When hope becomes tangible

We were recently in Maine and I was feeling at ease following our failed IVF because I knew our next step to pursue surrogacy was the right choice for us. We had serendipitously found a willing gestational carrier that we also felt was meant to be.

We were walking in and out of gift shops, not buying anything because of our extremely strict budget, when I saw this onesie and thought of this post from a blog I follow.

I bought the onesie, feeling so much hope that day while feeling as close as ever to having our miracle baby. A souvenir from our favorite place. An item to help us remember the time when everything was starting to go right.

A small part of me also hoped I would not regret it later.

A couple days later we were on our way home when we learned we would not be able to continue with the gestational carrier we had set our hearts on.

I never even took the onesie out of the bag. Once at home I stuck the bag in the closet, trying to forget about how foolish I’d been.

A small part of me knew.

Despite the onesie suffocating in a plastic bag in my closet, I’m still hopeful it will be filled with life someday.

Consider making a donation to help us offset the costs of another woman turning our embryo into a baby.

Bunny update: Today we learned the baby bunnies in our yard did not survive. My husband happened upon them in their nest, resting peacefully. There were five. I will not let this be an omen.

Current state of affairs, part 5

Ahh, summer. Mating season and the fertility of mother nature are winding down. Perfect time to stretch out on the grass and relax.

Unless of course there is a bunny nest in the yard.

What made this momma bunny decide to have her babies in our tiny backyard that regularly is the stomping ground for two bunny-hungry canines, is beyond me.

We have spent the past couple weeks guarding these bunnies from the jowls of Dudsberry and Quoddy, ensuring this momma doesn’t join us in the multiple loss club.

Meanwhile I had made an appointment at my old fertility clinic to possibly get a second opinion on topics such as my thin uterine lining, and the clinic’s standards for gestational carriers. The doctor I had seen in the past was leaving the practice (I assume retiring), so I was surprised when they quickly got me in with the other doctor at the practice. A week before my appointment I was walking the dogs when my phone rang.

“The doctor was just scheduled for surgery the afternoon of your appointment, we will have to reschedule,” the clerk from office said.

“Okay, sure,” I said.

“Alright, so it looks like the doctor is going on vacation the day after your appointment was supposed to be… and lets see, for two weeks after that our office is being remodeled and we won’t even be able to be in the building… so how about end of July?” she said.

Silence. Then, irritation, “that’s over a month away!” I exclaimed.

You. have. got. to. be. kidding. me.

“Fine, put me down, but I might just cancel it later,” I said. Take that.

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Speaking of July, I have this ginger beer that will be expiring then. I’ve had it in my fridge since my last pregnancy, over a year and a half ago. It was the magic elixir that kept me from puking. I decided it was finally time to stop saving the last couple bottles, ‘just in case.’

On the legislative front, I received word from the senator who had previously introduced a surrogacy bill in Michigan. Apparently what happened is the bill failed to receive a hearing in time and the bill expired. However, she says she is currently finalizing a similar bill to introduce soon. Let’s hope this one makes it! And soon. Even if it’s not soon, just make it, Michigan needs this!

Last, and certainly not least, another one of my friends has agreed to meet with my doctor to see if she would be a good gestational carrier. If she proceeds as a carrier, I will be forever indebted to her gratitude and selflessness. 

There are angels among us.

What I know about surrogacy so far

I am not a lawyer and the laws are changing all the time, but I wanted to touch on what I am learning about surrogacy. We live in Michigan, which unfortunately is one of the most surrogate unfriendly states. It is illegal to pay a surrogate for their pain and suffering in Michigan. In other words, paid surrogacy is illegal in Michigan. Only a few states are like this. As far as I know the intended parent must swear under oath that they only compensated the surrogate for approved medical expenses. The judge may look into financial records further or ask for a list of compensated expenses. Furthermore, any kind of agreement or contract made with a surrogate is null and void, and contracts for payment carry penalties of jail time and fines.

The following relates to heterosexual intended parents and an embryo that is 100% that of the intended parents, as this is our case. A pre-birth order may be granted in Michigan, but it depends upon the individual judge.  A pre-birth order names the intended parents as the legal parents at birth. If a pre-birth order is not granted and the surrogate is married, then the intended parents must adopt the child after birth, even if the child is biologically 100% that of the intended parents. If the surrogate is not married, the intended father can sign a paper at birth making him the legal father, and the intended mother would adopt the child.

Of course we live in a state that is so far behind the times.

There was a bill introduced in 2016 that would make paid gestational surrogacy legal in Michigan. It appears to have stalled in the Michigan Senate. I have written my senator and the senator who introduced this bill and urged them to move it along. ***Edit: Apparently this bill did not receive a hearing in time and has expired. We hope for a new bill in the near future.

