#Microblog Mondays: What I Do Know

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Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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Well, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve participated in #Microblog Mondays. Lately I’ve had a lot percolating in my brain, and now that the craziness of Christmas and New Year’s are over, hopefully I will have more time to put fingers to keyboard.

The whole question of another baby has been floating around in my brain, pretty much since I had BG. Not that I/we’ve felt in any way ready (emotionally, financially and otherwise) to have another baby yet, but the question of “if” still lingers. But here’s what I do know; I do want to be pregnant again. It was not all sunshine and lollipops, I wasn’t one of those people who loved being pregnant. I didn’t feel glowing and ethereal, I felt large and round. But, it was amazing, what the body can do (when finally coerced to do it, and cooperate…).

There was still a lot of fear when I was pregnant, but I was in awe of my body, never mind its past failings. And I want to experience that again. I have always, in the back of my mind, considered being a surrogate (once I knew I could successfully get pregnant, stay pregnant, and carry a baby to term). So my thought is, if we decide that we are one and done, I would love to be a surrogate for someone. Obviously I know how the process from an IVF standpoint but I do not know the legalities, and whether I would even fall in a criteria that would allow me to be a surrogate. Now that my body has proved it is capable (at least once), I would feel honored to be able to carry for someone else who cannot. Plus, selfishly, it would allow me to experience pregnancy again, without a take home baby. Obviously the experience would be very different from carrying my own child, but special in its own way.

The other side of that coin is, we decide we are going to have another, and we go and do it. Clearly, there are no guarantees in that, we have the embryos but my body still has to get on board. If we decided we were going to have another, I would probably shelve the surrogacy idea. I would love to be able to do it, but if we decide to try for another it wouldn’t be for another couple of years, plus pregnancy time, and time enough to safely get pregnant again (as a surrogate) would push me into or past my mid thirties. Which could potentially still be fine, but then I would be on my third pregnancy, and that I can’t imagine.

It’s all a bit of a dilemma. If we decide to try for another, and I don’t want to be a surrogate after that, I feel like I am being selfish. I know that’s sort of twisted logic. It also almost feels weird to think that I could be a surrogate when it took IVF for me to get pregnant, but as far as we know there were never any problems with my uterus, it was just getting sperm to egg that was the challenge. I also feel a bit selfish that I am dreaming of another pregnancy (whether my own baby, or someone elses’) when for some that isn’t even a possibility. Beyond all of that, I would be grateful, and honored to bring another baby into this world, my own or otherwise. So I guess I’ll have to leave it at that for now, and hope that at least one of those options might come to fruition.

#Microblog Mondays: A Beautiful Shower

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Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.
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This weekend, I happily attended a baby shower. The reason I was so looking forward to attending wasn’t because I have a baby of my own to ease the discomfort of the dreaded baby shower, but rather because of the circumstances. The shower was for my cousins newest daughter, who was born via gestational surrogate. They also have an older daughter, brought into the world the same way. It has been a very special journey for them, involving two amazing women who carried each of their daughters. These selfless women did it out of the goodness of their hearts, to help a friend in need (it is not legal to compensate a surrogate, in Canada). Both of them attended the shower, and they both still act like it was no big deal. Beautiful ladies. 

I’ve spoken about my cousins wife before, she has an “incompetent cervix” that has made it impossible for her to carry a pregnancy to term (she lost 4 babies, a set of twins and two singleton pregnancies). When I got pregnant I was pretty open with my family about the fact that we did IVF, and I knew my cousins wife would understand more than most. Little did I know, when I told her I was pregnant, her surro was just pregnant as well, as our daughters were born 3 months apart.

Also at this shower, another extended family member that I don’t see often was there. She struggled with infertility for years, and had gone down the path of adoption. Her and her husband were at the point of waiting for a match when they went to the Fertility Clinic (I think their referral to the clinic got lost in the shuffle because it took them way longer than is normal to get in). They were on their third IUI, staring down IVF for their next appointment, but it took. Third time was the charm and she is now 5 months pregnant.

My other cousin who was there is 37 weeks pregnant, and though she did not struggle to conceive, she is a labor and delivery nurse and has seen enough in her job to not take her pregnancy for granted.

So, three infertility “survivors”, two surrogates, and a labor and delivery nurse walked into a party…and it was beautiful. 

A New Pregnancy, and an Old Adage

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Last week I met up with my mom and two of my Aunts to celebrate a birthday (my Aunt’s, not mine). We just had a casual coffee date, my Aunts were excited to see my belly as one of them I haven’t seen since Mother’s Day and the other, longer than that. There was the inevitable chit chat about my pregnancy, ect. but it was all pretty innocent and harmless.

