Sunday, December 30, 2012

Meds Have Arrived!!! box of meds arrived this past Thursday (12/27). I did not start them on Saturday like it was originally planned.
I FINALLY got major medical insurance! Get this...through my University! I didn't even know Universities offered medical insurance to their students! Pretty cool, huh? I thought so.

The downfall to that was it doesn't go in effect until Jan. 1, and Illinois state law is that meds cannot start until the insurance is in effect...bleh. Yeah, 3 whole days!
Go figure.

So contracts will be completed this week and I will begin meds sometime around Jan. 20th. I will receive my new med schedule tomorrow. Making the transfer take place on February 22nd.

"That's ok!!"
...was my exact thought once I pulled out all of my meds!!!

Look at all of that!!!

Ok, so I'm going to give you a run down on what everything is and how it all works. I have had questions about this from very inquiring minds. ;)

(From left to right)
The two white boxes are Lupron. Those will be the first meds I take, one shot daily.
Yup, I said SHOT.
I have to put medicine. In a syringe. And stab myself. Eek.
Now for this I get to use an insulin, comfort needle. So it shouldn't be too bad (so I have heard). The injection will go in my belly.
Lupron basically shuts down my pituitary gland = no hormone production = no cycling. My cycle will be controlled by the meds (how much of what hormone when).

See? Insulin syringes...not so bad.

The next set of boxes are a form of estrogen in patch form that I will start taking a couple of weeks after starting Lupron. I will change 2 patches every other day, working my way to 4 patches (yes, at one time), along with the Lupron. This begins introducing hormones much like my body would do on its own. I continue this for a couple of weeks.

Then I will stop Lupron. Begin a Z-pak (not sure why; haven't got to ask yet)(box under patches), continue estrogen patches (4 by this time), begin progesterone in oil injections (the big bag next to the patches, brown bag under it, and little bag under that), and begin my other form of estrogen (big, pink box) in the form of a vaginal suppository. Yeah I know...gross. 3 x day. Aren't you jealous of all the fun I get to have?? lol. I will also have to start chewing one baby aspirin daily (3rd left bottle to the right). I *would* also begin taking the first bottle on the left...prenatals w/DHA, but I have already been taking my own prenatals and DHA.

Anyway, yes, I said another SHOT. The progesterone in oil. This hormone is what supports a pregnancy. This causes the uterine lining to become thick and fluffy, a nice comfy bed for any fertilized egg to attach to. Or two, if they are both so inclined.
These shots are not as easy as the Lupron. These are IM injections...or intramuscular. Yes, In. The. Muscle. Do you know how far down your muscle is??? Do you realize how long a needle has to be to get there??? Yeah...oooooouuuuuuch!! :-/

Look at that!!!!! 18 gauge needles!! For those that do not know...that is big! Any volunteers to stick me with that everyday?! I don't think I can do it to myself! (Don't worry, I will suck it up and do it...I have weeks to prepare)

I guess I should tell you...I don't have to be stuck with that needle. I didn't realize that at first. Mini stroke. hehe I only have to draw the med in that needle.

The brown bag...the vials of the hormone. The bag under that, are just needles. 1 1/2in long, 25 gauge needles. Once I draw up the med, I will change the needle to the 25 gauge...for those that do not know...that is MUCH smaller than the other one. :) This makes me happy. Still rather long...but not as big around, which is comfort.

As you can see...smaller. Awesome!
Any volunteers????? Didn't think so. *sigh*

I will continue the patches, IM injections, and suppositories until after my pregnancy test. If I am pregnant, I will continue with the progesterone for the first trimester, (the other two meds, I'm not sure if I will continue at that point).
If I am not pregnant, I stop all meds, take a few weeks break, and start all over.

(oh, the other random bag I didn't just alcohol swabs. The very last bottle I didn't mention is a Valium, for the day of the transfer. I guess some women have some anxiety and it helps keep them calm)

So there ya have it! A gestational surrogate's meds! Who wants to take them with me?? :)

I may have mini freak outs and make jokes about being terrified of those huge needles and complain about the oh so yuck vaginal suppositories, but in reality,(I AM terrified of sticking myself with those loooong needles) I am so thrilled I have this box of meds in my house. Sitting in eye sight everyday. They are a daily visual for me that my journey is here. It is happening. I no longer desire to be a surrogate.
I am no longer aspiring to be one.
I am actually becoming one.
I'm doing it.
I am only weeks away from helping an incredibly deserving couple have a baby...
I couldn't feel more honored at this moment.

Well, for the next few weeks, not much will be happening. I will get my new med schedule for our February transfer, complete the contract, and wait for med start date.
I will have little updates for you along the way. See you in a few days!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Contracts and Insurance...enough said

I tell ya, I have had people tell me, "The contract phase and finding insurance is the most stressful part of this journey."

They were not kidding.

It has been back and forth on whether or not I will be able to start medications this coming Saturday (12/29) or not.

My flight to Chicago for my appointment with the RE was cancelled due to whether...the first snow of the season. Go figure.

The contract has actually not been that bad. We agree on basically everything, it has just mostly been a matter of the wording.

