When I dropped the girls off at preschool this morning I was handed a packet of information. Nadia failed the eye screening and thus they recommend we follow up with her eye doctor. Ugh. Remember those almost daily appointments in Iowa City for her eyes? And for Nora’s too. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. And God help me if she needs glasses at this age. She won’t even wear shirts with short-sleeves, much less glasses! I remember being told preemies have a much, much greater risk of eye issues later in life, since they are born with undeveloped eyes, but I was so wishing we’d miss that boat! Guess not! I guess I should be thankful I didn’t get a packet for Nora too. Maybe that is still coming… Maybe these school screenings are very accurate. I can hope, right? As at her last appointment at the University, they said everything looked great.
Do I want too much? Can any of us really have it all? I’ve wanted to move into a different home in cedar falls for years… I want to give our frozen embryo a chance. And I’ve been thinking more and more lately about my coffee shop dream. Oh, and that toner. Is it all too much? How do I do everything I want to do?? And be a great mom and wife too!
It’s been a week since the rude woman at my fertility clinic told me she wasn’t sure wanting to avoid the nicu was a medical reason for surrogacy. Do I call her? I did get the generic packet of information they send everyone. Maybe we just fill out the forms assuming we are cleared to proceed…
So no laughing… promise…
I’ve never had awesome skin. I’d break out here and there, more so in the past several months, although I assume because I’ve been exercising more and thus more bacteria on my skin. So… I’ve been messing around with different ingredients, and by golly, I think I found some stuff that actually cleared up my skin. And no, not overnight. I’m not really much of a believer in miracle skin products… but I do believe it matters what you put on your skin. Anyway, I think I need to give away some of this toner and see what others with troubled skin think…
More information to come…
Yesterday I met with Nora and Nadia’s preschool teacher, the same woman, as their classes meet at opposite times of the day. Both girls seem to be progressing well. Nadia had no idea where she lives, and Nora didn’t know the color of our home, but… I’m not gonna worry just yet! Nora has mastered quite a few more letters than she knew just a few months ago, and while Nadia definitely knows the ABC song, she refused to sing it for her teacher during the assessment. In fact, most of the negative marks on Nadia’s report were her choosing not to cooperate, and not necessarily because of a lack of knowledge. Sounds about right, as Nadia is certainly my spicy child.
We did chat a bit about Nadia’s OCD tendencies, such as her not wanting to get her hands dirty, freaking out if she gets even a drop of water on her clothing… Her teacher is definitely aware. I mentioned how back in August at her three-year well-child check our pediatrician referred us to occupational therapy for a consult… but that we are still on the wait list. Clearly not enough occupational therapists in this city! Her teacher mentioned she could have AEA, Area Education Agency, meet with Nadia and assess her behavior. I guess I didn’t even consider that option, nor do I really even know much about their services. I’m so used to setting up therapy through our doctors, being we’ve had so many appointments since birth… So, more to come on that. Not sure how quickly anything will happen, but I’m definitely open to a professional’s opinion on Nadia’s behavior.
This morning was Moms Morning Out with my MOPs group of ladies. Several of us met for breakfast, minus kids, as the MOPs daycare option was still available. One girl in our group had a little girl on Tuesday, and another girl, who was at breakfast this morning, will be induced with her little girl tomorrow. I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. I know I have so much to be thankful for, but sometimes I still get so angry that having children couldn’t be a bit easier, if even in some small way easier, for me. Why does it all have to be such a production and process????
