We know the odds now, (way to well) so how do we use them to our advantage? Let's double our odds by doubling our surrogates. The math seems really simple.
Sure having all of the people involved can make things complicated, but Mr. Excited just wants to hear about the results - not the complications.
We have One goal. One Mission. AND One Obsession.
So with our eyes firmly on the prize we are moving forward with a new Adventure of a Lifetime. We have built a new team to join us and are ready and excited about moving forward again.
We have named our surrogates Ajysyt and Isis. To give them their privacy on the web. Also, it just seemed like a lot of fun to keep people guessing.
Our goal is to share this story with everyone. To accomplish this we have started a new blog so that you can meet all of the players.:
A Tale of Two Surro's
Anyways, I remember looking at the book when we first got started and thinking - I can't read this book. All of these people have same serious problems and that's not us. Besides, I don't want to hear the hard luck stories and the struggles someone else has gone through.
Just give me the success stories, because that is how we are going to storm through IVF. As one big long success story.
We just stumbled upon the book again recently and have been reading the stories and understand them for the first time. We read the book and go - I remember when we faced that problem.
Their stories have become our story.
It is amazing how your viewpoint changes when you have become one of them.
Mr. Oddsmaker is very informal. In our first conversation he's "like dude this IVF thing is not about you, it's all in the odds. You know that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but you got to play to win."
After talking to him I start to consider that he is on to something very important to remember. The odds are what they are no matter who you are. There is no such thing in IVF of - hey I am very deserving and have waiting my turn in line - where is my baby.
There is no obstacle course that you can say - hey, I have passed every test - where is my baby.
It really just comes down to - how many times do I need to attempt IVF to - have my baby arrive?
The Odds, are the Odds, are the Odds. You can't change them. You just need to learn what they are and accept them.
There are two other blogs that deal with this very well. First, you have babysmiling talks about the odds being a coin flip.
Then murgdan talks about the odds as rolling dice.
These are both very true analogies.
I am a sports guy though so it always comes back to sports. I have been trained my entire life to accept failure as par for the course. The misses, the mistakes, the errors, the strike outs, and the losses do not define you as a player.
What defines you is simply did you play with honor, did you enjoy the competition, and did you win the game.
You see players all of the time struggle through tough times and adversity and then at the end they pull it all together and get the job done.
If you watched the Olympic games recently, you will not find one Gold medal winner that doesn't tell a story about all of the adversity and struggles they had to go through to achieve their dream.
You just need to keep you eye on the prize, the win, the baby.
With a new found vision Mr. Oddsmaker - meet - Mr. Excited.
After 3 transfers and no live birth he made an unannounced visit and stayed past his welcome.
He asked all kids of questions about where the problems where in our relationships with IVF and surrogacy. You know - who's fault is it. That's what Mr. Vulnerable likes to do best, he likes to point fingers and place blame.
Mr. Vulnerable is an idiot - he doesn't have any good qualities.
He does talk a good game though at times and he reels you in and grabs you. Tells you that you need to go over everything and find out where you went wrong.
So - we look at all of the facts and realize - scientifically speaking - we didn't do anything wrong. Even our Doctor warns you going in that this is a roller coaster ride and you need to be mentally prepared.
I really think it's more like Mr. Toads wild ride then a roller coaster.
Either way, we are on the ride, let's keep moving.
Mr. Vulnerable is an idiot, he is shown his way out the door - Now meet - Mr. Oddsmaker.
You see, we don't have a fertility problem, we have a carrying problem.
It just seems so simple - take my healthy sperm, add Chrsty's perfect eggs, and add one healthy uterus and say the magic word and "BAM" there is a healthy baby. What could go wrong?
So here we go:
Sperm - GREAT.
Eggs 30 - GREAT.
Embryo's - GREAT.
Lining - GREAT.
Fresh Transfer 2 perfect Embryo's - GREAT.
Pee Stick's - GREAT.
First Beta - GREAT.
Second Beta - GREAT.
Third Beta - GREAT.
First Ultrasound - GREAT.
TWINS - GREAT.
Second Ultrasound heartbeats - GREAT.
Then - we meet our sworn enemy Mr. SCH.
That is the end of our great news.
We take a break and regroup.
Second Transfer Frozen
Third Transfer Frozen
No more Embryo's. Just like in pinball - you lose three times and it's game over. Please insert more money to play again.
Mr. Invincible - meet - Mr. Vulnerable.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
I would say for the most part it has been VERY positive and supportive.
Here is my list-
My mom- Very supportive but a little concerned someone wants to keep our baby.
My dad- hmmmmmm?? no comment but I have not talked to him directly about it (just my step-mom) But I know he LOVES LOVES LOVES babies and will be thrilled to fall in love again.
My step-mom- horrified HAHAHAH but not so much by surrogacy I think but more so as to why anyone would ever want more than one child in the first place! HAHAHA She said some bad words and basically told me I was stupid. I mentioned to her Jon has never had children and she told me that was his problem and not mine! HAHAHAHA. I followed that up with mention that I have always wanted more children and I have never gotten over not being able to have more. Again, choice words about how stupid I am. (yes, I know she isn't a big kid person so laughed at her and let it go)
My brother and wife - 100% supportive and excited for us.
My sister (mom of 8 kids) - Supportive but struggles with ethics of IVF. She knows she pops out another baby every 14 months or so and clearly has never had to face what I am so she tries to not to let her struggle with the ethical side come into play of her supporting us. I love that she tells me parts she struggles with so we can discuss it and I can tell her the choices we make with IVF and why.
My sister #2- Can't have a baby fast enough for her to love and cuddle.
Jon's mom- 200% supportive. She just wants a new grandbaby to baby to love. Would love even more for us to have more than one so she knows she get can pry one out of my arms and have a turn too.
Jon's dad and Stepmom- Very very excited and hopeful!!!
Jon's sister- As much as it has been explained I don't think she really gets it. Example- After going through all the whys we need to do this and the how's (including I DON'T HAVE A UTERUS) She said, "can I ask you one thing?" "will you just take some time and really consider doing it yourself?" Me- "myself?" "as in what myself?" Her- "will you consider carrying and being pregnant for yourself" Me- "you mean you want me to consider getting pregnant for Jon and not finding a surrogate?" Her- "yes" Me- "as I said, I don't have a uterus" Her- "so you won't consider it?" Me- ?????????.
Noelle (my best friend)- Supportive but I think a little baffled how consumed by this mission we have become. Many of my other friends I've drifted some from during this life consuming mission. They are all supportive but also a bit annoyed my life focus has shifted so far from what they understand. We are still close but it isn't the same as it was before.
My business clients- A bit annoyed by the time and energy they feel I give this baby mission that takes me away from my job but VERY supportive of us possibly having a baby. They were all 100% supportive and cheering us on until last Fall when they saw how much time it took me away from me being there for their every whim.
Most of the new friends I have made in the couple years are all surrogacy related so they are very supportive as we are all on the same mission.
I got it a little different - I See Pregnant Women....And Small Children.
When I was a small child I would go to the beach and see other small children. Others like me to play with in the sand.
Then as I got a little bit older I became interested in the basketball court near the beach and was aware of the other basketball players that where on the court.
As a got still older, I became aware of the girls in the bikini's at the beach. All of a sudden they were everywhere - and they were the only ones on the beach.
Recently, when I go to the beach I see Pregnant Women....And Small Children all over the place.
I constantly have to work hard not to step on them as they play in the surf. These young families are new to the beach. They have never been there before now - yet now they are all of the place.
You see the mom with the stroller and the new born, the Dad with the shade umbrella and the child sleeping, the twins that are dressed alike, the family with all of their kids in white shirt getting ready for the family photo at sunset.
Where did they all come from?
Really! go to Our Surrogacy Adventure and read how I inspired her post, but notice that I didn't inspire her enough to be added to her blogroll.
