Surrogacy part 14…

After the miscarriage we decided as a team to continue trying again straight away. I knew I would find it emotionally hard whenever I tried again so thought putting off tries would only make it harder. So we tried again and this time I had a very different mental attitude towards it, obviously I still wanted it to work and did everything the same as last time but the biggest difference was that I switched off from thinking about it every day and instead almost pretended there wasn’t a possibility that I was pregnant in order to protect myself.

Then, about a week later I started getting exactly the same pregnancy symptoms as last time that couldn’t be mistaken for anything else. That’s when the anxiety kicked in quite badly and I kept having flashbacks of the miscarriage, I couldn’t bare the idea of using the toilet for fear of history repeating itself and I felt scared. Me being me, I pushed these thoughts aside as much as possible and decided that if I were pregnant, I would just try and focus on me time instead of the pregnancy until 8 weeks when the risk of miscarriage significantly drops.

When I took the first pregnancy test I had specifically waited until day 9/10 to give myself the best chance of getting an accurate result and I remember being incredibly anxious as I felt sure it would be positive and I knew this would scare me and lead to weeks of horrendous anxiety for fear of another miscarriage whilst also being aware that stress can contribute to a miscarriage so it felt like a vicious circle.

I was that anxious that I couldn’t look at the test myself but it was negative and so I spent the next 24 hours in a heightened state of anxiety wondering if the dates were wrong because of the miscarriage affecting my cycle or not being pregnant but I couldn’t see this being the case because of the unmistakable symptoms.

This went on for 4 days until I finally started my period very unexpectedly as I normally can tell but, on this occasion, it took me by surprise. More so because of my symptoms which certainly were not PMS symptoms which added to the confusion.

In a way I was relieved because I had been so anxious and just wanted to know one way or another. However, I was also anxious because I knew it meant going through this again at least one more time and realistically a few times and it felt so painful. I contemplated taking a little break or just working on coping strategies as I couldn’t see the trauma disappearing.

I went into this journey 100% dedicated to helping create a family and once I put my mind to something I stick to it regardless of the consequences.

The days leading up to finding out I wasn’t pregnant were incredibly difficult and very emotional. I wanted to protect Ali & Andrew from this but did end up telling them I was finding it hard and as always, they checked in on me regularly to make sure I was ok but if it were not for my partner, I don’t know how I would have got through those days.

She helped me come up with coping strategies and what helped me through was giving myself a full timed schedule to keep my mind occupied as well as her love and support. I was incredibly productive that weekend I have to say!

….I am sat here not even sure how to say this, so I am just going to say it….

I spent a few days in pieces, feeling incredibly guilty that I was even contemplating this, the thought of upsetting or hurting anyone does not sit well with me at all nor does putting myself first.

I lost sleep, I cried lots, I worried, I felt scared…I wanted someone to tell me what the right decision was.

I reached out to friends in case they thought I was making a mistake, but I was surprised that everyone’s response was along the lines of… for once I need to put myself first.

So…one of the hardest and heart-breaking decisions I have had to make and the most painful conversation I have ever had was ending my surrogacy journey.

How I managed to hold it together during the conversation I will never know. I had prepared myself as much as possible and spoken with SUK and I made sure I did what I could to protect myself and I made sure I wasn’t on my own.

It is safe to say that after the conversation ended, I sobbed like a baby.

However, as hard as it was and still is, (I feel as though I am grieving for many reasons) I know it was the right decision for me at this time.

I am not turning my back on surrogacy and still want to be involved in the surrogacy world especially as a counsellor and it is something that I may come back to at a later date but right now I need to focus on me and my family as well as recovering properly from the miscarriage physically and emotionally.

Although this journey has ended, I have lots of amazing memories and have made some great friends.

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 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 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 6

It’s been a while since I have posted about surrogacy for a variety of reasons. Partly because my experience with the previous IP’s left a bitter taste in my mouth and I wasn’t sure if or when I would feel ready to contemplate continuing with the idea of being a surrogate and partly because life has been rather hectic lately.

I kind of switched off after what happened with Greig and Owen and went into self-protection mode and found myself no longer as interested or excited as before and if it hadn’t been for Paige who is also a surrogate with SurrogacyUK I would probably have shut the door on the whole idea.

However, I decided to put things on a back burner but not to rule surrogacy out based on one bad experience. I’ve not been actively looking or participating in online socials as I have been busy moving and recovering (in a fashion) from my visit to the dentist.

