Surrogacy battles: Part 4 (what others think)

So, this Sunday was better than last Sunday.

Although, I guess that’s easy when you just stay at home and play with your toddler and lots of water outside.   Life is just easier without happy pregnant women in your face at every turn.  It’s easier if I just focus on my one child and try to forget about the six that aren’t here with me.  And it’s physically impossible to toss your cookies in public if you never go out in public.  I’m voting for several more months of hermit-hood.

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I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me what other people think when they hear you are having/trying to have a baby via a surrogate.  There are so many misconceptions out there and I just hate to think that the only possible route for me to have a child anymore is viewed in a negative light.

I’ve told several more people that we are moving to surrogacy to try to have another child.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised that most responses have been positive.  One friend offered to take Sweetie anytime we need to go to surrogacy appointments.  Another friend said it’s awesome we are doing this and she hopes it works easily for us because we ‘deserve’ it.

Then you get the strange responses that you aren’t really expecting.  A friend asked if we were open to having a surrogate who is a different race than us.  I must have had a strange look on my face as she continued to talk about it until I realized she thought we were adopting a baby who was already due and she wondered if we would be open to a “black baby or brown baby”! (and really, I wouldn’t care, but biology is a giant reason many choose surrogacy over adoption)  I really don’t mind the questions and we had a good discussion about adoption vs. surrogacy.  I really don’t mind asking questions about it- I’d rather be able to educate people than have them not ask or assume incorrectly.

Then there was my last friend (who has three children) who said ‘Meh, I wouldn’t be able to ever trust a surrogate.  There are too many crazies out there.’  Turns out that this friend worked with someone a few years ago who was apparently ‘crazy’ and acting as a gestational carrier.  So much of her opinion was based on this person (who may or may not have been a good surrogate).  I explained that there are lots of background checks, psych exams, clinic and agency requirements, etc. to screen out any possible bad candidates.  But she wouldn’t hear it.  I finally left it alone and just said this was my only option, so I wasn’t going to put up barriers where they don’t need to be.  I don’t want to have to trust a surrogate to carry my baby, but we all do things we don’t want to do sometimes, especially when you don’t have a choice.  I have had enough challenges in my journey.

Then there are the people who we are NOT telling about surrogacy.  My husband doesn’t want to tell his family.  At all.  Until we have a baby in our arms.  I’m pretty blown away (and at the moment pretty pissed off about his reasoning on this) but I figure it’s his family, his choice.  He says that his mother, in particular, has been so let down by our other losses (even though she only ever heard about 2 of them- our first loss and Abby, because we were so far we figured there was no way it wouldn’t work) that she just can’t handle it.  This makes me feel like shit on so many levels-  like jeez, I’m such a horrible daughter-in-law to have a killer uterus that we shouldn’t even talk about any more potential grandchildren.

So, on the more challenging side of things, we are traveling to physically meet with our agency this next week.  Both my husband and I are pissed off with them at the moment and we are really hoping that a personal meeting will get some more communication and hopefully results.  I keep trying to think what we should have done better/differently in choosing an agency and I’m drawing a blank.  I checked other Intended Parents’ references, read all the reviews and word-of-mouth we could find, we talked to them several times, we closely reviewed the contract we signed with them.  Everyone said that you don’t need to be geographically close to an agency, you can use anyone, but I’m wondering now if that might be making this harder.  If it hadn’t been a major financial investment in signing with this agency (many agencies ask for a large portion of their fee- 50%-100% upfront), we would just cut our losses and find a different agency, but I think we need to wait a bit more before we can do that.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s the worst that can happen?

So my husband and I are not on the best of terms right now, but we’re trying.  Trying to communicate, trying to pretend that we aren’t as bad off as we probably are.  Anyway, we started having another discussion about this (potential) upcoming FET.

His opinions in a nutshell:

Why not go for it? MMB:  Let me list a few (hundred) reasons.  Or, maybe not even a few hundred- let’s just list 6 failed pregnancies out of 7.  When you have shitty odds, you don’t exactly expect lightening to strike you again (in a good way).  He knows what a toll this has taken on my body, on my mental state, on our relationship, on my ability to be a good mother for our daughter, I really just don’t get how he can even ask this.  

It seems stupid to sit around and wait for a surrogate candidate to be identified when you ‘know’ you can get pregnant. MMB: Um, sure, I can get pregnant, but how does that equate to a take-home-baby when it comes down to my uterus?  And what if I don’t get pregnant this time?  Lots of women have failed transfers.  I’ve had two ‘successful’ transfers take, what if this is my 1 in 3 that doesn’t work?  There’s a new way for me to have a failed outcome that I’d rather not experience.

At least it will give you something to do in the meantime (while waiting for a surrogate). MMB: Hmm, as if I don’t have anything else to do like take care of our toddler and try to make it through each day without imploding or exploding or getting arrested for assaulting some poor random pregnant woman who triggers me. 