This is what I am talking about when I say that we meet new friends on our adventure. This would be a prime example.
Take note, if you women that are reading my blog want me to post more that is how you get it done - stroke my ego. Men really are that simple.
Now here is my response to the heart of her post - why do I blog?
This is the point when almost everyone says "so that friends and family can follow our journey".
That's not me.
I want my family to be able to enjoy the excitement of our new addition and don't want to take them on the rollercoaster ride with us. They are really supportive, but we have to go through enough already without taking our entourage with us every step of the way. We just want to give them the happy days.
So then, who is the audience that I want to reach?
- Current Intended Parents - Other couples that are on the same path as us.
- Future Intended Parents - Newbies that are looking to other that have been there to guide them.
- Our Surrogates - Who deserve to hear the Intended Fathers perspective.
- All other Surrogates - Who deserve to hear a Man's view of how they help build a family.
Why did I start this blog?
Simply put, so many people that we have meet over the internet have come to support us through our struggles. They have volunteered to fight our fight and get in the trenches with us to join our cause.
The support had been so overwhelming that I felt it was my responsibility to join the conversation. I really wasn't sure how to go about doing that though.
At first, I started to post on a message board and that was a little weird. It was like sneaking into the girls locker room as the only male. Without the joy of all of the girls being naked. Except, when you figure that most of the girls on the message board are pregnant the naked part is really weird - so no part of the message board was a good fit for me.
That sent me packing to find my own blog site. To find a home for my thoughts.
As more and more people have jumped on our bandwagon to support us I realized that our team wasn't just the two of us and our surrogate.
- Our team has grown to include everyone else on Surrogacy World.
- Our team is larger than I ever imagined.
- Our team continues to grow on a daily basis.
As our team has blossomed before our eyes, so has our responsibilities.
We are required to share our story to help others along their path. To help them know that they are making the right decision for their family. To let them know that they are not alone with their thoughts about their struggle.
To help the next person the way others have helped us.
That is how I ended up here posting on a blog for the whole world to read.
The Surrogates hear:
Your going to build a family for someone.
Your going to give the gift of life.
You are so special for doing that for someone.
And you get paid - what a bonus.
The Intended Parents hear:
Isn't that expensive?
How are you coming up with the money?
It seems so unnatural does it really work?
Do you really need more children?
Why don't you adopt?
What is so important about your DNA?
Is she going to keep the baby?
The baby is not really yours.
Aren't you playing God?
Some people just aren't supposed to have children.
Aren't you worried about the surrogate doing drugs?
Aren't you just using some poor women?
Aren't you being selfish?
Maybe, you should just get a puppy. That will cure everything.
I am sure that I have missed a bunch. Please add your thoughts in the comment section.
However, even thought they are outnumbered by a 2 to 1 margin Surrogates and their views dominate Surrogacy World. There are Surrogate agencies and Surrogate websites that are all based upon the needs of the Surrogate.
What we find is that the IP's are the Silent majority on Surrogacy World. On a land full of people the IP's are isolated from the community at large.
The IP's are very limited to what they feel they are allowed to share on Surrogacy World.
It's almost impossible to find them speaking freely. And if you do they will usually be in a very small pack. They are a tight knit group that share their experiences among each other carefully.
Many of them live in states or countries that don't allow it or have friends of family that don't understand or support them in the process.
IP's do not feel like they have the right to free speech and take their thoughts and emotions underground. They don't know who to trust and protect themselves by remaining quite.
The Ip's are strangers in a strange land forced to struggle through on their own. They need to wander around aimlessly until they bump as if by accident into another IP. Then they will pin that IP and hold them down as long as possible to extract all of the information that they can from them.
It's a strange thing to see, but it happens to every newcomer to IVF Land and Surrogacy World.
As they continue on their adventure they meet new people from strange places and form strong bonds. Yes, they still stay silent, but they are no longer alone.
A question that was asked was how do you move forward with IVF with all of the Fears that it brings to the party?
My answer is simple:
Your hopes and desire melt away the fears so that you can reach your dreams.
She can take you on a trip like Mr. Toads Wild Ride that is full of bumps, jerks, and sharp turns.
Or, like The Magic Teacups with a never ending spin cycle.
Or, it can be like staying at a 5 star hotel or sailing on a high priced luxury liner. Where your needs are meet before you even knew you had them.
Your IVF fears are there no matter who the surrogate is because they are not under anyone's control. The facts and issues of IVF are what they are and can't be changes by anyone.
However, when you go on a trip your pilot and tour guide can help keep everything smooth or spin everything out of control.
Many times you can get on an airplane and be nervous to fly. It is bad weather outside and you don't know how this big plane really stays up in the air. Then your pilot comes on the air with a calm reassuring voice telling you that everything is going to be okay - and you can relax knowing that a responsible person will get you to your destination.
If you pilot came on the air and was in the middle of a panic attack - you would be trying to find out how to get off of the plane as fast as possible and fly on another carrier.
So if your pilot is under control and emotionally stable it helps you relax and enjoy the flight.
The surrogate has the same power and can keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time biting your nails or allow you to be calm and relax while they get you to your destination.
And if we can just get the surrogate to bring me cold fruity drinks the whole time on demand - now were talking a great trip. I think we need to have that added to the next contract.
Financial - Stands alone on the list - it is actually a part of almost every question.
Will it be successful?
Time - Our eggs are in worse shape every month.
Time - How will all of the Doctor Appointments effect work?
Cost of optional procedures like ICSI or PGD. Are they a good buy?
Do they help our hurt? What about survival of the fittest?
How many embryos to transfer Fresh?
How many embryos to transfer frozen?
Advantage/Disadvantage of Raising Twins and Twin Pregnancies? How about Triplets?
How do you feel about Embryo Donation or Stem Cell Research?
Did you get a negative beta?
Are you back to the starting line?
Are you down 15-20k or more?
Did the HPT come in positive?
What did the Beta say?
Did the Beta Double?
Did the Beta Double Again?
One or two? OR three and Four?
Is there a heart beat?
What is the heart rate?
Is the baby growing at the right rate?
How are the measurements?
How do you deal with all of these?
How do you feel about amniocentesis?
How do you feel about Congenital anomalies?
How do you feel about pregnancy complications?
Are you prepared to face:
Low birth weight
Death shortly after birth
Last on my list is - Do Friends/Family Approve?
And then finish with the Psychological and Emotional Cost of Infertility. With loads of isolation.
And I will say NO.
We have already had our first surrogate pregnant. We had the good news of twins, followed by the loss of the first twin at week 9 and the second one at week 11. So I have gone through the almost the entire first trimester being pregnant.
I was still Experiencing Surrogacy the whole time.
I have a cousin that was having a baby at the same time and their experience was noticeable different.
From the start we had weekly doctor visits. They had a few.
We new exactly when our babies were conceived, they had an idea when, but couldn't pin point it exactly.
We would go into Doctor's appointments knowing what was going to happen - what results to expect - what would be good, average, or bad.
They simply went to the Doctor's appointment.
The list of differences goes on, but the main thing is that our Surrogacy was so scientific and we were constantly trying to jump through the next hoop. To beat the odds and make it to the next stage.
It seemed like every doctor's appointment we would be told that we scaled the wall - only to be told there was another wall to be climbed. And with IVF in the end we need to be prepared for a visit to the NICU.
You go through a constant 2 steps forward 1 step back process and you never get to relax and enjoy it.
With all of the extra Doctor visits, monitoring and science that goes into our experience, I don't think that we are experiencing pregnancy. I think that Experiencing Surrogacy is a completely different adventure.
I have been trying to figure out what that means.
To me I am not experiencing the pregnancy - I am experiencing surrogacy.
Back to a sports analogy.
There are three main groups involved in a basketball game. The players, coaches, and fans.
As a player, I am directly involved with the outcome. I have input on every play. I can feel my muscles ache, the blood flowing, and my heart pounding. I effect everything that happens.
