Tuesday, February 24, 2009

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves

Ahh, I guess it is my turn to blog.
We are in the waiting phase. I am taking my birth control pills every evening. Which makes me feel like barfing every morning. That is un-fun.
I think I can handle a few weeks of that, though.

I have been thinking about Baby Mama’s recent blog entry. I have been processing how I feel about how SHE feels.

I can’t say that I understand how she feels. I can certainly empathize. I think, for me, offering to do this is truly the only way that I CAN help.

The only fear I have in this journey, is the overwhelming sadness that I would have, if it were not successful. Not sadness for myself (although I may experience a sense of defectiveness if that happens) but I am very certain my heart would ache more for Baby Mama and her husband ….. far worse than any feelings of failure on my part. That is a heavy thought for me to grasp.

Generally, I avoid grasping that thought. Maybe I am in denial, but I have a really positive feeling about this. And, no, I am not psychic or any of that…. So don’t call me “swami” or anything like that… (Although I AM pretty great, I’ll admit…… LOL)
It’s just a gut feeling. This was the way things were meant to happen...

I think it perfectly normal for Baby Mama to have a lot of emotions about this process. Adding to one’s family is a huge decision. Even under the best of circumstances. When things aren’t “perfect” by conventional standards, I think it certainly heightens the sensitivities.
But I know, in my heart, that this is going to be a positive and uplifting experience and I can’t wait for the next step!
I love you Baby Mama, and I am ALWAYS here for you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


So..I've been silent...kind of rare for me..I have been processing. Processing all that has occurred in the last two weeks..from no hope to "beautiful uteruses"... But really, from mommy to the one who can't carry...as much as all of this is wonderful, it has also reminded me of the hard stuff, the part that I can't do, the sense of loss and the feelings of failure that naturally come with that.

If the purpose of this blog is to record our journey and our emotions about this journey, then it is important to me to describe this side of it. I have read too many articles in the NY Times or other "reputable" news sources that make it sound like intended mothers use gestational carriers so they don't get stretch marks..news flash: no woman I have ever known chooses this route as her "preferred method" AND I already have stretch marks!

I want another baby..simple right? If I knew before getting pregnant with my son all that I know now, I would have done it anyway. As his mother, I would do ANYTHING for him..I envision that G-d willing, in a year, I will feel that way about another child. I know that no matter what it takes, if it works, it will be worth it. But I also know what it is like to be pregnant...to feel MY child inside of ME..to look into my son's face and see my own...none of this will be like that.

Being with Egg Basket as she was declared perfect was both exciting and deflating..I am NOT perfect..my uterus is NOT beautiful..and I am NOT capable of doing what she can do..at least not anymore.

My incredible sense of dependence on Egg Basket is sometimes difficult to accept. I mentioned in our mandatory therapy session that there is an incredible sense of inferiority..one that the husbands don't get because they are used to someone else carrying their children...a feeling that only I will feel in this process. Now, let me clarify...Egg Basket does not have a feeling of superiority, nor does she EVER flaunt her skillz...but it doesn't change the reality..I can't do it. I will never feel another child move inside of me, I will never look in this child's face (G-d willing) and see my family features..I will have to tell a complicated story to my child/ren about his/her life story. Again, all worth it..but still I don't think I would be normal if it didn't cause me at least a momentary pause..and as I tell Egg Basket, I AM the mushy-gushy one..I am emotional and sensitive...I DO feel everything..the good and the bad.

So I don't feel bad for myself, and am not asking for that kind of sympathy..but for every woman who has had a child and for those who dream of eventually doing it...imagine not being able to and the kind of mourning that goes with that. For those who choose not to have children, imagine not having the ability to choose. Add the complication of having a really rare disease that is not curable and is completely unpredictable; a fact that is reiterated each time I explain why I need a gestational carrier and know that it is complicated..it is both joyous and scary all at the same time.. Know that I want this baby, with every fiber of my being, but this child is also the essence of my inferiority...this process is as much about what I can't do as it is about the incredible gift that Egg Basket is giving my husband and I..

