Jacqueline’s Journey to Surrogacy: Your Questions Answered!

Things with the surrogacy are moving rather slow this month, as I started my mock cycle.  A mock cycle is a full month of monitoring via a plethora of annoying doctors’ appointments, along with some hormones.   The day that I opened my door and found a box from Freedom Pharmacy, I immediately got a little nervous.  I didn’t open it right away, as I knew I didn’t have to start the cycle right away.  The box sat unopened on my ottoman for 4 days. (My ottoman is one of my favorite places to throw my crap. Oh, and let’s not leave out my trusty kitchen table that likes to collect useless crap & bills I’d like to forget about!)  Once my period started for July, I had to contact my nurse at CCRM. Then they send you a calendar of what exactly what you need to do each day, and also doctor’s orders.  Since my transfer will happen in Colorado, I had to find a fertility clinic close by to monitor via satellite.  Luckily, I have the pleasure of having the University of Iowa infertility clinic  close by and am able to be in good hands there.

One week into my estrogen I had to have blood work drawn.  They want your levels to be at least 50, mine were 80. *pats self on back*  I will continue on estrogen patches, have a couple more appointments, and then start these lovely pills that I get to, excuse me for being frank, insert in to my “privacy” as my 5 year-old likes to refer to it.  After this month, I will not be on any hormones for September, and will HOPEFULLY start back up in September.

Since there isn’t a lot to talk about for this month, I was inspired by my friend who is partaking in another surrogacy.  She has a great blog, visit it here: Kate’s hilarious & beautiful blog.  She has a very honest & blunt Q&A portion, and I thought, “HEY! I bet people have tons of questions that they are too embarrassed to ask. Maybe they want to ask, but feel it’s inappropriate to because they don’t  want to seem like a nosy rosy.”

So without further ado, Here are your questions, and my probably too honest answers…

Q: What hormones do you have to take and how long do you have to take them before you can go through the procedure? Do you have to do shots or is the medication oral? What is that like for you?

A: Every woman will have different hormones, depending on what they need.

Currently I am taking:

  • Prenatal vitamin
  • Vitamin D
  • Estrogen Patches. I started with one every other day, and now I’m up to four.  I change these every other day.  These are annoying, because I can’t go swimming, or sit in a hot tub.  Not like I really want to do these things anyway, but the fact that I cannot is annoying.  I also really enjoy baths. Well, too bad! Not while on these patches.  I also wear all black to work every day, so I look like I am half Dalmatian on my abdomen because the sticky-ness of the patches collects fuzzies, like a band-aid.
  • Prometrium. I take this orally, OR I can put it in my “privacies” which to be brutally honest, these suckers are the same size as a Monistat ovule that you use if you have a yeast infection.  If you have never experienced that awful thing, consider yourself lucky; but they are the size of the Easter candy that look like robins eggs, but are malted milk balls.  CAN YOU IMAGINE SWALLOWING ONE OF THOSE?! Me neither. So, I’ll be doing the alternative.   I have to take that 3 times a day for 10 days.

jacqui q and a pic

 (This isn’t me… clearly this person is like 10 weeks pregnant. And still skinner than me. :))

After my mock cycle, all of the monitoring will determine what medications I take.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a plump uterus that doesn’t need a lot of hormones.  These hormones haven’t been too bad thus far; however I have experienced what it’s like to be menopausal.  I am having hot flashes like a son of a ……..   How does one sweat for no reason in the middle of the night with the air conditioning on 69 degrees?! My poor child has been sleeping in winter pajamas.   It’s awful, and I want to express sympathy to you women going through that. It SUCKS!

Once my actual cycle starts I will have injections.  There are two different types, and a few other types of hormones.  Until then I’ll be on a birth control pill that will tell my ovaries to be quiet and settle down to let the docs take over for a bit.

Q: How many eggs will they implant at one time?

A: This completely depends on how many eggs the doctors can get.  My IP’s (Intended Parents) and I have talked about this quite a bit.  I feel most comfortable with two.  I’m not trying to make a reality show out of this, nor am I planning to give birth to a litter of babies, under the stairs on top of ripped up new papers(you know, like a dog would do). 

Q: How long does it take to know if implantation has occurred and what kind of testing do you have to go through?

A: Two weeks after the implantation of the little embies, I will have blood work drawn to test my HCG levels.  If the levels are not decreasing, they will consider this a successful transfer.  If the levels happen to fall below a certain number they would consider this an unsuccessful transfer, and wait for  your body to miscarry.

Q: How many trips do you have to make to Colorado? How long do you have to stay when you are there?

A: Thus far I have had two trips to beautiful Colorado.  Each time I stayed 3 or 4 days.  I will have one more trip to CO, that this will be T-Day, aka Transfer day.  I will be there anywhere from 3 to 5 days.  After transfer, I will be on bed rest (looking forward to this for sure) for 48 hours.

