Surrogacy part 11…

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and it feels as though so much has happened in this time.

I went down to London to stay with Ali & Andrew for the weekend for our agreement session which all went well and so we are now officially a team!

It was lovely to spend some time with them on my own and as usual they went out their way to make me feel at home and spoilt me. They took me into London for a night out and we explored China Town (which I’d never been to before) and Soho. It felt bizarre to be out late and for it to be so busy, everywhere was buzzing which is something I’m not used but I enjoyed it (even if I was drinking mocktails!).

In the lead up to trying for the first time I did plenty of reading around the best ways to do insems at home and gathered quite a few good tips. I got a pineapple ready so that I could eat a piece of the core for the 5 days leading up to ovulation and complied a playlist of videos to watch to do with insemination as this is what I did when I tried for my girls.

I’m a firm believer that it’s worth giving things your best shot and so I wanted to do everything the same as when I conceived the previous 2 times.

Going into this I didn’t feel as in control as when I used a clinic as they do all the monitoring and control what is happening and when whereas this time round it’s down to me trying to work out when I’m ovulating and hope for the best.

Fortunately, it worked out that the 2 days leading up to ovulation for our first try was when my girls were away so at least we knew we had the first time without worrying about being disturbed or juggling how we were going to look after the girls whilst doing the deed.

Of course, we were both nervous as it was something new for us…neither of us had tried insems before and it felt like there were lots of things to remember. I tried to be as prepared as possible and so I had everything we needed to hand.

We were told that it’s a good idea to warm the syringe, pot and pre-seed before hand and I got all my pillows in the right position.

It was good that we’d had a few chats about it before hand and we both told each other that the first time was just a trial run with no pressure (not that I’ve ever felt pressured by them).

So when Ali went upstairs I had the TV on loud and played myself some feel good tunes with my headphones on and he messaged me with a 5 minute warning so I could go up and get ready whilst he let everything rest before drawing it up in the syringe (this was another suggestion as apparently it makes it easier to do). Then he came through and passed me the syringe and left me to it. The syringe part is very quick and easy and then I used a conception cup afterwards which is supposed to help keep everything up there. After I did my part, I stayed lying down with my hips slightly tilted for 10 minutes whilst I watched the videos about inseminations which I find fascinating. Our bodies are incredible!

We both felt everything went really smoothly and so the next couple of times we did insems that week seemed like a breeze.

In between insems, me and Ali went to the cinema, and we joked with one another about how he was supposed to wine and dine me first, not the other way around!

I believe that feeling comfortable around each other and being able to have a laugh about things really helped.

Yes, I am obviously taking things seriously but the last thing either of us needs is to feel stressed or pressured as this won’t help with anything.

I think due to anxiety on the lead up to and during the first insems we were both exhausted afterwards!

For now, Ali’s part is done, and I am left with the painstaking 14 day wait to find out if it has worked or not. Of course, I am not expecting for it to work the first time round but equally there’s always going to be a part of me that would like it to.

So, watch this space!!  

Surrogacy part 9…

For some reason it feels like it was ages ago since we were in London when we went to stay with Ali & Andrew. Our friendship seems to be going from strength to strength and it feels as though we have known each other for years!

We have since spent another fantastic weekend together near Stamford which was a picture postcard town! We stayed in an Air BnB together and to say it was only the 3rd time of meeting all 3 girls were really comfortable together. I realised that I don’t have my guard up at all around them and feel I can just be me which is such a lovely feeling. There’s no trying to impress or be on my best behaviour…what they see is what they get.

I love the fact that we can chat about anything and everything and not just surrogacy (even though obviously that is a big part of our relationship!). I’d say we know quite a lot about each other and as I have said before, in these situations you talk about things you would never discuss with new friends or acquaintances.

As Ali, Andrew & myself know that we will be forming a team even though we have to wait until the end of the 3-month GTK period to make it official we have been discussing the nitty gritty of stuff. As this is their first journey doing it the traditional way, they had a lot more questions and unknowns and I found it hilarious when they said they didn’t know where everything was and needed a bit of a biology lesson!!

I’ve always said from the start of my surrogacy journey that I want to write about it with brutal honesty because although it is becoming more prominent, so many people still have no idea about surrogacy.

So, we have discussed the agreement and unsurprisingly there was nothing that we didn’t agree on. I would always respect the IP’s wishes, but they have said very openly that throughout this journey they trust me and would never expect or ask me to do anything related to the pregnancy such as what to eat or when I can take a pregnancy test etc.