We should definitely transfer 2 embryos because that increases our odds and we’ll save a few thousand dollars on not doing another FET if this one doesn’t work.  MMB: Yes, because we don’t really want twins it makes sense to transfer two.  And my body does such a bang-up job with carrying ONE baby, I should tempt it again with attempting to carry TWO?  We transferred two embryos last time (our first transfer and miscarriage #5 was a Single Embryo Transfer) and I was pregnant with two sacs but only one kept growing.

At least you’ll be trying again.  I would think that would be healing for you.  MMB: Who knows?  Right now it just seems to be giving me more anxiety.  But seriously, I think I’m past the point of thinking there’s anything really healing in all of this. 

Whats the worst that can happen?  MMB:  Are you kidding me?  I guess he thinks that the worst has already happened to us so somehow it won’t happen again?  If that’s the case, I hope against hope that we’ve been through the worst and it’s not going to happen again.  But I can no longer even pretend that I believe that this is true.  I tried to think that  after we had lost 5 babies and I was in the second trimester with Abby, that the worst was over and we were in the clear.  Then we lost our Abby and she was scraped out of me on Mother’s Day.  I don’t want that rug pulled out from under me (yet again).  Maybe I’m just far too jaded by my experience (and I’ve heard other people’s horrible stories of loss) that I can graphically imagine other horrible outcomes.  I mean, Mother’s Day has effectively been ruined for me, but I’m sure there’s some other holiday that can also be ruined.  I could make it to 23 weeks this time and then lose the baby just before viability.  I could be on bedrest for weeks and not able to care for Sweetie, and then still lose the baby(ies).  I could carry the baby(ies) to term and then still lose them.  Hell- I could get pregnant with a healthy pregnancy and then somehow my Sweetie gets sick or worse (oh my goodness, I feel like I shouldn’t even type that even though every day I have major anxiety that something bad will happen to her).  Or maybe I’ll have another loss and this time it really will drive me over the edge and I’ll either be dead or committed to a mental hospital.  Yes, I really shouldn’t play the ‘what’s the worst that can happen game’.  Can you blame me?  Why does my husband insist on playing?

Ok, I’m sorry, I have to stop and say that I’m really not saying all these things to my husband in the way I stated above.  Even when we’re arguing, we both try to be respectful and non-snarky.  I just REALLY have to come vent here on my blog because I don’t have any other safe place to vent.  My husband is a wonderful man and he’s doing the best he can. That said, he does see things in a very black and white manner and he doesn’t have (any) of the need to analyze things the way I do.  So it leaves me feeling very unheard on most discussions especially when he thinks it’s a ‘no-brainer’.

I guess maybe I just need him to say that it’s scary as hell to try this again, instead of just trying to wrap this into a neat little ‘of course we should try again’ package.

 

The little girl I lost

I was also on vacation when I finally heard from my OB that the last genetic testing came back perfectly normal on the little girl I lost.   That was my last straw of hope for some explanation as to why her perfect little heart stopped beating.  Some explanation that doesn’t come down to my body failing me and my babies yet again.  Some explanation that doesn’t come back to the universe or God just piling more shit on my plate for some ultimate ‘reason’ that I’ll never understand.

I named her, and I wanted to share that with you.

Abigail Mary

My sweet little girl I lost on Mother’s Day.  My Sweetie’s little sister she’ll never get to meet.  My husband’s second daughter and second chance at having a Daddy’s girl (because Sweetie is pretty 70/30 Mommy’s girl).

We have never named any of our babies that we’ve lost before.  We never really agreed on girl’s names to begin with (not even Sweetie’s name, I had to badger him for months about that and in the end I think he just gave in because I had just labored for 30+ hours and pushed her out!)  My husband still didn’t want to name this 6th lost baby, so I will just carry her name in my heart alone.

I’m  feeling a bit guilty about not naming my others now, but losing my 6th baby girl is just so much later and harder than any other of my losses.  I had to honor my baby that I saw so many times on the ultrasound (weekly u/s when you have RPL), heard her little heartbeat so many times, carried her for 16 weeks.

My little Abby.  I love her and miss her every moment of every day.

Thoughts on “Vacation”

I wasn’t sure what to expect being gone on vacation.  I tried not to have high expectations (because we all know where those get us especially once we’ve suffered from recurrent miscarriage), but I think I did have some hopes of what would happen.  Hope that I could just let go and enjoy myself.  Hopes that I could reconnect with nature a bit and heal a little.  Hopes that my husband and I would have some time to just be ‘us’ again.  Sadly, I feel let down on all of these.

I’m not sure why I hoped to enjoy anything… I just feel like a zombie.  Everything is just happening to me and I’m in a daze watching things go by.  So I’m in a lovely tropical foreign country and I just sit there, wishing my life were different.  I can’t enjoy things, it’s just happening to me.  I feel sick when I think about this-  how many people wouldn’t love to go on a vacation like I did.  But it’s not what’s important to me, so I have a terribly hard time even enjoying it a little bit.  I would give up all vacations for the rest of my life to just be 23 weeks pregnant again.  This must be the ‘bargaining’ part of grief, right?