Q: How has it been so far going through this process as a single mom? Have you gotten a lot of support? How has it been for you since sharing your experience with Iowa City Moms Blog?

A: Going through the process as a single mom, is I’m assuming the same as anyone who is lucky enough to have a partner. The only thing is that I really don’t have to take anyone else’s opinions into consideration when making the decision, which is nice.  I didn’t have to convince my “spouse” about how great the idea is.  However, I did have to convince just about everyone else.  I’d say 3 out of 5 people had something negative to say, or felt the need to tell me how concerned they are.  Which I’m  an adult, and I would never do something that I didn’t feel like I could handle, so when someone tells me they are concerned, I get annoyed instantly.  Other people might be like, oh they love you, it’s nice they are concerned… NO.  When someone tells me they are concerned about the surrogacy, it means they wanted to share their opinion without sounding like a jerk.

Being able to share my story with ICMB has been amazing.  Where I am lacking in support from friends and family, I am gaining in readers.  It feels really good to have people PM me, and tell me they are glad that there are people like me out there that are selfless, or say thank you because they are struggling with infertility.   The readers of  ICMB have been amazing during this, and I feel honored to be able to be a guest writer, and even more honored that people actually take time out of their day to read what I write.

Truly, thank you.

 Q: Where exactly are you at in the process and where do you go from here?

A: I am in my mock stage, and from here we are hoping for a transfer in September or October.  We are doing a ‘fresh’  transfer, which means the egg(s) will be going from mommy, to be fertilized by daddy, and put in my glorious imperfect uterus.

Q: How did you tell people (your daughter, your family and friends) that you were going to be a surrogate?  How did they react?

A: Everyone had different reactions: surprised, shocked, supportive, and negative.   And the only opinions that mattered to me were my best friend Christine, my daughter, and my mother.

When I started thinking about it, I asked my then 4 year-old what she thought about mommy having a baby. She was like “sure, okay.” Then I said, “What if we gave that baby to someone else?” She was all, “Uh, no way.”

ROAD BLOCK.

I of course take her feelings into consideration. However, I cannot let my 5 year old dictate MY life.  And also, like I have said to countless people, if I thought it would harm my child, confuse my child, or affect her negatively, I wouldn’t do this.

When she wasn’t on board was when I knew it was important for her to meet my IP’s.  I wanted her to know where surrobaby would be going and try to understand it in a different way.  My Intended Mother explained to Danity, my daughter, that her belly was “broken” and that she needed a good belly to have a baby, and that I have a good belly and that we want to help.  So Danity asked a few questions, and she seems to be pretty excited for it now.  I let her come to a few appointments with me, I let her see me put my hormone patches on, and I stay open with her.  I want her to look at this as a gift of giving, and inspire her as she grows to give to people who are less fortunate.  Not that my IP’s are less fortunate, but their circumstance of being unable to bare children is.

Q: What do you hope to teach your daughter through being a surrogate for another family

A: Selflessness & sacrifice. 

Q: Do you have any fears going into the pregnancy? What are they? (Labor, weight gain, nervous about the responsibility, etc.)

A: I do have a few fears.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t.  Fear number one is that I will have a complication during this labor which would leave me unable to have children again.  My second fear is that I’ll be put on bed rest that will complicate my parenting and take away from my life with my baby.  BUT all in all my biggest fear is that this will be unsuccessful.

Q: Do you plan on doing another surrogacy (or egg donation, etc.) in the future, or is this a one-time thing for you?

A:  I admire those women who do this multiple times, and those who donate eggs.  I applaud them.  But for me, this is a one-time thing.  Unless later on down the road my IP’s ask me again, then we can talk. But for now:  This. Is. It.

Thank you all for taking time to writing in and ask me questions.  I am always open to speaking to anyone who needs some advice, guidance, or is interested in surrogacy.

jacqui q&a 2

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Jacqueline Graham is a single mom of a sassy four year old daughter, Danity, a full time Studio Director at a busy salon in Davenport & everybody's friend. Jacqueline grew up in Davenport, continued her education at Kirkwood Community College, & then ventured off to the Windy City. During her pregnancy with Danity, she decided to leave her event filled life in Chicago & raise her daughter in simplistic Iowa... But as you will find out her life is anything but simple. While trying to balance her career, her daughter & her passions, she is embarking on one of the most important journeys of her life. She is opening up to the world and sharing her step by step adventure in to becoming a Gestational Surrogate.

1 COMMENT

  1. I think what your doing is amazing, inspiring & a blessing to another family. I’ve been seeing you talk about this & travel back and forth to Colorado & i had an inkling, so I’m glad I got to read about it. I could totally tell by your “too honest” answers & other things that this was you. You rock girl & your daughter will be so proud even more than now later on in life!
    C. Munson

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