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   Thursday, January 29, 2009  


I don't have space for coherent thought.  I have been feeling very sick for the last couple of weeks, more so in the last week.  I have issues with indigestion.  Each night as I'm laying in bed, I feel tightness in my chest.  I fear that I'll vomit at every move by the time night rolls around.  I feel like I'm drowning in the stress of my life, and I feel guilt for feeling that way when so many others have it so much worse.

I'm worried about the surrogacy, when we'll get the money and how.  The huge deal that has been looming for my husband's company seems light years away one minute and like it will happen tomorrow the next.  The large corporation the deal is with is jerking them around big time.  With it, everything is good and we have money and no issues.  Without it, my husband and his partner have to start laying people off in November.  I worry about those people, their families, how that would affect them.  I worry about how it will affect our family.  The economy has hit my parents business hard -- they're in an area that will do well when things are good and will be the first area people start cutting when things are bad.  And things are bad.  I worry about them.  My mom was in the ER overnight due to blood pressure, a panic attack ... and all tests came back normal showing it was a physical reaction to the stress she's under.  That did nothing to lighten my personal stress load, and if anything increased it because now I am terrified about my mom's health.

One of my two cats has a horrible bacterial infection.  We have spent more money trying to get him healthy than I care to admit (including a one week stay in the vet hospital on IVs and tube feedings).  He's still not better.  We brought him home, he started getting worse again.  He's about to have an IV catheter inserted into one of his legs so he can get an insane and highly potent IV at home for 2-4 weeks.  He's also going to get the Z-Pack during that time.  Supposedly in conjunction those two things will cure the Pseudomonas.  Either way, it's going to be expensive and I feel guilty for worrying about the money aspect of it when I'm also terribly worried about his health.  And of course I'm also worried about the other (so far) healthy cat and whether or not he could catch this.  I'm worried about how I'll explain it to the lowercase if the cat doesn't get better.  I'm worried about how much (if any) pain the cat is in. 

I spoke to a friend this morning.  Her husband's company just did another round of cuts.  His department had been told they would be insulated from them.  They weren't.  Several people were let go yesterday.  Her husband wasn't one of them, thankfully, but he wasn't exactly spared.  They cut everyone's pay by 10%.  The company eliminated their dental and life insurance plans as well as decreasing the company contribution to their health insurance accounts.  And there is no guarantee that there won't be another round of layoffs next week or next month or tomorrow.  I'm extremely worried for and about them.  They have two gorgeous little boys, the older of whom was born the day before the lowercase and was his roommate in the isolette right beside ours.  I just can't bear to think of them in this situation.  I just can't.

I know that we're lucky.  We can still take care of our cat.  We can still do all of the things we need to in our daily lives (though we can't afford to add to our family in the safest way possible yet and are trying not to lose hope that we could in 6-12 months, but there is no guarantee that we can...if those big deals don't go through...)

My relationship with the lowercase is also suffering a bit because of it.  I love him, but my patience is shot.  I find myself frustrated more easily than normal -- and the fact that he's in a phase of pushing his boundaries and generally just exerting his will at all costs doesn't help.  (In my defense, Mr. W is also having greater difficulty dealing with him right now.)  I worry that it's not the lowercase sometimes but me, when clearly that isn't always the case.  So we've resorted to a lot of movies (Lightning McQueen is a lifesaver today!), lots of time outs, and as many activities as I can handle to keep him active and less likely to drive me over the edge.

Any ideas on reducing my worry and stress?  I just can't seem to separate out all of my worries for my future, for the people that I love so much and all that they are going through, and my guilt over being in a better financial position (at least right now) than they are.  I am making myself physically ill over it all.  Writing it down, talking about it with others...it just gets worse.  I can feel the tightness creeping into my chest even as I write this.  (One of my best qualities and biggest character flaws has always been caring more than is strictly healthy about others and intense empathy.  Usually it's a good thing.  Currently, it's just ripping me apart)  Suggestions (other than medicating it...I'm not comfortable with that and don't think I'm quite there...yet) are welcome and desperately needed!

   [ posted  @ 12:09 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (1) ]
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  Comments about my post, "Overwhelmed":
HUGS! I'm so sorry. It is very hard to be sensitive and caring in teh midst of this uncertian future. One thing I've done is to help at our churches homeless shelter. It doesn't fix everythign but I'm doing my best for as many as I can. Some how just knowing I'm doing what I can helps.

   Thursday, January 15, 2009  

Friend or Stranger?

Things are looking up slightly around here.  I'm trying to not let myself get too optimistic and too far ahead of myself.  Mr. W tends to refer to me as a "chicken counter."  I view myself more as someone who likes to be as prepared as possible for any eventuality.  My mind is like a series of "if-then" statements.  I need to work out as early as possible in every situation "If I do x, then y is likely to occur."  And I have to have as many variables as possible in mind.  Each week that I was pregnant with the lowercase, I would read a chapter of Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week to see where he was developmentally.  Once we reached 24 weeks, I added to my weekly reading by searching for health and survival rates of babies born at that level of prematurity -- my goal, since we knew it was very possible (and ended up being reality) that I would deliver early, was to deliver at the point where survival rates were around 99% (the same as full-term) with >90% of surviving babies deemed to be in the normal range for long-term health/abilities.