As a coach, I am directly involved in the game, but I have a different role. I orchestrate everything, but someone else has to make it happen. I choose who gets to play and what plays are run. I effect somethings that happen through others.
As a fan, I show up just before tip-off. My first experience is fighting for a place to park, then the beer line. I support the team, I have very little effect on the outcome of the game. I watch what happens and cheer the team on.
On Surrogacy World, I would say that in most situations the surrogates are the players, the IM's are the coach, and the IF's are the fans.
We are all experiencing the game, but not in the same way. Our roles change how we view the event and shape our experience.
At least from one IF's perspective this is a very hard and fast rule. And when I say don't touch the Surro I don't just mean physically. I mean don't talk to her either. Avoid eye contact if possible. Keep conversation to a minimum. Be polite, but not too personal. Be open, but don't share to much. AND don't ever be left alone with her.
Sure you can call me paranoid, but this is a radioactive situation. Nations have been built and wars fought over bad Traditional Surrogacy situations.
As guys, you girls have brainwashed us for years. Be happy, you won.
Starting when we are teenagers - we are told - you are in a relationship with me. Don't look at that girl. Don't you dare talk to her.
Now as an adult, I am in a solid relationship, yet another girl is carrying my child, and I am expected to skip over 25 years of programming???????
You must admit - you girls have us programmed well. The only IF's willing to talk are the gay couples, but since they don't have an IM in the mix do they really have a choice?
It seems to me that, with few exceptions, everyone that has an option let's the IM do the talking.
Now after the IM has introduced you to the surrogate and given you (IF) approval. This is usually unspoken also, you can talk to the Surro in limited situations. This is normally based on the divisions of tasks in your relationship with you IM.
Maybe the IF arranges all travel, flights, hotels, or Doctor appointments. This is the normal division of labor in their relationship so it naturally continues in this one. It will normally, be limited to planning or doing an activity.
For the most part though, as an IF we want to respect the IM first and then the Surrogate and her husband. And we are searching through our mind - where is the training on this subject? How do we behave? What is safe?
And we come up blank.
In our mind, if we don't know what is safe then we must expect that nothing is safe. Everything is off limits. The safe thing is to stay away.
Women of course love complex relationships and want to talk about their feelings and work things out.
As guys we go back to our teenage training for how to handle a new situation like this - Our dating experience is the closest thing that we can find.
So the rules that you girls gave us years ago are:
Pay complete attention to the girl your with. Acknowledge any other girl as little as possible. Talk only when required.
And the whole time, we pray that no one will asks us how we feel.
Then people ask me questions or I write a post that is very thoughtful and describe some of the tough times that IP's go through. It might be my direct experience or I might be making a general statement about how IP's in general think or feel about a subject.
I continually think - I don't want to post that it makes me sound broken. And that is not the case.
Sure we have faced some tough struggles during our Adventure with Surrogacy and I don't want to downplay them, but we want to keep the focus on our future healthy children.
We do need someone to help carry a baby for us. It will take another person to make our family complete.
How many people have faced similar circumstances?
How many of you have your hands up? I believe that most of you should.
I think every family has a similar story to tell. Someone has helped them and their family.
Let's take Surrogacy out of the equation and change it from a Surrogate helping to create a life to someone helping to save a life.
This list is endless. I have a cousin that is a lifeguard and he has saved many people from drowning. Maybe a Doctor, nurse, or paramedic has saved someone you love.
My dad had neighbors and firemen save his house last year during the San Diego fires. Last year, Christy's sister had cancer and doctor's helped cure her and keep her alive.
I can think of many stories about liver, kidney, or heart transplants that help keep people alive. It could be as simple as giving blood to help someone else live.
Yes, we need help to create a life, that might not be very common. Most of you though have had the experience where someone has helped your family by saving the life of someone you care about deeply.
They are very similar - people needing other people at their moment of need. When they are most vulnerable.
You see........ We are not broken. We are just human.
At times during the adventure though it often doesn't sound like the two groups are playing the same games and using the same rules. Where do things break down?
Let's get back to a good sports analogy. My specialty.
I think that the Surrogate and the Intended Parents relationship is very much like how a pitcher and catcher interact in baseball. In my example the Surrogate is the pitcher and the Intended Parents are the catcher.
The catcher (IP's) has the responsibility of running the team, setting up defenses, keeping everybody focused, and calling the pitches. This last part means that they will tell the pitcher what pitch to throw. For example, either a fastball, curveball, or slider.
Now the pitcher (Surrogate) looks at the catcher and gets the sign (instructions) for what pitch to throw. The pitcher has the ball (baby) in his hand. Nothing happens until the pitcher says so.
The pitcher often looks at the catcher and shakes his head "no" back at the catcher. He has the ball and will not be throwing that pitch.
Everyone is waiting on the pitcher, the catcher now changes the sign and the pitcher once again shakes his head "no".
Now the catcher is confused. He talked to the pitcher before the game and they have already discussed how they were going to pitch to this batter. The pitcher has changed his mind based on how he feels at the moment, not what he thought before he was on the moment.
The catcher has no choice at this point. Sure he is the leader of the team and he calls the pitches, but the pitcher has the ball, and nothing is happening at this point without him.
So the catcher calls for pitch #3 and the pitcher shakes his head "yes". And he delivers the pitch.
The thing with being part of a team is that one person doesn't always lead or need to carry all of the weight of the team. It is a shared experience, but not always an equal experience.
Just like in the example of the pitcher and catcher, both of them have the same goal to get the batter out, but they have entirely different roles in the process.
In a good balanced team all of the teammates take turns leading. And are ready to perform their specialty when required.
When I originally arrived on IVF Land on Surrogacy World India wasn't even in my sites. I never even gave it a thought. After being here for awhile I did have to look into that option. Any consumer making a major purchase would look into all of their options before buying.
So we go exploring, on the web, from the safety of my home to India to research the IVF cost.
The first shocking fact that I find out is that India was second by only a few weeks for the first IVF birth. They have been doing this for a very long time. Who Knew?
A major plus in the whole thing is that the Surrogate is changing our Family forever, and we are doing the same for hers. The amount of money that she is earning in relationship to her countries normal pay is life changing. How cool is that?
Many people want to attack the laws in India, but here in the USA we have 50 different states that each have their own pluses or minuses in regards to surrogacy. There are only a few true pro-surrogacy states.
However, in the end, India is just to far for us to travel. At the same time we will defend an IP that chooses this as the best way to go for their family.
Because I will tell you, if Mexico had the same situation going on as India with Surrogacy.
México, ¡allá voy!
That translates to: Mexico, I'm going there!
Go forth and multiple.
That is why we are here.
Our mission isn't to have a big house, nice car, or great career.
It is simply:
Go forth and multiple.
This is our number one drive in life. Our sex drive is all demanding.
That's because having children is our prime directive.
The requirements for our existence. In no particular order are:
Food, Water, Shelter, and to Procreate.
The Infetile search and wonder the world trying to meet this need, this hunger, this internal unstoppable command to:
Go forth and multiple.
the panic attack of an IP coming near.
A surro and her IP's go to the doctor for a check-up on the baby.
Do they hear the same thing?
Sure they both listen to the doctor, but do they walk away from
the appointment with the same expectations of what needs to be done
before the next visit? Or how healthy the baby is at this moment in time?
You have all heard of the book titled "Men are from Mars and Women
are from Venus". Can the same be said for IP's and Surro's?
You here the stories and what the two groups take away from their meeting with the doctor's
are often night and day. You talk to the IP and hear that the Surro has been placed on strict bedrest for 2 weeks and then you hear that the Surro played tennis all morning before going skiing in the afternoon.
I got to assume that the Surro wants to carry a healthy baby and thinks they are doing what the doctor told them.
Where is the disconnection happening?
Is it as simple as this example:
The doctor says "if this happens, then we will put you on bedrest for two weeks.
