Should I carry?

I can’t help but think this would all be easier if I just try to carry our embryo… Am I crazy? Is it irresponsible given my history? Maybe I’m just already overwhelmed with the surrogate process… which is just beginning. What if I at least talk to the high-risk OB team again…? Eric isn’t thrilled with the idea, he does not want another nicu stay.

Gestational Carrier Consult Details

So I probably should have explained a bit better in my original post… Here are the details of our appointment in Iowa City in mid-July.

  • Eric and I need to be at the IVF Clinic by 8am, which is now at it’s own site separate from the hospital. Might be a challenge since we live almost two hours away, and we can’t bring the girls due to COVID-19, not that we would have anyway. I guess I need to work something out for my mom to watch them.
  • From 8-11am I’m told we’ll do a variety of things..
    • Meet with the IVF group (doctors and nurses) to discuss the process, details, all the medical stuff. This is when they will share all the scary stats, like the chances of our embryo not even surviving the thaw. Thankfully Eric and I are pretty familiar with the embryo transfer process, being through it several times ourselves.
    • Eric and I both need some blood drawn for FDA approval. Apparently since they are putting our tissue, the embryo, into another human, the gestational carrier, they need to tests us for a bunch of stuff. Seems silly to me at this point, as our embryo was created and frozen six years ago… Although I remember tons of tests then too.
    • Consents. I’ll told there is a lot of signing of consent forms. Choices and decisions to make. Sounds familiar as well from way back when with the IVF process.
    • Finance. Apparently they want to talk to us about how we plan to pay for this, before we get too far into the process.
  • Then we have a break, and later in the afternoon from 1-3pm at the hospital Eric and I meet with a psychologist. I’m not sure if this is together or separate, nor do I have any idea what exactly we discuss, other than the obvious.

Next steps for me also are to get back into contact with the surrogacy agency. I seem to remember the next step with them is to contact one of their choice lawyers and work on the contract between us and whoever we pick as the carrier. Oh, and establish a financial deposit with them for our, and our carrier’s expenses.

On the phone yesterday the fertility clinic’s nurse asked again about us having only one frozen embryo. She stressed this is a lot of work and money for only one chance. I’m not sure what to think of that, other than scared I guess. I truly feel like this embryo deserves a chance, the whole point in us doing this… but is this just going to make me want a third child… so what happens if our embryo doesn’t result in a live birth?

It’s June!!!

How it can be June, I have no idea. May took three years to pass I swear. Our state, Iowa, is starting to open back up, but we are still staying put for the most part. We have been out once really, for Eric’s birthday to dinner which was last week. It felt very weird to be out, almost wrong. And the girls were kind of wild, but of course, can you blame them after being stuck at home for months?? After Eric’s birthday dinner he enjoyed a homemade chocolate cake at home. Super yummy!

I feel like I have lots of updates… probably because I haven’t written in quite sometime, but also because I feel like all the things put on hold due to COVID-19 as slowing coming off hold status.

The occupational therapy clinic FINALLY called and Nadia’s appointment is next Monday morning. I’m nervous, and I so wish Eric could come too, but they only want the patient and one parent due to COVID. More to come on this!

And… the IVF clinic called to make an appointment to start the gestational carrier process from their end. I have no idea what to expect, I guess we will find out. They suggested some appointment dates in July, but Eric is on-call those days, so I’m waiting for them to call me back so we can figure something out! Stay-tuned!

Alright, back to cleaning the kitchen and laundry, which I’ve been putting off forever. Seems the more time I have, the less I accomplish with poor motivation. I’ll leave you with a few more of my favorite photos currently on my phone.

Surrogate Agency Issue

So wouldn’t you know… The surrogacy agency I contacted in Iowa, Heartland Surrogacy, doesn’t work with The University of Iowa, which is where our embryo is frozen… Apparently the U of Iowa only works with Alternative Reproductive Resources (ARR) out of Chicago. So… I sent them our information and I’m waiting for a reply. If I’ve learned anything regarding infertility, it’s that nothing is easy or fast. Why our fertility clinic doesn’t work with Heartland… I’m not sure. Maybe because ARR has been in business for over 20 years, and Heartland is much newer, but that’s only a guess on my part. Of course we can move our embryo to a fertility clinic that Heartland does work with, but I trust the U of Iowa, so I feel I must trust the agency they prefer.

I know I mentioned in my last post that we only have one frozen embryo, so the overall chances of this resulting in a child are somewhat slim, being the embryo has to survive the thaw, implant in someone else’s body, and then proceed through a surrogate pregnancy with all the risks of any traditional pregnancy. Seems almost impossible when you think about it that way. And would we do another round of IVF to get more embryos? I don’t know. I doubt it. I honestly feel very content with my two girls. A part of me just feels like this embryo deserves a chance at life. If we didn’t have the embryo, we probably wouldn’t be thinking about adding to our family.

