Surrogacy part 13…

It has been a few weeks since I had a miscarriage now and partly it feels surreal, yet every known again I have had a moment of feeling emotional and sad. I didn’t expect it to affect me so much and I thought I’d be right as rain after a few days.

Fortunately, I am now feeling more like myself…. this has without a doubt been helped by the love and support of the people around me.

As a team, if anything we all feel even stronger than before, and Ali & Andrew have been amazing. I went into surrogacy wanting to help create a family and despite the miscarriage this hasn’t changed.

So, we have discussed the next steps and unsurprisingly the boys have pretty much left the decision making down to me. I knew that whenever we decided to try again that we could find it harder next time around and so I thought that it didn’t necessarily matter when we tried again.

The hardest part is that after a miscarriage it can take a while for you body to get back on track and that your cycles can be affected. Me and Ali are similar in the fact that we like to be organised and so this has thrown us both off as we aren’t able to predict when I will have my period or when I will ovulate and so it’s turned into a bit of a waiting game!

Part of me is anxious about the possibility of having another miscarriage even though there is no reason to believe it would happen again and part of me doesn’t want to let Ali & Andrew down as I know how much this means to them.  

In the meantime, we had the chance to spend some quality time together (just the adults) at the SurrogacyUK annual conference. It was lovely to see them as always as we had a great time. I had never been to the conference before and being more of a wall flower I was a little unsure about how I would find it. The boys were always going to arrive after me and so I had to put my big girl pants on and walk into the conference hotel on my own and navigate my way around until they got there. The main room was full to briming for the opening talk and that’s when I found out 450 people were there!

SurrogacyUK promotes friendship first and it really does feel like that. Everyone involved is incredibly friendly and supportive and you never feel as though you are alone on your journey. Throughout the day there were various workshops including those aimed at intended parents and surrogates. I was expecting to see a lot more surrogates there (there must have only been around 40 of us) but it was interesting to hear about their experiences. I still find it hard to believe that people don’t take the time to share their deal breakers or have the serious talks with each other until quite far down the line and this ends a lot of teams. There have even been occasions where surrogates haven’t felt able to have a say in how they give birth even though SurrogacyUK would always promote that those decisions should be down to the surrogate. I feel lucky knowing that as a team we have discussed everything, and that Ali & Andrew trust me.

One thing that I found interesting was when they discussed children’s involvement in surrogacy journeys and how to make them feel included. I definitely feel as though my girls knowing that I am hoping to help create a baby for Ali & Andrew and how that works is the right thing. However, none of us had really considered our children’s role throughout the pregnancy and so now we have thought of ways for them to feel involved such as attending scans if possible, recording scans/baby’s heartbeat and I always thought it would be nice for my girls to be aware of the stages of the pregnancy even just down to telling them how big the baby is each week and any milestones.

The conference was quite emotional as it touched on loss, but it was also emotional when other teams shared their journeys with everybody. It is so heart-warming to hear such positive journeys and the incredible friendships that have come out of this and that continue years after the surrogate baby has been born. I went into this thinking that I would help to create a baby and that would be it…never did I imagine that I could end up making some amazing friends and extending our family.

Who knows how our lives will have changed by next years conference??   

Surrogacy…part 7

My last surrogacy post left things hanging! I was umming and arring about what to do because I wasn’t sure if I could trust my instincts after last time, but I know you can’t live in the past. I read through quite a few IP profiles and knew that if I offered a GTK (get to know) that it would more than likely be to a gay couple. I get that writing a profile for potential surrogates to read must be hard as they are meant to be a snapshot but what stood out for me was the fact that hardly any mentioned anything to do with a surrogate and mainly spoke about themselves.

I already had an inkling that Ali & Andrew were different, especially having spent some time with them so I was intrigued to see what their profile would say. Admittedly I already liked them, but their profile was still important to me when it came to helping to make my decision. Well…unsurprisingly their profile stood out from the rest by a long shot! There was no comparison and to be perfectly honest it warmed me to them even more.

I had chatted to Paige about Ali & Andrew as I wanted another opinion especially given my previous experience. I found myself questioning if they only wanted friendship particularly as they were in the early stages of looking for a second surrogate and the fact that they live in London, but I realised that these things weren’t for me to decide or make assumptions about and Paige hinted that they liked me.

The thing with offering a GTK is that you wouldn’t generally know what an IP’s decision would be as you’re not meant to discuss it with them before going through SUK. So, I was a little nervous when I sent the email to SUK offering Ali & Andrew a GTK as I didn’t know what their answer would be. I also didn’t know how long it would take for my email to be read and actioned, so I was left in a little bit of limbo.

This was quite hard as I was still messaging and chatting to Ali & Andrew every day and I couldn’t say anything, and I didn’t know if they knew about my email. It got to the next weekend, and I still hadn’t heard anything and the not knowing was driving me doolally! I eventually contacted another member of SUK who informed me that the lady I had emailed was off as she’d just given birth! I had no idea! I was a little frustrated as I hoped that someone else would be able to step in and help whilst she was off, but I don’t like to bother people, so Paige stepped in and worked her magic!

Within less than an hour another member of SUK contacted me, checked that our profiles matched (in terms of the type of surrogacy we were both looking for i.e., straight or host and our expenses) and confirmed that she was going to message Ali & Andrew asking them for a call.

Well, the butterflies kicked in at this point and within minutes I got an email saying it was a YES!

I was over the moon and squealed with delight…apparently, they screamed when Sarah spoke to them offering a GTK!

I decided to give them a call and they both answered screaming with happiness!! I had to tell them that I had sent off the email offering them a GTK 2 weeks ago and how awkward I had found it whilst I had been waiting, especially when there had been a hint that they weren’t looking for other surrogates right now. I had no doubt in my mind that they would have been snapped up sooner rather than later and so I am very happy that we are now on a GTK.

So, for the next 3 months we will get to know each other even more and spend some time together before we decide if we want to form a team with the idea of me trying to help create a baby for them.

I feel very relaxed around them and have been completely open and honest from the start. They seem very genuine, open, and honest people and they clearly understand the process of surrogacy having gone through it once before. There haven’t been any awkward moments, nor have I had any niggles. It’s definitely like dating…wondering if they like you, revealing things about yourself that you wouldn’t necessarily talk about with new friends etc.

Obviously, I don’t know what the next 3 months will entail and we’ve yet to talk about the nitty gritty of what our journey may look like if we were to form a team, but I hope that whatever happens that we all enjoy this time getting to know each other.

They have invited us down to spend the weekend with them and we are all looking forward to seeing them again.

I can’t wait to enjoy some Christmas festivities with them all…. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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!