We moved on from me, to what was going on in everyone else’s lives and my Auntie D announced that she had some exciting news; a pregnancy of course! Her son (my cousin) and his wife just had twins last year so I was fairly certain they weren’t pregnant (again). Her other daughter, who has been married for about a year and a half (and coincidentally is a labor and delivery nurse), doesn’t seem to be in a rush for kids, but she was our best guess as she was the last to get married. My Aunt’s oldest son, T, has one child that was born via surrogate as his wife, E, has an “incompetent cervix” (Doctors verbage, not mine) and cannot carry to term so we all thought that was it for them, just the one. Apparently not the case, as they are having another via surrogate!

I am so excited for them, to have had embryos left from their first cycle that gave them their daughter and to have found another surrogate! I spoke with my cousin’s wife a bit about my IVF experience, since she had at least done the retrieval half of it, and understood how the whole process worked. It was nice being able to talk to someone without having to dumb it down, and having her really understand. I didn’t ask her if they had any embryos left from the cycle that gave them their daughter, as I didn’t think it was my place and she didn’t offer up the info (looking back, when I told her about my pregnancy her surro would have been in the early days of their pregnancy). Their daughter is almost 5 so I didn’t think they were going to try for more, especially not knowing if they would have to cycle all over again. Plus, to find a surrogate, for a second time, I thought that might be difficult as well.

E’s first surrogate (her best friend) already had her own 3 children before carrying E & T’s daughter, so has now had 4 pregnancies and births, so I was pretty sure she was done with carrying babies (no matter who they belonged to in the end). I should also state, that in Canada it is completely illegal to pay for a surrogate (beyond reasonable medical bills for the retrieval, meds, ect.) so you have to find someone who is willing to do it out of the goodness of their heart. Apparently E has some mighty kind and loving friends, since someone else has now stepped up for her and her husband, again. Their surrogate is around 20 weeks along, and they have been waiting until they are much farther along to share the news. They haven’t even told their daughter yet, as they wanted to know the gender first so they could tell their daughter if she was having a brother or a sister. She has been asking about a sibling for a long time, so it is really sweet that her wish will come true (which she may take back after being an only child for 5 years!).

It is really fantastic for them, and of any pregnancy announcement that has surprised and delighted me the most (of people in my “real life”), this is the one. Before moving to surrogacy they got pregnant 3 times on their own and lost all 4 (one set of twins) babies, in the second trimester. Their first daughter was born at 23 weeks and survived on the outside for around a week. None of their other children that E carried were born alive. It was an awful and heart wrenching time for them, especially since they could get pregnant so easily. With the last pregnancy, with their only boy, she was on bedrest early on, and had a cervical cerclage performed to try and keep the baby in as long as possible. To no avail, they lost their little boy as well. When E’s best friend became their surrogate, and birthed their daughter our whole family was so grateful and thankful for such an amazing gift. And now they are receiving that gift again, from someone else!

With the discussion going on, despite the fact that I have gone through IVF and somewhat explained it to my mom and my other Aunt, it was still a bit hard for them to wrap their heads around IVF, surrogacy, ect. Talk got more broad and somewhat centred around infertility. I mentioned that a family friend had said “after her honeymoon she was going to get pregnant” to which I scoffed and said it’s not always that simple. We have another family friend who is in the process of adoption, and disappointed in how long it is taking. I’ve spoken to her on a one on one basis and know how she struggled trying to get pregnant but they never sought any treatment. They just recently found out that as far as any testing shows there is nothing “wrong” with either of them. My Aunt mused that this family friend is a bit of a high strung person, and maybe she is doing harm to her body and cycles by being stressed out (she didn’t say she just needs to relax, but that was the effect of her words).

Of course I felt the need to come to her defense and adamantly insist, that’s not how it works. Especially if there is a medical reason, (and even if it’s unexplained, who knows what the underlying cause is), it can’t be cured by relaxing. They still went on about how stress can effect your body, and your cycle so I had to just let it go so my head didn’t explode trying to argue the point. And it is a hard point to argue, especially when you see women become pregnant naturally after having to use IVF for a first pregnancy, or getting pregnant while a surrogate is carrying a baby for them. But these are anomolies. I wish the real world would stop seeing these situations and using them to placate the infertile world en masse. It’s infuriating.

So although some of the people in my family have been fully immersed in the world of infertility, treatments and the like, doesn’t mean they understand. It was disheartening, especially from people that I have been open with about my own struggles. We never gave anyone a reason for our infertility (as it’s most certainly not their business) but I can’t help but wonder if they think I could have just relaxed a bit more…