Now that I'm home its easy to remember that my association life is not the same as the one that I experienced out there in the Midwest. We are not a world of corporate sponsors and people throwing money at us (understatement). We are not about the hoopla. We are mission-based. What I do is real. I was right, that world isn't my world. It really isn't.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not dissing or getting all high and mighty. I'm just saying that at this point in my life, I was just not up for the shmoozing. Or maybe after 4 days I was just completely and totally over one particular person who had latched on to me early on in the conference and I just kept running into again and again and again. I made the mistake of talking him through a mini-crisis he was having on the first night (ailing family member, he as frustrated caregiver, feeling guilty about being frustrated, unfortunately, a common story in my profession and one I was able to speak to) and he decided we were soul mates. And from that point on it felt like I just couldn't shake him. Or his posse. Or all that came with it. So I found myself caught up in trying to avoid this guy as opposed to trying to lock into the sessions I needed to hear or the other contacts I felt I was supposed to be trying to make.
And, on top of that, as I've mentioned, I just didn't want to be there. Jumping straight into the grid after 3 glorious weeks out without time to process and savor and relish those moments was just too much.
But after a good night's sleep next to someone I love I understand that I have to be there. We must be there. Because we still want a child. And there is no way to do that without the assistance of several parties. All of which will cost a lot of money. So, if a baby is in the future, alas, our space on the grid is locked in. That is just how it has to be.
And as if that realization isn't hard enough, as if that leap isn't a massive mind fuck in the best of situations, along comes a nightmare scenario, one to confirm all of the whispering and doubts that play out in people's minds, or at least make surrogacy synonymous with sketch for a lot of people for a little while longer.
And here is where I borrow some words from Mel, because she nails it. Beyond the shock of a story as sucky as this one, beyond the anger and angst you feel on behalf of the people affected, at the heart of it all is this:
I am so fucking angry that I can’t build my family without assistance and because I need to depend on other people in order to form my family. And I am so fucking angry that the majority of people in this world don’t have to navigate the ethical concerns that come with assisted family building. They want a child, they have sex, and they raise said child. And I am so fucking angry that I have to depend on others.But that's the way it is. So you give yourself a moment to be angry and outraged and indignant and yes a little self-pitying. And then you wipe your tears and get back to your To Do list of all that needs to take place if you want to be a parent.
Let me tell you where we are with all of that.
I may have mentioned before that we have a family member that is a very willing gestational carrier (GC) for us. That in itself is wonderful, but the timing isn't. Its just not the right time right now. So, while this is our #1 best case scenario, it's not one that can play out for another year or so.
In the meantime, M and I decided to look into an agency to see if we could find a gestational carrier through this route. We found an agency that seemed trustworthy, had worked with our doctors and clinic before, and is more affordable than other places folks had recommended. After spending a full Saturday painstakingly filling out an Intended Parent (IP) questionnaire, we started to receive profiles of potential GCs. The first two were prefaced with an "I think you'll really like them!" by the head of the agency.
We looked at each of the documents and were overwhelmingly underwhelmed. To the point of tears. Responses to questions we had spent time agonizing over were replaced by excessive exclamation points and smiley faces and all caps. I LOVE babies!!!!! (squeeeeee)
Ok, the squee was mine, but at first glance M and I fell back down into our pit of despair.
One of my buddies is exasperated with me. She can't see why any of that matters if there is someone ready and healthy and willing to help us get the child we want. Yes, dude. For a fee. For a substantial fee. And sorry, if I'm paying that substantial fee, I feel I have more than a little skin in the game. I feel I have a right to be a little picky.
And I don't see this as a nine-month proposition. This is someone who will be connected to your life and the life of your child indefinitely. Whether there is constant communication or not. Whether there is a good relationship or not. This person would always be the person that birthed our baby. So I don't want my first impression of that person to be, "hmmm, meh. I guess she'll do." I want it to be, "wow! I cannot wait to meet this person. I hope she likes me too."
I'm wondering if we need to re-evaluate our expectations. And here is where I would LOVE any of you who have already been through this to tell me to a.) stick to my guns or b.) get my head out of my ass.
And while I'm soliciting reader feedback, what do you think about this:
We are thinking about sending out a mass email to friends and family giving them an update on our situation and asking them if anyone knows anyone that would be interested in being a gestational carrier for us. The email would make it clear that there is no need for a response to this - just throwing it out there before we continue down the road with an agency, because obviously, we would so much rather build our family around people that we know and love.
How would you feel if you got an email like that? Is it too much? Pushy? Presumptuous? Would you think we were desperate and out of our minds? M.'s preferred method is a FB status update asking if anyone wants to be our baby mama. I think that's a bit much. But maybe it isn't?