Looking down the barrel of a surrogacy, I find that it's a total unknown for me.  It involves so much more than just my child's health.  I have to make a judgement on the person carrying before getting to that point.  I have to trust that they are going to be able to handle this very unusual situation.

In that vein, I find myself wanting to have a friendship with the person, have it be someone that I know and know that I can trust.  But not entirely.  There is a part of me that is very frightened to have someone that is already a friend carry for me.  In doing so, I would be taking them out of the box of just a friend.  I am asking them to make healthy decisions, to do things that I feel would be in my child's best interest.  And some of it is craziness.  For instance - I have had 3 miscarriages.  I have spent hours with Dr. Google searching for studies about nutritional and environmental causes.  I've spoken to multiple doctors, from OBs to REs to fetal pathologists.  I don't consume caffeine during my pregnancies -- it isn't 100% proven to be a causal factor, but there are some interesting connections drawn between caffeine, miscarriage, and newborn weight.  Most OBs say that some caffeine is safe.  Is it fair to tell a friend "I know you like coffee, I know you have healthy children and drank coffee the whole time.  Don't do it."  And is it possible for me to back off from that request?  I know in other countries, small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy are considered safe -- I don't think any alcohol of any kind is safe.  Would I feel comfortable asking a friend to please, not go on that vacation  because of my own fears and neuroses?

And my biggest fear is that the whole pregnancy would alter the friendship in ways that could never be corrected.  If we disagree on something, is that going to break a friendship?  If at the birth, I am so enthralled with the baby that I temporarily forget to show massive amounts of gratitude (I am very guilty of not always remembering to say thank you immediately, no matter how grateful and thankful I actually am) -- is that going to hurt a friend's feelings more than someone that I only know because they know I want that child?  And is there a chance that the friend could have too much involvement -- for example, viewing herself as the child's "other mom" and questioning your parenting decisions throughout the rest of that child's life?  And even if she doesn't do that, will I always feel like she is judging me?

I have a couple of things going on right now that I haven't posted about here...M's match may not be happening right now and we've been talking quite a bit over IM -- she'd still like for us to "win the lottery and work with" her...a friend talked to her husband and they have agreed that as long as she could be approved and we could work out some terms (life insurance, some financial compensation, other legalities) she would like to carry for us...And we should know in a couple of days if Mr. W's company is going to start work on one of the really big deals before mid-year (if so, then we could potentially get the money for surrogacy by the end of June/beginning of July, or be guaranteed that we would have it by this time next year).

So, what would you choose...your friend or someone you know only through the surrogacy world?

   [ posted  @ 4:22 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (3) ]
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  Comments about my post, "Friend or Stranger?":
I'd avoid friends I think, too much potential for conflict and weirdness.
That is a toughie. I think I'd go with someone I didn't know, for the very reasons you state. It is possible that a difference of opinion along the way (about whatever--rest, testing, eating right, something!) with a friend may strain the friendship or break it entirely.

Friends are a precious commodity. I always hate to lose one; I'd probably hate it even more so if I lost one for the other precious commodity, family (or, in this case, family-building).

Good luck with this tough decision. No doubt you'll figure what's best for you, the mister, and T.
Hello. I am a lurker of your blog and check in on you occasionally. What you are going through right now has my interest as I am on the other side of the coin. I am trying to be a gestational surrogate for one of my best friends. We have known each other for almost 10 years and our husbands work together. When I heard her story about why she can't carry a child and that she had 9 embryos frozen waiting for a surrogate I wanted more than anything to offer to do it for her. I thought about it for over a year before I finally did. By then she already had a surrogate and was moving forward with her. The transfer didn't take so she came back to me and I was still at a place where I wanted to do it. I would never have done this for just anyone. Only for someone that I know personally and know that I will have contact with following the delivery of her child(ren). However, she insisted on paying me what she was going to pay the other girl and we had to do a contract and all the legal stuff that you have to do no matter what the relationship. It states in my contract that I will not consume items or participate in activities that could knowingly harm the baby(ies) in any way. That I must have doctors approval before doing anything that falls into this category. I drank one 12 ounce caffinated beverage a day when I was pregnant with my son and did not drink any alcohol and stayed away from the foods they say could cause miscarriage. But my doctor said I could have one diet coke a day. So, I did what my doctor said and I would have cut out diet coke completely if they told me I could not have it. Back to being a surrogate and asking a friend or a stranger....I guess it would be your comfort level and relationship with that person. My IM and I are very close and we are also very open and honest with each other and have been from the very start. We set that as one of the rules as we started on this journey. It is her child(ren) but it is still my body and my life too and I matter as much as the babies do. She aggrees so we don't have any issues. The contract lays out everything and the attorney was the one that made the requests and changes to clauses that didn't work for me and her attorney did the same for her so that all the little issues would be layed out in the contracts by the attorneys and then we could move on from there. One thing that you have to keep in mind that is important regardless of the person that is a surrogate for you is that you only have so much control over the situation and if you go into it wanting lots of control then it is sure to be a bumppy ride. Make sure that you put a list of things together that are very important to, that are requests and that are requirements and discuss it before making the decission to move forward...that way if there are any issues on either side they will be worked out before the very exciting journey of adding to your family and it can be that much more enjoyable. Sorry to babble on for so long and sorry if there are lost of spelling mistakes. I hope that some of this helps you make some decissions on how to move forward....if not...well, it's food for thought. PS: We have done 2 transfer attempts with 2 embryos each time and they have both failed. We will be trying again in April with fresh embryos and hope it works then. Remember that as well...it sometimes takes a few tries to get them to stick and sometimes it doesn't work at all. It is hard for the IPs but it is hard on the surrogate too....be compasionate to their feelings of loss as well if/when things don't work out. Also, join cafemom at cafemom.com and join one of the many surrogate mom groups that are open for surrogates and IPs and you will get lots of good input and advice from those going through the same things and having some of the same experiences.