Speaking of babies… The rude woman from my fertility clinic has not yet gotten back to me regarding the medical necessity of us using a surrogate. I was just looking up some stats though, out of pure curiosity. I knew frozen embryos were more likely to split and therefore produce twins, but I’m a little confused by this statement:
So, still no idea how common it is. I’ve also read that IVF produces boys 56% of the time. So chances are our frozen embryo is a boy. But then again, we got Nora from IVF, so…
Eric is working out of town at an outreach clinic today, the second day this week he’s driven to this location, which is 90 miles from our home. In other words, he won’t be home for dinner. Again. I do need to pick up the girls from school soon, and then pick up a grocery order… No idea what I’m making for dinner or how I will occupy them until bedtime, considering it’s really windy and cold today. And oh how I love giving them baths alone. How many of you do showers with three and four year olds? Easier than baths? We tried it a few times, but it was a mess as I had to get in with them, and then I sent one of them out at a time to Eric to dry off. It just seemed like way more work than baths… No one tells you baths are a pain in the butt 🙂 Anyone discovered an easier way to clean their children, let me know!
I’ve really, really been trying to limit my carbohydrates lately. I’ve been reading so much about how awful sugar is for us, how more than half the US population is going to be diabetic soon… well, depending on which study you read. So I’ve been trying to keep my daily carbs under 30g, which is close to keto, but probably not close enough. Not that my goal is keto. In fact, I know I’m not eating enough fat for what keto would need. I am obviously doing a good mix of fat and protein though. So… we’ll see. So far I lost a few pounds. I so crave sweets though. I keep thinking about donuts and my sugar filled coffees I used to buy every morning…
I received a list of next steps from the surrogacy agency yesterday… Well, if we want to proceed, that is. They sent a list of lawyers we’d need to contact to start the surrogacy agreement/contract. Oh, and they need $10,000.
I also talked to the surrogacy coordinator at our fertility clinic. My entire medical history is at the hospital where this clinic is located, it’s also where both my girls were born. So they know my history. One of the first things the woman said to me was, “you know how much this costs, right?” And she didn’t ask this in a nice way… Next she went on to tell me that their clinic limits surrogacy to those patients where it’s medically necessary. So she asked why we were looking into this… I felt like saying, did you read my entire chart??? So I explain having Nora at 29 weeks and Nadia at 30 weeks. The woman was silent. So I went on to explain that we would prefer to avoid another nicu stay, we see it safer for our embryo to be carried by someone with a history of full term deliveries. She finally responded by saying that not wanting to live through another nicu stay was not a medical reason to qualify us for surrogacy. I said, a specialist at this clinic told me after Nadia was born that they’d expect future pregnancies to end the same for me, meaning early deliveries due to the fact that my cervix starts shortening as early as 12 weeks. So… the lady said she would talk to the team and get back to me…
You guys, can you believe I’m going to be 40 in nine days??? I am not happy about this. I do not want to be 40. I don’t want to get old. Older. I don’t want to celebrate… I want the day to pass by, and me still be 39… forever.
On a happier note, Nora will be five in two weeks! I guess I should start planning her birthday!
Still looking for a house… still haven’t found anything worth buying… How much longer can I live in this house with all my stuff packed? I swear it’s bad for my health and happiness!
And I’ll leave you with a sisterly love picture and Nora all ready for the science experiment!
I have always kind of thought NICU PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, was… well, maybe not a real thing. When we were back in the NICU with Nadia, so the second time there for an extended period of time, it was difficult of course, but I wouldn’t call it traumatic. I didn’t freak out every time I walked into the NICU by any means…
My niece has been in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) at the same hospital where both my girls were born for the past 11 days. I’ve been to see her twice now, and thankfully I think she is being released today! She was quite the sick little lady with that started as the flu and progressed to pneumonia.
