramel drizzle
... Thomas Kincade
... unsolicited hugs from my child (who is getting older way too quickly!)
... Bath Bombs from Lush
... scented candles
... Willow Tree figurines
... thick cozy blankets
... warm sand on bare feet
... the smell of the ocean breeze
... warm brownies and the smell of them baking
... breakfast in bed
... laughing with friends
... sitting around a campfire and the smell of smoke on my clothes afterwards
... warm, gooey s'mores
... Great Harvest Bread Company
... fireworks
... feeling loved and cherished
... feeling a baby kick in utero
... making someone else feel good
... letting those I love know I love them
... riding bareback
... bubble baths
... all things from Bath & Bodyworks
... freshly painted toenails
... a warm towel
... the smell of clean laundry
... the smell of the earth after a good rain
... watching the sunset
... a cup of hot tea
... French Vanilla decaf coffee
... tulips
... Olive Garden soup and salad
... sunshiny yellow kitchens
... warm fuzzy slippers
... soft cozy bathrobes
... a great new hair cut
... massages
... grilling out on a nice day
... blowing out birthday candles
... sexy shoes
... freshly shaved legs
... singing in the car
... listening to audiobooks on my long commute
... staying in bed for "just 10 more minutes" to enjoy the warm covers and early morning cuddles
... cookies still warm from the oven
... the sound of my son's laughter
... camping
... accomplishing what I set out to do
... taking pictures
... trying new recipes
... driving my Corvette
... Theo Chocolate (http://www.theochocolate.com/)
... feeling happy and at peace

Tell me what YOU love and leave me a link to your blog in my comments! :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What a Perfect Day!

Today was just perfect! :) The sun was shining, there was a cool breeze but it was perfectly warm outside - I got my "grilling weather" afterall! We had a nice morning and got a few last minute things cleaned up and put away to get ready for J&C's visit and I got my shortcake baked and the pasta salad put together and a few other food prep things done. Then we just enjoyed hanging out a little until they arrived (Kenneth was making use of his new video games some more). "C" was feeling a little under the weather but decided to make the trip to visit afterall, poor guy! :( I felt bad about him coming all the way out to see us when he wasn't feeling that well so I really hope he'll be much better by the time Monday comes around!

They brought us some "boudin" which I had never heard of before which was awesome! We added that to the brats and burgers on the grill and had a big lunch (and of course too much food) with lots of good conversation and hanging out and visiting. We spent quite a bit of time outside on the deck, petting the puppies and chatting and just enjoying the beautiful weather. Our puppies were completely smitten and just ate up the extra attention. Our basset, Max, laid down on the bench next to "J" with his head on her lap and crashed while we talked. He was snoring off and on which I found rather amusing. :D They told us all about their Shih-Tzu Boudin and hopefully we'll be able to have a play date with him and at least our smaller dogs sometime, I'm sure Brutus (one of our chi's) would love to have someone his size to run around with! We have two chi's but they don't play that often. Brutus tries to get L.B. to play sometimes, but L.B. doesn't seem to really know "how" to and usually runs and hides under the bed when Brutus starts trying to get him to chase him! Silly boys.

At the end of the visit of course we had to have an "event" to commemorate the day with - and the toilet decided to overflow right before we were getting ready to say good-byes after being flushed, so we had about 3 adults cramming into the small guest bathroom trying to throw towels on the wet floor and trying to figure out what the problem was (but the guys got it under control pretty quickly)!! I couldn't help but laugh, at least a little, of course the toilet would overflow!!! Sigh. Well, no one can say it wasn't a memorable day... right?!

Those four hours of their visit seemed to just fly by, but eventually we wrapped things up and said goodbyes and sent them off I'm sure with an extra pound of dog hair all over them! :) I'm so glad they were able to come visit and see our home and meet our whole family (4-leggers and all!) We really enjoyed the visit and felt really comfortable and at ease with them and can't wait to hear back from the RE next week! I feel like I might just hold my breath a little between now and then because so far everything seems to be going so amazingly and I feel SO good about this match and can't help but be very hopeful! :) So fingers and toes crossed for great news next week and we'll go from there! :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Happy Friday!