Ali & Andrew are trying to get their heads around menstrual cycles and ovulation and how it all works, and we’ve pencilled in the days around when I should be ovulating for when we want to start trying. I had to explain that unfortunately our bodies don’t always work like clockwork so there is an element of needing to be flexible. I am normally fairly regular with my cycles but since starting to take Pregnacare conception vitamins it has affected my first cycle but I remember it doing the same when I was trying for Florrie & Bea so I am hoping they will regulate themselves after this month.

When it comes to working out when you ovulate it’s a bit of a guessing game to be honest. I’ve always tracked my cycles which tells you when you should be ovulating, and I tend to feel when I am too, so I’ve not paid more attention to it than that. However, last month I decided to take an ovulation test when my tracker said I should be ovulating, and it looked as if I had already peaked so this month I am testing from a week after my period to try and work out exactly when I do ovulate. This isn’t as easy as it sounds as the sticks provide two lines and basically when the second line is at the darkest this is when you should be ovulating. I have also got the clear blue ovulation tests but there have been mixed reviews about their accuracy so we will have to see. Fortunately, with conceiving it is more important to try in the few days before ovulation than the day you ovulate when trying yourself as you do have a limited window.

We know that the first month we try will be a bit of trial and error for both myself and Ali, but we’re pretty laid back about it (I say that now!!). I know I’ll be a little nervous as I want to get it right and obviously, I want to become pregnant for them, but I am also getting excited now!

There’s absolutely no pressure from Ali & Andrew when it comes to conceiving, the pressure is more from myself particularly as I fell pregnant 1st time with both my girls, but I know this is different as everything was being monitored by the clinic when I conceived my girls. So, we shall see!!

One thing that took me by surprise was that Florrie asked me how babies are made. She already knew that her and Bea were made with the help of a clinic, but I couldn’t say the same this time as it’s not the truth and I believe it is important to be honest with your children so that they know they can talk to you about anything and trust you.

I did have to think about what I was going to say but after talking about it with Paige I realised that it’s only adults that feel uncomfortable having these discussions. We happily teach our children from a young age about body parts but when it comes to genitalia, we can avoid the subject or give pet names for these parts which doesn’t set children up well for the future, particularly when they do reach an age where they understand about sex. So, in the end I told her that Mummy has eggs inside her and Ali has sperm (which are a bit like seeds) and when they mix together, they make a baby. For now, there were no more questions but if they do come up then I will answer them as best I can.

Florrie & Bea both know that I will be trying to make a baby for Ali & Andrew and that once Mummy has made the baby that it will be going to live with them, and they are fine with that (as long as they get cuddles with the baby!). Ali & Andrew have said how important it is to them for me to be a part of their baby’s life and that I will be an honorary Auntie to baby and Honor and that is very touching.

In the short time we have known each other I feel I have gained 2 incredible friends; an adorable ‘niece’ and my girls have gained 2 fab ‘Uncles’ and 1 ‘cousin’ (so far!!).  

Surrogacy part 8…

As with the early stages of dating the GTK (get to know) period has so far consisted of daily messages, regular conversations and the excitement and anticipation of meeting up. My girls were excited to be going to see Ali, Andrew & their daughter Honor as they enjoyed spending time with them when we first met. I was excited too however I also had butterflies as this was the first time, I was seeing them after I had offered them the GTK.

The girls very quickly made themselves at home after we arrived at their house, and it didn’t take long before we were all sat chatting like old friends whilst I was being plied with bubbly!! Ali & Andrew went to a lot of effort to make us all feel welcome and had gone out their way to make sure they had dairy free supplies for me.

The following morning, I even had a cup of tea brought up to bed for me…. talk about how to melt me! I can’t remember the last time someone brought me a cup of tea in bed! If I was dating someone who did this, I would certainly be thinking that they were a keeper!!

We shared an incredible and memorable day at Winter Wonderland….it really did feel like I was spending the day with old friends. It was so easy, laid back and fun. The girls had never been on a train let alone the tube, but Ali & Andrew made it so easy, and I was touched by how much they involved themselves with my girls without batting an eyelid. I certainly appreciated their help navigating our way through the busy tube stations especially as its not something that I particularly enjoy.

Ali & Andrew had offered to take the girls ice skating whilst we were there, but I wasn’t sure how everyone would get on as I had to stay in the viewing area with Honor, but they all appeared to have a whale of a time! The girls were all too happy to let them guide them around the ice rink and my eldest daughter would have happily allowed them to do this for hours! It was definitely heart-warming to watch.