I decided to continue with the process of joining SurrogacyUK and I can report that I am now a fully active member.

I had to have a video chat with a member of SUK before joining who was lovely and I talked about my previous experience and my concerns, and she completely put me at ease and reminded me of why I wanted to be a surrogate in the first place.

I then was asked to write a profile about myself including why I wanted to be a surrogate and dealbreakers. To begin with I kept this fairly short and sweet as I knew that after any potential IP/IP’s read this that there is a get to know you period of at least 3 months but after speaking to Jemma (who appeared on the BBC Surrogate documentary) who is my mentor I decided to add much more. She said that a lot of teams are ending before they have even started their journey due to people not having discussions about things such as dealbreakers and this made me realise how important my profile is.

The profile directs you to think about dealbreakers relating to pregnancy, but I decided to expand on this and think about what would stop me from wanting to have a relationship with an IP/IP’s and so included things such as if they were into fox hunting or were homophobic or god forbid were Conservatives!!!

I also wrote about what was important for me including my girls. Even if I had a smooth and straightforward pregnancy I will no doubt impact on them and so it is important to me that they gain something out of the experience such as making memories, fun experiences, or the creation of new friendships etc.

When I go into my bubble (usually to protect myself) I switch off to some extent and so I can’t really remember when I first started talking to Ali and Andrew who are IP’s with SUK. I remember that Andrew messaged me through one of the Facebook groups. I also remember that I was feeling detached at the time and so very quickly I told him what went wrong with my previous IP’s and that I wasn’t sure where this has left me.

Instead of feeling like I had to ‘impress’ potential IP’s I kind of went the opposite way and as I wasn’t thinking about matching with any IP’s I just chatted to him and Ali without worrying what they might think.

Ali and Andrew have already had a daughter with a surrogate through SUK and are on a sibling journey. When I first contemplated surrogacy, I didn’t think that I would ideally contemplate being a surrogate for IP/IP’s who already had a child and distance was fairly important too. However, after my first experience I realised what was most important was the connection and relationship.

We have been chatting regularly for a while now and they even came up last weekend.

I am certainly not in a rush to become a team with any IP’s, and I know that it is important to keep your options open, but I realised as I read through the IP profiles that none stood out for me.

It takes a lot of energy to get to know IP’s and I do compare it to dating rather than making friends as it is on a different level, its more intense and personal. I realised that I don’t have the energy to spend months trying to get to know IP’s for the sake of it and that although I am cautious that it is still worth trusting our instinct.

So now the ball is in my court as to which IP/IP’s I offer a GTK (Get To Know), where we spend at least 3 months getting to know each other with the intention (if all goes well) of forming a team. SUK having been very supportive and there is absolutely no pressure to offer a GTK to anyone unless I want to.

If and when I decide to offer a GTK I have to email SUK to let them know and then they see if the IP/IP’s match in terms of expenses, distance and whether they want a host or straight surrogate. If you do match, then they send your profile over to the IP/IP’s and offer them a GTK whilst you wait to hear if they accept or not.

As it stands, I have an idea of what I am going to do….so watch this space!!

Surrogacy…part 5

This was never going to be post that I imagined I would ever be writing nor one that I particularly want to write but I went into this journey wanting to share my experiences with people from the very beginning.

I am still processing what has happened since my last post and in all honesty, it has shaken me and made me question a lot of things.

What started as an incredibly positive and exciting journey very quickly and unexpectedly took a very different direction.

The intended parents showed a different side to themselves which left me and everyone who knew about this journey in complete shock. I was left with no alternative but to end the journey with immediate effect which was not an easy decision for me. During the time leading up to this decision I was left in tears, shaken and unsure of what to do but fortunately I had the support I needed to get me through.

I could go into details about what went on, but I am not the kind of person to sit here and slate people (even if some may think I have every right to) and even when I ended things with the IP’s I still had a very heavy heart and ended it in the nicest way possible. This led me to be even more shaken and shocked when despite this, the IPs took their disgruntlement to Facebook after blocking me! Who does that? Especially as I know I did nothing wrong other than stand my ground when they wanted me to do things that aren’t ethical, would lead to being kicked out of SurrogacyUK and could seriously jeopardise the Parental Order.

Unfortunately, my ex-IP’s do not give surrogacy a good name but to be perfectly honest I highly doubt that they will find a future surrogate based on their true feelings and opinions about surrogates.

