CHP - arms with Myer

CHP - arms with Myer

29 April 2012

TC 10K!

So this post is not really baby related.

I ran my first 10 km race today, which is something that I never thought I'd do. Just finishing it was monumental for me. I finished the race in 65 minutes, which I was really happy with, especially as this was the first time running 10 km EVER! I had never run that far even in training for the race, so I'm feeling pretty proud about the whole thing.  In my life before kids, the extent of my participation in 'sports' was darts at the pub. :)

I've been contemplating whether to keep it up if pregnant again, but I just don't think I can do it.  Despite hearing about people who continued to run right up till their third trimester, I think I would worry too much. So running will have to go on the back burner for now, but at least I'll be going "out" on a high note, having set and achieved a personal goal.

Next year out!

* Re: pic -  I realize I look a little dopey in this picture, so just wanted to let everyone know the race was at 8:00 a.m. and between the 3 1/2 year old and 12 month old, I've forgotten what it's like to sleep through the night. Doesn't my running partner look great though!?

Did I also mention the baby has decided that 5:00 a.m. is a good time to start her day? We obviously have a difference of opinion here, and so far I'm on the losing side.

20 April 2012

Getting Ready

Heard from VFC and got my sonohysterogram and endometrial biopsy booked for the 9th of May. This is an ultrasound based test to check my uterus for any abnormalities, and that the uterine cavity is healthy and would support another pregnancy.

They also wanted to know where we are in terms of legal contracts, as this is the next step that we need to complete before we can move forward. There's a lot more to think about and consider with surrogacy than I realized. Some of the basics to go over in the legal contracts are: how many embryos to transfer, if there was a multiple pregnancy, selective reduction, prenatal care, genetic testing, abnormalities with the fetus, termination of pregnancy - who gets to make all these decisions, complications that may arise, expenses, handing over the baby and of course that the intended parents will be the parents of the child. A ton of things to go over! I read online that in British Columbia, the birth mother is the legal mother of the babe and the intended parents usually need to formally adopt their genetic child after the birth. Wow.

As soon as all this is done, we can move to the next step and could potentially be doing a transfer at the end of May or early June if we can get all the legalities completed. Janelle is having weekly bloodwork done to see where she's at with her cycle, and I think they might need to do some more testing to check the viability of her eggs. Once we get all of this done we should be good to go!

I've had a few ups and downs already since starting this, from feeling really excited to a little bit scared - and I know we're only at the very beginning. Suddenly I'm feeling impatient and want to start as soon as we can. Though maybe I should have a sense of relief in this, as this is very true to my personality in most things. I was the same way when we decided to have children of our own, and once we had decided to start trying, waiting for ovulation seemed to take an eternity. Once I was ready to be pregnant, I was ready right then!

In the meantime I'm prepping as best I can; starting with practicing being pregnant and indulging in some pre-pregancy cravings. Hit the bakery after dinner and bought a tiramisu layered cake.

This baby stuff is hard work already.

17 April 2012


It was time to meet with the psychologist/counsellor.

I felt a little nervous going into the appointment, and at the back of my mind worried that somehow I'd say or do something wrong and be deemed "unsuitable". It sounds ridiculous, and I feel silly even writing it, but part of me worried about blowing it and their shot at a baby would be out the window because of some inappropriate joke with terrible timing gone horribly wrong. She was so relaxed and easy to talk to though, so my irrational fears quickly dissipated and we were both quickly put at ease.

The appointment with the psychologist/counsellor is set up for several reasons, and is a mandatory part of the surrogacy process. She needed to make sure that we're prepared emotionally for all that comes with being a surrogate, and to find out whether we're a good "match" with Joel and Janelle. She went into family history, medical history, criminal history, background, finances and several other things that we need to consider in order to do this. She asked about situations that could arise during the pregnancy that could be potentially difficult for us and/or Joel and Janelle. There were a lot of things that I hadn't even thought about before, so that in itself was great to get us thinking about things we hadn't yet considered on our own. She asked a lot of hypothetical questions of what we would do in certain instances, and I think in the end felt comfortable with our answers. 

She asked us if we were comfortable talking about this with anyone and everyone, as essentially we have to be prepared to tell everyone that our oldest daughter may see, to prevent anyone from making potentially confusing comments. (i.e. talk of having a new brother or sister etc.) She had lots of great ideas for when we get to that stage, like explaining to her that Janelle has a broken tummy, so we're using my tummy to help her grow their baby. 

She told us that we were great candidates for surrogacy and we left feeling optimistic and encouraged, and ready to get this show on the road! Joel and Janelle had their appointment that same week with the counsellor and we were eager and excited, as it was one more pre-requisite that we could scratch off the list.  Normally, she would meet with each couple separately, and then have another session with us all together, but we got to skip this last step as we are all so incredibly awesome. 

15 April 2012

Breaking the news / First appointment

I don't think I need to write too much about how things went over with Joel and Janelle (my husband's cousin and wife). Obviously they were excited! Surprised as well, as they had not approached us, so I'm sure it must have been quite shocking for them to get this call out of the blue, with an offer to carry their child. Not your everyday phone call to say the least. I think they were cautiously optimistic as they wondered if we did indeed know what kind offer we were making.

Needless to say, after several conversations with them, we decided to get in touch with VFC (Victoria Fertility Clinic) and go from there. They had already been in touch with the clinic in Calgary and we hoped that if possible, we would be able to work with both clinics to minimize travel on both ends.

I think it wasn't until after our initial appointment at the clinic, and talking to them that evening, that they started to really get excited about it. I think up until that point they were hesitant to get too excited, as they kept reassuring me that if I changed my mind or decided it was going to be too much, would be ok. That there was still time to walk away, and that they appreciated that we had even made the offer in the first place. It was at that first appointment in the clinic, where my husband and I decided to jump in and make a full commitment.