The Surro focuses on the word "if" - and goes that isn't happening right now so I am okay.
While the IP goes right to "we will put you on bedrest". Thinking to themselves "Why be risky let's just be safe and go straight to bedrest".
Here is my very unscientific thoughts on the matter.
The Surrogate usually comes in to this relationship with a completely different
background then the IP. Most of them have healthy kids and their pregnancies have
been easy for them.
Their pregnancies were not very complicated and sure things changed during the course
of the pregnancy, but without and major problems in their past - they expect things to go well.
The IP's on the other hand often have years of struggle behind them before they move
on to a Surrogacy journey. This is a scientific and medical journey for them. They are constantly
being told and are aware of the obstacles every step of the way.
For an IP, each check-up is another battle to win or lose. If things went well you take a deep breath and immediatly start analyzing the next battle. The IP thinks "sure there are blue skies here right now, but we need to be concerned with what is over the next hill".
Without carrying the baby the IP is only left with the medical information on how the baby is doing. Each drop of information is priceless and deeply held onto. Therefore, the IP's focus on every single word in the doctor's report.
So gentle reader, here is the write in participation part of the blog. This is where you can add your comment to the discussion.
Based on their background going into the pregnancy do the Surro and IP hear what the doctor says differently?
Do they both take away the same meaning and expectations from their doctor visits?
By the end of the journey will I be asking to be locked in a padded room?
Now that we have been going down this path for awhile I see many advantages of using a team to build our family. Teams have common goals and a common purpose. If one person is struggling the other teammates can help lift them up. Each individual will add their special skills, ability, and personality to make a stronger team then they could be as individuals.
Here is a definition of what a team is:
A team comprises a group of people linked in a common purpose. Teams are especially appropriate for conducting tasks that are high in complexity and have many interdependent subtasks.
Teams normally have members with complementary skills and generate synergy through a coordinated effort which allows each member to maximize his or her strengths and minimize his or her weaknesses.
It is natural for peple to want to join teams. Everyone wants to be part of something that is bigger than themselves.
You see it right now in the Olympics where athletes that are paid millions to perform their sport are willing to play for free to join the team of their country.
As we work on growing and building a team for our next adventure in surrogacy I feel that it is easier for me to be involved. In our first go around Christy formed a friendship with another girl and they planned the pregnancy together. The whole world of pregnancy and surrogacy are not male domains, nor normal conversation for me. I wasn't excluded on purpose, it was just more natural for two women to hang out and talk about pregnancy.
Today we are building a team. I have been part of a team or building and coaching teams all of my life. It is a natural environment for me. One that I am very comfortable with participating in at every level.
I understand the dynamics of getting a group together to sacrifice for a common goal. How to get individuals to overcome challenges and obstacles to meet a group objective. And most importantly, how to help one another through the tough times, because there are always tough times along the way.
This type of interaction has always been a part of my daily life. I get it, I enjoy it, I thrive in it.
It took me 28 posts, but I finally wrote one that didn't have a sports analogy.
I promise to make up this omission with multiple sports analogies in a future post.
I will finish this post with a quote from Yogi Berra a baseball player and manager from the New York Yankees. Yogi said "You should always go to other people's funerals, otherwise, they won't come to yours".
It's not one of those calls that startles you awake in the middle of the night with an emergency, but just as scary to get, and the call confirms your worst fears.
The pregnancy test was negative.
Is it any surprise that Infertile people have a higher rate of depression than cancer patients? The only focus of their life has become achieving pregnancy.
One goal. One Mission. One Obsession.
With infertility you are in a daily fight to develop a life. It has strained friendships, finances and your relationship at times.
These couples know what it is like to spend a minimum of $15,000 on one month of infertility treatments, only to get a negative pregnancy test. They know the sting of hearing people ask why they don't just give up or adopt, when their greatest desire in the world is to create a baby with the person they love, just like everyone else.
Like soldiers in combat, the veterans of IVF and Surrogacy band together. They forge close friendships in the charged atmosphere where procreation is the battle.
You can read the blogs of the infertile were they list their struggles and the battles they have fought. Open reminders of the reality that they still don't have a baby.
They know how lives are postponed because of the emotional stress of infertility and the imbalance of not knowing whether it will be just the two of them next year or a family, at long last.
You are in a constant period of mourning, you just get to the point where you just want everything to be over, but the calling for a baby is overwhelming.
So with the negative call and the negative news you are weary, scared, and unsure of yourself.
With nothing but hopes and dreams in your heart you move forward again, with - One goal. One Mission. AND One Obsession.
"Good Luck on your Journey"
"I can't wait to follow your Journey".
I hear that phrase and I want to puke. It just sounds like such a feminine word and definitely not something that I want to be involved in as a male. That's were you lose us. It start right at the beginning - Journey is a women's definition of the experience.
"Journey to the center of the earth" was written in 1864 and is the only example that I can think of that is a journey that a man would be interested in going on. That is it!! One example.
When I hear a women speak about their journey I think of a quote:
Let them a journey new begin, But I at last with weary feet Will turn towards the lighted inn, My evening-rest and sleep to meet. — J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), English Professor.
I journey is a trial and tribulation that wears you down. It is something that you need to recover from. Much more work then fun, full of drudgery - not excitement.
The word journey is a very heavy word to carry around. Go ahead and say the word journey right now. Notice how you let out a deep breath and sign and your shoulders drop. The word alone almost sends you into a depression.
Who wants to volunteer for a weary trip?
I prefer to use the word adventure.
We will try the same experiment with adventure - go ahead and say the word.
The word adventure is a happy word. Notice that when you say it you sit up straight and smile.
Your body stands at alert in excitement ready to move forward.
An adventure is exciting. There are challenges along the way that need to be overcome. You face highs and lows on the trip, but joke and laugh about them. You meet knew friends and go to new places. And at the end you get a reward.
Then I would add the word Lifetime because that describes my children's experience in the process. This adventure story doesn't end with a birth, that is really just the beginning of a lifetime of new adventures that a fresh young face will get to enjoy.
So if you want to wish me well do me a favor and wish me good luck on my:
Adventure of a Lifetime.
The one question my mom kept asking in different ways - was - do you think it is okay to genetically engineer your children? These were some big words for my 8 year old mind to work on and as she described it I could only compare it to a bugs bunny cartoon called baseball bugs.
Here is some background about baseball bugs.
A baseball game is going on in New York City, at the Polo Grounds (although the rooftop facade is more suggestive of Yankee Stadium), between the visiting "Gas-House Gorillas" (a play on the Gashouse Gang nickname for the 1930s St. Louis Cardinals) and the home team, the "Tea Totallers". The game is not going well for the Tea Totallers, as the Gorillas - a bunch of oversized, roughneck players - are not only dominating the Totallers, made up of old men ("I'm only 93 and a half years old!", a joking reference to Fanny Brice's "Baby Snooks" character's catchphrase "I'm only 3 and half years old"), but intimidating the umpire by knocking him into the ground like a tent peg after an unpopular judgment. The old men's uniform style, complete with flat-topped cap, also suggests something from the 19th century. The Gorillas' home runs go screaming out of the ballpark (literally) and the batters form a conga line, with each hitter knocking a ball out.
Here is a link to the video if you would like to watch.
I will sum up the cartoon - the big guy dominates the little guy and then the smarter guy beats the bigger guy. Either way, I think that normally in life the bigger guy or the smarter guy are going to be the winners.
To get back to my moms question of would I want to genetically engineer my children. As an 8 year old watching Baseball Bugs I answered yes without a doubt if given the chance to choose I would want superior children.
Now as an adult going through IVF I am given the real option of making some choices about genetically engineer my children. We are not given as many choices as people think based on the media reports, but we are given some and people ask is it an ethical thing to do?
I have a simple question for them - if they went to their doctor and were given advice on how to help make their child have a healthier life would they not choose that option?