   Friday, January 09, 2009  

Dilemma: Resolved

I e-mailed M. this morning.  I told her that I would feel too guilty to ask her to be in pain/stay off her medications and wait for me -- a wait that could be 5 or 6 more months, or even another year.  We're not cutting off communication by any stretch -- I really do like her and enjoy her e-mails.  But she's going to keep looking.  If she doesn't find anyone before she gets to be in too much pain, she'll go back on her medicine.  If she's available and able when we're ready, she'll wean off her meds and we'll go from there.

It's not the resolution that I wanted, but it's the only one that's fair to her.

I'm just waiting for the day that somehow something in all of this gets to be fair to me.

   [ posted  @ 12:47 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (0) ]
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   Thursday, January 08, 2009  


I don't know what to do right now.  Mr. W's business seems to be picking back up and this year has the potential to be the most financially profitable in the company's history.  THREE major newspaper chains (2 in the US, another in New Zealand...or Australia, I don't remember which right now) are on the verge of each signing contracts with dollar values attached that have 7 digits BEFORE the decimal point.  In addition, they have another venture that they are working on in a whole other industry that has the potential to be extremely profitable.  I'm still very nervous about it all because of the fact that 2008 was also supposed to be the most profitable year ever -- you know, before the economy tanked and the companies who were going to sign those deals last year (the 2 US deals) postponed them to 2009 to save their financial bacon.  And, of course, being the pessimist that I am, I fear that this will continue to happen.  Though, as my husband, a former IT guy at one of the US companies, attests -- they NEED this product if they want to remain in the black -- his product actually allows the industry to SAVE money and has a fairly quick ROI.

But that isn't what this post is about.  At least not entirely.  After the surrogate debacle in the fall, we kind of floundered for a while.  Mr. W became very anti-surrogacy, but I knew he would come around again.  He's now at a point where he again agrees that we will be doing it, but doesn't want to talk about the when of it all until we have all the money for it in our account and ready to go.  He doesn't want us to add any debt load of any kind, especially with the current state of things.  And while, logically, this does make sense...I AM NOT LOGICAL WHEN IT COMES TO THIS!

I've been talking to a surrogate that Kym recommended to me.  She seems really wonderful, but I can't give her a time frame.  Potentially June if Mr. W's business partner agrees to withdrawing profits twice in the year rather than at the end of the year as he has traditionally done.  Otherwise, we're looking at January 2010 as the earliest we could do this.  So...this could be a problem.

The potential surrogate, M, has rheumatoid arthritis.  She goes into remission when pregnant but is in pain without her medications when she isn't.  Her medication is category x.  It causes birth defects.  It's bad.  (She hasn't said which it is, but just in my looking, it's very likely methotrexate)  She isn't on it right now because she's still nursing her youngest who is almost 1.  But she feels the time running out before she either needs to get pregnant again or go back on the medication.  She e-mailed me yesterday saying that she didn't know what to do.  She would rather wait for me to be ready, to do this with us.  But we don't know our time frame and I can't ask her to stay off her medication for, potentially, another year.  She would have to be off the medications for 3-6 months prior to becoming pregnant per her doctors' orders.

So, now I have a dilemma.  Do I ask her to wait for us?  To go back on her medications but then go off for us later?  And knowing that she's on a category X medication (but one she doesn't need during pregnancy), would it be easy to find an RE who would approve her as a gestational surrogate?  Her own pregnancies were not considered high risk, full term vaginal births (though she did conceive her 2nd while on her medications and there were a lot of doctors weighing in during her first 8 weeks or so of that pregnancy; in the end, they deemed that she found out soon enough that it was likely not going to be a problem if she hadn't miscarried at that point; her daughter is healthy and normal).  So...what do I do?  How do I respond?

   [ posted  @ 5:12 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (0) ]
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