BTW, for those waiting for Australia highlights and photos, swear to goddess its on a To Do list. Need to dig myself out of emails and phone messages and all that first. Short answer: It was incredible. You should go.
A coworker of mine was a surrogate (not her eggs), and she handled it magnificently. She was elated to help out a couple that could not have kids on their own, but had zero expectations from them as to what their relationship or lack thereof may be. She has teenage kids of her own and made it clear that she does not want more. She said the experience was wonderful and she wants to do it again. Actually, I think she might be carrying now, but it's hard to say. If she is not pregnant is MN too far away for you?
It's good to hear from you again. Although I'm wickedly jealous of the 3 week vacation in Austrailia. Yes to pictures of your adventures, please!
Hi Heather! No place is too far away if the laws in that state are surrogate/gestational carrier friendly.
It's really good to hear about a positive Surro/GC story. And I know several fellow bloggers were/are incredibly happy with the carriers they met through agencies. It just seems like it may take us a while to find a good fit. I'm not looking for a new best friend, but I am looking for someone who is a little more similar to us. But like I said, maybe that is ridiculous/unrealistic and it really is about finding someone happy to help out a couple that needs some help.
Set your goals and stick with them, seriously. Surrogacy is wonderful and hard hard hard. Glad we did it, would never do it again, surrogate would have to pay me to carry my child.
A lot of it is personality, and ou need someone who you can get along with, and you kiss a lot of frogs before finding your gestational carrier. If you want more feedback go to surromomsonline, they will at least be honest!
And of course you can always contact me.... Speculumstories@gmail.com
We went through it twice, with two different gestational carriers. I really like both of them and they are both strong, intelligent, interesting women.
However. In both cases, my first priority was to have a healthy child, not to be anxious to meet the GC or to feel she was someone similar to me.
For example, if the GC had answered my questions with CAPSLOCKED exclamation points!!!! and lots of :) :) :) I really wouldn't have cared.
Some people just don't express themselves well in writing and what mattered to me was being convinced that she was someone I could trust to go through the IVF process and take care of my baby for nine months.
But that's just me...
dear Duck and niobe, I value your perspectives so much. Thank you. So appreciated.
I think sending it out to the people you know and love is a great idea. I know that as people hear about our struggles some speak up and have offered assistance. You never know what people are thinking or what they want to do unless you ask. I would love to see what you send out.
Have never done the GC thing, but had a few thoughts. First, I think your email seems like a great idea. I also wondered if you had ever read Kymberlie at thesmartness.com. She was a GC, and sounds from her writing like a fun, intelligent caring person. Anyway, she moderates a GC forum. I wonder if she might have some advice for you. Finally, for what little it is worth, if it were me, and it easily could have been, I would search for a recent college graduate wanting to do something meaningful while pursuing their writing or painting or studying or whatever. I imagine there are those folks out there who would rather bring a life to a couple while supporting their dreams than waitressing. I would post on nearby college forums. But, again, I know little, so it may not be worth much.
Surrogacy is not a fast process. As a father through Surrogacy who now runs an Agency I can tell you that the average match takes 1-3 months as both sides get to know each other.
You will be better off working with a Surrogate that chose Surrogacy for herself and then matched with you as opposed to someone that chose Surrogacy just to help you.
Sometimes the Surrogates get sloppy on the forms because they are signing up with more than one agency and often their forms are longer then the IP's to fill out.
The most important trait in a Surrogate is being a team player and like any other friendship does she see the world the same way you do.
Overall the extra month or two it takes to match will be worth it in the end.
I'm so EXCITED for you :) :) :) ha ha ha sorry couldn't resist! Seriously am excited that you are tentatively taking the next steps on your journey. Looking forward to following it.
I think the email is a good idea. I think whatever feels good and right to you is a good idea - just tap into it. You'll know when you know.
I too think the email is a good idea --- just tricky. There really isn't a set etiquette to learn from! You know how to communicate, you know how to write something and wait a bit, I have every faith that you could write the type of letter others in the future will gain inspiration from. I guess it depends on who'd you be emailing it too...
I wish you all the best. I am where I am in my own journey because of a mix of waiting for right donor and the timing for all involved to be right the few times I've had a potential donor. GC is another level of trust and commitment. I really hear you on your desire to stick to your guns. niobe's comment spoke to me though. There are some people I'd never trust to write anything well, but I have trusted them completely in other matters. I think of some of the best life guards, bus drivers, and personal care assistants I've worked with. Some of them were so much better at being reliable when things really mattered -- ability to thoughtfully write didn't seem related to it.
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