Everyone wants a healthy, happy, and intelligent baby. For me there is only one ethical answer.
For many people it is a very uncomfortable subject, they are confused about it, and don't really know what to say, what to ask, basically, it is just plain awkward.
Based on rumors, stories, and gossip it seems to me that the girl usually initiates "the talk" with the guy. She has done her research and is usually subtle at first and tries to play it off as a joke more then a serious discussion.
I remember that I first had "the talk" with my mom when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Sure I was young, but I was a fast learner and it wasn't even tough for me to talk about, you see I was way away from needing it for myself so there wasn't a lot of pressure on me.
The conversation is still fresh in my mind all these years later as I recall the first time that my mom asked me what I thought about a test tube baby. I will admit that I was confused on how a baby could fit inside a test tube, but everything else made since. At least to my young mind.
Even then - I thought that a baby was a baby - I had no idea that a baby could be controversial.
Why was this one baby such a big story? Looking back on the event now through my adult eyes, I guess that growing up in a test tube would be a very big story indeed.
This was part of my first discussion about IVF.
For those of you coming to my site for the first time here is a quick summary.
I am an Intended father writing about surrogacy from the straight males perspective. It seems weird to need to add the word straight when describing myself, but all the male blogs that I can find on Surrogacy seem to be from a gay males perspective.
Christy and I have been working on the baby project for around 2 years with many highs and lows. We are currently building our team for a new run. This time around we expect to have two surrogates at the same time which will help make it an exciting ride for everyone.
This is the background for our story. Please read some of my posts and feel free to ask me some questions.
To me it is clear that where my child is born changes their life story and their children's life story.
Well I have a story about how simple decision's by one person can change a families life forever. This is not a bitter story for me, but just a perfect example on how one small change in your life can affect everyone else down the line.
My Great-Great Grandma was 100% Cherokee Indian and my Great-Great Grandfather was reportedly at least 50% Cherokee Indian. Now in their time around the 1890's American Indian's were not being treated very well.
So my Great-Great Grandfather made a decision. I am going to claim to be a white man and move my family off of the reservation. This will be a better life for my family then face the repression and discrimination of being an Indian and living on the reservation.
It was probably a life or death decision for them.
Now fast forward to today. The Indian's have Casino's and are bringing in Millions of dollars that they are passing out to their tribe members. I am not sure about all of the tribes, but you can read stories in the paper that the dividends for members can be in the $20,000 - $30,000 per month range.
With that kind of money at stake the tribes have become very picky on choosing who they recognize as members. They are going back to the reservation roles of 1900 to determine who is a member of the tribe and you need to be a specific percentage of Indian blood.
The family line from my Great-Great Grandma and Great-Great Grandpa is easily over 100 people. That means that if we were all recording our family would get $2 million per month for being Cherokee.
Well they had moved off of the reservation before 1900 so there are no records of us. We missed out on the jackpot by 10 years.
I will tell it in over a few posts. We will start with the son that Abraham and Sarah have together without using a surrogate.
In Genesis, God promised Abraham that he would make a great nation of him.
Well, clearly to make a great nation from someone, would require having at least one child to carry on your line! And when they are young, this would have seemed like no big deal most likely to Abraham and his wife Sarah. I mean, maybe they were getting a little up there in years, but a baby still was possible. So they obey God, set out for the promised land, and wait for a son.
And they wait. And they wait, and they wait. Over 10 years goes by and still no baby. God revisits Abraham in chapter 15 and tells him “I am your shield and your very great reward.” Abraham asks how that can be since he doesn’t have a son, and God reaffirms that he will have a son.
Here’s where we get this great line “Abraham believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
God comes through, however, it take another 13 years.
God shows up to Abraham again. Abraham is now 99. He was 75 when he first heard God’s promise and set out for the land that God would show him. This is actually where God changes Abraham’s name from Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah. The implication here is that Abraham in the very meaning of his name will be the father of a multitude, and Sarah, which means princess, will be the mother of this nation.
I love that God changes their names before the promise comes true. He changes their names to reflect how he sees them, how he’s going to bless them.
I think it also shows how the struggle to have a child changes who your are, how they see each other and the world.
So how does Abraham respond?
He laughs. In fact, this is the first known case of ROFL, that’s Rolling On Floor Laughing for you non-texters out there. It says he “fell on his face laughing.”
And God apparently ignores this, and just goes right on with the promise, appearing sometime later at Abraham’s tent, where it’s pitched under the oaks of Mamre, where we pick up the story today.
The Lord shows up to Abraham and Abraham hustles to prepare a meal for his guest, presumably not knowing who has decided to wait on him that day. But God’s business that day is really with Sarah, even though for whatever reason he decides to go with the customs of the day and not talk to her face to face. In verse nine, when he asks “Where is your wife, Sarah?” this isn’t because he needs information. I mean even a regular guest could probably have figured out where Sarah was, after all, it was the heat of the day, and those cakes had come from somewhere, so in the tent is a logical assumption.
But God asks this so that Sarah will know that what he’s about to say is directed at her. And he tells her she’s going to have a son.
And she laughs.
Can we blame her for laughing? I mean, this isn’t exactly the first time that Sarah has heard this promise from God. In fact, she’s been hearing it for nearly twenty-five years now. She’s been disappointed with this particular promise and now it’s not only unlikely, it’s physically impossible. The text clearly tells us that Sarah is past menopause.
And she’s thinking, right, a little too late now, God. A couple of years ago even, but I mean you’ve had twenty-five years to do something about this and you come back now? When I’m physically past all that sort of thing, and you still want me to believe this? I’ve been believing for twenty-five years, okay so more or less believe, but me, have a baby? I’m old and worn out!
This verb that’s used here means that Sarah laughed to herself or within herself. God shows his identity by knowing what’s going on even though she’s standing behind him and didn’t make any audible noise.
Now, much has been made of this next section, why does God seem to rebuke Sarah for laughing when he didn’t rebuke Abraham, and things of that sort, but I don’t get that sense from it.
Try this sort of tone on for size:
God: Sarah, why did you laugh, don’t you know nothing is too hard for me.
Sarah: I didn’t laugh.
God: Oh yes, you did laugh!
I mean try to say that “Oh yes you did laugh” part without smiling. It’d be hard! Which is why I don’t see this as the sort of harsh reprimand that it’s often read as. I think that God is laughing with them as he anticipates what he’s going to do for them.
First of all, Isaac means “He laughs” and I have to kind of wonder if the he’s supposed to be God. Secondly, in chapter 21 when Sarah gives birth to Isaac, she says “god has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.”
See, laughter isn’t always just a sort of “haha” laughter, or a derisive sort of laughter. The kind of laughter Sarah’s talking about here is a deep, joyful laughter, a laughter that emerges when a smile just doesn’t go far enough.
God takes Sarah’s internal snort of hopelessness and turns it into a deep, lasting laughter because he fulfills his promise to her, not on any sort of time frame that she would have imagined, but right in his perfect time. And when God fulfills his promise, and he always does, there’s always cause for deep laughter.
It won’t be in our timing, and it won’t be by the methods we devise to help God along. But whatever it is, and whenever it shows up, it will be worth the wait.
How do you even know where to begin? IVF world has very few Intended Parents that are willing to speak. If you just look at your normal gossip magazine you will see many Hollywood stars having twins at an advanced age - magically.
As first time IP's we want with a first time surrogate and figured that we can all learn at the same speed.
Now as we head into our second journey we want seasoned veterans like ourselves. No Rookies for us this time around.
At the start our team was two people entering the vast unknown world of IVF and Surrogacy.
As 5th year senior's we are better prepared for everything that is coming our way. Plus, our team has grown and is very experienced and knowledgeable about Surrogacy World. This adds to our comfort level.
We have started an IP message board with over 100 members. We have a support group of Smurfs that have done it all.