In other news… The girls are back to crying at preschool drop off. In fact, the first thing they say in the morning, the minute they are out of bed at 5AM no less, is, “I don’t want to go to school.” Can this be normal? Don’t they have fun with their friends? They always seem happy when I pick them up…

Yesterday I visited the private Catholic grade school connected to their preschool, the grade school I assume they will attend. An admissions open house was offered. Little did I know, it would result in an hour-long personal tour. It was good, but a lot of information! Should I also be visiting the public school in our district, just to make sure I’m making the right decision for the girls? My reasoning for the Catholic school is mostly because I attended a Catholic grade school and high school… It’s really all I know. Of course, if you ask private school parents they will say, oh, you want private, fewer behavior issues, much smaller classes… And if you ask pubic school parents you’ll hear, oh, you want public, as they have so much more funding and therefore far more opportunities. What’s best for the girls, I don’t know. How do other parents decide? And can you even believe we are talking about grade school??? Nora will be a kindergartener in August! And I already signed Nadia up for the 4-day preschool program beginning in August. She is currently in their 2-day program, so I hope this isn’t too much for her.

Eric left for Las Vegas yesterday morning for a “work” trip. Yes, there is a Urology conference he is there for, but he’s also meeting friends, so there’s no way in hell I believe he won’t be enjoying this trip as more of a vacation. And yes, he certainly deserves some time away, but I’d like some too! And wouldn’t you know, the girls are extra crabby and whiny when he is away. I swear he thinks I make that up, but they really are way more difficult when he is away. For example, Nora is usually my great sleeper, but last night she woke twice crying for me, which of course woke Nadia. And how do you get two upset kids back to sleep alone? So I was trying to go between their rooms, which wasn’t working at all. Finally we all got into Nora’s bed, but that was almost worse as the girls would not settle down together. It was an awful night, and we were all up for the day at 5am, all very tired and moody. I’m wondering how they did at preschool today. Nadia gets a nap, but Nora doesn’t. Might be an early bedtime tonight.

Frozen Embryo

I hate to even write about this yet… As I don’t want to get my own, or anyone else’s hopes up…

I know I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve attempted discussing our one frozen embryo with Eric, and he wasn’t too keen on even discussing. Why I don’t know, as I never wanted to press the issue further and upset him. Well, a week or so ago I flat out asked him, ‘Are you 100% against a third child?’ And by God, his answer was no!

We didn’t discuss a lot, but he suggested we at least look into our options, meaning what it would mean for me to carry another child, which would most likely be another preemie, vs. having a gestational carrier. Is that even the correct term?? I have so much to learn! I know of one agency in our state which assists with such, so I did a bit of research on their website. To really get any good information though I’d need to schedule a consult with them, and so far I’ve been scared to actually fill out their form and hit the submit button.

Part of me is still so torn though. I’d love another child, and want to give our embryo a chance, even though I realize it’s only a chance, regardless of who carries it. But I’m also going to be 40 in March. And I’d probably be 41 by the time the child would be born, at least. Do I want to start all over with a newborn at 40+? I mean, I do, but I wish I was turning 30 in March instead. Part of me feels too old for all this…

A party, cardiology, gestational carriers, and open houses

Our weekend was full! Saturday my mom watched the girls while Eric and I traveled back to Iowa City for an overnight. One of his partners hosted a party at his home Saturday evening. It was fun, nice to get away for a night! The party was primarily physicians, which always makes me feel a little out-of-place. Most of the couples are both physicians, most both surgeons. And yes, I know I had a great career before I quit to raise the girls, but no one else knows that… I have little to talk about when all of them are going on and on about their busy, prospering careers. Education is everything to these people, and while I do have an MBA, I think sometimes to them a masters is like a high school diploma.

Sunday we slept in, well, sort of, since I was awake most of the night listening to Eric snore… Something has to give with him disrupting my sleep! After brunch at his partner’s home we stopped at Costco to pick up a few household necessities and then toured two open houses in Cedar Rapids. I liked them both, but was certainly more drawn to the home on Wexford Way. Either are huge steps up from anything currently available in Cedar Falls. In fact, I’d move into either of these tomorrow if I could! Eric liked the one on Diamondback Road better, but mostly because it’s an easier, quicker drive to the hospital, as it’s closer to the interstate. Being so though means it’s also not as nicely situated in an established neighborhood, which is on my list if must-haves in a home.

Diamondback Road

Wexford Way

Obviously looking at these houses both excites and terrifies me. I’m so unhappy in Cedar Falls and have been since we moved here over two years ago now, but moving again, and being alone a lot more with the girls with Eric commuting feels a bit overwhelming. There is obviously no perfect solution, short of Eric working in a city that offers more for me and the girls. But since he loves his partners and the practice they have built, I don’t see him wanting to move anytime soon. I wish I knew the answer to all this…

This week Eric is on vacation again, part of his every third week off. He took Nadia to her cardiology appointment in Iowa City today so I could stay home and review everything with the new/old nanny who started today.

Nadia’s appointment went well, we can finally stop her heart medication and see how she does. And follow-up not for a few months! Closer to crossing another specialty group off our list!

The new/old sitter is a girl who watched Nora two years ago when we first moved here. I actually didn’t realize she was still in town, as she is now working on her masters in speech pathology. How perfect given Nadia’s issues. I think she’ll be good. And who knows how long we’ll even have her if we’re getting more serious about moving. But you know how I like to make plans and then not follow through.