What a beautiful day it is today!! The sun is shining and its just gorgeous out there! I took today off to spend with Kenneth on his last day of Spring Break and to get a few things done around the house, and we've been productive and gotten several of our spring cleaning "to-do's" crossed off the list and also enjoyed a little shopping and meandering (with our mandatory Starbucks stop!) and also some down time watching a couple shows together and I caught a quick nap which was nice.

Kent is out mowing the yard, I'm glad it's dry enough and nice enough for him to be able to do it! Although it is nice when the grass stays "quiet" during the winter months and we don't have to really think about it! I guess those months are over now though! I'm not complaining though, I'm very ready for the warmer weather and more sunshine.

Kenneth got a new trio of video games with a Christmas gift card while we were out at Best Buy which he's having fun with right now, and I guess this is my "me time" for a moment while the guys are busy and I'm taking a break! :)

We are having J&C over tomorrow for lunch and I am looking forward to our visit and getting the chance to hang out a little and introduce them to Kent and all of our puppies and our home. Their RE has all my records now and we should find out next week if I would be cleared to carry for them. If the RE clears me and we all still feel good about each other after our get together this weekend hopefully we'll be able to make a decision next week on the "what's next"! I'm nervous and excited! :)

Ok, I should get back up and get back to work and see what else I can accomplish this afternoon! Then to figure out what to fix for dinner... hmm... decisions, decisions! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why do I still get nervous??!

Does there ever come a time where being an experienced surrogate actually lends you CONFIDENCE in what you're doing?? Yes I know what I'm doing as an experienced GS much more so than before, but will I ever feel confident because of my experience? Going through the matching phase I have all the exact same worries and fears as I have had the other two times - I'm beginning to think that just doesn't ever change! Maybe for some it does, but I have a feeling I'm not the only one who feels like this when you're at the beginning again. At first I was thinking "I don't remember feeling like this last time" but I looked up posts from about 2 years ago and sure enough I was posting pretty much the same worries... it seems so silly looking back, but never the less I expend some of my time and energy worrying!! It's so annoying, I know I can't change things - either I will find a good match or I won't, either their RE will approve me or they won't, either I will go on to successfully carry another GS pregnancy or I won't. I know none of those big important parts of being a surrogate are in my hand, and so I worry about them! Maybe I just have control issues??! I think I just want everything to go well and I feel good about the parts I know I can contribute to and then the unknowns leave me wondering "what will happen"?!

I wonder will I find IPs who will like me and feel like I do about the important things, will we get to know each other well enough to be sure it's a good match, when is the right time to agree to match, will it be difficult to discuss contracts and make sure everyone feels comfortable with it, will I get approved by the RE, will testing go ok, will my uterus look good, how will cycling go, am I still a good candidate, will I get pregnant.... I guess it just comes down to knowing there are no guarantees, but always hoping for the best and hoping things will work out great.

There, maybe I just needed to get that off my chest, take a deep breath and let it go. If it's not in my hands, I have to trust it will happen if it is indeed meant to be and leave it at that (or at least try to)!

Kenneth had re-painted the kitchen on Tuesday and we finished getting it put back together last night. I am soooo happy with it, makes such a huge difference to have clean walls with some sunny yellow color on them in there!! Makes me want to paint other rooms too, but I am pretty sure that won't be happening anytime soon unless maybe I decide to pay someone else to come in and do it while Kenneth is gone for his new job sometime in the next year! :D (I am considering this option already!)

There is still some re-organization he wants to do to try to clear some of the kitchen gadgets off the countertops and free up some space so it looks a little less cluttered, and I know we probably need to go through a few other pieces like our buffet in the dining room and purge that as well. So we definitely still have some projects ahead of us, but it feels like the "big stuff" is done or well underway and that feels great!

