March 30, 2012

Blog life

I started this blog, while I was on bedrest after the transfer, after a friend suggested I should. I am so glad she did (ahem... Sara, thank you!). If she wouldn't have suggested it, I am fairly certain I would have missed out sharing my story here.

Before I started this blog I had a poorly neglected photography blog. Today that blog is like the ugly stepsister locked away in the dungeon. I rarely visited other blogs and didn't follow any. Blog World was not part of my everyday life.

For me this blog is an excellent way to share the incredible surrogacy journey I experienced. This was my sole reason for starting it. Not until I stumbled upon another blog involving surrogacy did I realize how big the surrogacy/intended parents(IPs) blog world is. It's big! 

The first blog I stumbled upon is authored by an IP. He and his husband were expecting triplets. I enjoyed this blog very much because 1.) triplets! OMG! Who wouldn't follow that? 2.) I was reading thoughts, concerns, dreams of this new family to be. I enjoyed relating to his posts and seeing his point of view as an IP. From there I found many other blogs.

I started following a few and then a few more. It becomes addicting and I know I will eventually follow even more. This blog world is kind of like a support group for me. Although I am not close to any of the authors and know none of them IRL (in real life), I enjoy reading their postings and feeling like I know exactly what they mean and how they are feeling. I know no one IRL that has been a surrogate so it's nice to have these blogs.


March 28, 2012

Will I do it again?

I am asked this question so often. I don't mind the question. In fact, I absolutely LOVE talking about surrogacy. I think the question started before I even entered my second trimester. I joked that the question should not be asked while I was still in the injection/morning sickness phase. The first trimester wasn't very kind to me. I was tired, sick and doing my best to handle the extra hormones from the injections (without ripping my husband's head off like I was some sort of man-eating beast). But I knew what the precious results would be and that helped me get through it. Today those not-so-great days are a very faded memory. The delivery is also a faded memory. Women are amazing in that respect (that's right mommas, give yourself a high five... you deserve it). Almost every woman I talk to about the bumps in pregnancy say the same. All of the pregnancy woes become faded memories. If the memories didn't fade... I guarantee we would have a lot of one child families. Some women enjoy labor and delivery. Me, not so much but it's part of the process. I do enjoy pregnancy very much though.

I will say that I feel surrogacy can become quite addicting. While I am quite sure I will look into doing this again I have some hesitations. My main hesitation is: will I find another couple that I bond so well with? I want to have a relationship with whomever I take this journey with. Before I met the guys, I didn't realize how important that was to me. I don't think I could have daydreamed a better journey than the one I experienced. It leaves me wondering if I do this again... could a second journey be as great? I imagine that it definitely could be.

I have no questions about the agency - they did an amazing job. The process flowed along so smoothly. They made appointments, told me when and where to be, made travel arrangements for the transfer... they made it easy. I suppose that is what they are paid for so it makes sense. I can't even imagine doing this without the help of an agency.

Here I am 2 1/2 months postpartum and thinking the chances of me doing this again are very high. When I am asked the question "will I do it again" my answer is that I will look into doing it again. Not now, in a year or so. I am not getting any younger so if the right couple came along I would do it sooner rather than later. But my goal is to wait at least until next January to start.

I'd love to hear from any other surrogates. Will you do it again? How many times have you done it already? Any hesitations about doing it again for a different couple?

March 22, 2012

I am a slob... thanks to my kids.

You know you're a parent when you take yourself out in public and only then do you realize you have a cookie mess on your sleeve and God-knows-what on your pants.

Apparently, I changed too soon yesterday. I probably should have dressed and went immediately to the gym. Instead I wore my workout clothes around for awhile before actually leaving. In this amount of time I was able to acquire mashed up cookie on my sleeve and I really can't tell you what was on my pants. Of course, I didn't notice this until I was already at the gym. First I noticed the cookie mess then I noticed the pants. I really left the house like this, really?

Sadly, this wasn't the first time I have done this and I think we all know it won't the last.

March 15, 2012

Vacation part 2

Hopefully you caught my first vacation post Vacation Part 1. If not, get to it already, would ya!?!

I left off with our first night on the boat. We explored the ship, ate yum yum food and enjoyed the sea from our private balcony. We slept with the balcony door open that night and listened to the sound of the sea... sounds awesome, right? I won't lie, it was awesome. It's okay to be jealous, I would be too.

The next day was a full day at sea. I was looking forward to sitting in the sun. All I wanted to do was soak up the sun and listen to my music. And because I had no one to answer to I did just that. It was so lovely! We also explored more of the ship, ate more great food (the wonderful thing about the food is that it is always available!) and scheduled myself for some spa treatments for the following morning. I know this all sounds super duper fabulous and it definitely was but the best part of the whole day (probably the whole trip) was watching the sunset with Jeremy from the adult only lounge which was in the very back of the ship. There were maybe 10 other people in the lounge, it was very quiet and peaceful. We reclined in a deck chair for two and enjoyed a cocktail as the sun set and then moved to a hammock for a short nap.

