Limbo… again.

This time last year we learned that our friend was pursuing surrogacy to grow their family.

We offered to carry for them in a pretty spontaneous gesture that essentially sent us head on into the world of surrogacy.

In January it will have been a full year that I completed my application.

A lot of the last year had been spent waiting.

Waiting to complete the application.

Waiting to be matched.

Waiting for medical clearance.

Waiting for psychological clearance.

Waiting for contracts.

Waiting for cycles to start.

Waiting for transfers.

Waiting for blood tests.

Waiting for u/s confirmations.

Waiting for shots to end.

But this current wait has definitely been the most angst producing by far.

I’m currently waiting to hear from the IP’s on what steps they want to take next.

The day we found out that the baby’s heart had stopped the CA Clinic called and, in what felt like added insult to injury, basically warned me that they would be advising the IP’s to find another surrogate. In the same conversation, the nurse said that I shouldn’t blame myself as there is nothing I could have done. Seems contradictory to me. It’s not you… but it is you.

So, over the course of the last week I’ve googled lord knows how many times what it means that we miscarried at 11 weeks. Or if other surrogates have been through something similar. Or I’ve tried to find other IP’s who have had their surrogate fail only to be successful later. I’ve read and re-read the card that was sent with the flowers from my IP’s in hopes of deciphering which way they may be leaning. I’ve terribly overanalyzed the silence from them. Are they mad? Are the just reeling still? Should I reach out to them? Or Do they need space? I’m driving myself crazy wondering where their head and hearts are.

I want so desperately to do what I set out to do- deliver a healthy baby back into the arms of their parents and help a family grow. But, as I linger in the limbo, I have to wonder if maybe this isn’t my path.

I don’t know that I have it in me to start again and rematch and I worry that if this clinic won’t use me- will any of them? Could I even help someone else if this miscarriage and the chemical pregnancy from before is enough to have the clinic advise the parents against me?

I 100% want what’s best for these amazing IP’s. I don’t want to bring them any more heartache and disappointment than I have already caused. So if it’s best that they walk away and find someone else, I respect that decision and will hold zero resentment for them making that call. It hurts my heart to think that might be what happens, but perhaps that’s selfish of me. Just because I want to do this for someone doesn’t mean that I can. Maybe I can’t. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me to stop? Ugh. I don’t know.

Right now I’m giving them space. Though I am desperate to know what they are thinking.

I’ve written the IM 3 different letters but each time I end up deleting it. No matter how hard I try, each letter had a feeling of desperate pleading to let me be the one to try again and I don’t think that’s fair to put on them. They have hard enough decisions as it stands, they don’t need to be burdened with how their decisions will make me feel.

I do need to figure out what to say soon so I can send the package I have.

So, for now it’s more waiting.

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Amazing Students & Amazing friends

I was anxious headed to work today. I wasn’t sure how I would feel… what my students might say… which co-workers know what… etc. What, if any of this, might set me off crying again.

I got to my room and it was straight down to business. I got things organized for the start of the day and while doing so my friend from across the hall, the one that decided to do surrogacy with me at the same time, came in to check on me.

I didn’t want to feel it, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t look her in the eye for fear of losing my shit. I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to tell her that it wasn’t fair. I wanted to tell her to get the fuck out of my room.

You see, she’s pregnant with surro-twins. She’s almost 13 weeks into her journey with her two intended fathers. She’s succeeding where I am failing (TWICE NOW) and a part of me is so irate about it.

And then, add on top of that rage and bitter jealousy the feeling of complete shit, dirty guilt for even thinking about being mad at her for something that is no more in her control than it is mine. I felt hot tears begin to well up in my eyes as I re-straightened my desks for the second time just to keep busy doing something so I could avoid her gaze.

Yuck. THIS ISN’T ME.

I confessed to my husband and felt a bit better, but I know that my friend knew something was wrong and I would need to talk to her before the shame of my bitterness would truly melt away.

Classes went on without a hitch. I told each of them how thankful and proud I was that they did what was needed to stay on track and then picked up where they left off going over the plan for the next two weeks and introducing their final project.

My 5th period, though, I was completely overwhelmed. Just as I was getting ready to get class started, a group of girls from the period walked in with a gift basket for me.

I immediately began to ugly cry as the whole class had pitched in to buy the stuff inside and were now lining up to give me hugs. Even now as I write this the tears are falling. I can’t believe they did this for me. I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am. I’m just dumbfounded.