I'm hoping to get a couple of the dogs bathed tonight, that will be a fun task!! The little ones are easier, but Max is a bit harder (our bassett hound). Sadie (our rottie) needs one too, but she has to be bathed outside because she's just too big for inside!! So maybe we'll get some nice sunny weather on Friday and I can give her a good scrubbing on the deck then. It's pretty and sunny outside right now, but still looks chilly and breezy too. I just can't wait for it to really warm up around here!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

What is a "Serial Surrogate"??

I was reading through some articles today:

Surrogate Mom Damages Heart After Four Babies - 'Serial Surrogates' Seek to Help Others, But Put Themselves at Risk in Multiple Pregnancies

Surrogate Mom Delivers Eight Babies in Seven Years - California Woman Births Children for Couples Around the World
 
Serial Surrogates Have Delivered More Babies for Others Than Themselves - Surrogate: 'It Gives Me a Great Sense of Pride'

Meet a Serial Surrogate Mother - Anita Brush has had 11 children, eight of whom were not her own.
 
YOUR LIFE: FAMILY - I'M A SERIAL SURROGATE - Touched by the plight of one childless couple, surrogate mother Andrea Gibson gave birth to two babies for them - and now she plans to have a third.

So what IS a "Serial Surrogate"?? And why does that sound like such a nasty term?! Is it unhealthy and dangerous to be a surrogate more than once or twice? Do people who thought it was fantastic the first or second time you were a surrogate think negatively of you for continuing on with subsequent journeys? What is that magic "cut-off" point?!
 
I, myself, am thrilled that I get the chance to be a surrogate hopefully at least once more. I love that I have had two easy, uncomplicated pregnancies and have been able to help bring 2 little girls into this world and into their parents arms. Each time, at the beginning of a surrogacy journey I thought it might be my last one, but figured I'd see how it went and see how I felt at the end. Months before Fiona was born I KNEW I wanted to be a surrogate again. I went into my second surrogacy kind of thinking it would probably be my last, and who knew what the future was going to hold. Then after Samantha arrived, Kenneth and I actually started discussing our future and timelines and plans and I realized I would be able to be a G.S. probably once more and I was excited! I couldn't wait to start searching for one more fantastic match and hope and pray I get to help one more couple bring a baby (or two!) home with them! But since this will be my third surrogacy, I also started wondering if this makes me a "serial surrogate" and if it would change the perception some have of me because of it. I don't necessarily care what others think, and if they're going to think negatively of me then so be it. I want to do what I feel is right in my heart for myself and for my family, and surrogacy is indeed what feels right and as long as I have the support of those closest to me that is ultimately all that matters. But there does seem to be this general feeling I get when I see this topic addressed and discussed that a surrogate may have something "wrong" with her if she wants to carry more than two times, maybe more than three times (I'm not sure what the "you're crazy now" cut-off is!!) :) That somehow she "needs" the attention that comes with a surrogacy pregnancy, or perhaps she just wants or needs the extra money, or perhaps she needs to be a surrogate to feel fulfilled... there seems to be many different thoughts and opinions on this topic. Like many things, I'm sure perhaps some of those reasons do apply to some, but for the most part I think it probably comes down to the ability to do it, and the joy of helping build a family.
 
For me, that is what it boils down to. That is the simplest explanation I can come up with when I think about it. I am physically capable of getting pregnant via IVF, I am very comfortable with what is needed of me during a surrogacy, my family is supportive of me, I enjoy being pregnant, and I absolutely love being a part of something so unique and special. Do I get emotional fulfillment out of being a surrogate? Of COURSE I do!! How could you not feel fulfilled and happy to help build a family? But do I need surrogacy to find emotional fulfillment? No way! I love my family, my animals, my friends, my job. Of course I have a life outside of surrogacy, but it is something I want to have in my life, something I choose to have in my life. I think the day will come when it is easy to walk away, to feel like that chapter in my life is "closed" - to just be able to look back and enjoy the memories and enoy the pictures, seeing the babies grow over the years, but I guess I'm just not ready to close that chapter yet. I am still so excited about the chance to match and carry for a couple, whether it's one more time or more who knows - I kind of think this will probably be my final journey but I don't think this is one of those things (at least for me) that I can decide up front and say with finality "this is it" and that's that! I will see how things go, see where we're at in our lives when this journey is complete and go from there!
 