On that note, I promise not to lament too much..but it is all part of the journey of life we are embarked upon and I am committed to honesty about this process ... Today is just a day that I hate my body and I rue the fate of the universe..a moment where I both celebrate my blessed friendship with Egg Basket, the opportunity I have that many others do not, but also curse the "abnormality" of my life...in short..it is just another day...tomorrow is likely to be better :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

true friendship isn't about being there when it's convenient; it's about being there when it's not.

As time passes, you will get accustomed to a variety of blog entries from me.
Some of them will be funny, joking and sarcastic…. Some will be intellectual. Every once in a while you will read one that reflects the real me… the friend, the person who loves deeply and cares intensely.

Those of you who have read my “Introduction” know the story of how I reconnected with Baby Mama.

I promised a blog entry about my dearest closest friends and how they reacted to my decision to act as gestational carrier, so without further ado…...

I am not an emotionally deep person for the most part. I am not particularly close to my parents for a variety of reasons, I love them, but we just aren’t very close. While they will know of my decision, it isn’t critical for me that they approve or even understand why I have decided to do this.

I love my children and husband intensely, and their input regarding this process is important to me. When I approached Len (my husband) with the idea that I would offer to be a gestational carrier, as I expected, he told me that it was MY body and that I was free to do with it what I choose. Of course I insisted on a deeper response. The response that cuts to the core of a human being, without regard for hurt feelings, etc. It was THAT response that surprised me. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is a very compassionate man…. Much more so than I, and I take great comfort in knowing this, particularly as a person who isn’t free with the outward expression of emotion. It was the intensity of his response that surprised me, the conviction…. He said “I am SO jealous that you are able to do something like this for someone you love.” I knew, then, that this decision was right not just for me, but for my marriage as well.

The kids’ reactions were positive as well. Mike, after an initial “oh crap, you’re serious!” reaction has been very supportive which is surprising to me. He thinks everything I do is a little off-the-hook. HAHA. Brit thinks it’s a great idea. I think after having a baby of her own, it makes her more intrigued by the process. Alex totally doesn’t truly get the whole process…. That may be due to his diminished brain function from his “extra-curricular” activities. And Corie is just looking for assurances that this won’t affect his clothes shopping habit in any way. LOL. Clearly we won’t explain anything to Sofia until there IS something to explain. She really isn’t able to grasp abstract concepts quite yet.

I have several friends with whom I could not move forward easily, without their support. Sherri, Connie, Chrissy, Linda, Wendi, Doreen and Zulie.

Sherri is on this list too because I believe Sherri is looking in on us now, making all of this happen. Kids were Sherri’s passion. She loved Sofia and enjoyed our visits so much. I believe she whispered into my heart and told me to reach out to Baby Mama and do this for her.

Linda is my twin soul. We think alike, we laugh at the same things, we finish each others sentences… I knew that she would be 100% supportive. No questions asked.

Zulie is logical like me, I knew she would know that I gave this the required thought and would be supportive… she can always be a voice of reason in my life with a touch of emotion to keep it real.

Wendi is one of my very best friends, so like me in so many ways. Same sense of humor to cover for the deeply feeling human being that we don’t share very often. But we both know inside that it is there, and we are comfortable with that. I have never felt a closer kinship with a person I have never met. We are like two peas in a pod (except of course she will tell you, I am the wrinkly old pea HAHA) and I can always expect an honest, but caring answer from her. As I expected, when I told her of my idea… she had recently been contemplating the very same thing… she amazes me everyday with what an incredible person she is and her support was crucial to me.

Doreen is our unique friend in that she is friends with both Baby Mama and I. I was not at all worried that she would be unsupportive… but I also didn’t expect her to get all gushy either LOL. And of course she didn’t. I am sure in some ways, she thinks I am nuts for doing this at 42…. She may be right! But I know her well enough that she wants the best for Baby Mama and that she is supportive just the same.

Not that I care ANY less about the above friends, but it was Connie and Chrissy whose reactions were nearest to my heart…. Their disapproval may have even been a deal breaker for me. For a few reasons. I will start with Chrissy.

