On Tuesday, September 26th, we boarded a one way ticket to Minneapolis knowing that we would be returning home as a family of 4! We made our best guess when making car, hotel, and airport parking reservations as to the return date for each reservation. If only it were that easy and predictable!
After sharing a brief dinner with Jenna and her family, we headed about an hour and a half north from Edgar, WI to Eagle River. As luck would have it, a few weeks prior we found out that Jon's aunt has a lake house there and she had graciously offered for us to stay there while we waited. What an amazing gift from her and a beautiful place to stay to pass the time while we awaited the arrival of the babies. It was just the two of us until Thursday when our parents began to arrive. We enjoyed beautiful scenery, delicious food, and a ton of games of solitaire! Day by day we kept our phones close just in case Jenna went into labor and we messaged with her daily.
Here are some photos from our time of waiting:
During the days of waiting, we scheduled a few different day trips to Wausau to be with Jenna. On Thursday the 28th, we went with Jenna to the final OB appointment and were told that it appeared the babies would stay in there until they were forced to come out! After the appointment we had dinner with Jenna, Joe, and Rachel's dad. We were so excited for our parents to finally meet this amazing family.
On Saturday the 30th, all of our parents were now with us and we met Jenna, Joe, and their children at a sub shop to pick up sandwiches. We then went to a lookout over the city of Wausau for lunch, followed by a trip to an orchard. It was an absolutely gorgeous day for Wisconsin in late September and it was a very special time for our families to get to know Jenna a bit more.
As of Monday, October 2nd, the babies still had not decided to make their appearance so we headed down to Wausau. After a delicious dinner at Jon's favorite spot in Wausau - Red Eye Brewing Company (their Wisconsin burger will change your life!) - our parents checked in to a local hotel. Jenna & Joe graciously opened their home for us to stay there Monday night so we could all head to the hospital together Tuesday morning. Jenna needed to report at 6:00am. Yeah - we hardly slept at all...
Welcome back to the next exciting part of this surrogacy journey! Since I am blogging in the "catch up" way, instead of real time, I have to really dig deep and remember all of the things that happened. I am likely missing pieces, or forgetting some details, but I assure you that what is written is as close to actuality as possible. If you EVER need clarity, or have questions about something I post about, please do not hesitate to reach out! We must all stick together to make our journeys, however they look, be smooth and positive!
OK, let's talk about medications, shots, and transfer day!
Contracts are so business like, and a not the glamorous part of a surrogacy journey, right? Meds and shots are pretty non-glam too, but a very important, necessary, and big part of the journey. At the clinic day you talk about all of the medications, get all of the paperwork, and go through learning about how to use the medications, so you feel like it won't be too bad. Totally doable, and you're going to remember ALL of the things your nurse told you about them. NOPE! You are going to receive a box in the mail, full of vials, syringes, suppositories, and pills. And you may panic. But don't! Seriously, you may not remember each detail but between the clinic and TSE they walk you through every step. And much of the medication you receive can be put away until further steps. Always go back through emails, and paperwork to know exactly which medications you will need now, and which can go away. And, if you need help remembering how, where, or when to take meds, email or call your Fertility Clinic nurse. That is what they are there for. I'm not joking! They would much rather get ten emails a day worth of questions from you, than you guess and something go haywire.
This being my second journey, I was prepared for all of this stuff. This is not to say that I didn't need reminders of how to inject, when to inject, which pills to take, how many, and when to take them. Once I had all of that in place, and my nurse gave me the go ahead date for pills and injections, we DID IT! We started the process in making my body super ready for this baby to grow in my uterus for months to come.
The beginning part of the medication protocol should be easy to follow. We go for blood work, we check levels, we make sure medication dosages are correct, and that our body is responding. An ultrasound of my uterine lining and the inactive follicles within my body is done as a baseline. This all takes place at a local fertility clinic, and mine this time just happened to be AMAZING! I couldn't have been more thankful for the happy, positive, loving, guiding, and peaceful people and atmosphere I was provided. Quality fertility clinic monitoring is super important! Do research on local places and make sure there are plenty of positive reviews of quality staff before making a decision on which place to go to. TSE helped with some suggestions and together we found the perfect place.
When my monitoring clinic sends results of my blood work, and ultrasound over to our Dad's fertility clinic, I was on pins and needles hoping they would say everything was perfect and we could schedule transfer. We work and try so hard to get to this point, and I certainly don't want them to wait any longer than they have (and I don't really care to stick myself longer than I have to either - wink wink). WE GOT THE GREEN LIGHT! Jumping for joy, super excited, can't flipping wait to 1) See our Dad's again; 2) See our awesome doctor and nurse again; and 3) Put a baby in my body to grow, grow, grow!
I hardly could believe it! It was time to head out to transfer day. We were jet setting the day after Mother's Day, with nothing but happy, squishy, sticky, baby vibes! The next day we wake up super early to go in for blood work; well, just me. We await results, and then get the final call for what time to be at the clinic for transfer. We arrive, we go back, I get undressed, we do some laser acupuncture, we chat a bit, and enjoy each other's company. Yes, we are ALL together. Because, yea, it's their baby! I wouldn't let them miss a single second of the journey! We have some laughs, and then it's time! Doctor and nurses come in with baby ready. This is happening, yes? YES!
We all watch (and video), the process of baby going into my body and just hope my body takes over as we know it can. I think we all held our breath as baby went in and doctor says, " There you go! That's it! Now, grow!". It was magical. Lake and I weren't aware of which gender embryo our Dad's decided on yet. They kept it a secret from us until transfer day. As this was all taking place, they asked if we wanted to know now. Of course we did! And the baby is.......That's a secret for us to know and you to find out later in our journey!