The next morning I went for my spa treatments before leaving for Grand Cayman. The spa treatments were terrific with a capital T. Had breakfast and caught the tender that took us to the port. If you are not up to par on your cruise lingo, don't worry I wasn't either. The ship was too large to dock at Grand Cayman so they use smaller boats called tenders to take people to and from the port.

Here is that husband of mine with our ship in the background:

Enjoy some more pictures of Grand Cayman:

Grand Cayman port
See the yellow object (not the yellow and blue one) by the ship?
That is the tender, it looks so tiny but it could probably carry 150 people. 
The water is so beautiful
One more
We mostly walked the sidewalk by the shoreline and visited the shoppes. When we got back to the hotel we had a visitor in our cabin:

The housekeeping staff came into our cabin every evening (while we were at dinner) to turn down our bed.
They would also leave a towel animal and mints. Here we are with our elephant friend. Oh and don't bother judging me for wearing a bandanna... I heard Jack Sparrow was sailing the Caribbean. I know he likes bandanna wearin' wenches.
After we visited Grand Cayman, we went to the adult only lounge again. We found a couple lounge chairs and relaxed before getting ready for dinner. I have to tell you about this lady we sat next to. She was probably in her 50's. She had a nice figure, wore rings on every digit, bracelets on both wrists, anklets on both ankles, a huge tattoo on her lower leg, a permanent tan and a feather in her hair. She remained in the same position the entire time we sat there. She was sprawled out with her head slumped over to one side. Before we left I checked to be sure she was still breathing. She was. What makes it funny is that at around the same time the next day we saw her again. She was in a different lounge area, wearing a different swim suit, but she was in the exact same position. We were beginning to think they were filming a sequence to "Weekend at Bernie's".

That evening we had reservations at the on board steakhouse, Golden Fleece. The food was superb! I had the french onion soup, a sirloin and this little beauty:

A slice of Hazelnut Cheesecake. The picture doesn't do it justice. It was so big I could only eat about 1/3 of it.

Jeremy and I after taking in about 75 lbs of food.
The next day we set out for Cozumel. We got a late start to the day and decided to skip the excursions. I wish we hadn't because there was a private beach party that would have been so much fun. A small boat takes people to this beach and there you can relax on the beach or you can play on different inflatable objects in the water. They huge slides and trampolines. Oh, that beach would have brought out the inner child in me. Instead we walked through the shoppes at Puerta Maya. One thing we discovered is you should never wear a sports themed t-shirt. Jeremy wore a Viking's shirt (shush, we know they suck but they try their best lol) and many vendors called to him and tried selling him sports themed items. It was humorous and annoying at the same time. After we shopped a little, we enjoyed a daiquiri and an appetizer from Fat Tuesday's. The outdoor restaurant sits right on the shore so we were able to enjoy the water and buzzing activities as we sat.

Sunset that evening:

The next day we stopped in Belize. This stop wasn't as good as we had hoped. The locals were very pushy and made our visit a little uncomfortable. I do have a good story to share though.

Nascar race to the beach, we spotted a burned out van on the side of the road... that was disturbing considering the fact that this driver was making me so nervous I could have peed my pants.

Finally we arrived at the beach! Whew, one trip down, the return trip to go (the return trip is even more interesting). The beach was very nice. Unfortunately, I only brought my small camera and the battery died, which is bizarre because it was fully charged before we left. We swam and lounged in the sun.

After we were done Henry came to pick us up. I didn't mention it before but he drives a small, older Camry. He pulled up and we see he has another couple in his car. Like I said, Jeremy is a tall guy. The guy in the front passenger seat was probably just as tall. There was no way Jeremy or this other guy (not that he even bothered trying) was fitting in the backseat. Henry's solution: "Jeremy, you drive". After a little convincing, Jeremy got in the driver's seat and Henry got in the back with me and the other lady. Small world fact, this other couple lives about 2 hours away from us! So Jeremy drove the 20 minutes it took to get back to the port. If you knew my husband this would make you laugh and say "only you, Jeremy".

Here is our towel animal that day:

Our next stop was Honduras. This place was marvelous! We woke up to this view:

and this:

And this:

I could hear the passengers on the balcony next to ours talk about this ship.
They were saying something about a war. I was excited to learn more about it.
But ... the information we found said it was intentionally sunk. The little bit I read about these ships was interesting though. There are other sunken ships in this bay, too.
We bummed on the beach at this stop. We didn't have to take a taxi or get harassed by the locals. This was my favorite stop. The beach was right there and no one was eagerly trying to sell us fake coach purses or handmade rugs.