Chrissy and I are best friends. If women friends can be soul mates, we are them. She is one of two people in this world with whom I never have a serious disagreement. Now understand that we do not always agree, and I know that I can be a bit off the hook, even for her crazy ass. Interestingly, Chrissy has no biological children. She loves other people’s kids (for the most part HAHA) and has an awesome step daughter. Chrissy is also friends with Baby Mama, so I knew that, even if she was a bit hesitant, she would be very supportive. And she was. I know that she loves me and trusts that I will make the best decisions for me. This was probably one of the most important parts for me because I know that I will need her many times over this journey.

Connie and I are a completely unusual friendship. Next to Wendi, I have been friends with her for the shortest time of all of my closest friends… yet I feel closer to her than nearly anyone in the world. Connie and I clicked immediately. She is a very unique lady. She has always been a number of people in my life… even though she is only 15 years older than me; she has been like a mother, a sister, a mentor and a best friend ….. right from the very beginning of our friendship. I can count on her to be straightforward and tell me what she thinks, even if I don’t want to hear it. I know she thinks I am nuts sometimes, and she likes me anyway. What I do not know about her, is why she has no children. I know in my heart that her approval was critical to me, yet I wanted to be sensitive to the fact that I really don’t know why she didn’t have any kids. She always tells me that when they were handing out maternal instincts, she must have been arguing with a judge…. LOL. In reality, she is clearly very maternal and has shown this in the facets of her personality that I have been lucky enough to see. Whatever the reasons, I know that this can be a sensitive subject to many people. I ended up telling her at her office, since she canceled her margarita date with Chrissy and I, LOL. She listened carefully to what I told her and I could tell that she knew I was very serious about it. She was open with me and expressed her concerns for me and my health mostly… which means a great deal to me. Ultimately, I said “So you don’t think I am nuts?” and she said “Oh, no! I think you’re nuts! But I love you and I will support you in your decision”

I knew then, with the support of my dearest friends that everything would be ok.

So Sherri, Connie, Chrissy, Wendi, Linda, Dor and Zulie… thank you for joining us on this incredible journey of life….. I love you.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

T-minus 6 weeks and counting

WOW! what a whirlwind trip we have just had!
I decided, somewhat last minute, to make a trip to visit Baby Mama and her family.
The clinic was awesome and made the necessary arrangements to get all of the preliminary testing underway.
My son decided to visit the University of Virginia Law School as part of his relentless campaign to be elevated from the wait list to an acceptance.
SO.... we booked a flight one way for Thursday night and my husband was going to drive down on Friday night and we all planned to drive back together.
Unfortunately, things didn't exactly go as planned.
We left for the airport four hours early, one would certainly think that would be ample time to travel to JFK from New Haven CT...
uh, no. After a 4 hour delay on the Hutchinson River parkway... yup, you guessed it.... we missed our flight.
So we did what every lunatic in the world would do... we kept driving.
There was no way I was canceling this trip. After all the hard work the clinic had done to arrange the meetings.... there was no way.
We arrived bright and early (1:30 am)
After an all-too-brief sleep, we were off to the clinic at 10 am Friday morning.
I figured after our previous day-gone-terribly-wrong, Friday was definitely going to be "our day"!
This was slated to be an incredibly busy day
At 10 am I had paperwork to fill out, blood to be taken, class on how to inject myself with estrogen and progesterone, meeting with the fertility doctor and an inspection of the baby box!
and that was JUST the morning.
Everything went very smoothly.
I gave up tube after tube of blood and had the baby box peeped at (the doc called it beautiful by the way! LOL)
I start the birth control pills today and if all goes according to plan, we are looking at a transfer of the totsicles to oven in 6 weeks!
All of this is, of course contingent upon the blood work coming back free from communicable disease and a clinical determination that I am not a complete nut case. I am fairly confident that my AIDS has cleared up .... I KID, I KID! but the nut case part... hmmm well, how subjective is this test again??
To make the latter determination, I had to speak with a social worker and take the MMPI-2.
The MMPI-2 is one interesting document.
it is 567 true/false questions.... 500 of them were creatively phrased versions of "I secretly want to kill myself"
Just a small piece of advice, if you ever have to take this test.... do NOT do so on 5 hours of sleep after 8+ hours in a car with a 2 year old!
The length of time it takes to answer these questions is proportionately related to the the amount of sleep a person has had.
And I don't know if it is because I was tired, but I honestly laughed my ass off at some of these questions.
Questions like "I like to torture animals" seem pretty evident that the correct answer really should be FALSE!
I REREAD many of them, trying to figure out HOW in the world there was ANY significance to them in relation to my sanity.
Again, I mean some were self explanatory... the "suicide" questions clearly have relevance... not sure if the volume or rephrased versions was necessary but, hey, who am I?
but here are a few of my faves for your enjoyment

1.I like mechanics magazines - False (does that make me crazy? Or am I crazy if I said true?)

