Saturday, December 19, 2009

Coco at 32 weeks

Week 33 on Monday

It's hard to believe but Coco is due in 51 days! In some ways it seems like it has taken forever to get to this point and in other ways it seems like it was only yesterday when Chris and I started planning our family. We are thrilled to be where we are and are looking forward to meeting our daughter soon!

Kira and Coco are both doing great. Kira had her 32-week check-up yesterday (Friday, December 18th) and both she and Coco are excellent. At the last appt. (at 30-weeks), Coco was still in a breech position (meaning head up, not down as is preferred for birth). That is not that unusual but we were all praying that she would turn soon because if she stayed in a breech position we would most likely have to have a c-section delivery. (Usually babies turn into the heads down position sometime around 30 weeks.) We were thrilled to find out yesterday that Coco has turned and is now in the head down position! Yippee! Also, at the last appt. Coco was a bit camera shy so we didn't get a lot of good shots but yesterday she was camera ready and we got some incredible pictures of her adorable face. I know, we're probably biased but she is gorgeous! Take a look for yourself!

This week we will celebrate Christmas with our family and on Sunday (12/27), Jen (Chris' cousin) is hosting a (2nd) baby shower for us. This will be a very special week for us and we can't wait to share it with our family and friends.

Our next apt. is on December 31st and then we head out to LA on January 4th. Time is flying by but we are ready and super-excited!

Stay tuned and keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Week 31

It has been a few weeks since we posted last. The time is flying by and we can't believe that our little girl will be here in about 61 days (or less!).

We have been busy getting the nursery ready and gathering all the stuff we need. It's amazing just how much stuff one little human being needs! That said, it's been really fun getting ready for Coco and it has been a real learning experience for us.

Kira is doing well...she has had a bad cold and an ear infection since last Saturday but other than that she's good. Coco is busy moving around though just about now, the space inside is probably staring to get a little cramped for her so she'll probably be sleeping more and moving less over the next few weeks. Apparently, she is about 3 1/2 lbs now and about 18 - 19 inches long....amazing! Over the next few weeks she won't get much longer BUT her weight will most likely double! Yikes, hang in there Kira!

We are doing good too. We are very excited and ready to meet our little girl. I (Victor) have been having a lot of trouble sleeping because I'm nervous/anxious and Chris (of course) is cool as a cucumber. I'm not nervous/anxious in a bad way. I'm just excited and curious and wake up thinking about things like: what will life with Coco will be like; what she will look like; wondering whether she'll like us (LOL!); will she be a good sleeper; will she and NeNe get along; etc.! I know I'll have the answer to all these questions soon and am just allowing myself to enjoy the excitement and nervousness. It's natural and although my hubby is very calm (on the outside), I know he's a little nervous too!!!

We also found a house to rent while we're in LA. It took a while but we did find a great place in West Hollywood and will be heading out to LA on January 4th to start the final wait for the big day. We plan to spend time with Kira and help her as much as possible over the last few weeks.

That's all for now. We will be updating you all every week through the big day so stay tuned and continue to keep us all in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Week 26

Tomorrow (Monday, November 2nd) will be 26 weeks for us! We can't believe it. Coco is just about finished with her second trimester! She enters her third trimester at the end of this week. Coco appears to have a committment to fitness just like her Daddies! She is jumping around a lot. We got this great note from Kira who gave us an update on what she is feeling.

"I'm doing fine...I haven't gotten sick(knock on wood) despite all the sickies in my house. Coco's doing great! Kicking and moving all around. I can definitely feel her kicks from the outside now. It works best when I'm lying flat on my back, so that my weight/stomach is evenly distributed. When's she's head down, kicking up, and I'm sitting on the couch, it feels like she's kicking me in the chest, but that's because when I'm sitting everything is more squished together. When I'm lying down, the kicks are more in the center of my stomach, since I'm streched out more. Hopefully, that makes sense,lol.

I was enjoying feeling her move around this morning around 6am, but then Ellie woke up, so my "bonding time" with Coco was over. Once I get up, and move around she's moves a little less. Time is flying by...I'll be 26 weeks on Monday. Coco is going to be here in 3 months!"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Let The Shopping Begin!

On September 21st, we had the 20 week ultrasound and found out that Lil' Snappies is a girl!!! We had no problem picking out a name. We both adore the name Coco. Our fashionista friends assume that we are naming her after Coco Chanel, but that is not the case. We just like the cute, two syllable names (like Nene).
We were thrilled. When Victor shared the news with his mother, I could hear her screaming on the phone all the way accross the room. I am sure we would have been just as thrilled if Lil' Snappies were a boy, but knowing the gender takes a lot of the mystery out of the pregnancy...almost like opening a present on Christmas. Some people like to open gifts on Christmas Eve, while others are very disciplined and wait until the actual day. We are clearly the former.
After the ultrasound appointment, we went over to Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks where Kira will give birth to Coco. We met with the hospital administrator and got a tour of the facilities. The administrator referred to Lil' Snappies as "your daughter" for the first time...and my eyes welled up.
Then we decided it was time to celebrate with some shopping! We had been holding off buying any clothes, decorating the room, completing the registry, etc, until we knew the gender. Kira pointed us in the direction of the nearest baby store and we picked out a couple of cute little outfits. I can't imagine how silly Victor and I must have looked coo'ing over little pastel pink onesies. This is going to be fun!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Planning Begins

We are happy to report that we are ALL (Kira included, now that the morning sickness has passed) starting to enjoy the pregnancy and now the planning is under way. 