The insurance has been the biggest hurdle. Now I tell ya, I have some amazingly wonderful IPs for taking on a surrogate with no insurance for surrogacy that lives in Missouri. (it is dang near impossible to find surrogacy insurance in this state)

We have been able to get a policy through a company that is specifically for surrogacy. It's rather expensive, but gets the job done, and it's what my guys want to use. New Life is the name. Doug & Charles are again wonderful; they purchased the best policy that New Life offers to make sure I had the best coverage, and so that I have what I need to begin meds this Saturday.

*Side note: For the state of Illinois, a surrogate must have insurance in place to cover the cycle (meds, transfer, pregnancy) and any complications resulting from the cycle to be able to begin meds and not void the contract.*

The New Life policy Doug and Charles got for me covers all of this. But both of our attorneys still seem to have some question about if I need to have a major medical plan in place in time for the meds to begin or if it just has to be in place before the transfer takes place.
It's so confusing.

I don't even understand why I need a major medical plan at all. The coverage I need is for the meds, complications from the meds, the transfer, complications from it, the pregnancy, complications from it, and some postpartum coverage. I have that with my New Life policy. My IPs are not responsible for anything that is not related to the I don't understand the need to have this non-pregnancy coverage.

Nevertheless, we are being told I have to have it. But now the issue is whether or not I have to have in place in order to be able to start the medications. THIS Saturday.

Right now, the contract states that I will have major medical in place before meds and maternity coverage before transfer. Can't we just flip that? We thought first. Now we aren't so sure. We aren't sure about much right now, we are just keeping the faith that our attorneys really are good at what they do, and they will get it all figured out in time.

So as of right now, according to our clinic, I can start my medications on Saturday as long as our contract is finished. My attorney is reviewing the policy I have and the ILL. statute to see if this is good enough in accordance with the law for me to start medications. I will know more on Wednesday afternoon about all of this. My attorney is calling me then after she has time to review everything, and speak with Doug & Charles' attorney.

The end of this complicated process is almost near. Once we have our contract finished and know exactly when I can start will be so much better.

I do have to say though, my attorney seems really great, and so does theirs, because mine has been working this weekend before Christmas to get things done, and theirs is taking time out of her vacation to speak to my attorney and work on our contract to get it done by the "deadline."

And Doug & Charles have been even more great!! They are so supportive of me, especially when this stressful process has really gotten to me and brought me down. They have been right there to boost me back up, and remind of me of the positive sides of this. They don't think badly of me just because I get down about it. They don't wallow in the negative of the situation. They "keep their eyes on the prize" and push through. They understand this is just a part of the process and never forget that this will all be worth it in the end. They really are a great match for me. Amazing people. Amazing.

I will update again after I hear from my attorney on Wednesday.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas! Have a wonderful holiday and be safe!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Update & Trip to the RE!!

I'm so sorry I have not updated in a while! I will be more on top of it as things progress, I promise.

Well, everything with my test went fine. Not after some serious stressing because we found out that I have a unicornate uterus. Yes, my uterus is "unicorn" shaped. Weird huh? After much research, I learned that it is a birth "defect," it is not very common and the vast majority of women that have it either have fertility issues, have preterm labor and/or breech babies.

I have had none of the above.

It is common for women with this type of uterus to USE surrogate...
I AM the surrogate. :)

That did cause some worry. Lots. Of worry.
But by the RN's report, the RE was not concerned at all with my uterus since I have had 3 great *normal* pregnancies and deliveries. He said obviously I did not have any problems in my past so I will be fine. :) Yay for health!

Next, we made appointments. One on December 21st for the visit with the RE to thoroughly discuss the process I will be going through and fertility medications and one on January 31st for the transfer. :-D

To preserve our January transfer date, George and I did our blood work at our local lab instead of waiting for our appointment with the RE.
That caused more stress.

My TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was elevated and a few of my other levels were slightly out of range. The most concerning was the TSH, but still they told me it wasn't alarming. But that didn't deter my worry.
I had to have them redone and see my PCP to be medically cleared again.
Everything went fine! More yay for health!

Add in a lot more bumps with the agency as a result of them not following through as they promise as a company (we will just leave it at that) and it's been a ride so far, but still a good experience overall.

The best part of what has happened lately...Doug and Charles came down yesterday!!!!
They spent most of Saturday with us. We showed them our new house where we are going to be moving, and hung out here at home talking, getting to know everyone better. Made chocolate chip cookies, swapped gifts, talked some more. It was really great. We went to our appointment with my Midwife so that Doug and Charles could meet her and talk with her about my prenatal care and such. We went out to eat, and went our separate ways for the night. We enjoyed having them here so much!
Them coming here just reenforced that this is the best match for me! They really are awesome people and I am so incredibly happy and honored that I get to be a part of extending them as a family.

Doug is on the left, Charles is on the right.

So now, we just need to finish the contract, which will hopefully be done this week. George and I are leaving Thursday evening for our appointment in Chicago on Friday and then on the 29th I will start my fertility meds!!!!

I make it sound so easy and not all that stressful, but I choose to leave out all the legal and procedural details that cause the stress for us. I don't that to be the focus of our journey. Or deter anyone that may be interested in embarking on a surrogacy journey of their own.

Have there been down times? Yes. Have there been stressful times? Yes. Will there be more? Yes. Have the good and exciting, happy things outweighed the bad? Absolutely!!

With every step we take, it becomes more and more real for me that this journey really is well underway and here very soon, I will be waiting to that positive pregnancy test!! I will update more after our trip and our appointment this Friday!!

So now, we are almost through with the contract phase! Hopefully that will be done this week.