2.I think I would like the work of a librarian- False (hmm ok, maybe this makes me crazy... I should be more "introspective"? oooh or possibly this makes me NOT crazy... crazy people like solitude right?)

3.I would like to be a singer-TRUE!!! Damn! who doesnt want to be a famous singer?!?!? Oh crap! on second thought... does that make me a money grubbing attention whore? what to do? what to do?

4.I have had very peculiar and strange experiences-a resounding TRUE! Who hasn't? right? have you met my kids? hmm, but wait... what exactly do they mean by peculiar and strange? do they mean peculiar like "I-hear-voices peculiar"? or just a little, ya know, some-days-I-want-to-run-away-from-my-crazy-family peculiar"???? (also a question, I might add)

5.I used to like drop-the-handkerchief- BLANK (WTF does this mean? I've got nothing on this one, I don't even get the question I am DEFINITELY nuts)

6. I get angry sometimes- are they serious? FALSE! Angry? Me? Never! HAHAHA

and my favorite question...

7.I like changing the handles and locks on doors-TRUE.... wait, no, FALSE (ok folks, again, I've got nothing here either. I mean, do I like it? well... I don't hate it... not sure if it elevates to like though... And even if I like it ... is that bad? does it mean that I am subconsciously locking out the world from my own private hell?? or maybe its good, I have a mechanically inclined scientific brain!

So yeah, not sure whether I am crazy by MMPI-2 standards... and I am not sure the social worker truly understood my sense of humor (like the time that she asked me how I was sure I would be able to turn the baby over to baby mama, and I replied that I wasn't too fond of my biological kids, so I was VERY sure I wouldn't be seeking to keep someone elses!)

Seriously though, things couldn't have gone better.
Today is day one of the 6 week countdown to transfer.... I am excited that things are moving along so quickly.
So Houston, put on your space suits because it is t-minus 6 weeks to blastoff!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Full Speed Ahead!

So..we have our first big news....

The doctor approved everything! He thinks that Egg Basket is an awesome choice and that our chances of success are 40% (which sounds low, but when you compare to *natural* pregnancy, which is only 25% that is really great!). Okay..so

First- there is a 90% chance that the totsicles survive the defrost....he is advising us to only defrost two, if they both look good, he will implant both, if one or both don't look great, he will defrost the third and implant all three. He points out that with only 2 totsicles implanted we still have a 20% chance of twins, which is my secret wish :) If we have to implant all 3, then the chance of pregnancy goes up to between 50-55%, the chance of twins to 30-35% and the chance of triplets to 15%! Although I would love twins or triplets (the fertility jackpot as I consider it), I understand the doctor's concerns..he had some choice words for the chic that just had octuplets!

Next- he was so excited and on board with all of this that he added hours to his calendar and is actually going to see egg basket THIS Friday! He will do the first *meet and greet* with her and do his own check of her baby box. He is also trying to schedule the mandatory session with the social worker for this weekend so that her husband can be here and we can clear that hurdle.

The procedure is that egg basket and her husband have to have some blood work, the meet and greet and exam of the baby box, then an exam of all the baby box extensions and then egg basket takes two weeks of estrogen and time for transfer! This is much faster than the last time because they don't do mock cycles anymore...the doctor feels that at the most we are looking at 3 months until a transfer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And since he can get her in and clear some hurdles this weekend, it is likely to be sooner!!!!!!!!

Finally, and of a little least importance..the whole adventure is going to cost us about 1/4 of what we thought! Phew! and if we have to do the last totsicle seperately, it is even less. This does relieve some burden for my husband and I which makes it all even a little more exciting.