The family team consists of 2 ips, 2 Surrogates, 2 surrogates husbands, the surrogates children, a PIG, everybody's grandma and grandpa, Aunt's and Uncles.
The support team includes our friends that our on their own journey as we share the highs and lows of the experience. Our fans include Smurf's and Wim's and many others.
The medical team will include the RE and his staff, 2 OB's and their staff, maybe a Peri or two, the hospital staff at the birth, and some insurance reps chasing everybody around like Sambo.
As you can see the team is very large and growing everyday. This is a developing team and we need to place everyone in a position where they can be successful - so that our team can be successful.
We are building a special team for a special journey.
This is the story we are looking for - except we will have two surro's carrying the children.
Miracle Twins Born to Two Different Moms
Embryos Were Implanted in Biological Mom and Surrogate
Twin brothers born to different mothers? It sounds impossible.
But thanks to the reproductive advancements of surrogacy and in vitro fertilization, twins Connor and Cameron Payne were born to different mothers 16 days apart in different hospitals.
Kathy and Ray Payne wanted children and had tried for eight years to make it happen. After numerous fertility treatments, implanted embryos and miscarriages, they were ready to pursue adoption. But then a doctor suggested they try again to have a biological child with a surrogate, using Ray's sperm and embryos from Kathy's eggs.
Kathy Payne found Angel Willis, a 29-year-old mother of three, on a surrogacy Web site. They met, went out for dinner and agreed to give surrogacy a try. Then the Paynes' doctor proposed transferring two embryos into Payne and Willis at the same time.
"My initial answer was no," Payne said. "We had tried my body seven times, and it didn't take. So I was willing to have Angel carry our baby for us. I had come to grips with that … and the doctor suggested giving my body one more shot."
Miracles 16 Days Apart
So Payne reluctantly agreed, and both she and Willis learned they were pregnant on the same day. Both women gave birth in June, a little more than two weeks apart. Kathy Payne gave birth to Connor Ray Payne on June 12; Angel Willis gave birth to Cameron Clark Payne on June 28. The boys are considered fraternal twins
Willis suggested she had mixed feelings after she gave up Cameron. But she said she never considered him her baby.
"We loved Cameron -- my husband and I loved him," Willis said. "So, yeah, for a week I was like, 'What do I do with myself now?' But he was where he needed to be, where we always wanted him to be, and he's their baby. And the greatest blessing was seeing Ray holding him and their mom."
Willis said her love for her children inspired her to become a surrogate mother.
"They were such a blessing to my husband and me, and we just thought God has blessed us so much, let's try to give back," Willis said. "I enjoy being pregnant. It's just something my husband and I both have a passion for."
For example, if someone showed up at the beach in a tuxedo they would not be breaking any rules. However, everyone there would give them a lot of space and wonder if the person is mentally okay.
Because they broke the social norm everyone would be very leary of them.
How many surro's out there want to help a mentally unstable person have a baby?
When I am posting I can't help but think of Howard Dean and the "Dean Scream". Howard Dean was the front runner of the Democratic party for president when he made this speech.
Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we're going to California and Texas and New York ... And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we're going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Yeah!
This final "Yeah!", with its unusual tone that Dean later said was due to the cracking of his hoarse voice, has become known in American political jargon as the "Dean Scream".
One word out of a lifetime of speeches in the wrong tone knocked him out of the race and cost him his dream.
Your tone and reflection add so much to a conversation and are often missing when you write.
Without being able to find any guidance from other men that have gone before me in sharing their views on the Surrogacy journey and the fact that people can't tell my tone when they are reading my writing - I will be treading lightly as I work to find my voice on the subject.
I do appreciate all the support and positive feedback that everyone has given me, however, I want to make sure that I am only wearing a tux at the right times and occasions.
Speaking to a women is Dangerous to begin with no matter the subject. And think of the fun topics we get to discuss.
A women's weight, age, and medical history. OH MY!
This is the normal conversation (normally taboo) and as an IF I am supposed to know what is off limits. We have already crossed all of the limits and that is just about the surrogate.
Then we get to start to talk about IVF. That has to be a safer topic right?
No! It's filled with thoughts about religion, politics, money, and sex.
To not speak is safe. You can't upset anyone by keeping your mouth shut.
So I google Men and Surrogacy, Men's views on Surrogacy, and Intended Fathers and Surrogacy. Then a bunch of other combinations and here is what I found:
1) Any Men's views was limited to gay men.
2) I can induce lactation and breast feed my child.
I find both of these disturbing. Sure there is a place for everyone in this process and gay men can have their views and their baby, but as a straight man, how is our voice so limited on the subject?
And the thought of males breast feeding is a picture that I don't want in my mind.
Everyone here will just have to deal with me as I put my foot in my mouth and say the wrong thing at times, because it is very clear that there is no guidance for me.
Ajysyt and Isis.
Ajysyt - The literal meaning is "Birthgiver". You can pronounce it as asia-sit.
She is the Mother goddess of the Turkic Yakut people from the Lena River region of Siberia.
Ajysyt was responsible for conducting the soul of a newborn child to its birth and attended every birth. She kept a golden book in which she recorded each one. She is said to have lived in a mountain, from which she controlled the fate of the world.
In legend she appeared to a white youth out of the roots of the Cosmic Tree (or world pillar of Yryn-al-tojon) which itself stood beside a lake of milk. By suckling the youth from her breasts she caused his strength to increase a hundredfold.
Isis - Her name literally means "queen of the throne."
One of the most important female deities, Isis was the protectress of motherhood, healer of the sick, and protectress of women.
She also rules magic - especially protection and healing.
Sick with grief concerning the murder of her husband Osiris by his brother Set, Isis reconstructed and reanimated his corpse long enough for it to impregnate her with their only son Horus.
Ancient Egyptians believed that the Nile flooded every year because of her tears of sorrow for her dead husband, Osiris. Her methods for getting pregnant and having a child were unconventional, but many people think that our methods are unconventional as well.
Her story does show how far someone will go to have a baby. She was determined and committed to making it happen. It could be thought of as an early version of IVF.
Mexico IVF and Surrogacy - A Valid Option
Going into the Surrogacy World I had some pre-conceived ideas on how things would work and wasn't necessarily flexible on my needs. The list was short, but clear.
My children needed to be born in Southern California. It was limited to LA, Orange County, or San Diego.
That about summed up my needs. I was comfortable with all of the other aspects of the journey and didn't see much need for a lot of concerns about anything else.
Christy, would find a Surro that was easy to work with and friendly and everything would go smooth. No worries from me. I figured that pregnancy was a women's issue and Chisty and the Surro would figure it out together.
Now that I have lived on Surrogacy World for a while my thoughts have changed.
My only demand in the process - where my child was going to be born wasn't a concern anymore.
No longer concerned with where the Child is born we now had a whole world of locations to consider. I looked hard at India and Panama as viable options. The Ukraine and Czech Republic also has low cost options if you want to go to Europe for vacation.
I have even made a list of IVF Costs Worldwide.
I even looked up Surrogacy in Mexico. I thought for sure that Mexico would be a cheap place to go. Surrogacy is not against the law in Mexico. However, there are no laws about Surrogacy in Mexico so if you used a surrogate in Mexico she would have all of the rights as the parent. However, you can bring a United States Surrogate to Mexico and then US laws would apply to the pregnancy,
At the start of the journey I felt that the most important part of the equation was where - as in where is the baby born.
Now, I think that the most important part is the who - as in who are you going on the journey with.
Life as in sports memories fade. The wins and losses start to blur. And what you are left with are the memories of your teammates that joined you along the way.
India sounds like a good choice after our last go around, you basically have no contact with the surro and the prices are very cheap. You get the experience of traveling the world and an amazing story to tell your children about how far you were willing to go for them.
Some of the down falls are - your traveling the world. Think about flying for at least 15 hours to land in a place like Mexico. And then having to spend over a month there if everything goes well.