I’m also SO thankful that I waited to read the cards until my lunch period as the notes they wrote inside made me cry all over again. And the gift cards!?!? As if the goodie basket weren’t enough, they got me a Starbucks gift card, dinner for my husband and me, and movie rentals “so I can take it easy.” It’s just… it’s too much. I’m so… I don’t even know. I’m just blown away.

THEN… as if I hadn’t cried enough, my next class did the same damn thing!

Flowers and chocolates and lotions and comfy socks and bath salts and body scrubs and anything a girl might need to relax and pamper herself. 😭😭😭

I couldn’t even spit out a “thank you” before ugly sobs took over my body. This class is also my advisory period and we have actually talked quite a bit about the surrogacy process (and many other life topics) and I’ve answered a LOT of questions with them since we get 30 extra minutes together a couple times a week. They are outstanding kids and I am so thrilled that I have had the pleasure of their company this year.

Once we were able to get things back on track, I was interrupted again. This time with another beautiful bouquet of flowers from the English department. The outpouring of love from my students and co-workers is…

its…

Well…

It has left me speechless. I don’t even know what to say except that I felt the love today and it means the absolute world to me.

PS- I talked to my surrogate friend and apologized profusely for my immaturity and bitterness. I tried to explain as best I could about being overcome with jealousy and tried to explain how irrational and stupid I know I was acting. She was so gracious. She, having experienced two miscarriages when having her babies, had felt the same thing with one of her friends. They had gotten pregnant together only she “got left behind” when she miscarried and she felt a similar jealous anger then. I can’t tell you all how much better that made me feel. All of this can be so isolating but reaching out to find connection has proven to be a life raft when I feel I’m drowning alone. I love this friend and appreciate her honesty and help.

Days after loss- A surrogate’s side

It’s been about 5 days.  The flowers the IP’s bought me are prettier than ever.  The blooms are amazing.

Most of the time, the distraction of my family helps keep my mind off the heartache… the guilt… the sense of failure I am feeling.

On Friday, the day after the D&C, my kids went to school as normal so I had the morning to myself.  Laying around didn’t seem like a great idea.  So I cleaned.  The house is practically spotless… as spotless as it can be when you have two kids and three dogs anyway.

I think, much like the first time, this will just linger.  The tear producing waves are much further apart than they were on day one and I assume they will gradually grow far enough apart that I will not cry at all, one day.

I was talking to another surrogate about the loss she and her IP’s experienced.  We’ve decided that this particular situation is VERY difficult.  I certainly do not want to say it is any worse than any other woman experiencing a miscarriage- that is not it at all.  There’s just a level of complication added to this that makes it so strange and hard to navigate.  If it were just miscarriage, sadly, I know many women that I can talk to about that; I have people I could commiserate with.  But the complication of losing someone else’s baby… there aren’t many women that can share that story.  There is no guide book.  There is no one to really provide any direction.

It’s also difficult for my husband.  He mentioned the toll it’s taking on him.  This is not our child, but, from what I have read, many men “recover” faster than the woman.  She was the one that experienced constant reminders of what amazing thing her body was doing (or supposed to be doing) and when the pregnancy ends, she’s the one that both physically and emotionally must recover- there are hormones that must be contended with, and emotional scars, and a feeling of failure.  I have all of those things, but I also have the concern and well-being of the IP’s that I must process.  How are they?  What can I do for them?  How might I show them that I am thinking of them without re-opening a wound they are trying to keep clean and covered?  What do I do in this terrible situation?  It’s constantly there in the back of mind, ALL of this.  And my husband just wants his happy wife and the mother of his children back.

He mentioned the other day that there have only been two times in our marriage that I have cried so hard he was worried about me.  And, both of those times were when the surrogacy pregnancies failed. I do not want to call this pain a burden, but I do think that my husband might view it that way.  And I do understand that- our family is complete, these worries amazingly didn’t plague our family… when we wanted kids, we luckily got them without ANY complications.  And now we are taking on someone else’s struggle- which we knew.  I, so naively, didn’t think any of this would happen.  I thought that I would have a transfer, get pregnant, have a pretty uneventful pregnancy, and give this family a baby.  I was so terribly, terribly, wrong.

I don’t know where this journey goes now.  And I don’t even know if I will have a part in it.  I deeply hope that I will. The desire to help a couple grow their family is still, very much, a part of my dream and my passion.  But it isn’t up to just me (there are the IP’s, my husband, my family that must also be considered).