I am hurt by what has happened and for a moment I did want to spit the dummy out and say that I was no longer going to consider being a surrogate but after talking things through I have decided to carry on this journey.

I know in my heart of hearts how I felt when I knew how much I wanted a child of my own and the pain I felt at the thought of it not being possible and I imagine that is how most IP’s feel. I also know that most IP’s value the role that surrogates play in their journey and certainly do not think of them as a machine.

So, whilst I still feel bruised, scared, and worried about being able to let my guard down with future IP’s I know that the right IP’s will be out there.

Moving forward I will be staying with SurrogacyUK and will only select IP’s who are also members. I know that I will have Paige by my side to help sift through possible IP’s and throughout any future get to know periods before starting to try and conceive a baby.

I have always believed in fate, and I am grateful that they showed their true colours when they did as I dread to think what would have happened if I had already been pregnant when this happened. It would have broken my heart to have been in a position where I would have had to seriously consider terminating a healthy foetus because of the actions of the IP’s.

I am also grateful to have met Paige who I wouldn’t have met if it hadn’t been for my ex-IP’s, she has certainly been the silver lining of this whole experience!

I’m hoping the excitement I felt at the prospect of being a surrogate returns, but in the meantime I know I can focus on me, the house move and my course.

Surrogacy…part 3

When I first started looking into surrogacy I initially considered registering with Brilliant Beginnings as I got the impression that they would be incredibly supportive throughout the journey, and I felt reassured that they did the matching for you after getting to know myself and the IP’s. I even had a zoom call with them, and they were lovely. It was only when I found out how much they charge IP’s just over £15,000 to join.

I have nothing negative to say about Brilliant Beginnings and I am sure that they offer a lot of support and guidance along the way however for me personally it didn’t sit right with me as I knew in my heart that I wanted to help IP’s like myself to have a baby who couldn’t afford to pay that before they have even paid expenses and any fertility treatment costs.

This led me to SurrogacyUK who still offer support and advice however the matching is down to you. They provide you with what is almost like a dating app to look through and surrogates can swipe right or left depending on if they like the look of the IP’s or not. I would definitely have gone with SurrogacyUK if I hadn’t already met my IP’s and we could have all joined as a team, however the boys have decided not to join as they don’t necessarily see the benefits now, they have found me.

I respect the boy’s decision and having joined various surrogacy groups on Facebook as well as knowing that P is there for me (as I am for her), I believe that I will have all the support I need throughout this journey.

Therefore, we have decided to complete our surrogacy journey independently which means we won’t be using an agency. Now there are pros and cons to this, however whether you join an agency or not there are no legal agreements or guarantees in the UK. We’ve completed most of the checks that an agency would recommend such as DBS checks, medical checks including sperm analysis and STI checks.

There is an agreement that surrogates and IP’s complete with surrogacy organisations however this isn’t legally binding and having found a template of this agreement this is something that we will be completing together.

Before November we still need to make our wills and the boys need to take out life insurance for me, we also need to officially agree the total cost of my expenses and how that will be paid. This is something that I will cover more in another post as it is definitely a grey area in the surrogacy world.

Before we made the decision to go down the independent route, the boys came over from Manchester to join me and my girls at a SurrogacyUK social which was happening near me. I had already signed up to go as I didn’t expect there to be one near me and thought it would be a good opportunity to meet others who are on this journey or who have already completed theirs. I also knew there would be people from SurrogacyUK who I would be able to talk to. However, the boys felt that it would be a good opportunity to meet my girls as well as ask any questions they had about joining etc.

To begin with I felt anxious about the boys meeting my girls as I had it in my head that they would be judging me via my girls however P quite rightly pointed out that it was my chance to see how the boys were with my girls. I wasn’t sure how my eldest daughter would be around the boys as she can take awhile to come out of her shell around people she doesn’t know, particularly men and she can be rather protective of me.

Although she was shy to begin with, I was surprised how quickly she felt comfortable with them and before long she was soon playing with them both. It was lovely to see, and it didn’t take her long to have them wrapped around her little finger! I’m not sure if G realises that she now associates him with having a magic hood that produces treats!! So now, every time she sees him, she will no doubt expect there to be something in his hood!

When I started this journey one of the questions on the application form talked about how and when you might talk to your children about surrogacy and although I had no reservations about how my girls would feel about it, I had decided to not say anything until I was pregnant.

