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   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.

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