Day after horrific news

I thought that I could make it to work today. I thought that the distraction of having to keep 175 students on target would be welcomed. My students (Seniors) are aware that I am a surrogate and have been mostly up to date with the pregnancy since I have had so many appointments (they do not know anything about the IP’s, just general- “this is not my baby” info). I figured that if I broke down telling them the tragic news they would understand and being the amazing kids they are, we’d get right down to business and the day would fly by.

Perhaps it was a terrible plan from the onset.

Perhaps it was the blog post retelling before my morning started that brought it all to the forefront.

Perhaps it was the very sweet message my best friend teacher pal sent me.

Perhaps it was the frustrating call to set up the D&C before I walked in the building.

Perhaps it was a wicked combination of all of these things, but I made it up about 3 steps before I had to retreat to the empty stairwell cave and ball my damn eyes out. The sloppy messy snotty cry where you can’t talk and your body heaves. I wanted to collapse to the ground, but knew I needed to calm myself down and gather myself.

10 deep breaths, a quick, “you got this. You are fine. Settle down.” And I made it to the third floor and to my classroom.

Kids were already waiting and one said, “are you alright? You do not look well.”

To myself: thanks assface.

Out loud I replied that I had gotten bad news and would explain. She immediately hugged me. I immediately felt bad for thinking she was an assface.

After the bell rang, I weakly gathered their attention and it was then that they all saw the wreck that is Mrs. Whitsett (I realized in this moment I probably should have stopped in the bathroom before starting class to check my make up. Oops.). I got about two thirds into the sentence, “yesterday I had a doctor appointment and we got…” tears start welling and my voice begins to quiver “terrible news.” It was here that I straight up started crying and somehow stammered out the rest: “I need to have a procedure tomorrow and will not be at school the rest of the week.”

I took a second to breathe and settle back down. It took me longer than I wanted and I struggled to fully compose myself. It was there I realized I had made a mistake. I wouldn’t make it the rest of the day and no one needs to be forced to deal with my emotional wreckage, but especially not my students.

When I was calm enough, I explained that I needed them to continue reading Othello so we wouldn’t fall behind and that I needed to get sub plans together.

The amazing kids that they are did just that. They started reading. Someone even picked up my role of reading the stage directions, without being instructed. They would stop and ask questions for clarity and they worked together as a class for the period to struggle through Shakespeare. (My heart beams with pride as I write this.)

I was able to get lesson plans squared away, notify the powers that be, and make a quiet exit from the building. I feel better knowing my kids will be fine in my absence and knowing that we will not be terribly behind on Monday when I return (finals are just around the corner).

I decided to head to the doctor’s office to fill in paperwork and then head over to the hospital to do pre-op registration and get my instructions. All of which the lady on the phone, before school, instructed me to do.

It took about two hours but everyone was so sweet and helpful and answered all of the questions I had patiently and thoroughly.

I got home around 1.

I immediately started cleaning. All the interior windows have been cleaned. The surfaces have been dusted. The rest of Christmas was put up. And I finished vacuuming before bed. Apparently nervous energy makes me need to clean.

In the middle of the cleaning frenzy, there was a knock on the door. I could see before I even opened it that it was flowers. The most amazing arrangement I believe I have ever been given. I started welling up immediately. It smells heavenly as well.

The IP’s sent them with a beautiful note and I cried all over again.

I’m not sure how to express this complicated feeling. But in an attempt, I feel awkward and inadequate. THEY ARE SUFFERING. I should be sending them flowers. Their child is gone. I didn’t send them anything. I left them with grief and sorrow. I left them with tears and dashed dreams. I left them reeling and wondering what is next.

And they sent me flowers.

What do I do? How do I handle this? How do I navigate this confusing path?

Where’s the fucking handbook?! Anyone? I’m open to suggestions— seriously. I know there are some IM’s that follow this blog, how would you hope your surrogate respond in this situation? Please guide me.

This isn’t all about me. I’ve made it that way unintentionally but want to rectify that quickly.

All of this is terrible. So utterly terrible and now, on top of it all, I feel even more awful.

Heartbreak.

I walked in to the appointment nervous but excited.

After signing in and waiting, I was called back for the ultrasound. The technician was very sweet and was perfectly okay with me calling the IM and having her on the phone if it was what I desired. So after getting undressed and situated on the table, I called the Mom. Due to the time difference I knew I’d be waking her up.