We started working on our baby registry and boy (no pun intended) there's A LOT of stuff to get for our new little guy or gal. We really had no idea how much stuff a baby needed (well, I'm not sure they need all the stuff.....)! We've been learning about everything from pacifiers to bottles to bouncy chairs to infant transport systems (that's a fancy way of saying strollers!). Of course, there can't be just one brand or type of anything so the selection is, well, IMMENSE! We are chipping away at the list day by day and slowly but surely making progress. BUT, one of the things we haven't started buying yet is clothes! We find out if we're having a boy or girl on Sept. 21st so we've managed to hold off on buying any cute outfits (to date). 

Speaking of the gender of the baby.....have you voted yet???? Check out the pole (look to your right) we started on the blog and cast your vote! Boy or Girl? Just vote based on whatever pops into your head first. Don't think too much! Chris thinks we're having a girl and I think we're having a boy. Also, I found a cool at-home gender test and decided it would be worth a shot so I sent Kira a couple of the "Intelligender" tests to take. She took one and it said GIRL!!!!! That didn't make me change my mind though so I'm still saying BOY. What do you think???? No matter what we have, we will be THRILLED!!!

It's just amazing to be this far along. The time is flying by and before we know it, February 8th will be here and we'll be meeting our little one. We feel incredibly blessed to be sharing this experience with all of you and look forward to the weeks ahead!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fire Island Fun

In July, we decided to invite Kira and her family out to Fire Island for a visit. We were thrilled when Kira accepted our offer, though I was a bit worried about how Kira would manage to fly across country with two small children (her son Liam is 3 and her daughter Ellie is 18 months). We had hoped that Kira's husband (Jeremiah) would be able to make the trip but his work schedule was too busy so he had to stay home this time. So, Kira's mother (Micaela) volunteered to make the trip with her. Thank goodness! 

We picked Kira, Micaela, Liam and Ellie up from JFK on Wednesday, August 12th around 11 PM after a long flight from Burbank which was delayed about 3 hours! Kira, Micaela and Ellie looked tired but Liam was ready to go! He's such a cute, high-energy little boy! We gathered all their bags and drove up to our house in Rye. We spent the next day in Rye and took the kids to Leapin' Lizards, a cool indoor playground in Port Chester. The kids had a great time (well Liam did but there wasn't that much for Ellie to do other than the ball pit) and we had fun watching them run around! That night, we had "taco night" and our friend Robin came over to meet Kira and the family. 

The next day, Chris took the day off work and we headed out to Fire Island. We couldn't have asked for better weather. It was HOT but at least we didn't have any rain. The kids loved the pool and the beach. Each day our schedule was pretty much, morning play in the pool, afternoon cartoons followed by a couple of hours on the beach.

On Saturday, we had a cookout to introduce our friends to Kira and her family. It was a low-key affair by the pool. It was really fun to introduce Kira to all our friends and to just relax and eat!

On Monday, we headed back to Rye to spend a day unwinding and relaxing from our relaxing days at the beach (LOL!). Before we knew it, it was Tuesday and time for Kira and the family to head back to California. I took them to the airport and off they went. 

We had a wonderful visit and are really happy they made the trip!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Yippee, we got through the 1st Trimester!

It's hard to believe but we successfully made it through the 1st trimester! Amazingly, the time just seemed to fly by and now we are starting to think about REALLY having a baby (in less than 6 months - YIKES)!

The 1st trimester, for us, was filled with lots of nerves, anxiety and ultrasounds! One of the benefits of having a baby through surrogacy is that you know you are pregnant very early on. One of the downsides of having a baby through surrogacy is that you know you are pregnant very early on! Also, since we were under the care of our fertility doctor until week 10, we had ultrasounds every 2 weeks, at weeks 6, 8, 10 and 12. This was great because we got to see all the changes in the baby's development and were reassured every couple of weeks that things were going well. It's hard to believe that in a traditional pregnancy, many times the first appointment with the OB doesn't occur until week 12! 

At week 13 we also had our 1st trimester screening test, or nuchal translucency screening. This test is done to test for Down Syndrome, some chromosomal abnormalities and major congenital heart problems. The test included a very in depth ultrasound and blood work. During the ultrasound, I was so nervous as they measured and examined all the different parts of the baby's brain, heart and neck area. We BELIEVED that everything would be fine but you just want that confirmation and sure enough, everything was fine. The baby looked great and the initial screening did not indicate that the baby has Down Syndrome or any other major medical issues at this time. What a relief!

So now, we are looking forward to the 2nd trimester and starting to plan for the future with our baby. Plus, as an added bonus, Kira is FINALLY starting to feel like herself again as the morning sickness wains and her energy level starts to return to normal. Though the 1st trimester flew by for us, it was filled with lots of dry heaving, nausea, sensitivity to smell and fatigue for her! Thanks again Kira for being the best surrogate we could have hoped for!