I didn’t need a vacation, I needed a vacation from being me.  From having all these crazy thoughts running through my head.  From waking each morning and being reminded that I’m no longer going to have a baby in a few months.

So when are things going to start having a more positive light?  I’d take a glimmer, a speck, anything…. I have considered starting Zoloft or something like my OB has recommended.  I have been on antidepressants in the past and they have never helped (I always struggled with seasonal depression).  My experience with being on antidepressants is very similar to how I feel already- dazed, very numb and neither high nor low.  Why go on medication to feel about the same as I do already?  But I know this isn’t sustainable- I need things to feel just a bit better.  I need a little light at the end of this endless tunnel.  I hoped vacation would give me that, but it unfortunately didn’t.

On the husband front, whew, that’s another post.  He and I are struggling so badly, I had hoped that vacation time away from our daughter would give us the opportunity to talk some more and reconnect a bit.  We made it through 5 miscarriages and I thought we were going to be one of those couples that were strengthened by infertility/loss.  I guess our past experiences haven’t really helped us as much as I thought after this last loss.  Definitely a topic for another post.

The worst weekend of my life

So having recurrent miscarriages, you’re never really supposed to feel ‘safe’ in pregnancy.  Except I did, that was my big mistake.

We did IVF with PGS, so we knew we had a chromosomally normal baby.  I had ultrasounds every week to check in on my little bean.  She had a perfect heartbeat every time.  We had an NT scan at 12w5d and everything was normal, low odds of issues.  I was one day shy of 16 weeks pregnant, so things are supposed to be fine now.  None of my other losses had made it this far, I thought my problem was losing babies early on.  I had made it to this point with my daughter, so I really thought I’d be ok.

I checked the heartbeat Friday night with my home doppler- everything was good.  Found it right away in the 160s.  Woke up on Saturday and we did some chores.  Headed to Home Depot to buy some flowers, planted them in the afternoon.  My husband cautioned me to take it easy, so I just stood around most of the time.  We made burgers and apple crisp for dinner, what a lovely Spring night.  The next day was Mother’s Day, so my husband and I were making plans.  We talked a little bit about baby names before heading to bed.  I had a feeling that the baby was a girl, but we could never agree on a girl name!  Boy’s names were easy.

I went up to bed while my husband finished some emails and I wanted to listen to my baby again, just really quick.  I couldn’t find the heartbeat for several minutes, which was pretty odd.  I had had that happen once before, so I took a drink of water and walked around and then tried again.  Still nothing.  My husband told me not to panic and was trying to blame the doppler, saying that maybe it needed new batteries.  I knew.  I just knew.  I remember telling him that I was 90% certain that our baby was dead.  I don’t know how I went to sleep that night, I said I would try again in the morning.  But I knew.

Sunday morning was Mother’s Day.  I woke up at 430 and knew I wanted to check again with the doppler.  Hoping against hope that she was just hiding.  Nothing.  I went into the ER later that morning and it was confirmed.  My baby didn’t have a heartbeat anymore.  I am still haunted by the view of that ultrasound-  her not moving and no heartbeat.  I wish I hadn’t looked at the screen, it’s the worst image I’ve ever seen and it’s caused nightmares.  She measured right on- 16w, so I was given the choice to deliver her or have a D&C.  In the moment, I couldn’t imagine being induced.  I just wanted the horror of this all to be over.  I wanted my heart to stop beating, too, and it felt like it had.  How many times can one person handle their heart being ripped out?  And on Mother’s Day.  I don’t know what you believe in, God or the Universe or whatever, but that just seems extra cruel.

I want my baby.  My sweet little girl who was so wanted, who we tried so hard to have.  My daughter’s little sister that she’ll never get to meet.  I hate my body for not keeping her alive so I could meet her.

Why a blog?

I’m not a typical blogger.  I’ve found many blogs that I like to check into every now and again, but I’m not a writer.  I like to ramble and don’t want to have to edit my stream of thoughts.

But I’ve found myself feeling so completely alone after my last miscarriage, miscarriage #6.  The one that happened after a dozen ultrasounds assured me that my baby was healthy, growing on track, perfect.  There are groups on Facebook that talk about recurrent miscarriage and groups on BabyCenter to talk about losses in the 2nd/3rd trimester, and then there’s supposed to be my friends in real life.  Oh and my husband (who truly is a wonderful man, btw).  And yet it still feels like there’s no one there.  No one who understands, no one who wants to understand.  Hell, if it wasn’t my life that I was dealing with, *I* wouldn’t want to understand.  I don’t want to be around myself so why should I expect that anyone else wants to be around me?

So I’m putting it out here.  Maybe someday I can look back and see how far I’ve come.  Maybe I’ll read my ramblings and make sense of it all.