Is there a closer option? Well yes, what Panama offers is almost identical to India and it's a lot closer to home. However, they are just starting out in the IVF vacation field and do you want to be a guinea pig and find out how things will work?
So Panama is out based on the fact that they are to new to the field. India emails me all of the information and looks pretty good. I read a few blogs of people that have gone this way. They all write glowing reports and talk about the great time seeing a new world. This sounds like an option worth looking into.
(Warning: Christy told me that I shouldn't post the next part. She says that I am breaking rule #1. You will need to highlight the area below to read it at your own risk.)
Then I find the deal killer for me.
Our children would have an India birth certificate.
What does this mean to them the rest of their life? How do they explain this to people? Does it cause them hassles forever? As adults when they get a drivers license or a passport is it harder for them? How will my choice haunt them later? How does their beginning effect the rest of their life? What is their life story?
At this point in telling the story, I feel like I sound like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City - where I ask myself a bunch of stupid questions while I am writing. And then in my mind, I go back to one of my first posts - where I ask can a guy still sound like a guy and while sharing his thoughts and feelings and I am thinking - no! After only a few posts, I have already lost it and sound like a girl.
However, It's to late to turn back now so let's continue.
During this time I had an epiphany.
Decisions and choices that Christy and I make now - long before our children are born - will define who they are throughout life.
We are not just creating a baby where if they are healthy at birth our job is done. We are creating a person (baby/child/adult all in one)
who has a life story that will define them forever.
That is a big responsibility. Most people just get pregnant and have a baby where they are without much thought.
We need to make a lot of choices in advance that affect our child's life story. Much more then the normal pregnancy.
Maybe everyone else already new this and I am just a tad slow.
Before two months ago, I never even thought that my children could have any other heritage, however, now I realize that I need American born children.
Here is some boring family history on why this is important to me. You might want to skip down about 6 paragraphs.
My family has deep roots in this country. We have fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. My mom has done extensive work on our family history and can tell you many stories.
One of my favorites is about a great-great- grandfather who I believe was living in Missouri during the Civil War. He had a bunch of sons and some were fighting for the North and some the South. One day the Southern Army came to his house and wanted to know which sons were fighting for the North. He wouldn't tell them so they strung him up and hung him - 3 times! It's not the hanging that kills you, it's the snapping of the neck when you drop from a hieght. They would pull him up and then let him down and ask the question again. He would never tell them After the 3rd time they left him hung to the tree and left.
His daughter then came out of the house and cut him down. How many people can say that they were hung 3 times and lived?
My family background in the US is very long. Here is a condensed version.
My Dad's side of the family arrived in the US in:
1823, 1810, 1840, 1800, 1627, 1641, 1617, 1611, 1614, and 1888.
My Mom's side of the family is here forever - we can't find the first person from any family line to enter the US.
Her side of the family is from the South and most of the records were burned during the Civil War.
These are the last relatives that can be traced and they are already in the US.
1799, 1775, 1700, 1715, 1685, 1715, 1685, 1715, 1650, 1625, 1735, 1775, 1761, 1690, 1666, and 1605.
Our children need to be born in the USA to continue this heritage.
I believe that through surrogacy we can enhance our children's connection to this county and make it even stronger.
Yes, our children will have Christy and my roots and history, plus the additional connection to our country through their Surro.
This extra story that other kids don't get will tie our children closer to our country and give them a unique story to tell.
It is a story that will make them special.
As an example of how I see the relationship grow over time I will use a story about one of Christy's long time friends Noel.
Noel is from Texas and every Christmas she sends Nic and Courtney presents from Texas. They each get an ornament for our
Christmas tree with a Texas theme and some other simple - this is from Texas theme present.
Over the years, this has really connected them to her and Texas.
I see our future children receiving a Christmas ornament every year from their Surro that represents where they are from.
This simple gift would have such deep meaning and grow our child's connection to a different location. Each child's ornament would be from a different place
in the US and we would discuss that part of the country and the Surro. This would be a Family tradition every year. (Along with the reminder that they came from Santa Claus).
By looking through my (future) adult children's eyes, I see how part of who they are, is formed by the unique way that they were born. The additional people that love them
and helped bring them into the world - add value to their life long after their birth. They will help define who they are and who they will become over the years.
The Surro's will give so much of themselves during this journey and I hope to give them something in return simply by sharing my thoughts. They will give a child life - while I give a few words on a computer screen. It hardly seems like a fair trade.
Right now, we are filled with enthusiasm and excitement to build and grow our team. To start our children's story is a happy time indeed.
I tried to make a joke that didn't hit the right tone in one of my prior threads called "what is there not to like about surrogacy". Here is the part of the post in question:
Of course, I don't have a surro at this time, and in the past I have never had a bad experience with my surro. In fact, I love my surro, and all other surro's, at all times. My future surro, whomever she is, is the best.
Anyways, let's get on with this post and explain myself.
Using a point of reference that hopefully everyone can understand, I would say that our first relationship with a surrogate was very much like your relationship with your first boyfriend/girlfriend. It starts out all rosy with everyone happy for you and lots of good feelings. You hit a rough spot and try to work through it. Then times get tough and you don't want to let go and move on after all of the time that has been invested. You hold on longer then you should. And it finally ends in a public mess with friends taking sides.
There are good times, and bad times in the relationship. And I guess the question is: When the relationship is over what part of it do you keep with you?
I think being an athlete I learned that to win you need to have a mental eraser. You learn from your mistakes but you don't take the mistake into the future. You take the lesson, but not the mistake. The mistake gets erased so you don't get caught up in why the ball didn't get through the hoop last shot - rather the focus is to take another shot and how you will make it next time.
The first time around the block I am sure that I was as involved as your normal IF. I was at most of the appointments and was involved with all of the medical decisions and there every step of the way. The IVF part of the procedure I was there 100%.
Then you get into the "girl talk" part of the equation . As the talk turned to other topics such as pregnancy, other people and their relationships, or where strangers where in their journey and I was a fish out of water.
It was very much like two little girls playing dolls, as they planned the pregnancy and talked about baby dress up and having a great time. While I played cars on the other side of the room. We were all playing together, but not necessarily the same game.
So what did I learn and how is the lesson helping me move forward?
I have learned that I am not having the experience of a pregnancy. I am experiencing surrogacy. And sure, through the surrogate I can experience the pregnancy, but not in the same way I would/could if Christy was the one being pregnant.
There are really two options for me. I can be a supportive 3rd wheel to the situation and let the women gather together and plan the details as they have a "girls only" friendship. Or I can become involved as much as an IF can and fully embrace the situation - as awkward as that might be at times.
The main point is that this journey will be my children's life story forever. I can set the tone before the next journey starts by fully embracing every aspect of the experience, sharing my thoughts on the process, and acknowledging how special the surrogates are that help complete a family.
Because without all of us working together as a team - my children will never have a story to tell.
When thinking about the Smurf's I am reminded of a speech by a basketball coach. Stick with me - this is not another dumb sports story.
This is one of the best speeches ever. They play it ever year at the start of basketball season. I could watch it every day - and tear up every time. Yes, it is that moving.
Watch the video.
Jim Valvano was a basketball coach that was diagnosed with metastatic bone cancer at age 46 and died a year later. Weeks before he passed away he announced the start of a new foundation at an ESPN awards banquet. The motto of the organization would be "Don't give up. Don't ever give up".
One particularly poignant section of Valvano's speech is as follows:
To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special."
I see the Smurf's do this everyday. They are happy for a person on one thread that got good news that day, they think about how to help a friend get through their journey, they cry with someone else that is struggling, and then they go to Smurf Land and laugh.
That's a heck of a day!!!!!!!! They have something special!!!!!!
I will compare this to my experience as a basketball coach and then an administrator for my basketball program. I started a few basketball teams and coached them all (this is how I meet Christy). I had a very happy program and never got any complaints.
