Friday, March 30, 2012

I'm Afraid

This Blog Post Written By Tiffany, Surrogate Mother

Lately so many people have been asking me, "How are you feeling? Are you sad? Scared? Nervous?"   I am all of the above including excited and mostly afraid.  The second transfer is next week, either Monday or Wednesday.  Natalie had her egg retrieval today and they retrieved 18 eggs this time.  Really, just great news. 

However, I am still afraid. I am not afraid to be pregnant again, I am not even afraid to give birth again, but I am afraid it won't work.  I know, I know, I can't think like that.  I am a big believer in thinking positive thoughts and positive things will come your way.   But I am afraid of failing, of not getting pregnant and not ever meeting this baby or babies.   I need to get back to my positive self and back on the right track.  I am on all the medications again, I am eating super healthy (including almost a bag of spinach a day!).  My nails are the length of Wolverine's and my skin is stunning (prenatal pills? Or being sober?).  My body is all set, my heart is in this and I am ready to start being positive again.  So many people have supported us along this journey, so many people have stepped up to help us while we film this story and all of you readers have made us feel not so alone.  We have over 30,000 hits on the blog (scroll down and look to the right for reader hits).  We are not alone in this journey.  We have supportive husbands, children and family and friends and dozens of emails from strangers who have reached out to give us faith and support.   Why can't I let go of this fear of failure?  I am never afraid to fail.  I am a risk taker, while still being safe, but this feels out of my hands.   Any of you other readers out there feel afraid when trying so hard for you baby or for a surrogacy? 

I don't feel this blog has much direction right now except me being scared.  I appreciate you reading anyway.  I made a vision board today, my first one ever.  A girlfriend of mine told me it will help.  She made one too for our surrogacy.  She sent the most beautiful card when the last embryos did not make it.  She cried with me. I feel so many of you are crying with us as the first embryos did not make it, and as I lost my little brother.  Now I hope we will all cry with joy in two weeks when I get my blood drawn for the pregnancy test that could change our lives forever and I can finally give James and Natalie the child they have been hoping for, and Hunter the sibling he will share the rest of his life with. Oh please oh please work this time.

Here is my first vision board, feel free to email us yours if you have one!  I threw in a little something extra into this Surrogacy vision board...  :)

We will blog again after the transfer next week and let you know how many embryos the embryologist recommends. In the meantime, they are fertilizing this very moment.  Send strong thoughts their way, they need it!  As always, thank you for reading, feel free to share our blog with others. We feel so many women (and men) suffer silently from infertility and we want them to know they are not alone and it is okay to talk about whatever it is they may be going through. 

"Don't worry about failure, worry about the chances you miss when you don't even try."

Thank you for reading,
Surrogate Mother

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Baby Calls the Shots

This blog post was written by Natalie, Intended Mother

Last month we got he unfortunate news that the embryos did not take. I was heartbroken when my husband called me to tell me the news and it almost felt surreal.

I think in my heart I truly knew it didnt work. I never got that gut feeling you get when you truly know something is about to happen. I had a total breakdown the night before we found out. James tried comforting me and told me not to worry, we didnt know anything yet. I just didnt feel like it was "our" time.

I had a really hard time with this all, and I began to feel sorry for myself. I just didnt understand why we couldn't walk the easy pathway in life, why we always seem to take the rocky road. I felt this way for a few days, everytime I talked about it I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. This has been the hardest thing I have gone though. The toughest journey James and I have had in our marriage, emotionally and financially. I couldn't help but wonder why God wouldn't just let us take the easy road.
Finally, I decided I needed to pick myself up, stop feeling sorry for myself and realize what was right in front of me all along. I have an amazing beautiful son and such a supportive husband and I couldn't love them more than I do. This precious child is the most precious gift I could ever ask for. Every crazy minute in that delivery room was worth our little miracle, and I would never take back that journey for anything in the world. James is such an incredible husband who lets me hurt, but encourages me and reminds me of all the wonderful blessings we have in our lives. I have so much to be thankful for and it is easy to lose sight of that in the hard times. I had to remind myself of that and pick myself back up and keep moving forward. All I know is the baby calls the shots, and will be here when the timing is just right.

As tough as this can be to understand sometimes, I know the Lord has a great plan for us, He is shaping us for something really amazing. We are going to try this again, and give it EVERYTHING we have, and I hope with all that I am that we can give Hunter a sibling.

We will one day have the family we desire. We couldn't possibly have this desire in our hearts without something beautiful coming our way.

We began round two about two weeks ago.  As a reminder, when we did the first round, they were able to retrieve 16 eggs from me, and 14 of them were mature enough to use.  Out of those 14 eggs, 13 of them were fertilized became embryos. By the time the transfer day came, we had four embryos left and transferred two of them into Tiffany with hopes that we could freeze the remaining two embryos if we needed them.  Unfortunately, the day after the transfer the remaining two had not survived so we were unable to freeze any, which means I will have to do the egg retrieval over again.  So about two weeks ago, Tiffany began taking her nightly Lupron shots and I started taking my birth control again, Tiffany is now on her estrogen patches as well. We are taking a slightly different approach this time. I am taking an antagonist medicine called Cetrotide, which I started last Thursday. I honestly dont know a whole lot about this approach or what the difference is but it is a newer medication than the Lupron and they are just hoping for a better set of embryos as a result.