So, this week, Kira, her two kids (Liam & Ellie) and her mom (Micaela) are coming from Californina to New York to visit us for a week. We are looking forward to the trip and will update you on our time together.

Thanks again for your continued love and support and please keep the baby, Kira and us in your thoughts as prayers as we continue this wonderful journey. We are blessed!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

12-weeks Down!

On Monday (July 27th) we had our 12-week ultrasound and our first appointment with our OB. 12-weeks is a big pregnancy milestone, since the risk of miscarriage greatly decreases at this point because all the baby's major systems have been formed at this time in the pregnancy. We are breathing a little easier now!

We were all (me, Chris and Kira) a bit nervous about the appointment because we had gotten comfortable with our fertility doctor, Dr. Sahakian, and now had to start a new relationship with the OB, Dr. Poliakin. As soon as we got into the examining room (well, after Kira completed the MOUNDS of required paperwork), our fears melted away. The nurse was super friendly and as it turns out both she and the doctor are from New York. That created an instant connection! They spent a lot of time with us (the appointment lasted from 2:30 - 4:30 PM) and answered all our questions. The doctor took GREAT ultrasound pictures, including several 4D images (the baby looks a little like an alien in the 4D pics but they are super cool!) and gave us each a copy of one of the books he's written. It was a really positive experience.

The baby looked GREAT! On Monday, we were exactly 12 weeks pregnant but the baby actually measured at 12 weeks 4 days! Looks like he/she is going to be a tall little boy/girl! During the ultrasound the baby was very active and we caught him/her sucking their thumb several times. It was sooooooo cute and sooooooo amazing. It's hard to believe that in 6-months the little baby we are watching on the screen will be in our arms. Wow.......

Kira is still battling the morning sickness/all-day sickness that she's been dealing with since about week 5. It's been a bear, made even more challenging by the fact that she has a 2 very active kids to keep up with (3-year old Liam, and 1-year old Ellie). She has the best attitude about it though and knows that this is all part of the process and WILL end soon. Dr. Poliakin gave her a prescription for medication to help with the nausea, etc. so we are hopeful that help is on the way! Hang in there're the BEST!

Kira, her kids and her mom are coming out to visit in a couple of weeks! They are going to fly to NY from the west coast and we will spend about a week together on Fire Island. Kira has never been to NY so it should be a great trip. We will make sure she gets plenty of time for some much needed R & R and know that the kids and her mom will really enjoy the beach, pool and beauty and serenity of Fire Island. 

Chris and I continue to be grateful and thankful to be on this wonderful journey together. It has been an amazing experience to share together and has reinforced for us just how much of a team we are. I could not imagine doing this with anyone else and am so thankful for my wonderful husband and the family we are creating together. 

We are in awe of this process and continue to pray that all continues to proceed positively for everyone. Please keep Kira, the baby and us in your prayers and thoughts.

Love and light to you all!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Graduation pics


Yesterday, we had our 10-week ultrasound and it went great! The baby looks good and measured at 10-weeks, 2 days so he/she is growing a bit ahead of schedule. As I've mentioned before, each time you go in there's a little anxiety in anticipation of what you'll see so seeing the baby growing and hitting all the benchmarks is really a BIG relief!

Yesterday was also our last appointment with our fertility doctor, Dr. Vicken Sahakian. He has been with us since we started our journey with our initial medical screenings. He has been amazing and though we are THRILLED to be moving forward to the care of our Obstetrician, we will miss seeing Dr. S every couple of weeks. Thanks to Dr. Sahakian for all his help and support!

Kira is battling some pretty intense morning sickness but is handling it like a trooper. She never complains and is staying positive as she waits for it to pass. Generally, it disappears around the 12 - 14 week period so we all have our fingers crossed! We are really thankful to Kira for her positive attitude and are saying our prayers that the m/s passes sooner rather than later! 

We are looking forward to our first appointment with our OB on Monday, July 27th which is also the END of the 1st trimester! After that Kira will only be seeing the doctor once a month.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support! Keep them coming!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A MOVING Experience!

Today we are 8 weeks 2 days pregnant! Time is moving by really quickly and it continues to be an incredible experience on so many different levels. 

On Monday (June 29th) we had our 8-week ultrasound appointment. Each time we go in for an appointment, there is a certain amount of anxiety and nervousness as you wait to see the doctor. We ALL (me, Chris & Kira) believed that everything would be fine but we have that little voice (of reason I think) in the back of our heads reminding us that sometimes things go wrong. OK, now that I've honored that feeling, let's move on! Kira and I waited for the doctor to come in to the exam room to begin the ultrasound and were excited to see the growth of the baby since the 6-week ultrasound.

The doctor started the ultrasound and told me to come over so I could see the screen. I couldn't believe how MUCH the baby had grown in 2-weeks. At 6-weeks, the baby looked like a little pea but at 8-weeks, the baby looks like a baby (well sort of!). Then, it happened.......the baby MOVED! Not just a little move but a BIG (but very uncoordinated) MOVE. I almost burst into tears! It was amazing to see! At this point in the pregnancy, the baby moves almost non-stop and only stops moving for very brief intervals so I guess it's to be expected that I saw the movement BUT to me it was the coolest thing ever. 

The doctor gave us the baby's vitals. The baby's heartbeat is 156 beats per minute and the baby measured at 8 weeks and 3 days even though we were at 8 weeks on Monday (in other words, the baby is growing a little ahead of schedule). We were also able to identify the yolk sac  and the placenta and could see the blood flow throughout the baby's body. WOW!

It's hard to describe all the emotions we are feeling right now. We are grateful, joyful, humbled, reflective, inspired, scared and excited all at the same time. We are trying to remember everything we are feeling and to document it so that we can share this with our child when he/she is old enough to understand how much we wanted them and how excited we were to bring them into the world. 

This continues to be a MOVING (pun intended!) experience on every level.

Stay tuned and keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Seeing is believing

It's a miracle! That often overused expression is the only way I can describe what I felt when I saw the ultrasound of our baby. I know he/she doesn't look like much right now but that little being is growing, even as we speak, into his/her own and that's truly amazing to me. The miracle of creating life has always been a powerful reminder to me of just how fragile we all are and of what a blessing children are. I am truly amazed by this process!

We have been in the process of creating our family for quite a while now and getting to this point (as you know) has been a challenge. Now that we are here, there are all sorts of things to consider (and no, I'm not talking about decorating a nursery or picking out cute little baby clothes). As we approached the 6-week mark, we were all extremely nervous about what the ultrasound would show. We hoped for and were blessed to see our baby growing (on schedule) and were able to see and hear his/her little heartbeat. Let me tell you, I've never heard a more beautiful sound! At this point in a pregnancy, things are still fairly precarious and there are many things that can go wrong. I mean, a whole human being is being created and we are complicated creatures and lots and lots of things must go RIGHT for a pregnancy to be viable. At 6-weeks, you can GENERALLY see the heart beat but sometimes you can't. Sometimes you can hear the heart beat but sometimes you can't. Sometimes you can see a sac but have no baby. The list goes on and on and all these things run through your head as you approach the ultrasound appt. We were blessed to have a great result.

The other question on our mind was, how many babies we would see. IVF (invitro-fertilization) increases the chance that you'll have a multiple pregnancy. We had transferred 2 embryos, so if both had taken we could see twins or even triplets or quadruplets if the embryos split. We had had 3 beta tests (beta tests measure the level of HCG, or pregnancy hormone) and our numbers were on the high side so we didn't really know what to expect?

A pregnancy with multiples posed a couple of concerns for us. We were all (me, Chris and Kira) fairly comfortable with a twin pregnancy but what happened if there were more than 2? We had initially agreed that if there were more than 2 babies, we would selectively reduce. That sounded good in theory but as we got closer to the ultrasound date, Chris and I started to have serious doubts about making that type of decision. Kira had agreed to carry up to triplets so we had some flexibility BUT carrying that many babies is a risky proposition of several levels: risky for Kira; risky for the babies; and risky from an insurance/financial standpoint.

We worried about what impact carrying triplets would have on Kira's health. Would there be complications? Would she need to be on bed rest? How would she and her husband care for their son (3 year old Liam) and daughter (1 year old Ellie) with the added strain of a triplet pregnancy? 

What about the babies? Would all 3 be healthy? Would they develop normally? Would there be problems that caused them to deliver earlier than they should and how would that affect them long-term?  

Insurance! We had to purchase a special insurance policy to cover the pregnancy BUT if we proceeded with a triplet pregnancy, the policy would void. That's right, that would mean, if we opted to continue a triplet pregnancy, we would have to pay for all pre-natal expenses out-of-pocket. Wham! We had no idea what our potential financial exposure was? 

So, going into that ultrasound last Monday, we were a little anxious! As it turns out, we saw one healthy, developing baby and that's perfect! We would have been happy no matter what we had seen and know that we would not have been blessed with anything we couldn't handle but we still felt a big sense of relief after the appointment. 

Now, we were very quickly reminded by good friends that they had twins and one of the twins didn't show up on ultrasound until the 8-week check so there could still be a surprise ahead for us. We will wait and see but for now, we are happy with what we saw and feel immensely grateful to be on this beautiful journey together and with such a wonderful surrogate (THANKS KIRA!). 

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Why I chose Victor & Chris as My Intended Fathers

Let me start off by saying, not in my wildest dreams did I think that I would "fall in love" with the first couple's profile I was given. I was under the impression, that I would be given several profiles simultaneously, and that I would get to pick and choose who I wanted to work with. Luckily for me, I knew immediately that Victor & Chris were "the ones."

On 2-19-09, I was presented with Victor & Chris's profile...The first thing that attracted me to Victor and Chris is that they are an inter-racial couple. For some reason, I assumed that I would be given a Caucasian couple's profile & I was pleasantly surprised when this was not the case. I myself, grew up in an multi-racial family(Mom: Caucasian, Dad: African-American & Japanese,) so I felt an immediate connection to Victor & Chris on that level.

As I continued to read their profile, it was clear, that Victor & Chris are in a loving, caring, committed relationship, and have a huge support network of family and friends. Also, the fact that they are both openly gay in every aspect of their lives, showed me that they loved and respected themselves, and are proud to be who they are.

In addition, it was apparent that Victor & Chris were going to be appreciative of the surrogacy process. I definitely wasn't looking for a couple that thought of me only as a "womb for rent," or thought of surrogacy as strictly a business transaction. It was obvious that Victor and Chris didn't feel this way :-)

Victor and Chris had said in their profile, that they are going to be truthful, regarding telling their children how they were created, which I feel is extremely important. And, are supportive of the role that my family and I will play in all of their lives as their children grow.

Lastly, after we met on 2-27-09 we confirmed that we felt the same way, regarding the important issues of surrogacy, such as how many babies I would carry(fetal reduction,) abortion for medical reasons, communication/contact during the pregnancy, testing on the baby while in the womb, etc.

Choosing Victor & Chris as my intended fathers, is one of the easiest decisions I've ever made & I consider myself extremely lucky to be their surrogate! I love you guys! :-)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cautiously Ecstatic!

Wow, life is really amazing and creating life is an even more amazing process. We are pregnant and looking forward to all that the experience has in store for us over the next few months.

We couldn't have been more excited to get the call from our fertility clinic on Monday (June 1st) afternoon. They are on the West coast so we had to wait all day to get the results of our beta test. OK, a little background for those of you who may be wondering what a "beta" test is? The beta test measures the amount of HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) or "pregnancy hormone" that is being made by the developing placenta. A beta test that indicates a number higher than 0 indicates pregnancy but our doctor looks for a beta of at least 100 following the beta test which is done 10 days after the embryo transfer. During our first pregnancy (which unfortunately ended in miscarriage), our initial beta was 103. This time our initial beta (taken on May 31st) was 305! Because of what happened during our last pregnancy, we asked that a follow-up beta be completed 2 days later (beta numbers should double every 48 - 72 hours). Kira went in for the 2nd beta test yesterday (June birthday!!!!) and our beta was 985!!!!! Our beta more than tripled in less than 48-hours! So what does that mean??? Well, our doctor and MANY others think it means our surrogate is carrying twins (multiple pregnancies usually, not always, have higher beta levels). We won't know for sure for a few weeks but in the end all that really matters is that we have a healthy baby (or babies!). 

So, it's been a good week on the pregnancy front! We are thrilled that things are moving in the right direction but are also keenly aware that things can go from good to not-so-good quickly during pregnancy. The first trimester can be especially challenging so we are thinking only good thoughts, saying lots of prayers and believing that things will go well but also being conscious of the fact that we're still early in the pregnancy.

Key Upcoming Dates:
  • June 15th - 6-week ultrasound (we get to hear/see the heartbeat or heartbeats!)
  • June 29th - 8-week ultrasound
  • July 13th - 10-week ultrasound
  • July 27th - END OF THE 1ST TRIMESTER
  • February 8, 2010 - DUE DATE!!!!!!
We have a long road ahead and are looking forward to enjoying every minute of it! We have each other, a GREAT surrogate in Kira, a wonderfully supportive network of family and friends and the universe on our side so we know good things are heading our way. In the meantime, we'll keep you up-to-date and we ask that you please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

We are CAUTIOUSLY ECSTATIC and looking forward to the next few months of this journey!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Meditation, Fear & Faith

So, the embryo transfer went well and Kira has been on bed rest for the past 2 days and all there is to do now is wait. This is the 3rd time we've been through the 10-day wait to receive our pregnancy test results and it is still challenging. 

The past couple of times, I've relied heavily on meditation to relieve the anxiety of the wait. Meditation works for me and allows me to turn off my brain and stop thinking about all the things I cannot change! Yesterday, I did a meditation in my hotel room focused on the following phrase.
"Fear is the absence of Faith"

So, why did I chose that phrase? Well, mainly because I have a lot of fear about what may or may not happen on June 1st when we receive the results of our pregnancy test. I'm afraid we won't be pregnant and I'm afraid we will be pregnant and something will go wrong. Ultimately, I'm afraid that I won't get what I WANT and that's the rub! It's really not about what I want, is it? It's really about what the universe wants for me. Now, I fully believe that the universe wants me and Chris to have a family and that we will have children but this is not about instant gratification and we have to be patient and have faith that it will happen. That's how I got to the meditation yesterday.

How can I be afraid if I TRULY believe and have FAITH that we will have a family and that the universe is working towards helping us achieve that goal. This is really where the "rubber meets the road", where I have to put into practice all the things that I say and repeat to myself constantly. I can not be simultaneously afraid and faithful because where faith exists fear can't reside. 

On June 1st, we will find out if we are pregnant. In the meantime, there's nothing I can do to change the outcome. I BELIEVE we will have a family soon. No matter what the results are on June 1st, we will be fine and no matter what I will not allow my faith to falter.

Fear is the Absence of Faith and TODAY I am not afraid!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Transfer Day 5/21/09

Today we did our embryo transfer! We transferred 2 embryos and are feeling very positive about getting pregnant. Of course, we will have to wait until June 1st (the day before Victor's 39th birthday!!!) to find out if we're pregnant but hey, that's really not that long!

In the meantime, we'll keep you updated on how we're feeling during the wait. Keep sending out lots of positive energy, prayers and "sticky vibes" (that's a term made popular on the surrogate blogs and message boards) for us!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why I chose to be a Surrogate for Intended Fathers

I figure I'd better write about this before our next transfer, so I don't get too far behind....

So, as I said in my previous post, at first, I was open to working with either a traditional couple, or a gay couple. However, after doing further research, I decided I wanted to work with IFs.

These are my reasons why....

Of course, the main reason why I chose to work with IFs is because, I fully support gay couples having a family, and wanted to be a part of that process for one very special couple! But, there are also two additional reasons why I chose IFs.

Disclaimer: I mean no disrespect to any woman that has battled, is battling, or will battle infertility. The following is my opinion, and what I have found to be true in some(not all) surrogate/traditional intended parent relationships.

The first reason why I chose IFs is because, I felt they would have less emotional baggage(for lack of a better word) than traditional couples. I wanted my first experience as a GS(gestational surrogate) to be a happy one. When a gay couple decides to have a child, it's a no brainer. In order to achieve their dream, there has to be a woman involved in one way or another. Men don't have the expectation that they will experience pregnancy & birth first hand, so there isn't the sense of loss, that a woman choosing surrogacy(usually as a last resort) might have.

As a first time GS, I'm not sure I would have been emotionally equipped to deal with all the feelings an IM(Intended Mother) trying to cope with infertility would have. Not only does she have to come to terms with not being able to carry her own child, but she has to accept that another woman is going to carry her husbands baby. My heart goes out to all the IMs out there, for their strength, and courage :-)

The second reason why I chose IFs, has to do with having a relationship with my IPs/baby after the birth...

While doing my surrogacy research, I'd read many heartbreaking stories written by devastated surrogates. Their IMs/IPs had promised to remain in contact with them following the baby's birth, but lied(maybe not intentionally) to them. Everything was great during the pregnancy, but eventually the IM wanted to be the only "mother" in the child's life, so they cut all ties with their surrogate, leaving her to pick up the pieces. This is clearly not an option for most surrogates. After nurturing a baby in the womb for nine months, it's not possible to simply forget about the baby, or your IPs for that matter. In contrast, most of the IF stories I read had happy endings! With IFs, the surrogate is not viewed as "the other woman," and they aren't typically threatened by the potential relationship the surrogate may form with their child. Obviously, not all traditional couples treat their surrogate this way. However, after reading several tragic stories, I felt like I wasn't willing to take the chance of this happening to me(at least for my first journey.)

Obviously, my posts a long-winded, so I'll write about why I specifically chose Victor & Chris next time!

Thanks for reading & Happy 40th Birthday Chris!! (((Hugs!!))

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Try Try Again!

They say the third times the charm (or third time lucky for our British friends....HI ADAM!) so lets hope that's the case for us!

We found out yesterday that our next (3rd) embryo transfer is scheduled for Thursday, May 21st. That's great news because after we lost the pregnancy last week, we thought we'd have to wait until June for our next transfer. The doctor knows best and he said, "NO", we're ready to go again!

We are very optimistic about the upcoming transfer. We are NOT looking forward to the 10-day wait for the pregnancy test results but hey, that's just a part of it! 

Stay tuned for the results in a few weeks and KEEP YOUR FINGERS, TOES, SHOE LACES, EVERYTHING......CROSSED!!!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What Led Me to Surrogacy

Let me start off by saying, it's an honor and a privilege to be asked by Victor and Chris to contribute to their blog! Thanks guys:) Hopefully, in the near future, I'll be able to share my thoughts, feelings and experiences with all of you, while I bake their precious little bundle of joy! So stayed tuned! I'm sure that Victor & Chris will keep you all updated regarding the outcome of our upcoming embryo transfer.

I guess I should start off by saying, nothing compares to being able to bring a life into this world. Pregnancy, labor and delivery are incredible experiences, that I wish everyone could feel first hand. But, unfortunately half of us don't have the required "plumbing," so it's left up to the women of the world, to take on the task of pregnancy & childbirth.

Hmmm... What led me to surrogacy? It's a combination of things really.

After finding out the sex of my second child, I knew(for several reasons) that my husband and I were done having children. We already had one little boy that was a handful, and soon, we would be adding a little girl to our family. Two parents, and two children(a boy & a girl,) our family was complete.

As the second half of my pregnancy progressed, I began to feel a little sad here and there, thinking, "Soon, I'll never again get to experience what's it's like to feel my baby kick," or "I'll never again feel the excitement of that first contraction, wondering, is this it!?" These feelings were definitely a driving force in pursuing surrogacy.

Now, back up a little... When I was early in my first trimester, my dear friend...we'll call her "Audrina" for the story's sake(This is what I wanted to name my daughter Ellora, but unfortunately my hubby got a say,lol!) was also pregnant(about 5 months along with B/G twins conceived through IVF.) At 21 weeks into her pregnancy, Audrina, pulled into her driveway after a morning of shopping. When she got out of her car, the amniotic sac around her little girl broke. To make a long story short, both babies passed away, and needless to say, Audrina and her family were left devastated. This was Audrina's third attempt to have a baby with medical intervention, and it had ended badly. Over the next year, I watched Audrina try to cope with what had happened(while she watched me go through my entire pregnancy.) If the timing had been right, I would have offered myself as a surrogate, so she and her hubby could have the baby they've always dreamed of! However, I'm happy to report, even though she was given a slim to none chance of getting pregnant on her own, she's expecting a little girl this summer! Going through the pain and suffering of infertility with Audrina, made me think that maybe I could help someone(if not her) in a similar situation. After all, I've had 2 relatively easy, uncomplicated pregnancies. And, less than 3 hours of active labor before delivering. Maybe, just maybe, I could be a surrogate!

Around the same time I started to look into surrogacy, I was talking to my mom about my little brother who's gay. My mom was worrying about "What would become of him," because he's young, and still trying to find himself & where he fits in(career wise, relationship wise, etc). You know, typical parent worries,lol! For some reason, this particular conversation got me thinking, "Well, when he does settle down, what if he wants children?" I guess at the time, I assumed most gay couples pursued adoption. But, as I continued my surrogacy research, I noticed that there were several agencies that had a large portion of IFs(Intended Fathers) as their client base. Helping IFs was very appealing to me, as I'm a huge supporter of gay couples getting married & starting families and, gay rights in general.

As I applied to become a surrogate, I was open to helping either a traditional couple or a gay couple. I'll write more about my ultimate decision to choose IFs, and why I specifically chose Victor & Chris later....

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Shared Pain Shared Joy

I heard somewhere that shared pain is halved and shared joy is doubled. I have been thinking about that sentiment a lot over the past few days and have to say that I'm a believer!

Many people go through the 1st trimester in seclusion/secrecy and don't let anyone know they are pregnant until they are out of the "danger zone". I think that's such a personal decision and respect whatever approach a couple takes in revealing that type of information. We made a conscious decision to be open about this process, sharing the good news and the bad news openly, honestly and as it happens to us.

When we found out that we had lost the pregnancy, one of the first things I thought about after the initial shock was that I had to let our family and friends know. At the time, it seemed daunting to put into words what had happened and I second guessed our decision to be so open about this journey. It was a short-lived thought and immediately took me back to the shared pain/shared joy concept.

Once I started writing about what had happened and speaking to our family and friends on the phone, I realized that sharing this "bad" news was the most cathartic thing we could do to deal with our emotions. We received an abundance of loving, caring emails and calls from people we are close to and people that are peripheral acquaintances. At the end of the day on Tuesday, I felt so serene and had a real sense of hope rather than doom, as I had felt on Monday night when we received the initial news from our doctor. 

We will continue to be an open book about this process. WHEN we do get pregnant again and as the pregnancy progresses, we will continue to share the full spectrum of emotions we are feeling and that sharing and exchange between us and our support network is a very powerful experience. We are fortunate to have people to hold our hands and hearts throughout this journey and know that open, honest and timely communication is what works for us.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Emotional Resilience

Oh what a difference a day makes!!!!!

Yesterday was a difficult day for us emotionally. Getting the news that we had lost the pregnancy was both unexpected and disappointing. Intellectually, you know that the first trimester is precarious territory, filled with an endless array of things that can go wrong (approximately 15 - 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage in the 1st trimester) but you hope hope hope and believe that it won't happen to you. When it does, you are shocked but at the same time not shocked because you knew that it could happen. Know what I mean (KWIM?)? 

A day later, things look different from an emotional perspective. We've accepted what happened and know that we must move forward and stop looking in the proverbial rear view mirror. We can't change what happened but can celebrate the joy and excitement we felt over the past week and be thankful for the ability to live through and feel the totality of the experience. This is a classic case of life on life's terms. We are not promised that things will always go our way know matter how much we might want them to.

A few weeks ago, our friends Scott & Ron, introduced us to services at the Sacred Center New York. What a blessing. Thanks guys! At one of the services I attended, the minister, Rev. August Gold, spoke about a change in perspective. She suggested that we ask the question "Why did God do this FOR me?" rather than the default question of, "Why did God do this TO me?". WOW, what a powerful change in perspective. Isn't it amazing how much of a difference one word can make in how we process and interpret events in our life. It made a HUGE impact in my life and has been a valuable tool in helping me to review and make peace with the ups and downs of this journey. I asked myself that question many many times since Monday and have found a lot of peace in working through my feelings with that question as my guide. 

I don't completely understand why things happen but I do firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and that the things that happen, both good and bad, occur exactly as they are supposed to. 

Today, I am happily looking forward to continuing our journey and KNOW with certainty that we will be successful in creating our family soon. The question is not if it will happen but when it will happen! I don't have to figure out the answer to that question, I just have to be willing to stay on the path and remain positive in my thinking and actions. 

Today is a great day, a day to be grateful for and LIFE IS GOOD!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Another Bump in the Road

The process of having a baby is filled with ups and downs, starts and stops and we are living that reality right now. We found out last night that we lost our pregnancy and are working through the emotions and feelings of loss we are experiencing right now.

We have each other, a loving and supportive network of family and friends and FAITH so we are in a very good place. We are so blessed in so many ways and this setback only heightens our resolve to continue on this wonderful journey of creating our family.