Now for whatever reason, Andrew (who must be a softy!) offered to try and win both my girls the most enormous cuddly toys I have ever seen! I couldn’t watch as I thought it can’t be that easy otherwise, they’d never make money on the game, and he was determined to win twice otherwise one girl wouldn’t be a happy bunny. Well, surprisingly he won…twice! I’m not sure he had thought this through though as these gigantic toys now needing carrying around London and on the tube!! I had nothing to do with this as it was his idea!!! Having said that he wasn’t having any of it when I suggested that the cuddly toys stay at their house and so I am so incredibly grateful (can you sense the sarcasm?!) that I now have them in my house!!

After an incredibly busy but wonderful day I was plied with even more bubbly as we realised, we hadn’t captured the moment (any excuse!) and we spent the evening chatting away, including our thoughts about the GTK and what the future may hold. It was lovely to know that we are all on the same page, but I still don’t think it’s sunk in that everything seems to be going so well. It’s almost as if I am expecting something to go wrong but I hope not.

The weekend consisted of lots of giggles, fun, excitement, numerous selfies, and happy memories. I didn’t feel as though I had to put on an act, and I was completely relaxed and felt like I was myself.  

Before we got home, Ali & Andrew in their excitement had announced our GTK to the surrogacy community and their post was lovely to read (even if they had put photos with me on!!) and it made me feel warm inside.

Especially in recent times I think its hard for people to find other like-minded people so if Ali & Andrew are as lovely as they seem to be then I can see us really being good friends. We are all excited about what the future holds!!

Surrogacy…part 4

Last weekend I went across to Manchester to spend some quality time with the boys and I had such a lovely time. I think I was a little apprehensive about going, partly because I knew we would be going through the surrogacy agreement and I would be telling them how much my expenses would be and partly because somewhere at the back of my head there was a little niggle of doubt, that the boys would change their minds or once I opened up to them about my past that they would get cold feet.

However, the boys made me feel very comfortable and whilst chatting over a cup of tea they revealed that they had booked an escape room for us that evening. I have never been to an escape room before and didn’t know what to expect but I was definitely up for trying something new.

We decided to get the official stuff over with before we headed out and so we all rather officially sat around the table with some nibbles and worked our way through the 12-page agreement! It certainly covers everything you could think of and more…from where insemination will take place, to discussing wills, life insurance, me agreeing to abstain from sexual intercourse in the months of trying to conceive (the things we have to put ourselves through!!), to expenses, what happens if there are complications during pregnancy, birth arrangements including the first feed and the kind of relationship we all would like throughout this journey and afterwards.

I was very touched that the boys asked if I would be happy to consider giving baby its first feed and of course I said I am more than happy to if I can, and the boys also said that they would like to see me every 4-6 weeks during pregnancy and once the baby is born. Nothing came up throughout the agreement that posed a problem or raised any issues for any of us and it all went really smoothly.

The main thing that is on my mind is becoming pregnant in terms of will I get pregnant? G has had his sperm analysed and his results showed that everything was in full working order so if it doesn’t work, I feel it will be my fault. I’m also thinking about the deed itself in terms of the practicalities when it comes to my girls and managing to do it ok whilst being relaxed!!! But I know that all I can do is my best.

Once we had all signed the agreement the prosecco was popped open and despite going tee total the boys wanted me to have a glass (or two!) to celebrate this special moment together. Of course, being a lightweight I ended up feeling rather tipsy!! I didn’t have high expectations of being able to get out of an escape room in my tipsy state!

When we got there, we were told what would happen and what we needed to do and then the three of us were locked in a room and given 1 hour to escape! I enjoyed every minute of it and felt we all worked well as a team…there were no arguments or desperation to escape! I was in very safe hands and can’t take much credit for us escaping as both boys are mathematicians, which no doubt helped when it came to solving the logic problems! In the end we managed to escape with 10 minutes to spare and whilst me and G got straight out, O stayed behind to tidy up!!!

Then we went to the Corn Exchange for something to eat and they took me to a really nice Vietnamese restaurant where I had another first…the meal was served with chopsticks and because the boys could use them, I felt the need to try and use them too! I had never used them before but stubborn me powered (slowly) through my noodles…at least its good for the diet, eating slowly!!!

We ended up rolling in way after my bedtime and I slept like a baby and even enjoyed a lie in (and yes, 8am is a lie in for me!!).