I think this time has been a little easier. I feel a little more confident in the process and myself. I think I naturally will not be putting all my eggs in one basket (haha), and this time I will not stop living my life, holding my breath waiting for this whole process to take place again. I will continue living with just an extra few appointments on our calendar, and a hopefully a blessing at the end of it all :)

I want to thank everyone for all the supportive words along the way, especially as Tiffany had her own heartbreak just a few weeks back. I know that her friends and family are what is getting her through this tough time.

I also know we have a special guardian angel watching over us right now...
Thanks for reading,

Monday, March 5, 2012

Just Breathe

This blog post written by Tiffany, Surrogate Mother

Much has happened...I love talking and of course writing. I don't mind sharing about my life but have been having a hard time finding the words to begin to describe my world these past few weeks. I have sat down for the past two days and stared at a blank screen trying to write out just one thought, once sentence, anything that makes sense.  Not just making sense to the reader, but to me, the one feeling a little lost, a little bit in a fog. Here goes another attempt. 

As a recap, on February 7th we received the phone call that the embryos did not make it. I was really confused.  The hormones made my body feel very pregnant, I didn't understand. I thought the results were wrong.  Surely I was pregnant.  I was genuinely, very sad and after crying through a meeting that day, I came home and just crawled into bed.  How pathetic.  I felt guilty for how sad I was feeling over something we never fully had. I felt like I had failed somehow, or my body had failed. I felt I really let James and Natalie down. I felt we lost two future people, that I didn't keep them safe enough.  I felt disappointed for all the work that went into it.  By the next day I was feeling better,  James, Natalie, and Sean all were so encouraging to me. I should have been consoling James and Natalie, but I didn't know how.  Sean was amazing with all of this, I truly have been blessed by an amazing husband.   We all decided we wanted to keep trying, we hoped we would, and we all wanted to try again right away.   It gave me hope and I know not everything works the first try.  I was determined not to give up.  My nurse said to stop all hormones and my body will have a natural cycle and then we can start again. Things were looking positive and hopeful.    

That night, the after the embryo news, at 3 A.M. I received the worst phone call I have ever received in my life.  My little brother, Jesse, had died.  I don't know what to type next.  Now I am just sitting here, angry that that sentence is real.  I don't know how to properly transition and say something positive and hopeful here.  Naturally since it has only been a few weeks, I am still dealing with so much.   I don't know yet how to move on, and not sure yet if I ever will.  My little brother was 20 years old and one of the most beautiful souls I have ever had the privilege of knowing. I loved watching him grow up and loved him with all of my heart. I feel I lose my words, my footing, my breath during the day.  I find myself just standing around the house and staring at times. Other times I have been able to just continue on with my every day responsibilities of being a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a photographer.  But something is different, something is missing and it just feels darker. I want to be the positive person who claims everything happens for a reason, and we will see the reason soon.  But I am just not there yet.  I miss him too much, I have too much sadness not just for myself, but for the rest of my family and his friends he left behind. I am broken hearted for all of us right now.  I wish I could make the pain go away for them right now.  My brother changed me forever and my life will never be the same without him.  I will keep moving forward, but with a heavy heart.  I will say this, I am closer with my family, all of my family, than I ever have been before.  This warms my heavy heart.

Someone asked me the other day if I was sure this was the right time to keep moving forward with the surrogacy, that I had been through a lot emotionally and maybe I should wait.  The thought never crossed my mind, but at the moment, I figured, I should consider that.   The second I considered it, I felt even more sad inside.  I don't want to wait to bring my niece or nephew into this world. I don't want to spend any more time waiting for them then I have to, and waiting to see James and Natalie get their baby.  This baby is probably what will save me from my heartbreak, knowing I am bringing a life into this world as one beautiful life has left us.   I guess I will never know until down the road, but in the meantime, it helps me.  Everyone says I am doing something so great for my brother and his wife, maybe it is reversed after all.  Maybe they are the ones giving me a gift here. A chance to help them create a life, to be a part of something beautiful, a miracle.  A fighting chance to power through this pain I am feeling. I find great comfort in that and will not be giving up on this process.  

Thank you to everyone who has sent flowers, emails, letters, cards, meals and donations to my family during this devastating time.  We are genuinely overwhelmed in the most beautiful of ways by all the people who came forward to show their love for my little brother and their condolences and support for my family.  Without you, none of us would be as strong as we are today, although I am sure none of us feel very strong, it is better with you.  Life is better together, with each other.   Today I leave you with a quote to reflect upon your own life and your own loved ones:

“If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?” ~Steven Levine (poet, author, teacher)

I did not get to say good-bye to my brother, but he knew I loved him and I am at peace with that.  I invite you to think of the people in your life and don't wait another second to make the connection you have been so desperately wanting.  We are not promised tomorrow.  Make the most of it, and don't forget, compassion and forgiveness will take you very far in your life, remember that when reconnecting. 

Time for me to go snuggle with my amazing husband and two beautiful sons.  Life is hard, but life is good at times too.  

Thank you for reading,