However, I realised that my eldest daughter in particular picks up on everything so unless we intended to speak in code for the entire time that she would pick up on something. So, I decided that I probably should talk to her before meeting G & O. I kept it very simple and basically said that G & O would like to have a baby, but they can’t make one without a little help, so Mummy is going to try and help them make a baby. She was fine with this and the only things she said were, will Liam (their dog) eat the baby, and could she cuddle the baby?

This weekend I am looking forward to staying in Manchester with the boys, seeing where they live and spending some quality time with them. We are also going to be going over and signing the surrogacy agreement and going over everything before we start trying to conceive. Oh, and the boys are planning on taking me to Canal Street!

I feel so incredibly lucky to have them in my lives as so many positive things have come out of meeting them, and I am truly excited about what may come out of this (aside from a baby!).

Surrogacy…part 2

It feels ages ago since I met the boys for the first time and that so much has happened since.

If you haven’t gathered from my last post, I have officially offered to be a surrogate for G & O, and we are in the process of embarking on our surrogacy journey together!! I am incredibly excited but as I sit here writing this it also feels a little surreal!

After we met, I wondered what the boys made of me and how they felt about everything particularly as O is more reserved (but lovely). It made me smile when they said that on their car journey home O spoke of me going over to Manchester to go baby shopping with them and how he wants to make sure the guest room is ready in case I want to visit.

In our initial conversations we spoke about our thoughts on surrogacy and how we all felt about the process. Admittedly it felt a little awkward because as I’ve said before these are pretty personal conversations to be having and it is a big thing.

For all we knew, we could have been on completely different pages when it came to surrogacy and that would have no doubt ended our journey before it began. I’ve felt from the beginning that I am very open minded and laid back about the process in terms of how it works and don’t have any real deal breakers. Obviously, I would only offer to be a surrogate for people I feel are decent and who I believe will respect me in this journey.

G & O had previously had their own discussions about surrogacy before they met me and had contemplated creating an embryo and then finding a surrogate but that has its own pros and cons. Then they met me and during our conversations I said that I don’t mind whether I did host or straight surrogacy and so we decided to go with straight surrogacy (meaning the baby will be created using my egg).

As I have said before, I wanted to be able to donate my eggs when I went through fertility treatment so the idea of creating a baby that is genetically linked to me doesn’t phase me.

Of course, there will be an element of curiosity about what the baby looks like, and I am sure I would feel some sort of a bond having carried a baby for 9 months but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

We talked about how the boys see the relationship with the surrogate (me) and they were very open and honest and said that they always hoped that there would be a relationship there from day 1 which would continue long after the baby is born. They said that they would want me to be an honouree auntie which I was very touched by and of course I would love it if that were to happen.

I went into this with open eyes and never expected to form a close relationship with the IP’s and of course part of me is a little cautious in case it doesn’t turn out like that. Equally, this is an intense and deeply personal journey whereby you are going to spend a lot of time together and get to know each other incredibly well so I can’t imagine why you would want to forgo that friendship after the baby has been born.

Having decided that we were going down the straight surrogacy route I then asked them if they wanted to use a clinic for this or the more natural method. Again, there are pros and cons to both options. I had IUI at a fertility clinic which is basically artificial insemination but you are pumped with hormones, regularly scanned and have blood tests to give you the best chance of success so in a way I feel some of the responsibility is taken out of your hands this way but having said that I know millions of women get pregnant without the help of a clinic and obviously you don’t have to pay thousands of pounds in the process.

So, we have decided to try it the more natural way. Obviously, I know what that entails but now that it is all real my head is spinning with what we will need and how it will work. We did have a giggle about the nitty gritty of it all!

I just hope that it works and that it doesn’t take months of trying, but I know that it might. So, when we start trying the boys will drive over from Manchester a couple of times a month around the time of ovulation for us to attempt ‘the deed’ as I call it. Now just to be straight this will not involve any level of intimacy, it will be G doing his thing and then me doing my thing. I imagine the first time we will both be nervous as it is unconventional but all we can do is our best.

When G & O went to a SurrogacyUK gathering, despite not walking away with a potential surrogate they did meet someone who they got on really well with and who they chatted to a lot about surrogacy. So, once they found me and we decided to go on this journey together the boys had a lot of unanswered questions (as did I) and so they turned to her for help and advice. I suddenly got a message from G with her contact details and although I wanted to chat to someone else who was embarking on their first surrogacy journey, I was also nervous about getting in touch, after all I didn’t know anything about her nor what the boys had told her about me.