So, there, I guess that makes this "confessions of a Serial Surrogate"??!! :)

Monday, March 07, 2011

My Eclectic Monday Post!

It's a beautiful day! It looks like a great day to be outside, but at least I can see the sunshine through my window at work! There seem to be about 3 completely unrelated things to mention today, so this will be an eclectic post I think! :)

We made lots more progress on the basement last night, got most of Kent's toys grouped and photographed and listed on craigslist and got rid of our old cylinder flotation water bed we've had in storage for what seems like forever, I think California was the last place we used that bed...!! We made another Goodwill run and dropped off a few more odds and ends, boxes of toys and dishes and decorative items, etc. It just feels nice to feel like we're making some good progress and purging finally. I'm glad we had the whole weekend to work on it all together.

I heard from my FIM! Miss Samantha is now 4 months old (today)! :) She sent me an e-mail over the weekend with a picture of her and a note on how they were all doing. It was really wonderful to hear from her and just hear that all is well and they are loving the newest addition to their family. :) Totally made my day!

I almost had a teleconference on Saturday evening, but when my coordinator forwarded me the profile the potential IPs had filled out I was concerned about their statement in regards to the amount of contact they wanted. They indicated they wanted limited interaction during and after the pregnancy. I am very glad they were honest and that they know what they want in terms of contact, but that's just really not what I'm looking for this time and I didn't think it would be fair to either of us to "try" to make it work if we're coming at it from pretty opposite ends of the spectrum on that very important issue so we agreed to cancel the teleconference. I told Fran I am speaking to one local couple, so she will make sure to let any potential IPs she speaks to about me know as well. I had considered applying to one other agency, but decided after I connected with J&C (the local potential IPs) I would hold off, especially since Fran is actively looking for me as well.

I feel like I sort of "stumbled" across a pretty amazing local couple just a little over a week ago, and have really been enjoying getting to know them and talking through a lot of "what ifs" and getting their thoughts on what they hope for in a surrogacy journey and what they're looking for in a surrogate. We seem to be pretty much on the same page on all the big items (well beyond my hopes on some!!) and Kenneth and I both feel really good about them! We're going to get together for lunch at our place this Saturday and see how we all feel (especially after they meet my moody pre-teen red-head, meet my 5 crazy puppies, and get to see our house and where we live!) :) I am keeping my fingers crossed they will like us despite our faults and that maybe, just maybe we'll make a great team and decide to move forward in the not so distant future as long as their clinic gives me the thumbs up as well. I don't know why, but for whatever reason when I think about getting clearance to move forward as a G.S. again part of me is worried! Overall I have a pretty good track record with IVF, but I know I've had cycling issues in the past and I keep waiting for those to come back and bite me in the rear end I think! Kenneth thinks I'm crazy and keeps telling me that is the last thing I need to worry about.

Then on Sunday I get to meet up with a surro-friend from SMO that I've known through the boards for a couple years now and I found out she was matched with local IFs that I had been in contact with quite a bit awhile back. They were the sweetest guys and seemed to be having a really rough time with finding a good match and I am SOOO HAPPY for both of them that they found each other! I cannot wait to meet them both in person!!

So I'm looking forward to a wonderful, busy and surrogacy-filled weekend! Hoping for some good grilling weather, not like this past rainy and cold weekend!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Spring Cleaning Already!