I didn’t realize until I arrived at the hospital, that the PICU is set up very much like the NICU…
I’m not sure how to accurately describe how I felt while visiting my niece. And these feelings certainly weren’t 100% of the time I was visiting. I did have moments though where I wanted to panic, where I felt like I needed to leave, although obviously did not. The feelings were more like flashbacks… strange remembrances that would all the sudden pop into my head, if that even makes any sense. It started as soon as we got off the elevator on the PICU floor. There was a main desk, just like the NICU, we had to check in, I had to fill out the form regarding my recent medical symptoms, we were given name tags… We were sent to the hand-washing station. I smelled the soap, and then the hand sanitizer… I felt like I was back in time going to see my little girls. We were buzzed in and walked down the hall past several rooms until we reached my niece. I could see some toddlers in beds as we walked down the hall, some older children. My niece’s room was set up similar to the NICU, lots of IVs, her PIC line, she was on oxygen, that little pulse ox was wrapped around one toe… The distinct noises, the one when heart rates drop or climb too high, the different beep when the IV antibiotic is complete, her feeding tube, even the scale where we used to weight diapers for urine output… So many memories. Even looking at the clock on the wall, the same clock I spent months and months starting at as I pumped milk and wished my girls well.
I don’t know if surrogacy is the right route for us. It feels almost too overwhelming. Too much I can’t control. But could I do another NICU stay? What if this baby was born much, much earlier? I feel like we were so lucky twice already, our girls are doing so, so well! What if that isn’t the case next time…?
I spoke with Robin at Advanced Reproductive Resources (ARR) this morning… and I think I’m even more confused now… She explained the entire program in 55 minutes, I couldn’t even take notes fast enough! Of course she would have re-explained anything I needed clarification on, but at this point, I don’t even really know what to ask.
One of the first things she mentioned… was to plan for this to cost $130,000. I assume she was saying this to prepare me, and not to scare me. She suggested some financing options, although honestly I think we are fine in this area. Probably the only area I’m not worried about… which I realize is huge. This will just give me more energy and time to freak out about every other thing.
Robin obviously has been in this business awhile, she seemed very prepared, although somewhat rushed. Perhaps she had a million other clients to speak with today as well… I got the impression the clinic is somewhat small in regards to number of employees, although maybe there are lots who work behind the scenes who were not introduced to me today.
We did discuss using a surrogate we know, perhaps my friend… That would drop the agency fees from $39,000 to $8,000 and we could decide the compensation amount and schedule of payment to the surrogate rather than use their set plan. They would still manage the agreement, which would be very, very helpful. Honestly though, I don’t know… How would I know what to pay a personal surrogate? And while 31k savings is a chunk of money, if that is the only savings… is it worth it to pick your surrogate, and possibly ruin a friendship?
After I got off the phone this morning with ARR I called and left a message for the women who handles surrogacy with our fertility clinic. I want to get more information from her… Is it worth having another consult with them about me carrying the embryo…? I don’t know. The idea of another NICU stay terrifies me. What’s better though, the scary you know, or the scary you don’t know…?
There’s this girl I know. Slightly younger than me, someone I met when I moved here the first time, so about four and a half years ago we met. And since I’ve moved back we have reconnected and become what I would consider best friends. I see her several times a week, we have a lot in common, I feel like I can tell her anything… She’s that kind of friend. I don’t want to say much more to protect her privacy…
Today she told me she would be willing to be our surrogate. She said she actually thought about it after she had her first child, she has two children now, so she did a lot of research then and knows the process in some detail.
I was seriously touched. Who can say they would do that for another person? Grow a child. Give up their body for almost a year. And while it’s tempting, I’m stuck on all the downsides, specifically it ruining our friendship.
I promised myself I would call the surrogacy agency today and schedule a telephone consultation.