My program grew and grew to the point that I needed to hire coaches to coach the extra teams. From my own success as a coach I turned into an administrator of the program. My coaches where all high school coaches and we were coaching 3rd-8th graders so my staff was highly qualified.
As the administrator my experience changed the parents started to come up to me and complain about their child's experience and how frustrated they were with the coach. Later, I would talk to the coach about the situation and they would be confused. They would say - that parent loves what I am doing and they are my biggest supporter. They would ask me if I was sure that I was talking about the right parent.
I couldn't understand the disconnection that I felt from the coaches perspective and the administrators view that I now had. I felt that my program was falling apart and I didn't know why. My coaches were having the same relationship with the parents that I had - where everything was going great.
The coaches were blissfully unaware that the parents had any issues or concerns at all and thought everyone was extremely happy. And I was hearing all of the grumbling from the parents and watching my program struggle.
Finally, one parent said something to me that made me understand what was happening. She told me that she didn't want to bother me with the situation and would talk to the coach - but - she didn't want to get the coach upset with her and then have the coach take it out on the child.
As the administrator I was a safe person to talk to about her concerns. She could share them with me and then I could share them to the coach without attaching them to an individual child or parent.
The parent could get her feelings and concerns across without tainting her child to the coach who was in charge of her child's experience. This allowed the coach to get the information through a buffer. And the parent/child/coach relationship could still be healthy.
In this situation, it is not a balance of power that is hanging on the line and the parents don't feel out of control. Nobody's life is at stake. The parents are just trying to figure out how they can make sure that their child has the best experience possible playing basketball. And will do anything in thier power to make that happen.
Some of them even bring the coach cookies......
I need your help naming our Surro's. Since we don't have them now I need to come up with name's for them. Our future Surro's just doesn't have a good ring to it.
You girls play the baby name game all of the time so you have some practice at this activity. So instead of name that baby - let's name those surro's.
I was thinking of giving them each the name's of a fertility goddess. It seems like a good fit. Below are some examples, but feel free to nominate your own name. Either way be sure and tell us why we should use your names.
Fertility goddess names
The fertility goddesses are the female deities to watch over and promote fertility, pregnancy, and birth in many polytheistic cultures.
List of fertility goddesses and related deities and individuals
* St. Anne
* St. Catherine of Sweden
* St. Margaret the Virgin
* St. Monica
We have not gone all the way to a live birth so I have not experienced an entire journey first hand, but you hear stories of out of control surro's. I am sure that it's just like the nightly news where the wildest story gets the headline - but the headlines play into your fears.
Once those embroy's are transfered all sense of control is lost. They were safe and protected in the petri dish. Now they are loose in the womb and struggling to survive. You want to help them settle in and find a safe home for the next few months, but you are helpless and can't help them. I would offer to hold them in place - but that would be really awkward!
You only have one source for communication with them and that is through your surro. What did she say? How did she say it? What was the meaning behind her words? Sure she said this, but what did she really mean? Can you break the code and find out what is really going on? When did the surro start speaking in pig latin?
It's like going to the twilight zone and another person is in charge of your emotions and you are just along for the ride.
As an IP you now have a new GOD to worship. Or at least as close to one as a human can be. Well, maybe not a new GOD, it's actually the same one, but he has moved and he now lives in your surro's belly and your mission in life is to make him happy so that your baby will grow. You can only make him happy by making your surro happy.
What can you sacrifice to the surro today? Anything and Everything will be tried. The cargo she is carrying is priceless and must be protected at all times. As an IP your only means to protect your child is to make sure that every need and want of the surro is answered.
Once that baby is growing in her belly the balance of power in the relationship is lopsided.
It is like riding a teeter-totter (also known as seesaw) with someone that outweighs you by 1,000 pounds. You are at their mercy - they can throw you in the air or slam you to the ground in an instant. And you have to smile back and enjoy the ride the whole time.
Now of course, I am speaking hypothetically, this is a fictional story that doesn't have anything to do with any real ips. No real ips were hurt in the telling of this story.
Of course, I don't have a surro at this time, and in the past I have never had a bad experience with my surro. In fact, I love my surro, and all other surro's, at all times. My future surro, whomever she is, is the best.
This is not a decision that we are making lightly. We have talked this over with many people in the surrogacy world. Women that have not just scene the good times and the bad, but lived it for themselves.
The journey will not be for the meek of heart. Someone that needs to be the center of attention need not apply. Someone that is always needing others to validate them need not apply. If you enjoy drama daily you need not apply.
Basically, this journey needs the best of the best. I think that only 1-2% of the surro's out there are ready for this situation.
Our surro's will need to be very mature and be very comfortable in their own skin.
They know who they are and are happy. Someone who has lived in the surrogacy world for a long time so that she knows what to expect.
These would be very special women with high emotion intelligence that can share their feelings without losing them and work with a group. They need to be leaders in their own right and have a high level of self-esteem.
They will glow with excitement for our babies and fill them daily with happy vibes.
They will bring their own prior success to our journey and radiate positive emotions.
It is only through the strength of these women that my family will grow.
We can't base all of our choices just on the odds. Our first set of twins had a 95% chance of reaching a live birth after having heart beats and neither of them made it. Also, if we lived our life in fear of the worse case scenario we wouldn't be moving forward at all. Since so far IVF has sucked for us!!!!
Our worse case scenario is not having too many kids - it's having none. That is our reality.
I am not sure where the lack of parental attention would come from. I have never seen John and Kate plus 8.
Let me give you my background with kids. For the last 20 years I have run youth sports leagues as business. I am usually working with about 300 kids at a time and during the winter it's over 1,000 and I pretty much know them all. Normally, I coach basketball and see about 20 kids per hour for 4 hours a night. I know them all by name and their parents.
Before that I have coached Little League, flag football, girls volleyball, Boys and Girls Varsity Basketball, track and field, I have been a swimming instructor, Life Guard, and T-Ball coach.
I have run after-school sports programs and summer camps. I worked for 2 years at a pre-school and worked with an after-school program, also with Children's World. For two summers, I went around to pre-schools (2 per day) and taught the kids a Red Cross Water Safety program. I was a camp counselor with the YMCA.
That's my background in working with kids in large groups that just came to mind without giving it much thought.
Then through in that Christy has worked as a teacher and runs a cheer business where she coaches 10-30 kids.
So we have a large background on working with many kids. I know that it's not the same as having your own kids, but it's pretty close. Also, ask anyone that's meet us how their kids respond to us.
In fact, I think that having multiple kids at the same age would make things so much easier. For example, one of the major problems for parents is that all of their kids are in different activities and normally, the youngest kids go at the earlier times and the oldest go at the later times. This makes parents stick around for long periods of times. Our kids would all be in the same group or at least the same time frames.
Christy has two kids already and we have been raising them together for years. When Courtney entered high school she complained that she could not date any boys because they all knew me. As a matter of fact I had them all listed in my database with their address, home phone, moms cell, dads cell, and email address.
In short, we have been very active in their lives. When Nic and Courtney were growing up we were the main house that all of the kids came to play. All of the parents knew us well and felt comfortable leaving their children with us on a regular basis.
The one thing that I know from coaching a lot of kids is that when the kids are 18 months or less apart they can play together and compete at the same level and this makes them easy to work with as a unit. Once the kids are 3 years apart they are no longer peers. At that point one of them takes on the caretaker - babysitter role. They are no longer equals.
Another problem that many parents have is that their different age kids go to different schools. Each school is on a different bell schedule. This makes driving and picking up their kids an hour activity alone every morning and afternoon. Then throw in the places where the middle school is year round and the elementary school isn't so each kids is out of school at different times.
I see school, sports, and social activities would all be on a matching schedule making our life easier and allowing us more time with our kids than just playing taxi.
Their verbal, social, and physical skills would all be near each other allowing them to be peers and have stronger relationships with each other throughout life.
I truly see a lot of positives.