Or maybe it's just that we're really behind? Not sure!! :) In any event Kenneth has been wanting to work on the garage and basement for awhile - it's gotten out of hand down there between his working on his bronco and bikes off and on all the time and the basement side turning into a near disaster zone with military gear from one end to the next and add to that throwing the toys Kent has outgrown over the past few years here and there and you have a recipe for MESS!! It's one of those things that we've worked on occassionally off and on over the years, but the longer we've been here the more that's accumulated down there and it's easy to ignore when you don't have to look at it every day. So, in any event it felt GOOD to get down there, get dirty and really make some progress!! We threw out a BUNCH of stuff, stuffed a big bag full of Goodwill donations and made several listings on Craigslist today. Kent is working on sorting all his various containers of toys to group them and we'll try to get those listed as well and see what all we can get out of here. I would love to have all the stuff we just don't want anymore GONE by the end of the month. That's the goal. Whatever doesn't sell I think we've agreed to also take to Goodwill. We're just ready to have the basement back.

I think Kenneth may also already be entering the "get everything in good shape before I leave" mode for after graduation when he most likely will be heading to Kansas City. Plus he has this whole week off for Spring Break, so it's a good week for projects and getting things checked off the never ending "to-do" list!

There's definitely more to work on tomorrow, but we made a good start! Kent was having fun going through all of his old things and I kept hearing "I forgot about that!" "I've been looking for that" "I didn't know that was down here"! :) It was fun for me too, looking through some of his things and remembering playing with them all with him over the years!

Hopefully the productive day will spill over into tomorrow and we'll have the basement well under control by the time Sunday comes to an end and I can feel good about getting something accomplished. If we have another dreary day tomorrow like we did today then another cleaning day will be a good way to spend the time inside anyway! It was so overcast and drizzly all day long. Such a bummer to have a beautiful sunny week and get cruddy weather on your days off! Oh well, at least I wasn't missing spending time outside in the sun while we were down in the basement today!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The GS's Spouse...

I was reading through some posts on SMO and then on a blog today and it made me stop and think about the role a GS's spouse plays. Obviously every situation is a little different and each husband will act a little differently depending on how they feel about the surrogacy, about the match, and about their wife carrying someone else's baby.

My husband definitely deserves more credit than I generally give him when I think about the 2 surrogacies I've completed and as I contemplate another journey. My husband is a fierce protector of those he loves, and he keeps it pretty toned down for the most part but I see just how much it affects him when he sees someone he loves is in pain or in danger (which for the most part means me or our son!) He wants to shield us from anything bad happening and keep us safe from physical and emotional harm (when he was there beside me at my last delivery I think he looked like he was in more pain than I was half the time, and I seriously think he looked more relieved than I felt when she was finally born!).

When I first came to him with my hopes for pursuing surrogacy all those years ago he was very concerned for me, mainly for me emotionally. I am an emotional person, no two ways about it! I feel my way through things for the most part, I get involved, I make things personal, and I love whole heartedly and always want to believe the very best of people. That's just how I am. And he knows that about me, and I think in a situation like surrogacy it probably terrifies him! He knows I will go in with my heart on my sleeve, with hopes and dreams of how things might go and he knows that if somehow things don't go that way I will hurt and it will affect me. I will get over it, yes, but I will have to work through it and it will be JUST as hard on him to watch me hurting as it is for me to work through the hurt. My first match I was completely clueless about how it might all go, what to expect, and how to feel, but it was a great match and we were a great team and although I struggled with some intense guilt and worry and self-doubt when we had a couple of canceled cycles that cost precious time and money for my IPs other than those negative feelings everything else was very positive and Kenneth probably felt like it had been a good decision. Yes, he had to be there with me through the ups and downs and hormone induced moodiness, but I was happy so he was happy. (Although if you ask him I am quite sure he'll tell you the hormone induced moodiness is worse than I have any memory of, funny how they remember that sort of stuff better than we do... hmmmm....)