I had seen my GP and gotten the 'all clear' to go ahead with the surrogacy before our first appointment at VFC. He was supportive, and spoke very highly of the clinic and staff, and gave reassurances that we would all be very taken care of there. I've had the same family doctor for as long as I can remember, and found his words encouraging.

At the initial appointment, we went over all of our medical history, family history and intentions as the doctor went over the whole process and gave us an outline of what we could expect to come. On paper, from a medical point of view, we were perfect for surrogacy. Things started happening right there on the spot. I had an ultrasound, my IUD removed and was put on birth control pills. We left armed with a bunch of requisitions to get all of the labwork and investigations done to get things going.

All of a sudden we were really doing this!

Getting on board

It was time to talk to my husband.

The first time I mentioned the idea of being a surrogate to him, I think he thought I was making a joke. The next time I brought it up, I told him that I had been thinking about it "for real", and asked him if he could think about the idea for a bit too. I think I caught him off guard, and he was somewhat puzzled and surprised, but he agreed to. (This might be putting it mildly. I think more likely he thought I was completely off my rocker - but I prefer my first analysis.) Over the next few weeks I would bring it up again casually, just here and there as we were going about day to day things, trying to give him a chance to let it sink in. From time to time, he would ask questions similar to what I had already asked myself, and many more, often from a logistical point of view. 

After many conversations he agreed that if this something I wanted to do, he would be completely supportive and on board with the journey. I truly have an amazing husband. 

14 April 2012

The Decision

It wasn't until the new year before the conversation that started this chain of events happened.

My mother-in-law was visiting, and I was getting the family updates; what everyone was up to and how everyone had spent the holidays. In casual conversation, I had asked her if there was any news about Joel and Janelle (my husband's cousin and his wife) regarding their options for another baby. I knew they were planning on looking into surrogacy, but didn't know if there had been any steps forward yet. My mother-in-law mentioned that they were thinking of asking one of the other cousins, as neither of them had any sisters. They soon found out that the cousin they had hoped to ask had been struggling with infertility herself, and had been trying to conceive for quite some time. Hearing that this was where they were at, my first thought was, "Hey, I could help!" My immediate second though was, "omigod, that's CRAZY!" The seed was planted though, and over the next little while, I started thinking more and more about it, and wondered if it was something that I thought I might be able to do.

I never mentioned anything to my husband, but it was always at the back of my mind, and I'd find myself constantly asking myself questions. Could I carry a baby for 9 months, and then give it away? Could I go through another pregnancy? (I was never one of those women you hear about who "loved being pregnant" nor was I one who"glowed" during pregnancy.) There was not just the physical part of a pregnancy, but the emotional side of it too. Would I be able to detach enough emotionally from this baby to not fall in love with it right away? How would a pregnancy affect my girls? How would it affect my marriage? Could I go through all of this, for somebody else? So many questions were going through my head.

I think a big part in making this decision was due to my own girls, who are 3 1/2 and 1. Especially my youngest, who has been the happiest, good-natured and joyful baby. (Night and day difference from my first!) I would look at her and feel so fortunate to have this little baby that I adored so much. I couldn't imagine my life without her and felt so blessed to have these 2 amazing girls who have brought so much joy to my life. How could you not want everyone to have this? The thought of not being able to have these girls was devastating.

The more I thought about it, I realized that I 'got it'. I understood it. I had read online that adoption in Canada typically takes 5-10 years, and even then nothing is guaranteed. I understood the desire to have siblings as companion siblings, and have them grow up together and be close in age. Especially as they already had one child (around 18 months old) I could see why they would want to go this route for another. I understood why they would want to explore options through surrogacy before looking into adoption.

In my initial online research, I learned that in Canada, it is illegal to pay for someone to be a surrogate. It made me realize that if you don't have friends or family to do this, how difficult it can be to find a surrogate. I even found ads from people desperately searching for surrogates, even in my own hometown. I'm not sure why I found this surprising, but I did. There was this whole other world that I knew nothing about.

Suddenly, the inconveniences of another pregnancy seemed insignificant for something that could mean the world for another family. A baby is everything, and I knew what this would mean.

One year of my life, for something that would change the rest of their lives -  suddenly seemed like a drop in the bucket.

13 April 2012


I had never really thought about surrogacy before. Let alone, something that I would ever consider. This was something that people on Oprah talked about and had tragic stories to tell. This wasn't me.  Even now, sometimes I'm surprised at the road that we're on.

This is how we came to be where we're at today.

It started with my husband's cousin, and the birth of their beautiful son. Due to several complications and severe bleeding, to save mom's life they ended up doing a hysterectomy. I still remember thinking how devastating this was - their first child, to be so young and suddenly the option of more kids was no longer theirs to make.

Life goes on, and we were all busy raising our babies so I didn't really think too much about things. They came for a visit in the spring of 2011, just after the birth of our second daughter. They were on their way to enjoy some quiet time on one of the smaller islands north from us for a few months, and take advantage of the end of maternity leave without any work obligations. I remember at the time, the topic of surrogacy came up, and I think they mentioned that it was something they were going to look into once they were settled back at home. I was intrigued and curious, yet never thinking that it would be something I would ever do.

That summer, for our family vacation, we decided to do a 3 week road trip with our 3 year old and 3 month old. A little ambitious, but we loved it! Their place was our first stop, as we drove across the west coast of BC and made our way to Alberta, seeing friends and family along the way. I remember while we were there, asking about how the surrogacy thing worked, because at the time the little knowledge I had came from TV. Having just given birth a few months ago, I found the whole topic fascinating, but again, it was merely curiosity. There was no way that I was keen to do *that* again!

Little did I know where we'd be - less than one year later.