We chatted for a bit, basic conversation and waited for the technician to find the baby. He was so much bigger, we both commented.

The mom asked a question, but the technician didn’t answer and I looked to her face to see worry had replaced her smile. My heart began to race. Things went blurry.

I tried to listen to the Mom and converse with her, but the technician whispered she needed to get the doctor. I knew then it was not good news and my body began to shake uncontrollably.

We didn’t wait long, the doctor came in promptly and the technician quickly showed him her concerns.

There was no heartbeat.

The baby was measuring right on schedule, even early. We were 10w6days and the baby was measuring 11w1day. His heart had stopped very recently.

The doctor asked me to hang up and I explained to IM that I would have to call her back.

That’s when the shaking really took over. I had no control. Tears, shaking, shock.

How could this be happening to them again? What am I doing wrong? What could have possibly caused this?

I don’t really recall what happened next. I believe I called my husband and asked him to come.

I know that I called back the IM; I know she knew something was wrong and I didn’t want to leave her drifting and anxious any longer than I needed to. The doctor helped me with that phone call.

The parents asked for a second ultrasound which we all more than willingly understood. The result did not change.

They wanted a second opinion, so my doctor sent orders to the hospital nearby and my husband and I went there to appease their request. I was still shaking uncontrollably.

The technician kept asking me to be still. I think the feeling of shock was wearing off and my body was reacting to sudden decrease in adrenaline. I couldn’t prevent the shaking. My teeth were chattering.

It was, for a third time, confirmed. The baby had died.

I feel sick writing this.

I woke hoping, praying this was all some horrible nightmare and was floored again by the grief that it is not.

I can’t believe it.

I failed. Again.

I know some of you reading this will repeat what everyone else (medical professionals included) have already told me. I “did everything right” and “this isn’t your fault.” But regardless of that bullshit- I set out with a dream to help a family…

a family (like so many others) that had suffered beyond what any family should have to bear…

A family that had a desperate dream to have children…

A family that I care very much for…

I set out to bring them joy and happiness. I set out to bring them something that would never replace or eliminate the suffering, but at least make it all worth it. I set out to bring them a baby and help them grow their family and… and instead of all that… I have leveled them again with suffering and disappointment.

I have hurt them again.

This crushes me.

I have failed.

10 weeks 6 days Pregnant

I’m currently sitting outside my OB’s office for, what would be in a normal pregnancy, the FIRST doctor appointment.

This, however, is far from a normal pregnancy! I’m carrying a child that does not belong to me but instead belongs to two very special people who desperately want to grow their family but can not do it on their own.

I calculated the other day. So far on this journey I have:

  • Had 100 shots of progesterone
  • Inserted 224 progesterone vaginal suppositories
  • Swallowed 406 estrogen pills
  • Peed on 25 pregnancy tests
  • Had my blood drawn 7 times
  • Had 6 vaginal ultrasounds
  • Twice heard the racing heart of a little boy that I am so proud and honored to keep safe.

And ALL this happened before today where I will finally be “just another pregnant woman.”

My heart goes out to all the women out there that have done all that I mentioned above more times than they are willing to acknowledge. Many of whom are still waiting for their baby(ies).If I could help them all I would.

I’ll be honest- having never delivered with an OB let alone a hospital; I’m anxious because I do not know what to expect. I know I will have an ultrasound and then meet with the doc, but as always, blind corners bring with them nerves so I’m a bit jittery here waiting.

I do like my OB but I am NOT a fan of the answering service they use. It is damn near impossible to get ahold of anyone to ask simple questions and so frequently they will “call me back” but I never hear from anyone and then have to start the process over. Hopefully, now that I am officially a patient, it’ll be better. 🤞🏻

Amazing News!!!

I have a quick confession.  I am terrible at remembering things!  I mean, my husband’s birthday was yesterday and I damn near forgot to order his present (thank the heavens for Amazon Prime!!!).   Anyway, I knew my medications, both my injection of progesterone and my suppository, were running low, but I thought, “I’ve got time.” But then the day gets away from me (I blame Othello, the book I am teaching my seniors currently) and I kept forgetting to order more.

This morning, I realized as I was placing my suppository that I only had two more.  I needed my script refilled ASAP or I would miss a dose.  I would have called RIGHT THEN, but 7:00 my time is 5:00 CA time and no one would answer.  I put a reminder in my phone to call as soon as they opened.