However, she was incredibly helpful, supportive, and lovely and she put me at ease straight away. Since then, we’ve been chatting a lot and I feel incredibly lucky to have met someone who is starting their journey at a similar time to me but more than that, how incredibly well we get on and as we’ve said to one another, how meeting each other has been one of the best things to have come out of our journeys so far! She is amazing!

This journey means a lot to both boys and so I intend to do everything I can to give myself the best chance of becoming pregnant.

I have started taking pre-conception supplements, stopped drinking alcohol (not that I drank that much), moved onto decaf tea and coffee and have been trying to eat more healthily.

The countdown is on until our first attempt….2 months to go!!

Surrogacy…part 1

Since sharing my post about surrogacy and more people becoming aware of my plans, I am saddened by some people’s negativity and judgement. Some people cannot get their head around why anyone would ‘put themselves through it’ when they don’t have to. Some people think that it will massively impact on my life to the point that I won’t be able to live or have fun along the way (well…most pregnancies are relatively straight forward and even if they are not, pregnancy doesn’t last more than 9 months!). Some have said, what about your girls…surely if I was having a baby of my own it would impact on them more, especially as a single mum. Children are amazingly resilient and as my girls are only 3 & 4, they won’t know any different and certainly won’t think of it as anything other than positive. It saddens me that in this day and age, people are still so judgemental, but I won’t let it put me off. Instead, I intend to surround myself with those that are supportive.

….

After submitting my application, it was a case of going through formalities such as having a DBS check, sending off I.D and asking my GP to fill in a health and wellbeing report. As you can imagine, all these things take time.

In the meantime, it was suggested that I join surrogacy groups on Facebook to start reading about others journeys and they also suggested I post a message introducing myself with the hope of talking to others. Well, those of you who know me will know that I still don’t find it easy to put myself out there even if it is on social media, however, I decided to feel the fear and do it anyway! I got lots of likes and some welcome comments, but one person stood out. He had written that he went to school with someone who had the same full name as me and how strange it would be if it had been me.

From that one comment I decided to send him a message to say hi and ask how his surrogacy journey was going. Who would have thought that that one message would become the start of something special!

We started messaging each other regularly and seemed to click, he explained how he and his partner were looking for a surrogate and that they were fairly new to this too. They had already been to a social event run by SurrogacyUK which they said they found useful but didn’t walk away with a potential surrogate. I hadn’t realised that IP’s cannot approach surrogates and instead it has to be the surrogates that approach IP’s and that it is ultimately down to the surrogate who they choose to do this for. I could see how awkward it might be at a social event and when posting in one of the Facebook groups because all the IP’s are looking for a potential surrogate but you can’t just say, “Hi, will you be my surrogate?”.

Throughout one of our many chats it was G (for the sake of confidentiality I will only be using initials) who told me about the BBC documentary ‘The Surrogates’ which is a 3-part series available on iPlayer. I had never heard about it nor watched it until G mentioned it to me. I then binged watched the entire series and it was very interesting, eye opening and emotional.

What surprised me the most from watching the documentaries was the amazing friendships that came out of all the surrogates’ journeys with their IP’s. I went into this journey not expecting that to be the norm so watching how close they had all come was lovely and I have to admit it made me want that too.

There was one moment when a gay couple were in the labour room with their surrogate and as she was giving birth the look on the men’s faces was a picture! One of them looked like he was going to faint and the other was crying. I couldn’t help wondering if they were tears of pure joy and happiness at seeing their baby being born into the world or tears from what they had witnessed!!!

After chatting pretty much constantly we decided to meet up and the boys drove all the way over from Manchester with their gorgeous golden Labrador! I was certainly nervous as I suppose having got on so well in messages, I hoped we’d get on as well in real life. I also hoped that they would turn up (which they did!).

What was meant to be a couple of hours chatting over lunch turned into more than 5 hours of chatting, giggling, and getting on like a house on fire with conversations from everyday life to a potential surrogacy journey.

It made me realise that anyone going on a surrogacy journey would have to get on incredibly well together for it to work because you’re going through such a personal and intimate journey whereby, you’re going to be practically living in each other’s pockets for at least the best part of a year.

But do you know what, after meeting G & O and their gorgeous dog, it felt as if I had spent the day with old friends, I couldn’t believe how well we all got on and I left feeling incredibly excited at the prospect of our future surrogacy journey!