We left the clinic and went for a lovely breakfast all together, with some really incredible signs of positivity, strength, guidance, and love showering us. We loved every second of time we had with our Dads that day! I wished it wouldn't end, and we could just spend all of our time together. However, they had to get home to continue on with their days, work, and soak in the exciting morning for themselves.
Until next time...
Once we were matched, we had to go through contracts. UGH! I think this is likely the least favorite portion of a journey. Mostly because it can be lengthy, and dealing with attorneys, (yes, they have one and I have one), can be a tad frustrating. However, it's not a terrible ordeal. It is mostly streamlined because contracts are baseline. They add in and take away things in contracts based on things you and your IPs have agreed upon. Some examples from our contract would be - I do not get the flu shot, and after expressing why I don't, and chatting it all over directly with our Dads, we took that part out of the contract stating I would have to get a flu shot. An addition we made was, I would absolutely not do an induction of birth unless the OB believed there was a medical risk to myself or to baby. Many times IPs want to schedule inductions so they can plan to be there for the birth of baby; I understand that desire. I am not comfortable with that idea, and thankfully both of our amazing IPs have been very welcoming of that scenario. So, we go back and forth, read the contract, send it to our attorney, they make the necessary changes, and send it off to the other party's attorney. This goes on for a little while, until the entire thing has been picked through with a fine tooth comb by both the IPs and the carrier. Then, it is FINALIZED!!!!! Signed, sealed, and delivered!
Holy crap! This is so real! The contract is signed. We are IN THIS! What a relief once contracts are signed. It is almost as if everyone is holding their breath during this period, and once it is signed, everyone relaxes a little bit again, and the relationship really blossoms.
On March 12, we flew out of SC on our way to clinic day, and meeting The Dads for the first time! We fly out, we get to our hotel, we hang out, and the anticipation is so great. Clinic day can't come soon enough. Lake and I talked about how excited we were, what The Dads would be like, seeing our same doctor from last journey again, and things we would talk to The Dads about.
We have to be at the clinic earlier than The Dads. We have some things we do before they do. So, we do our first few things and go back out to the waiting room for what's next on the itinerary at the clinic. Next thing I know, I look and I see two men walk into the clinic, I lock eyes with one, and he says, "Ashley?" YEP, THAT'S ME!!! Lake and I got up, walked toward them as they walked toward us, and we were all greeted with amazing hugs, beautiful smiles, and joy in all the hearts! We were only able to sit and chat for a few more minutes before we were all pulled to our next appointments. Eventually, we all had a meeting together to talk more in-depth about some of the things we all expected from the journey, the pregnancy, the birth, and the experience. This meeting is mediated to help everyone along, and so that things don't go too far off topic, or to help one party understand something the other is trying to express. Another step in the process to help get to know each other.
Clinic day is a LONG day. It's very information based, and overload. BUT, it doesn't have to be brain boggling. Because all of the people with The Surrogacy Experience and the fertility clinic are there for you any time you have questions, concerns, issues, or anything. They are all, always just a phone call or email away. They never want you to hesitate to contact them. This process requires a lot, and no one is expecting any of us to remember it all at once.
Whew! The day is over, and we finally get to leave all together to grab some lunch and chat freely. Conversation just flowed so easily and effortlessly. It felt as if we had known each other for our entire lives, and we were just casually catching up over lunch. I couldn't believe how comfortable we all seemed to feel with each other. We all just got each other. And that was another sigh of relief. Thank goodness for, what seems to be, the perfect match!
That was a lot of information and a big catch up. I hope you stuck through the entire post, and I hope you'll come back for the next. We talk about medications, shots, and transfer day! We are almost caught up to present day!!!!
Chow for now
Match Made in Surrogacy
Now that we all understand how amazing surrogacy is, and why I want to be a carrier for other people, let's move on to the current day stuff. When I told Tina I was ready again, she immediately said she had the perfect couple. WOW! Of course we always hope for quick matches; but already out the door? Ok, let's do this!
Hi everyone, it's Ashley Boulton again. That's right, AGAIN! We are embarking on another journey. This is not a sibling journey, but a journey for a new couple in our lives. Before I begin on the current, and very wonderful journey, I will recap my previous journey.
Hello everyone. Well, I went in for another scan on Monday to see the baby and we are right at 8 weeks exactly. While it's still a bunch of white squiggles on a screen with a lump here and there, I was happy to see that baby is getting so much bigger.
After the transfer, after all the pregnancy tests, and those first two BETA results, I was pretty darn sure I was pregnant! All of those positives combined to make me “mostly” positive that our first ultrasound would be a good one, but there is always that little bit of doubt that comes with the inability to physically see what is actually going on inside of you.
Flying back to Connecticut was an interesting adventure which involved a stop in Atlanta, Georgia (we live in OH). We didn’t mind this odd diversion, mostly because I collect a deck of playing cards whenever I go to a new airport. Generally airports have several options with their state’s name on them, and I use these in my classroom for games and math practice.
The dreaded two week wait. Any woman who has ever done IVF for any reason knows how hard that two weeks can be. You sit around waiting, wondering if you have a life growing inside of you or it didn’t take for some reason. You worry about taking your meds and if the 14 grams of caffeine in your hot chocolate is going to affect the chances of success- or affect the development of the baby.
I am so excited to report that my cycle is right on target for transfer in a week and a half. I had three visits to the monitoring clinic, once per week on Wednesdays, in order to watch my hormone levels and check my uterine lining. They are looking for proper estrogen and progesterone levels as well as watching my thyroid levels and I imagine other things.
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