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.

 

 

 

 

 

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Silence of the Friends

Where do all the friends go when you have a major loss?  Have yours stuck by your side or do you feel more alone than ever?

I (thought I) had a great core group of friends who all knew I suffered from RPL, we were all first time moms with one child each about the same ages.  They were all excited when I told them at 12 weeks that I was pregnant, because they knew I had been through so much to get there.  Two of them were trying to get pregnant at the time (I was helping one of them with her questions about infertility as she wasn’t ovulating), one has an IUD (doesn’t want another baby yet), and the last one thinks she’s too old (has one tube and pretty bad pre-eclampsia with her only child).

I haven’t heard from any of them in weeks.  I texted them on that horrible Mother’s Day in a shock, because I was sitting there alone, had already texted my husband and just didn’t know what else to do.  Since that day, I have gotten a smattering of texts, two FB private messages, and one of them came over once for a playdate.  In 8 weeks.

On the one hand, I don’t blame them in the least.  I don’t want to be around myself- I’m depressed, angry, cry at random things at random times, etc.  I try to keep it in check when I’m in public, but I’m sure I’m not coming across as perky or over-the-top fun right now.  I know people don’t know what to say- most people don’t want to say the ‘wrong’ thing (or sound like an insensitive jerk) for fear of making it worse.  And the two who are trying to get pregnant, I kind of get that, too.  Honestly, I don’t know if I could take watching a swelling little bump on either of them right now (granted, I have no idea if either or both are pregnant yet).

On the other hand, I feel so dropped by my friends and alone in the world that it’s not even funny.  Aren’t your good friends the one who don’t care if you are crying at random times about your lost baby?  Aren’t they the ones who are supposed to ask how you are and if you respond with a lie that you’re ‘ok’ that they push for a real answer?  Aren’t they the ones who come over anyway when you’re sitting by yourself or make plans they know they can include you in?

I told at least 3 of the 4 via text or FB that I felt much safer with home playdates- I hate going to public places where I don’t know how many pregnant women I’ll see and I really hate the random trigger that makes me cry in public.  So I’m totally ok when they go to the public kids play gym and don’t invite Sweetie and me.  Then why do I see on Facebook that they all met at someone’s house for a playdate in the backyard and never invited us?   Ouch.  My husband says I should just be the social coordinator and invite them, but I feel like I have a majorly hard time reaching out right now- I just feel so freaked about rejection and so overwhelmed at trying to make plans for a group, that I just don’t feel like I can.  One more reason to shut down Facebook so I don’t have to see all my old friends having a fun summer without us.

How sensitive should doctors be?

I called my OB’s office today to discuss setting up a pre-conception appointment.  IF I do try again (and this is still a BIG, BIG if), I wanted to understand what medications she would support me being on and how she would manage dosing.  Some things would need to be started far before a positive beta level, so I need to know in advance that we’re ready.  I asked the receptionist if we could meet in the doctor’s office for the consultation instead of one of the pregnancy exam rooms.  I don’t think I’ll do as well concentrating if I have stirrups and an ultrasound machine sitting there when in the back of my mind I’ll be thinking that my baby should be at viability (24 weeks) instead of me sitting there discussing my 8th attempt at pregnancy.  The receptionist was pretty darned rude and said she had never heard of such a request and she didn’t see the point.  I politely asked if she could check with my OB.  Sigh….  Is it really so hard to understand that a grieving mom wouldn’t want to be in a prenatal room to have a sad conversation about trying yet again?

I think most women who have had a miscarriage can point to some moment where a doctor or doctor’s office has been hurtful or insensitive.  I’ve heard some pretty awful stories:

– Getting a call 2 weeks after her D&C to tell her she’s being charged for a missed prenatal appointment that day and reminding her how important prenatal care is for the health of her baby

– Having to sit in the waiting room full of pregnant women waiting to have a follow-up post miscarriage

– Mixing them up with a pregnant patient (asking them to pee in a cup for a protein screen) and then taking it back and saying ‘oh, you’re not pregnant anymore, we don’t care about this for you’

– Hearing some of those awful ‘things not to say to a grieving mother’ straight from your OB (Ie, you’re young, try again- you’ll be pregnant again in no time, the baby would have had a birth defect anyway and you don’t want that)

– Having a receptionist tell you that you need to reschedule your appointment after waiting for the OB for 30 minutes because ‘Your doctor has to go deliver a baby for a new mom right now.  You can wait, she can’t (insert laughter like this is some joke).’

Anyway, what responsibility do doctors have to being sensitive and training their office staff to be thoughtful and sensitive?  I guess I feel that OBs should be held to a very high standard on this.  I think if miscarriage is really as common as they say (1 in 4 women will have a miscarriage) that they should be far better at handling it.  It’s an unfortunate part of working in the field of obstetrics and if they are not regularly addressing sensitivity with their staff, they shouldn’t be practicing.  They should be recommending support groups and making it easier for patients to understand what happened and what their options are.  They should have some times set aside when their office isn’t packed with pregnant women so that those who need to follow-up post miscarriage have a place to go.  At the very least, they could put these women in an exam room right away rather than making her sit there with tons of pregnant women.

The exam rooms should not have a gajillion pictures of babies- is that too much to ask?  My OB has a lot of exam rooms, I think one could easily be dedicated to just gynecological patients (and moms who have had a miscarriage could go there).  Nope, all of them are equipped with ultrasound machines and posters of babies and ultrasounds at various developmental stages.

Another group that I think should be better-  IVF clinics.  I have been into at least 4 different IVF clinic offices that have bulletin boards packed with happy pictures of babies that are the success stories, but how does that feel to the woman who hasn’t had her success story yet?  Shouldn’t IVF professionals be the first people to be sensitive to how a grieving mother or infertile woman might feel?

Am I expecting too much?  I don’t expect the general population to screen out messages that might make a grieving mom feel awful or an infertile woman feel sad.  I know that everyone in the world cannot walk around on egg shells around me.  I don’t expect my Facebook feed to be clear of pregnancy announcements or newborn pictures (but I do try to move them off my status feed).  But I really feel like the medical professionals that work with women should take that extra step to being sensitive to all their patients.  What do you think?  Am I being unreasonable?

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.