Enjoy these pictures:

Most evenings on ship we enjoyed shows. We watched a game show, another show similar to the Newlywed Show and some insanely talented dancers and singers. One night the boat was rocking quite a bit and these dancers didn't miss a beat. We played Bingo a few times and tried out the casino. We also watched karaoke a few times, which I love. I use to sing with my friends back in my wild child days but not so much anymore.

I also did a lot of people watching, a favorite pass time for me. People are strange and it's fun watching that strangeness unfold. I witnessed and overheard many funny and interesting things.

These last 2 photos were taken as we flew out of Tampa.

So we've been home from almost 2 weeks now. My tan has faded and my dark circles have returned, but the weather is amazing so I am not complaining!

Once again I have posted a mile long post... if you made it to the end, thank you and I hope you enjoyed it!


March 09, 2012

Vacation Part 1

I wanted to start this post a few days ago but after a week of no computers I really have little desire to get sucked back into cyber world. I haven't been feeling any creative juices flowing. Since I want this post to be interesting and fun I needed to wait until I was "feelin" it. So here is my attempt to brag about my super fabulous super awesome vacation. I am sure I will go on and on and on. Feel free to skim through it. If nothing else, enjoy the pictures.

This vacation was a surprise gift from Roy and Avner (click here to read). It was a 7 day cruise. We had 4 scheduled stops, Grand Cayman in Cayman Islands, Puerta Maya in Cozumel, Belize City in Belize and Roatan in Honduras. We also had 2 full days of cruising the sea.

The airport we flew out of is about 1 1/2 hours away from our house. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:00am on Sunday. We decided it would be best to stay in a hotel close to the airport so we didn't have to get up so early (rising before the sun should be against the law). We parked our van at my bff's house (she was also my partner in crime at the embryo transfer in La Jolla and my wonderful nurse for the days I was on bedrest) and they dropped us off at the hotel after a fun dinner at Cowboy Jack's. My recommendation is the BBQ Chicken Pizza... delish!

Me, Carrie, Carrie's hub Kirk and my hub Jeremy
me and Carrie

Sunday morning came early and we headed to the airport. I love the excited feeling of leaving for a trip. The airport was pretty slow and we got through the lines fairly quickly. Is it just me or does going through security make you feel like a criminal? On my last trip to CA my carry-on bag was searched because it appeared that I had a some sort of explosive in my bag. Gang, take another look at me... do I look as though I would be carrying explosives? I guess you never know. Better to be safe than sorry but I couldn't help feeling a little offended. Turns out I was not packing a bomb, it was my USB cord along with a deck of cards playing tricks on the TSA.

We started boarding the plane at about 6:20 am and left right on time. I like to pretend I am a good flyer but I am only a so-so flyer. I don't physically or verbally freak out and I don't get sick but with every little bump and sound I have an inside voice that screams "what the hell was that". By the way, I am the same way in an elevator. This flight was no different... a lot of "what the hell..." and "are we there yet". I do enjoy taking pictures from the plane...

I think this was somewhere in Georgia
 I love the blending of sky, clouds and land in this one
 We arrived in Tampa around 11:10 am. We took a shuttle to the port and went through customs and the boarding process. We called home knowing that we wouldn't be talking to our kids for a few days. We boarded the huge ship at about 1:00 pm and went off to find our cabin. The ship is beautiful and very grand. We had no idea how to find our cabin so we asked a staff member, DJ zen, who was standing at the elevators. His help was not so helpful but after 10/15 minutes of searching we realized he gave us wrong info. No worries we finally figured it out and didn't have to camp out in the halls. The room was great. It was a nice size and had a balcony (so sweet).

Here are a few pictures of the port from our balcony:

And here are a few as we sailed out of Tampa:

 And it wouldn't be complete without a dorky picture of me

Bye bye Tampa:

Hello cool bridge:

Our first night was spent exploring the boat. There was a lot to discover and we couldn't complete the task in one evening. We went to eat at Truffles Restaurant. This is where we had most of our evening meals. The food was very tasty! We discovered a scrumdiddlyumptious (yes, I had to look up the spelling) dessert called "Warm Chocolate Melting Cake". If you like chocolate then this dessert is for you. It was a small chocolate cake (as if that isn't obvious) with a melted chocolate (again obvious), almost pudding like, center and side of vanilla ice cream. We had this almost every night for dessert. I did switch it up a couple of times. The dinners are so wonderful. You choose an starter, main course and dessert. The servers stalked from afar and cleared plates, silverware, etc as soon as we were done and assured us our next course would be available soon. Can I just say how nice it is so be served warm, delicious meals and to not have them interrupted by spilled milk or some kid screaming he doesn't like the food set before him?

Throughout our stay we got to know one of the servers, Kamal. He was a great guy. We talked to him in length one evening. He is from the Philippines. He is married with one son and another baby due in May. We found out some interesting facts:

* They work 6 months on 3 months off and about 12 hours a day 7 days a week. Ummm... no thank you!
It took me a few days to write this post so I will stop here and post again soon about the rest of the trip.