So- I am now officially excited! wow..still digesting all of this and will have more to say soon...but maybe egg basket has some thoughts first :)

Thanks again everyone for your well wishes today...it was really comforting and made walking in there a little easier today knowing that all of you were with me.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Anticipaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaation, its makin' me wait.

I am not really sure what I expected.
I mean I knew this process would take some time. But geez! why does every step seem to take forever?
I called a new ob/gyn today, to make an appointment for a check up.
Gotta get the "baby box" (haha thanks Chrissy! Great term!) checked out and make sure it is healthy and all.
Since I have, without incident, birthed 5 babies... I am thinking the baby box is in working order.
But for formality's sake, we will verify.
So tomorrow we will know where the totsicles stand and soon after that the condition of the baby box, and we should be in baby growing business!
I'll admit. I am a bit nervous.
Not about the process, about whether the outcome will be one that we are hoping for.
I am more hopeful than I am nervous, though... alot more.
I cant wait for the next step!

Friday, February 6, 2009


So..I am getting a little nervous about our upcoming visit to our totsicles..yup, you read that right..it is like popsicles, but they aren't made of fruit juice!

Seriously..we will be sitting in the doc's office and I will know that they are down the hall..or one floor up, or whatever..but in the same building..those little frozen tots that *could* eventually, maybe, someday, with lots of luck, be our child/ren...I wonder if I can ask to see them? just check in..make sure the temperature is good, you know?

Not to mention I am a bit nervous about what the doc has to say...I am guessing he will say, "got the check? good..full speed ahead"..BUT there is always the smallest, minutest possibility he tells me "all your totsicles melted in the last power outage" or "It is only a 2% chance of working" or something about egg basket not being a good candidate..then I will have to punch him...hard.

I know that no matter what he says, its always better to know, but still...anxiety is definitely rising. And, much to my total frustration, some folks think I am premature in having *any* emotion about this whole thing...Yup, I was actually told today that I am being premature, that there is nothing to tell anyone and that since *nothing* has happened, this person couldn't understand why I would have any anxiety.
Right..nothing has happened...in case you missed it insensitive lug, my old dear friend just offered to carry my babies! So, we made the decision to dump our applecart over, open our hearts and act on our last hope..forgive me if I thought our friends might be interested.

So anyway..only 4 more days to our visitation with the totsicles...if it goes poorly, you bring the booze, I'll bring the ice!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

an introduction

Some of you following this journey already know me quite well.
Others of you are learning of me for the first time in the last few days.
The words I offer through this experience will be wise, funny, ridiculous, happy, sad and everything in between.

I am a mother, a wife, a lawyer, a friend, a confidante...
I am liked and disliked, sensitive.... yet matter-of-fact.
I am honest with my opinions however I have a sincere concern for people's feelings.
I am probably the most complex person I know and I often come across, at first blush, as a bitch.
It has assuredly been argued that I AM a bitch.

Whatever word that you choose to describe me, it does not define who I am inside.
I would do anything for a friend or family member in need, if it is, at all, in my power to do so.

I like to think that I raised my Baby Mama friend from the time she was 16 years old.
She watched my 17 year old son come into this world. We are as close as two people can ever be. We are friends, we are sisters. She lived with me for her last 2 years of high school and my house was the place she called home when she came back from college.

When she moved away from Massachusetts, I truly believe that we were both unprepared for life without the other.
I used a minor incident as a tool to cover for my feelings of immense sadness that we would never again be sisters, living together each and every day... I made that a bone of contention...

and we didn't speak.... for eight years.

She went through life changing events without me, as did I, without her.
Often times we lose touch with friends, never to see them again...and for the most part, its ok... its life...... this was not the case for us.

Unbeknown to the other, we each maintained an informational network about the other.
We have a mutual friend who kept us informed of the changes in each others lives... but that just wasn't enough.... details were, somehow, lost in translation, if you will.

It wasn't until the death of a very dear friend of mine, another sister to me, that I finally acknowledged and accepted that I would not be able to continue my life without my friend, my sister.
I realized that I wasn't willing to take the chance of losing the opportunity to say "I'm Sorry, I've missed you... I love you"
And that could happen, that one opportunity to make things right can be snatched from your grasp without warning.... and its too late.