It was right in the middle of class and I was pressed for time and put on hold.  Ugh.

I had a student take attendance for me and stepped into the hall.  Once I finally got to a person and gave her all my identifying info, she informed me that I didn’t have any more refills and the doctor would need call in another script.  WELL SHIT!?!?!

I got my students reading the play and then emailed the doctor’s office in a panic.  I was under the impression that I was to continue medications until instructed otherwise.  No one had told me to stop so CRAP!!!!  I was going to miss a dose.

Luckily, the nurse at the CA clinic immediately responded and gave me the BEST news I think I have heard all year:

MY LAST PILL, LAST INJECTION, LAST SUPPOSITORY WAS YESTERDAY!!!! 

I am free and clear to just be a normal pregnant person!

The timing of this… following those two SUPER painful injections that still have my backside throbbing… is just… well… just PERFECT.

I promptly ran across the hall to my friend, who is also a surrogate (pregnant with twins for two dads), to share the news.  She hates me now.  hahaha… She still has 3 days of shots to go and is a week and a half ahead of me!  Ha!

I would do a cartwheel if I thought I could!  Man… I’m stoked!

Scared and Nervous

Sitting in the waiting room is like torture.

Sitting still is hard.

I’m thankful I went to school this morning as my students provided a much needed distraction from fears and anxiousness.

I really really really hope to give the IP’s good news today! Please let it be good news.

Please

Please

PLEASE!

Last BETA… U/S tomorrow

Okay, I finally got a call this afternoon about the last beta.

6 weeks pregnant on the nose (23dp5dt) my beta level was 11,387. I was a bit concerned and hoped/thought/wondered if I hadn’t heard her properly but I asked her to email me to verify and that was, in fact, the number.

I should point out, again, that I know jack about beta’s or IVF or FET’s or anything infertility based (and I need to say that I am aware of how lucky that makes me!). But it seems like if we were hoping, early on, for numbers to double every 48 hours- the 4,410 number I had a week ago should have skyrocketed. So when she said 11,387 I immediately worried.

BUT- the first few things I read in my frantic google search were pretty reassuring. Here’s one that lays out pretty clearly what HGC levels do in pregnancy: 
If this source is correct- 11,387 is a great number and hopefully, tomorrow, my IP’s will get to see their baby’s heartbeat!

Please cross some things and send some positivity this way!

🎃 Halloween 🎃 

Tucker was a bat: 


And Sage was a lady bug:


We had other outfits planned and purchased, but then the weather promptly decided it should act more like fall and be in the 50’s and rainy. 

So the short-sleeved, tutu, ladybug outfit for Sage morphed into a sweater ladybug outfit that had a hood attached. She still had to be tucked under a blanket to stay warm enough. And Tucker’s outfit morphed into the bat costume that went over long pants and long sleeves- layers! Yay! 

Tucker rode his bike and did an amazing job this year. 

Last year was his first time to trick or treat and we made it to about 5 houses before bedtime hit. I have to give two year old Tucker credit though, all the houses in this neighborhood are on acre lots so there was quite a few tiny steps to get to each of the doors. And he was enthralled with each item going into his bag which caused even more distraction and delay. 

This year though- a champ! We got half the circle block covered! He sang songs for the lady that would only give out her treat if they performed a trick. He was unfazed by the zombies that stood in the way of the candy at one house. Was THRILLED by the chainsaw that scared the living shit it of me (and might give me nightmares)! Rang all the doorbells, said “thank you,” and listened carefully when we were on the street! It’s these moments that I am reassured that we are doing our job as parents properly. 

Sage also did a good job, but she’s still shy and too bashful to sing. She needed me to hold her near the zombies (to be honest, I used her tiny red polka dotted body as my shield 😬). And she was not a fan of the chainsaw- I totally understand. She also stopped getting out of the stroller once we let her eat the Cheetos she earned at the previous house- which made things go quite a bit faster. 

Once home, the sugar rush and the tiredness kicked in and wrangling kids into PJ’s tested my parenting patience. But they are tucked in tight dreaming of all the candy they will beg us for all day tomorrow! 

Anyway- it was a great Halloween and though I’m exhausted, I’m ready for tomorrow. Last blood draw 💉 and then ultrasound on Friday. Crossing my fingers for amazing news for IP’s!!

Here’s a photo dump of my pumpkins with their pumpkins: