The Family Meeting

babyWell it’s official.  We are seriously thinking about surrogacy.

After our hearts stopped pounding, and we digested the ridiculous price tag attached, I felt this glimmer of hope.  Hope.  A word that I haven’t used to describe us in this situation for a very long time.  Hope that we will one day have a family of our own.

In our excitement after our appointment where we got approved, I got a little ahead of myself and actually booked Jen for a consult the follow week at the clinic.  She said she’s be interested in this… but it was technically pending a whole lot details getting sorted out first.  We called Jen and figured the best way to chat about this all was to meet and go over all of our concerns and questions.

From there a dinner date was set.  Milestones was the pick and we had about three days to try and compile all of the questions we could think of to discuss to make sure we were on the same page.  We had both done research independantly, but now it was time to sit down and actually work through how this would work.

We decided to make independent lists then go over them together at dinner.

Two days later, and one day before our dinner date, we had compiled all of the questions we could think of.  We scoured the internet for as much information and blogs to read about the process and the tough questions the clinic would be asking us.  I called Jen that night and told her our questions were done.  She laughed and said her were too…  We decided to exchange questions so that we could prepare and think about our answers before we actually met tomorrow.

It turned out about 90% of our questions and concerns were identical.  Ok good.  We are definitely on the same page.  Well, sort of.  We have the same worries, but we may not have the same answers.

I couldn’t sleep all night thinking about all of our conversations and trying to read what was really going through her mind.  I fully believed that she thought she was going to do this… but I kept waiting for the “it’s just too much” talk.  The very fact that she even offered to look into this is incredible… but the more we learned, the more complicated things got.  This was most definitely not just a simple offer.

I spent the entire day debating how tonight was going to go.  I called Dan even more than usual just to say hi and to ask him if he was nervous about tonight.  To him, this was like any other day.  To me, this was the biggest day ever!  I sometimes hate how nonchalant he can be about everything.  He just has this ‘everything will work out’ mentality.  I keep reminding him that so far, nothing has worked out.  But he still smiles and continues on.  When I don’t want to kill him for his continual positive outlook, I love him even more.

It was almost dinner and I started getting the butterflies in my stomach… I could not believe how nervous I actually was.  And more than that, I was internally freaking out that tonight was going to awkward.  Jen and I don’t do awkward.  In fact, I tell her everything- the good, the bad, and the very ugly.  But suddenly our friendship was about to be tested in the wierdest way yet and I almost felt it was a business transaction.

The three of us got a table and sat down together.  We ordered then both pulled out our lists… Jen and I expected that we would do all the talking.  But Dan, to our surprise, was right in there.  We figured, let’s do this.

We went down  our lists.  We started easy (ish).

Timing- what was she thinking? Did it matter?  Not really… she knew I didn’t want to wait another 12 years.

How many times do we try?  Three sounded like a good number. We could always change it later.

How many embryos do we transfer at once? One.  Less risky for Jen and the babies.

What doctor would we use (OBGYN)? Jen liked hers, but I want to deliver at the children’s hospital because of potential issues with a bleeding disorder.  We agree.  We’ll pick together but someone who works there.

Who would attend the appointments? We both agreed that we wanted it to be as if I was pregnant.  So if Dan would normally attend with me, then we’d both be there.

*Cue Jen nervously laughing here*… Uhhh, so I need to know.  Who will be in the delivery room- cause if Dan is, I need to start preparing for that now!  We laughed.  Yes, Dan wants to be there… if that works.  Dan pipes in- he has no plans to move from the head area.  Wonderful….!  LMAO

The questions continues with some basic stuff including life insurance, benefit plans, how expenses would work, how we’d like to pick lawyers, how the procedures would go, what medications did we think she’d be on etc.  I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised.  We know everything about one another… and our answers were always on the same page.

I think the poor waiter got more than he bargained for if we was listening in on our conversations, but we just continued to fly through the questions and talk about all the logistics.  Insert a couple of hilarious and inappropriate jokes here and there… We were having a good time.  This was as far from awkward as could be.

We moved on to some of the harder questions.  The legality of everything.  We were well within the law doing this, but we also knew that once Jen gets pregnant, that any and all decisions about the baby were legally hers.  This brought us into difficult decisions.

Abortion- under what circumstances would we want to abort the pregnancy- Dan and I had had so many conversations about this.  All of the what if’s.  We knew that if something was wrong with the baby, it was still our baby.  We would have no intentions of ending the pregnancy.  We also knew Jen’s mentality was the same.  While this was a difficult conversation, it was an important one.  We all agreed that the only reason that we would consider termination of the pregnancy was if Jen’s life was in imminent danger.  Her health had to come first.  Ok, one hard one down… a couple to go.

Selective Termination- reducing the pregnancy if multiple babies- After the above conversation, we all knew we were on the same page.  We were only going to transfer one embryo, so the chances of multiples were very low, but we had to chat about it regardless.  Again, we agreed that the only way we would ever approach this was if Jen’s health was in imminent danger. 

Prenatal Testing- Dan and I knew that regardless of the results, we would want to go ahead and test the baby for potential issues.  Our rationale was that if we were to have a child with Down Syndrome, we would want to do the research ahead of time to learn as best as possible about our child.  Jen agreed.  But she was worried about the possible harm to the baby if we proceeded with an amniocentesis. This was something that she was not prepared to do.  To be honest, I think Dan and I, if we were in that situation, would need all the information we could get to make our decision.  But if this was her bottom line, this was not something that concerned us.  We respected this decision and agreed that under no circumstances would we proceed with an amnio. 

Ahhh… and my favourite.  Confidentiality- Who were we going to tell about all of this? I had just started writing my blog about a month before this meeting.  She knew that I was enjoying writing it and had an incredible out pouring of support from friends, family, and complete random people.  We decided that we would keep everything fairly under wraps until we actually decided that we were, for sure, going to be going ahead with this.  We decided that we wanted this pregnancy to essentially mirror exactly the same things that Dan and I would do if the baby was growing in my belly.  This would include belly pics and Facebook updates.  She was ok with this.  She was a little urked out by the idea of complete strangers knowing everything about her… so we decided to change her name on my blog.  This worked the best.  We agreed to a no-press rule.  Sounds silly, but as these things don’t happen all that often, they sometimes draw the attention of the media etc.  Nope, this was our arrangement- not something for entertainment. 

Dan was worried about what this might do to Jen and I.  We both laughed and said that was the lmarksast thing to worry about.  We’d been through some tough stuff, and we were confident that our friendship would make it through anything.  Jen wanted to talk about potential jealousy.  She had read a lot of blogs etc of woman having a hard time dealing with the other person being pregnant, not them.  I told her straight up that I hoped that wouldn’t be an issue- but at the first sign of turmoil, I’d be heading to counseling to work through everything.  We agreed.  We wanted to be as prepared as possible, but couldn’t anticipate everything.

After about two hours of laughing and joking about what we were about to get ourselves into, our dinners were finished, and so were our lists.  We had a good idea of the other persons concerns and worries… and felt like we were ok with moving one more step forward.  I told Jen about the doc appointment I booked and we made arrangements the following week to both go.

This was really happening….

 

 

Our WTF Appointment

I believe the official medical terminology for this type of appointment is called a ‘follow-up’.  However, the fertility community endearingly refers to the appointment right after a failed IVF cycle as a WTF appointment.  For good reason.

Dan and I, after over 2.5 months of one IVF cycle, just got the devastating news that we aren’t pregnant.  It didn’t work.

After the initial shock of the phone call, I started into a cycle of complete disbelief.  I really really thought this one would work.  We did everything right.  I obeyed every recommendation of the doctors.  We endured physical and emotional hell… it was supposed to work.  We had fabulous embryos.  They were perfect quality.  They were doing great.  There was TWO of them… double the chance of success.  My lining was thick.  I took every suppository at the exact correct timing- several times a day.  I didn’t drink caffeine, didn’t drink alcohol, didn’t smoke, tried my best to stay stress free.  Did I go back to work too soon?  Was I under too much stress because of the move?  Did the stress from the terrible egg retrieval cause something not to work?  We must have done something wrong, right?

We had our wtf appointment just 3 days after we found out the bad news.  I walked into the appointment with so many questions-  I have actually typed out the list as it’s impossible to remember everything once you sit down. Our RE wasn’t surprised at my typed list and with a half smile said, “Ok Adele, what have you got?”.

The easiest question was what went wrong?  This was also the hardest answer.  The RE explained that we could track and evaluate everything throughout the entire process until you actually put the embryos into my body.  After that, we can only hope and guess.  He said there could have been a problem with the embryos, there could have been a problem with my lining, my body may have just rejected them for unknown reasons… or maybe there was nothing wrong at all and it was just terrible luck.

After all the money we spent and all the degrees behind his name, the best answer we could get was… ‘well, we don’t know.’  REALLY?

All of my list of questions went out the window.  The answer to basically all of them was ‘I don’t know’.  Our doc told us there was no medical reason why were currently weren’t pregnant.  Even though we had numerous issues throughout the process, none of the them should have affected the final outcome.

Greaaaat.  So what now?

The first thing the doc told us was that my body desperately needed a break.  After over 6 months of injecting incredible amounts of medications into my body, it had had enough.  We needed a break.  The RE suggested we give it 8 weeks to get all of the chemicals etc out of my body.  I’m not the best at waiting so I suggested a counter offer of 4 weeks.  He laughed at me and shook his head- apparently patients don’t generally bargain with their doctors.  The final word was he would meet me in the middle at 6 weeks.  However, the deal was that I would have to come in at 6 weeks and have my blood work and a transvaginal ultrasound done.  If everything was back to where my baseline numbers should be, then he would give the okay to get going again.

But what did get going again mean?

We were about to go into a new round of treatment, again.  This time it is called a “Frozen Embryo Transfer” (FET).  The theory here was that we were able to extract 6 good eggs and fertilize them.  We grew all six embryos for 3 days then implanted the two fresh embryos into me.  However, we still had 4 embryos left.  We opted to freeze the other four.  We were now going to thaw out another two embryos, and hope they survive the thaw.  If they did, then we’d implant them into me again.

Now, just wait six weeks and pray my body goes back to normal.  … six weeks….  A long time when you want to be pregnant yesterday.  However, it was also six weeks for us to try and save up what money we could for further treatments.  Patience… not my strong suit.

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My life in a nut shell.