Category Archives: Surrogacy

Spring and other things…

Right now, my kids are in the backyard playing. They’re wearing bicycle helmets and are alternately battling each other with giant sticks or sliding down the slide head first, upside down and every which way. (They’ve done both of these activities before and I’ve thought about stopping them, but they’re wearing helmets and haven’t sustained any major injuries, so they continue!) They are barefoot and D has taken his shirt off, because he was just soooo hot. It’s 59 degrees and gloriously sunny.

At this time yesterday, my kiddos were sitting at the kitchen table drawing pictures and making books. They asked for hot chocolate and were wearing their slippers. It was raining, windy and the real feel was in the 30’s. We’d had at least 4 days in a row with the same, dreary weather.

This is springtime in Iowa, or maybe just Iowa weather in general 😉  At times, I find it to be almost more trying than winter, and I hate winter! It’s always tough when you get a taste of something great – sunshine and wonderful, warm weather – only to go back to something less desirable – the cold, rainy weather. My kids certainly don’t like the days when I insist that they wear socks and shoes, after running around barefoot the days before.

However, I try to keep reminding myself that spring is a sign that summer, and all the things we love about summer are on their way. Soon, we’ll be able to have playdates at the park and spend hours at the pool. We will be able to enjoy picnics, evening walks and bike rides on a regular basis. As the weather improves, we happen to be finishing up some of the curriculum we chose for this year, so we’ll be able to wind down and spend less time on schoolwork – which means more time playing!

I’m so very thankful for days like today that remind me that the sun will come out again, regardless of how many cloudy days we have in a row. And in case you missed it, I’m not just talking about the weather. There’s a deeper meaning to all this too 🙂

Although, seriously, I much prefer the sunshine! Oh, and I’m also singing “Tomorrow” from Annie – the 1980’s version…

On a side note: I’m also so very thankful that summer is on its way, because summer is flip-flop season and baby-time! At almost 34 weeks, I’m just done tying shoes. Even boots that I have to pull on are just too much some days. And 34 weeks means that in a month or two, this baby will get to be in its parent’s arms. How awesome is that?!?

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Filed under Around the House, Surrogacy

2016 Christmas Letter

…or is it a New Year’s Letter at this point? Either way, we didn’t get cards or a letter sent out this year, so I thought I’d do a year-end update here.

This last year definitely came with its share of changes and challenges, but in so many ways, things stayed the same. Our family took a few small trips, we attended Aaron’s 25 year class reunion and celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.

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We are blessed to continue to be healthy and Aaron continues to provide for our family at a job he likes – at a company he loves 😉  While his job title is the same, the second half of the year brought lots of travel for him, which has not been a regular part of his job in the past. Since June, he has been to Bozeman, Detroit, San Diego, New York City, Washington DC, Akron, OH and Newport News, VA. While most trips were strictly business, he did manage to fit in some hiking in Bozeman, a baseball game in San Diego and a trip to Times Square and a taping of Stephen Colbert in NYC. There is more travel on the horizon for him in 2017, but hopefully the kids and I will get to join him on a trip or two.

We are homeschooling Chloe again this year, and in addition to the standard subjects, she’s loving cursive and Spanish. Now that she’s in 2nd grade(ish), she gets to pick classes to take through the homeschool assistance program. During the first half of the school year, she’s taken outdoor games, Spanish, virtues and art. She has enjoyed all of them, probably as much for the content as the chance to see friends, but really enjoys art and is happy she’ll be taking it the two remaining quarters as well!

This fall, Devon started going to preschool 4 days a week. It has been a great opportunity for him to spread his wings a bit. He really enjoys the playtime they get at stations and often brings home creations out of boxes, masking take, pipe cleaners and whatever else he can find. I enjoy that most of the mess involved in creation is taken care of at school 🙂 He’s a math rockstar, without any help from us or his teacher, and has really enjoyed learning the letters and their sounds the last few weeks. It’s been fun to hear about all of his preschool experiences (they went on a field trip to a local pizza place!), but I’m looking forward to having him home for kindergarten next fall.

Both kids became semi-obsessed with watching American Ninja Warrior last season and loved creating their own obstacle courses in our backyard all summer and fall. For Christmas, we signed them up for Kid Ninja classes at a local gym and they got to spend time this last week learning skills and doing obstacle courses. They were pretty excited! At the same time, *we worked on transforming their playroom into an indoor gym. We now have indoor monkey bars, a small trampoline and a hammock chair. (The hammock chair is for me and not really for swinging. My thoughtful daughter heard me talking about wanting one when we saw one on a walk this summer and convinced her daddy it would be the perfect Christmas present for me!) Additionally, we have a foam balance beam, an agility ladder and a gymnastics mat on the way from Amazon. I’m hoping this makes another Iowa winter a bit more tolerable!
*Just to clarify the use of “we”: I came up with the ideas and my amazing, handy husband made them a reality!