As far as surrogacy requirements go, I know a surrogate has to have had a child before. It’s favorable if the surrogate has a partner for support. They also have to be medically and psychologically cleared, but I’m not sure what all that entails. Additionally there may be more requirements.

Again, I’m not a lawyer, so if you are looking into surrogacy, definitely consult a lawyer that specializes in assisted reproductive technology.

Croissants and adoption

So remember when I was horrified to find out my husband didn’t save me any of the croissants I worked so hard to make? I never followed up on that. 

Little did I know, right after that happened he booked us a croissant baking class at my favorite bakery for our 8 year anniversary. 

The class was this weekend, and let me tell you, we are on croissant overload! These croissants turned out even better than the ones I initially made, and now I have the recipe for life! 

They take two days to make, so I’ll only be embarking on croissant baking for very special occasions. 

On a different note, if one more person asks me about adoption, I’m going to flip my lid. I know I’ve addressed this before, but let me re-hash. 

I have nothing against adoption. There are many kids looking for a family. I commend those who do adopt or foster. 

Try to be in my shoes for one minute. 

I’ve spent years trying to build my family: countless appointments, injections, pills, and not to mention the monetary involvement and the effects (some to be discovered I’m sure) on my body. 

What have we gained so far?

Potential life. Multi-celled organisms of my genetics combined with my husbands that have been genetically tested as normal. They have a sex. All they need is a functioning uterus.

So why would I just walk away from all of that and give up on these cells that could be our lives someday?

I won’t because I’m not a quitter. 

If you were in my shoes would you give up at this point? I would hope if you are pro-life then you definitely wouldn’t. 

So for those of you who did not adopt, why didn’t you adopt? 

Because part of you wanted a child with your genetics? That was going to look like you, or you and your partner?

Part of me wants that too, ok?

So give me one good reason why I would stop my plan to spend more money on a different route, go through legal hoopla, wait months/years, and have a home study… all to get a child that isn’t going to be “ours.”

The only legitimate reason I could think of would be that it’s not financially possible. This process is expensive, yes, but you know what? My husband went to college for 10 years and as a result has a lot of student loan debt. Doing surrogacy adds up to less than his student loan debt. 

So how would I feel if we didn’t do surrogacy and I looked back and said, “Yeah, we spent more on my husband’s degree than we were willing to for our child to be born.”

Life is priceless. We will do whatever it takes. Please help us get there. 

https://www.youcaring.com/kellyvassas-836030

Thank you. 

Knocked down again

I’m shocked, frustrated, and having a hard time imagining that things may ever go right. 

We could not proceed with our first choice gestational carrier due to medical reasons. 

I should have known better to have high hopes. 

But, I refuse to believe our future carrier is someone I have not crossed paths with yet. It would be ideal to do this locally and without going through an agency. If we have to go through an agency, we would have to do things out of state due to the laws here in Michigan. 

Several people have said things to me like, 

  • I would be your surrogate, but *insert reason here*
  • I would do it if I were younger (age 42 cut-off at my clinic)
  • I would do it but I don’t have the parts anymore

It takes a big step from just throwing scenarios out there to actually stepping up to the plate and seriously looking into being a surrogate for someone. It’s among the nicest, most selfless offering in the world. We are forever grateful for the serious offers. 

The withdrawal headaches have definitely gotten better but still happen once in a while. 

We just got back from a much needed road trip where it was nice to get away and forget about real life. Unfortunately, our problems were still waiting for us once it was over. 

Withdrawal

I’ve been on one hormone or another for the past four years and a baby aspirin a day for almost a year. Last week I abruptly stopped it all. Now I’m paying the price. 

For the past week I’ve had on and off headaches, mostly at the end of the day. Some days I wake up with one and it gets worse and worse until I go to bed. The end of the day can be so bad I can barely function. The other day I lost my toothpaste in the bathroom. 

My standby two Aleve don’t touch the throbbing. Today I’ve been taking Tylenol every 4 hours and it’s kept the pain to a minimum. 

Apparently there is such a thing as weaning off aspirin. Generally people don’t need to wean off a baby aspirin. Generally. Guess I’m not general. But we already knew that. 

We want to thank those who have donated to our cause so far. We can do this, let’s keep the momentum going!

https://www.youcaring.com/kellyvassas-836030

Crowdfunding

My last post regarding our failed IVF and plan for surrogacy has been viewed 126 times, 82 of those times from facebook. There is no denying that there are people following our journey. If you are one of those people (or even if you aren’t) please consider donating to our YouCaring page. Every little bit helps, so forgo that $5 coffee for a day to help us bring a miracle of life into the world. Even a $10 donation from 126 people is $1,260, a good chunk of money toward our cause. It has been years since we first started our journey, but I have not openly asked for donations until now. We need help now more than ever. To those who have donated, thank you for your generosity.

https://www.youcaring.com/kellyvassas-836030

There is a link on our YouCaring page to share to your own social media. I would love if each person reading this could do this at least once!