We also have a GREAT surrogate. Kira is incredibly knowledgeable about the surrogacy process and was able to recognize signs that the pregnancy was in trouble immediately. She saved us all a lot of heartache by taking action to get in touch with our doctor and we are extremely grateful to have such a wonderful, well-informed woman to go through this experience with.

We will be getting ready for our next embryo transfer immediately so stay tuned and keep sending out lots of positive energy and prayers for us!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Considering being a parent? Come OUT then!

Yesterday, Kira sent us a link to an article published in the North Texas Daily (Thanks Kira!!!). Here's a link to the article:

The article is about a gay couple considering creating a family through surrogacy. They have been together for eight years. Within the first few paragraphs, you learn that there are a couple of "odd" issues this couple is struggling with (I'm being generous by using the word odd.). First, they are not using their real names in the article. OK, I'll let that one go. You never know what kind of crazies may try to track you down if they know your name! The LARGER problem that comes up is that this couple, the one that wants to have a child, the LIFE PARTNERS, are not completely out. As in, not everyone knows they are gay. HUH????? 

Call me crazy but isn't it, I don't know (?), somewhat important that you be comfortable in your own skin before you bring a life into the world and embark on the journey of raising a well-adjusted, loving, accepting child. If you aren't completely comfortable with who you are how can you raise a child to be comfortable with who they are? If you're ashamed of your sexuality, I feel fairly certain that your child will be ashamed of it too.

There are so many gay people out there with hang-ups about their sexuality. Internalized homophobia is a reality and I don't, in any way, discount the reality of those feelings nor the emotional context in which they developed. BUT before you bring another innocent life into the equation, deal with your own issues so you don't immediately burden your child with your unresolved feelings about the totality of who you are. 

What do you think?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Faith & Fear

Yesterday I heard a great comment from someone in casual conversation. The comment was that where faith exists, fear cannot reside. 

The comment could not have been more timely, considering the emotions we are feeling right now. We are extremely happy that we are pregnant. At the same time, we have a lot of anxiety about the 1st trimester of the pregnancy (well pregnancy in general). You hear so many sad stories about the things that go wrong in pregnancy and hearing those stories is scary. The reality is that about 12% of pregnancies do miscarry in the 1st trimester BUT that means that 88% don't. Once you get past the 1st trimester, the chances of miscarriage drop to about 1%. That said, why am I even focusing on those negative statistics? Am I being prudently cautious? Am I just being a neurotic New Yorker? Am I managing my expectations?

No matter what the reason(s) are for my anxiety, I've decided that I'm going to live in the positive throughout this journey and have FAITH that everything will go exactly as it should. What I do know is that Chris and I have a beautiful, loving, supportive relationship and no matter what challenges we may face along the way, everything will be fine.

My mother told me recently that she thought that Chris and I were such loving people and treated our families so well and that God (yes, the big G-O-D word has crept into the conversation) wanted us to share that love with a child. I believe her and know that we will have a family.

I chose to live without fear today and celebrate the reality of today.......that we are pregnant and moving happily towards the day we will meet our little girl or boy.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tyra Today

Tyra is interviewing a young girl who wants to give her baby up for adoption, primarily because she's too young to raise the child and also because she doesn't like kids. It just occurred to me how many gay people there are that would love to adopt her child but would not be allowed to simply because they are gay. Isn't that sad and infuriating?

We considered adoption before deciding to pursue surrogacy. One of the deciding factors was that in many states we would not be allowed to adopt as a couple. (Yes, there are ways around that issue.) We have been together longer than many heterosexual couples are before they have children, are financially equippped to handle the expense of a child and have an extended family support network but aren't deemed good candidates for adoption as a couple by many states and countries. Sad. Unacceptable. Reality.

That said, we know many couples that have successfully navigated the adoption system and succeded in creating wonderful families. I applaud them.

This issue just hit a nerve in me today and I thought I'd share my thoughts and gratitude that there are many different ways for us and other couples to create our families.

Victor & Chris

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We're Pregnant!

Yep, it's official, we're pregnant. We got the call we'd been waiting for from our Dr. on Monday (April 20, 2009) afternoon. Now, Kira (our surrogate) had been doing some HPT (home pregnancy tests), and they were coming up positive (see the pics!) so we were hopeful BUT there's nothing like receiving that phone call.

It's a surreal feeling to have someone say "you're pregnant". First because, we're men so technically we can't be pregnant (LOL!) but also because it's such a big concept. I mean clearly, we were trying to get pregnant but to have it actually become a reality felt.......REAL! Chris was away on business in DC so I called him after I got the call and he was in a meeting so he couldn't really react but when he called back he was equally excited and in awe.

It's starting to sink in!!!!

More later.............

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Starting our Adventure

We are very excited to share our experience in creating our family with you. It has been quite a ride so far and we are looking forward to the rest of the journey. 

We've learned a lot about ourselves and what it takes for couples and individuals to create families through surrogacy. For us, it has certainly not been an easy, linear process but with the support of our family and friends, we are moving through it and learning to appreciate the totality of the experience. 

We've started this blog as a way to snapshot our experience and hope it allows you to share in our joy, anxiety and anticipation throughout this journey. We will keep you updated every step of the way!

Victor & Chris