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Aaron and I spent our last ten Thursday nights taking the PS-MAPP classes. Those letters all stand for something, but basically they’re the classes you’re required to take before you can be a licensed foster or adoptive parent in Iowa. We just finished the classes this week, and I’m sure all 30 hours of classes have sunk in… 🙂 Shortly after the first of the year, we’ll have a final meeting with our licensing working and be official. We plan to offer respite care at first, which is when you have kiddos in your home temporarily – overnight, for the weekend or maybe a week or two – while their current foster parents are unavailable or in need of a break. Our long-term plan is to keep an open mind, and at some point may offer long term foster care or adoption, but we’re starting out small. ‘Foster care’ and ‘exciting’ don’t really go together, because it’s a tough situation all around, but we are looking forward to being able to help out in a small way.

And, finally….

After several delays, failed transfers and many needles, I am pregnant with a ‘surro-baby.’ (A baby I’m carrying for another couple as a surrogate.) I’m mostly over the morning sickness and have started to look pregnant, instead of looking like I just ate a few too many cookies. I’m looking forward to being able to deliver this baby to the waiting parents in 2017. (Get it?! Deliver!! I still think I’m pretty punny :-D)

In addition to starting foster care and having a baby – but not losing any sleep afterwards, we’re also looking forward to traveling more, homeschooling both kids and working on some updates to our house in the next year. Hopefully 2017 is as good as 2016!

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Filed under Prego Update, School, Surrogacy

Here I Grow Again

Just over 7 years ago, I had some friends and family over for a cookie exchange before Christmas. During the course of the afternoon, my mom questioned what I did around the house, because my awesome husband takes care of so many things for us. I was about 4 months pregnant with “Baby Mort” at the time, so I told her that I grow babies.

Two successful pregnancies and two adorable kids later, I’ve decided to give the whole “growing babies” thing another shot. Before anyone gets too excited, I am not pregnant. Aaron and I will not be having any more babies of our own, despite the fact that we make good kids. 🙂

So now you might be wondering what in the world I AM talking about. Well, I am going to be a surrogate. Technically, I will be a gestational surrogate. Alternatively, there are traditional surrogates who provide the egg as well as the womb. My egg will not be a part of this equation and I will have no genetic tie to the baby.

Having seen various family members and friends struggle with infertility, I’ve thought of egg donation or surrogacy in the past. For a variety of reasons, I never took too much time to explore it in the past. However, last fall I happened to meet someone who had been a gestational surrogate. She was someone I’ll probably never see again, but she gave me the name of the agency she had used – just in case.

I started thinking about it more and the reasons that held me back in the past were gone. I talked to my husband. We thought about it, talked to each other and talked it over with close friends. Then we decided to go for it. And I do mean we. This is not something I could ever do without the full support of my previously mentioned awesome husband!

This all started back in September. Since then, we’ve accomplished a lot to move forward with the process. I contacted the agency and filled out a pre-screening application.  They answered my questions. I filled out a lengthy application, provided them with my medical history, had a phone interview and filled out an initial agreement. Fairly quickly, I was provided with the profile of a couple who needed a surrogate, often referred to as Intended Parents (IPs.) Aaron and I agreed this was a couple we wanted to work with. The IPs received my profile and they decided they liked us enough to “meet” via Skype. After chatting, we all agreed this would be a good match and decided to move forward.

After being officially matched, there was even more to do. First I had to receive psychological clearance. After over 3 hours of talking and testing, it was officially determined that I’m not crazy (Ha! Take that Aaron! ;-)) Once we had received the psych clearance, it was time to schedule a medical screening. For this, we had to travel to Chicago to the fertility clinic the IPs are using. I had 7 vials of blood drawn, they checked out my uterus – which is “perfect” by the way – and a nurse talked to us about the medications I’ll have to take before the transfer. When all the results came back and I was medically cleared, we moved on to the legal stage. At this point, the IPs and I each had a lawyer and worked out an agreement that covers all aspects of the upcoming journey – financial, health insurance, legal guardianship, travel, etc…

This is my pile of actual paperwork, so far. This pile includes, among other things, my application, information from the clinic, health insurance information and contract.

Well, legal is done and I am scheduled to start meds. Despite the fact that my feelings on needles haven’t changed much since I was 6 years-old and screamed (like, really, really screamed according to my mom!) at a nurse to “get that thing out of me!!!” during a vaccination, I am confident that I’ve gained enough maturity to handle the daily shots coming my way. My super awesome husband might even be a little excited to stick me with a needle 🙂

So now it’s officially official. I am officially on my way to becoming a surrogate. Officially on my way to growing another baby. Officially on my way to helping a couple create a family.

**I’ll probably post occasional updates throughout the process, but nothing like I did with my own kiddos. I’m fully aware that not everyone shares as much as I do and I want to respect the privacy of the IPs and their future little one.**

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Filed under Surrogacy