Speaking of plans… Eric and I have been talking more and more about our frozen embryo. I think we’re both of the opinion that if we’re having a third child, we need to do it sooner rather than later. We’d prefer to have all the mess of littles now, and be done with diapers. I also know Eric really wants to travel more, and that’s so difficult with little ones. One of the physicians at the party is a reproductive endocrinologist in Davenport, her husband a Urologist there. I spoke to her quite a bit at the party about the process of using a gestational carrier. She made it sound so easy, but I know it isn’t. I guess I just need to seek out an agency to help us, or somehow find someone I know who would allow me to use their uterus for a bit! My other option is going back to my high risk OB at the University and discussing whether me carrying our embryo is an option. So much fear and risk. We’ll see, more on this topic to come.

Another boring Friday…

Either I’ve hit a new low, or I came across a great idea. I’m not sure which it is, but this morning the girls and I ventured to my favorite place, Target, with a Starbucks. I put them both in my double stroller (best purchase ever, btw) and away we went. My plan was for Nadia to nap, which she eventually did, and Nora to wear herself out. We ran into Target first for Starbucks, I got my usual, a venti iced white chocolate mocha, no whip, and I ordered the strawberries and creme frapp for Nora. Yes, my drink ruined my diet, and Nora refused to drink hers, so I drank both. Major fail. Oh well, it’s Friday! With drinks in hand we wandered through Michaels. I’m not sure what it is about that place that both overwhelms me and sparks my creativity… No purchases there today, but I still like looking.

On to Target we went with no real purpose there either other than to get out of the house. Yes, this is what my life has become. Other SAHM feel this way too, right?? Our big purchase of the day was a new doctor’s kit for Nora. She wore out an old one we bought her over a year ago, so I figured it was time to replace it. Here are a few pictures of her at Target and at home with her new toy. And yes, she was 29 months on the 16th of August.


My plan of wearing out the girls worked I guess, as both are sleeping right now. Yes, both at the same time!!!

In the other news, our realtor called this morning to say the sellers of the house in Hudson are now willing to accept our offer. Click here to read about that if you don’t remember… We made that offer at the very beginning of July, so I basically told our realtor, too little, too late. The more I think about it, the more I don’t want to live here anyway, so probably worked out for the best. The next weekend Eric has off I think we need to go look at some houses in Cedar Rapids and try to decide if moving back there is really something that could work for us.

The baptism is Sunday. God help me. Eric’s mom is coming. I think we have 20-25 people total joining us for the celebration, and thank goodness we are eating out, as I’m in no mood to clean the house or prepare food. I’ll update after Sunday with pictures and hopefully only good stories from the day. Pray for me.

New nanny starts Monday. Lots of mixed feelings. I interviewed two girls, both are very qualified, and both acted very well with the girls. Remember how I couldn’t connect with the last girl we had? Well, that’s my fear with this new girl too. She’s very sweet, and maybe was a little quiet when she was here, but that hopefully is just because she is unfamiliar with us. I guess I’ll know more next week when she starts. She’s just part-time, but my plan is to really figure out the next step for me, whether I’ll need time to move, or perhaps checking back into opening an upscale daycare/preschool. Preferably in that order, as I’d rather not get stuck in Cedar Falls with a business I own.

The last thing I’ll mention today (I could probably write about different topics all day) is a third child… I know, deep topic, right? Something tells me I want a third, and not just because we have a frozen embryo. I mean, even if the embryo didn’t lead to a live birth, I’d still want to pursue other avenues. Having that third child feels so impossible though. I mean, going through another embryo transfer… probably another NICU stay. Or finding a gestational carrier… All the choices seem overwhelming. But Nadia is almost one, and I’d kind of like all my kids close in age, since I’m not getting any younger! Ugh, so much to think about! Definitely more on this topic to come.

I’m not a crier 

I’m usually not a crier. But I was watching a recorded episode of Nashville last night, and a particular scene really got to me…

Now I know I didn’t purposely do anything to cause Nora and Nadia’s premature births and ongoing related issues… But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel quite guilty. I mean, my God, Nora had bacterial meningitis and sepsis as a preemie, two separate episodes. When they told us they said, I’m so sorry, as if she was already dead! I’m honestly shocked she’s doing so well. We still have many follow-up appointments, which reminds me, we need another hearing test for her, as she’s at-risk for hearing loss for several more years yet, I think until she’s five maybe. And Nadia, every time I look at her and will her to crawl or make a babbling noise I’m reminded of her brain bleed.

There is the rational side of it all… But then there is the side who wishes she could go back. To beg for the cerclage, or do more research on my own, or rest more during both my pregnancies. I don’t know, anything to change a 29 and 30 week delivery. And then I think of our frozen embryo. How do we give that little boy or girl a chance? Is it irresponsible for me to attempt another pregnancy? What if I delivered at 24 weeks next time? How would I live with the guilt of raising a possible special-needs child knowing my body was the cause?

I think back to the month we started our first round of IVF, how scared I was of the process… And here now, with two beautiful girls… The situation may be different, but the fear remains.