A few months ago Nadia was complaining, saying, “it hurts down there” and “it hurts when I pee”. She would often cry when sitting on the potty, want to wipe more than necessary, ask for diaper cream, even though we are way past diapers and creams, want to change her underwear several times a day… So months ago we took her to Eric’s clinic to get her urine checked to rule out a urinary tract infection (UTI). It was negative. Since then I have tried a variety of things, like an oatmeal bath to try to calm her skin, witch hazel wipes, thinking maybe we weren’t getting her clean after toilet trips, and making sure we use sensitive skin detergent. Nothing has seemed to help though…
The past week or two she has been complaining more than usual, school even called one day for me to pick her up as she was crying and saying it hurt to pee. Side note, Nadia is definitely my ‘complicated’ child. Many things bother her that I doubt would bother the average child. So yes, I’ll admit sometimes I ignore her complaints, or at least take them with a grain of salt. (I’m still waiting for a therapy consult about her OCD tendencies which was requested by our pediatrician way back in August. Ugh, yes, apparently not enough therapists in this area.) Anyway, being that she keeps complaining of pain, I took her again last week to Eric’s clinic to check her pee, and again… negative. Not sure if any of you remember this, but Nadia was diagnosed with Vesicoureteral reflux while still in the NICU. Basically urine flows the wrong way in the body and causes issues, making UTIs more likely, but also causing pain and in some cases, kidney damage. Well, it was our understanding she had grown out of this, as many children do… But, being she is complaining so much lately, well, it makes us wonder. So the next step is a renal ultrasound to make sure, well, that everything looks right I guess. That is now scheduled for Friday afternoon. If that is normal, well, I’m not sure I guess. Eric said we could also do a scope of her bladder, but that would mean putting her out… We’ll see I guess.
Anyone go through this with a little girl? I can’t think of what else could be bothering her. Her skin looks fine, no rashes, no sign of a yeast infection like she would sometimes get when still in diapers… I’m kind of at a loss of how to help her. But I hate to think she is in a lot of pain and we’ve been allowing this to continue… It’s so hard to know sometimes with little ones!
Preschool. My girls are only in preschool, and already I feel like the institute of education is, in this case, a creative competition. And I’m not creative.
Parents were asked to decorate a box or bag at home for their children to use as their valentine mailbox. Of course I bought the kit I discovered at Target. Which lead to this fb post…
In the end, all was well… The girls had fun decorating their boxes, after I finally got them assembled. And from what I could tell, they had fun at their parties at school as well. Another holiday in the books! Eric got me a gorgeous flower arrangement, and I ordered this workout mirror for him, well, us, although it’s not scheduled to ship until mid-March. Does anyone have one of these? I’m curious if we’ll actually use it… Thankfully it doubles as a full-length traditional mirror when not in use. An expensive one, but at least usable!
I finally heard back from the surrogacy agency in Chicago that works with our fertility clinic. I quickly glanced over the information they sent, which is really basic at this point, but I noticed their pay structure is pretty much completely opposite of the first agency I contacted. The first place lists out all the fees, like an a la carte menu of fees. And they pay the surrogate throughout the pregnancy, I think she gets so much of her base ‘salary’ each trimester. The agency in Chicago lumps the fees together as one fee and the surrogate is paid the entire amount before the embryo transfer even takes place. Of course, there are additional payments made to her later, like extra money for a c-section, an allowance for maternity clothing, etc. I’m honestly not sure how either of these pay structures would alter the total spent, or if it matters, since I assume we would use the agency that works with our clinic.
I’m not sure how I feel about any of this, yet, being all I’ve really determined are costs… So of course I’m already feeling, what’s the word… taken doesn’t seem quite right. Ripped off isn’t right either. I don’t know, it’s hard to know that a woman gets paid quite a bit of money whether she carries a baby to term or if the embryo doesn’t even implant. Yes, I know she is growing my child for me. But with money mentioned first… this feels very much like a job she is applying for… Or at least that’s how these fee sheets portray it. And if that’s true, what incentive does any surrogate have to get through the pregnancy? I know, the goodness of their heart, but they technically get paid a salary, which makes me feel like most? some? will view it as a job…
I’m sorry, this post was not meant to be so negative, just already feeling like this process is aimed to benefit the surrogate, but not necessarily the ‘intended parents’ as they are referred to… Which also bothers me. Intended gives the impression, well, that it could turn out to be them, or maybe someone else! Like, why use the word intended?? I’m the parent of this embryo, whether this pregnancy progresses or not, why not call us the parents?
I think I forgot to mention, I need to schedule a telephone consult with the agency as the next step.
Okay, rant over, for now.