So now I am excited and hopeful for the chance to get to work with one more fantastic couple and he wants me to be happy and he worries that I won't be and it makes it hard for him to be 100% supportive yet and he just wants a little time to feel sure that its the right decision for us all. I feel very sure that it won't take too long for him to feel good about moving forward, especially when he gets the chance to know our potential IPs and have the opportunity to make his own judgements (not just hear my thoughts and feelings and impressions) and feel good about them but I also recognize he's just looking out for me, and that taking things a little slowly at the beginning and having a chance to get to know potential IPs before formally agreeing to move forward is definitely not a bad thing. It's hard to not just get excited and want to start making it all happen, but I think I should be thankful and appreciative of my strong and not-so-silent protector, always there looking out for me and wanting the best for me and for all of us. I need to fully realize just how much of an impact a surrogate journey does have on our family and it can be a wonderful and positive impact, but it has the potential to be negative too. I need to accept that and allow him his worries and not just put on the sunshine blinders and hope everything will be great!

I do feel so much excitement for my next journey, but I know I will be even more excited and ready when Kenneth and I are ready together - and yes I hope that happens soon, but I'm just glad we can talk about it and discuss it together and really make a point to be on the same page and be a strong team and a strong family so that when we do move forward and enter a new surrogacy match our foundation will be a strong one and we will be at our very best when it's time to move forward with our future IPs!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

GS Journey #2 in Review!

After having a snapshot post to look back through summarizing my first GS Journey I figured I should put one together for my most recent journey!!

5/22/09 Exchanged profiles through Ruth Claiborne's office
5/28/09 Met L&N for lunch
6/2/09 Pregnancy Records and IVF records sent to R.E. for review

6/11/09 R.E. Consult
6/14/09 Psych Consult
7/7/09 Testing at clinic (labs, saline sono, cultures)
7/13/09 Received first draft of contract
7/21/09 Testing results all came back good
7/29/09 Contracts signed
8/19/09 Started BCPs
9/29/09 Meds Class at clinic
10/1/09 Start Lupron
10/7/09 IM's meds start
10/12/09 Start Estrogen
10/15/09 Baseline u/s and labs. Upped Estrogen
10/19/09 1st lining check - 6.2mm, IM's follicle check
10/20/09 Cycle canceled, IM wasn't responding to stims
1/25/10 Start Lupron (cycle #2)
2/5/10 Start Estrogen
2/10/10 Upped Estrogen and started doxy, IM started stims
2/15/10 IM's follicle check, increase estrogen again
2/17/10 Lining check - 6mm, adjust protocol a little
2/22/10 Lining check - 8mm, IM trigger shot
2/24/10 Start Progesterone
2/25/10 Fertilization report - all 5 mature eggs were fertilized and are growing
2/27/10 Transferred 2 beautiful 8-celled embryos (grade A and AB)!


Resting up after transfer and telling the embabies to snuggle in!!


3/5/10 6dp3dt first BFP on Answer

SOOO EXCITED to see that BFP (Kenneth taking pictures of me taking pictures of the tests)!!

3/11/10 12dp3dt beta: 110
3/15/10 16dp3dt beta: 519 (doubling every 42.9 hours or every 1.8 days)
3/24/10 23dp3dt beta: 5129 (doubling every 50.8 hours or every 2.1 days)
4/1/10 7 weeks - heartbeat ultrasound confirmation
 



4/15/10 9 week ultrasound


4/29/10 11 week ultrasound


5/6/10 12 weeks

5/9/10 Baby Gender Test

5/13/10 13 week ultrasound

5/20/10 14 weeks

Same photo shoot - loved this one! :D

6/3/10 16 weeks

6/10/10 17 week ultrasound - it's a Girl!

6/17/10 18 weeks

7/1/10 20 weeks

7/8/10 21 weeks

7/15/10 22 week ultrasound


7/29/10 24 weeks

8/19/10 27 weeks

9/9/10 30 weeks

9/23/10 32 weeks

10/14/10 35 weeks

10/21/10 36 weeks

10/28/10 37 weeks

11/6/10 38w2d (1 day before Miss Samantha arrived)!


11/7/10 HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Samantha arrived weighing 7lbs 5.6oz at 5:52am, about 2 1/2 hours after arriving at the hospital!