I was not willing to let that happen. So I contacted my Baby Mama friend... I reached out, and to my relief.... she reached back.
I had another friend who I also reconnected with, and I now feel as though I can go forward with my life... completely.

During our time apart, I was aware of Baby Mama's fertility issues. I often wished I was there to help in some way.... not really knowing how... until now.

I have had many people ask me whether the decision to offer my body was a difficult one.
In all reality, it was one of the easiest decisions I have ever made.
While I did give it a great deal of thought... discussed it with my husband, my 5 children.... I simply didn't have any of those nagging feelings of uneasiness that one expects if they are not 100% sure about an important decision.

I will write another blog entry about my experiences when I discussed my decision with my family and my dearest friends.... their support is crucial to me.

Let it suffice for now, to say that the most important people in my life spoken the words that I needed to hear in order for me to move forward on this journey.
And I, now, take you all with me on this fantastic ride to help my sister, my baby Mama friend and her awesome husband, achieve their hearts desires.

She thanks me everyday, for doing this... however it is I, who must thank her... for allowing me to take part in this amazing Journey of Life.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Baby Mama

So I am the Baby Mama (hopefully)...

For those who don't know, 6 1/2 years ago, after 17 months of infertility treatments, I got pregnant with my husband and my's first child. At 16 weeks, I was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP)- say that five times fast! After a few very scary days and 4 months of constant treatment for me, our son was born, early but healthy. When he was six months old I went into remission. The doctors said that it was possible it was a "fluke" thing...that the TTP may never come back..but IF it did, there was less than a 5% chance that any baby would be born healthy (if that baby overcame the 50% chance of not being born at all)..odds that I became aware my son had beaten. The doctors also offered no guarantee that I'd make it either, since there are only treatments, not a cure.

We decided to try anyway..a year later, I relapsed and was NOT pregnant. This time it was even harder to get me back into remission and even then only after taking experimental medications designed to kill all of the disease. The doctors said that if I got pregnant they were pretty sure the TTP would come back again and they strongly advised against it because they didn't think I'd live. My husband and I talked about it..we looked at the beautiful child we had and knew he needed his mother, from that point on, my getting pregnant was out of the question.

We looked at options..we talked about adoption, but that wasn't the right choice for our family. We then read about gestational carriers- my egg, his swimmers, and then someone else actually carries the baby for us. That seemed like the perfect solution! So we went back to the doctor and asked him to harvest my eggs..after much debating he agreed to do it IF I would agree to daily blood draws while I took the necessary medications so that he could examine the structure of my blood cells and if I would agree that if he found any changes, I'd stop and begin treatments for TTP immediately. We agreed..the doc said he needed a mapping of my blood to see what my blood looked like "normally" to compare to. When the blood mapping came back we were stunned with some very bad news..the blood disease was not gone, just dormant. At that point the doctor revoked his permission to go forward with egg harvesting..it was too dangerous..back to the drawing table.

As my husband and I talked about what this meant and asked our fertility doctor for advice, he mentioned egg donors. The concept was very foreign at first...wouldn't that be someone else's baby? Never mind the "how do you choose your baby's genetics?" Still, we reasoned it wasn't that different from adoption, and it would still be genetically and biologically my husband's child as he would still contribute the swimmers. This child would still share genetics with our son..and personally as far as I was concerned a baby is a baby..I didn't feel the genetics mattered. So we went through an agency and got ourselves some eggs!

Now who to carry? We pondered this question long and hard..do we hire someone? can we afford that? and then an incredible person offered! We went through two cycles and ultimately neither worked. We were eternally grateful to our first carrier who had given so generously of herself and her life. We had agreed from the beginning on only two cycles. So we stopped..we froze our remaining 3 embryos and moved on with our lives. We mourned for what we had lost and worked on appreciating all that we did have.

And then 8 days ago...my oldest and dearest friend offered her body. My husband and I agreed to try one more time. He and I go back to the fertility doctor on February 10th to begin this adventure one more time. In the meantime, my *egg basket* and I decided to share this journey.

This blog is mine and hers...it is about friendship, parenting, love and loss...