Throughout our weekend together we talked about anything and everything and I even opened up to them about my past. I enjoyed probing the boys about their ‘gaydar’ especially when they both claimed to have a fairly good ‘gaydar’, yet both admitted they wouldn’t have known I was gay.

We certainly had a giggle and I felt very relaxed around them.

We have arranged to meet up with my girls and their baby (their dog) before the first attempt in November. G is already counting down the weeks until the first try!

I know I have said it before, but I really do feel so lucky to have met them and cannot think of a nicer couple to be going on this journey with. If there were any niggles before last weekend, there certainly aren’t any now. As far as I am concerned, I have made friends for life!  

Birthday fairy!

This week has been a busy one, full of adventures, running around like a headless chicken and trying to keep my Mary Poppins persona always going! (As I write this I am smiling and wondering if I maybe expect too much from myself?!)

My youngest daughter turned 3 last week, I do not know how that happened! She will always be my baby (mind you, both my girls are) but she is quickly turning into a little girl with a personality full of love, life, cheekiness, feistiness, and giggles! As you may know from reading an earlier post, at times I have struggled with my youngest daughter but not anymore. Of course, there are times when she can be challenging (as with all children) but now I find it easier as I recognise that she takes after her Mummy! I certainly do not want her to lose that feistiness, stubbornness, or zest for life! She is certainly far braver than I am, but I love that about her – although having said that, when we went to Sundown Adventureland as part of her birthday, I was surprised that she was not too keen on the rides especially the water ride that sprayed water on you – whereas Mummy loved it and would have happily gone on it again! Saying that, my eldest (and myself) loved the Christmas ride and after much persuasion we managed to convince my youngest to let us have a second ride!

Both my daughters believe in the birthday fairy (which I am aware, may be hard to keep up for the entirety of their childhood!) which is lovely although not always easy as surprise surprise…. I am the birthday fairy! Shhhh…don’t tell anyone!! So, the birthday fairy buys presents and wraps them up, this year she also made both girls a princess dress (because I do not have enough to do!!), organise and prepare party games including pass the parcels which includes a small sweet/chocolate in every layer, and source party food in secret and a cake. Then the night before when the girls are in bed, she has to secretly bring down the presents and decorate the house with banners and balloons. This year she had a bit of a cold so instead of blowing up 58,000 balloons she used a hand pump, by the time she had pumped them all up she felt as though her arm was going to fall off or that she would wake up with one arm looking like Popeye!!

It is wonderful to see children’s imagination and seeing the world through their eyes is amazing.

It made me smile when we woke up on her birthday and I said happy birthday and she said, ‘Happy birthday Mummy’. She knew it was her birthday though and she was very excited but the thing she likes most to begin with was playing with all the balloons – never mind the presents! It was her sister that wanted her to open the presents rather than play with balloons. However, she soon got into it and unlike last year when she soon tired of unwrapping presents this year, she happily ripped the paper off them and enjoyed playing with her presents. It was far too hot to play musical statues, but she still managed to convince my mum to do the leg dance to How Will You Know by Whitney Houston!

Then we spent an amazing day with my best friend and her little girls at the seaside and they all happily played in the sea for hours. I loved seeing them all so happy and my little one was more than happy to get covered in sand and found it funny when the sea decided to invade our picnic which meant we all got wet!! It was safe to say that we probably brought more sand home with us than at the beach and we were finding sand everywhere! We made so many happy memories and it was much needed to be able to relax, giggle and feel myself without judgement. We sat and put the world to rights and gave each other a much-needed boost as we both can be a little harsh on ourselves. (One example is that I aim to post 2 blogs every week but having spent the week running around and not having a minute to myself as well as feeling a little run down I decided I should not beat myself up because I hadn’t managed to do that this week).

I felt a little emotional on her birthday, partly because it was so hot, and we could not do an awful lot as we were all struggling and also reminiscing about how many people appeared to care when she was born and in the first few months of her life but that most of them have disappeared. Of course, I blamed myself for that as I do not have a big family or a lot of friends and my girls are so amazing, they deserve all the love in the world. However, on reflection I know that it is not quantity that matters its quality and that those people who have disappeared must be false and therefore not worthy of being in their lives. There are too many false people in the world as it is, and I would much rather my girls be surrounded with genuine people who love and care about them no matter what.

As I write this, I am still surrounded by balloons which of course I will not get rid of until the weekend as I grew up with birthdays being celebrated for a week (meaning that we kept cards, banners, balloons up etc).

Sometimes I wish I could press a pause button so that they stopped growing up for a bit as it goes so fast, having said that, everyday is a new adventure with them.