The Lotus Flower

The Lotus Flower
It doesn't matter how your children get to you, just that they get there. However parenthood comes to you, it's a miracle."

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Went & got my lining checked today.. 

I will be completely honest. I was a little discouraged when my lining was only a 5.4 last week. I have had ZERO trouble getting pregnant on my own without medical assistance. & now it wasn't enough for a transfer after being pumped full of estrogen? It made me question what my own body does naturally. 

This morning I was VERY nervous. What if it wasn't thick enough? All that money wasted because my body didn't perform & respond to medication. We would have to start all over & yet another few months of K & M waiting until we can re-cycle. 

Our nurse was so chipper & happy this morning. It put my mind at ease. As soon as she inserted the sonography stick, I could see my lining.. B-E-A-UTIFUL! I could see how "fluffy" it was & the triple stripe of the lining. 

It was a 10.9!!!! 

I had her draw little X's on my side/hip area, so I knew exactly where to inject the progesterone tonight. 

I am not looking forward to the injections. But it is a small price to pay. 

When I got back to the car, I cried. & I may or may not be getting misty eyed as I write this. But, I am SO very humbled & thankful to be apart of this HUGE experience in their lives.  For someone to trust me to potentially help them create their family is really an honor. I can't imagine the heartbreak they have been through and I can imagine they are a little hesitant since they have been through this before, but omfg, this is finally happening! 

The first hurdle is down. Body is prepped. Now we cross every finger & toe & pray that we have a little boy or girl that wants to stick & get comfy in my uterus for the next 9 months! 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The process of becoming a surrogate & why I am doing it

I had to submit a speech for my Public Speaking class and the prompt was "something that is important to you". Obviously, the surrogacy journey is one of the most important things in my life right now.

Did you know the first child born through gestational surrogacy was born in 1986?
My name is Jessica Linville. And I am embarking on a life-changing journey. One of the greatest gifts modern medicine has given us is surrogacy. I am currently in the process of becoming a surrogate mother for an amazing couple who is unable to have children on their own. I have quite a few friends who have become surrogates, and I am thankful to have their guidance through this journey over the next nine months. First, I will be discussing the process on how I became a surrogate. Second, I will discuss the different types of surrogacy. Third, I will explain the medical procedures leading into In-vitro Fertilization, and fourth, I will discuss why I became a surrogate and the emotional attachments of being a surrogate mother.

Process of becoming a surrogate:

First, you need to decide if you are going to go through an agency or pursue your journey independently. The reason I wanted to go independent was because I didn’t want my Intended Parent’s or IP’s to be spending additional money having an agency match us or set appointments for us when those were things we could do on our own.
Next step is to “match”. I found my IP’s on an online surrogacy forum. I created a profile on the site with some background on myself & my family along with some photos and read through the different profiles. I decided on a couple who lived a few hours from me and sent them an email on the site after reading their story. Their story really touched me. They had tried getting pregnant on their own and failed after discovering baseball sized fibroids in her uterus. They tried using a surrogate 2 years ago, however they miscarried a set of twin girls at 16 weeks. They were hopeful and optimistic and were ready to try again. My IP’s responded to my email & we emailed back & forth for a few weeks getting to know one another & we officially decided to move forward.
After matching, we made a doctor appointment with their reproductive endocrinologist. We did blood work and exams to make sure that I am a good candidate for surrogacy. After we got the all clear from the RE, we met with a psychologist to make sure both parties are mentally capable of successfully pursuing surrogacy and that my IP’s and I understood what we are getting into and the risks involved. Once the psych exams are complete, we met with both of our attorney’s to draw up a contract. This contract outlines the rights of both parties, financial obligations from start to finish, who has legal custody of the child after birth, how many embryos that are going to be transferred, and other important factors such as what type of contact the surrogate will have with the family after birth. After both parties sign the contract, we are ready to move forward and start medications. Now that I have discussed how I became a surrogate, I will discuss
The different types of surrogacy: 
There are two types of surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is artificially inseminated with the biological father's sperm. The biological father can either be the father who intends to raise the child or an anonymous sperm donor. The surrogate mother, in this case, is the baby's biological mother.
In gestational surrogacy or in vitro fertilization, the eggs from the prospective mother and the sperm of the prospective father are fertilized outside of the body before being placed into the uterus of the surrogate mother. The surrogate mother is not genetically tied to the baby.
I am going to be a Gestational Surrogate and will have no genetic relation to the child that will be born. Now that I have explained the two types of surrogacy, I will discuss
The medical process leading up to In Vitro Fertilization:
Timing is everything with IVF. Appointments much be scheduled on specific days of my menstrual cycle to see what my body is doing on that particular day. My first appointment we did blood work and a saline sonogram. Saline is injected into the cavity of the uterus, enlarging it. The saline outlines the endometrium (the lining of the uterine cavity) and allows for easy visualization and measurement. It also identifies any polyps or masses within the uterus.
Then we did a mock transfer. It allows the doctor to determine the best “route” to the ideal embryo landing place in your uterus, to measure the length from cervix to that ideal place, and ensure that there are no unexpected road bumps along the way (like an undetected fibroid, scar tissue on the cervix, or other problem that may make transfer difficult).
Once it is determined that my uterus is a good candidate for surrogacy we can prepare it for pregnancy. Before an embryo can be transferred, the endometrial, or uterine cavity, must be prepared so that the embryo can implant properly. Different clinics have different med protocols, so experiences may vary. On day 3 of my menstrual cycle, I started taking a prenatal vitamin and baby aspirin. Baby aspirin helps with blood flow to the uterus. I also take 2mg of estrogen 3 times a day to help thicken the lining of my uterus. After 24 days on meds and about two weeks before transfer, I had a lining check to see if my endometrial lining was thick enough. It was 5.4mm, and it needs to be at 7mm for embryo transfer. The Dr. added 2mg of estrogen, vaginally to my daily meds. A week before transfer, I will inject 50mg Progesterone with a vial and needle into my hip and a vaginal progesterone suppository each night until transfer.
On transfer day, which is set for August 4th, we will only be transferring one embryo that has grown for 5 days. During the transfer, the doctor will insert the catheter loaded with the embryo and push the embryo into the uterus with a small puff of air. The procedure is guided visually on a monitor with an abdominal sonogram. Once transferred, the doctor will slowly remove the catheter, then check the catheter under a microscope to make sure the embryo was released. After, I will lie quietly for 20 minutes after the transfer and then go home. Then, we have “the two week wait” until it's time for the pregnancy test!
If the transfer is successful, I will continue doing the progesterone until week 10 of pregnancy and then will be released to a regular OBGYN. If the transfer is unsuccessful, we will adjust medications and try again! Now that the medical process of IVF was explained, I will talk about 

Why I became a surrogate and the emotional aspects of becoming a surrogate:

The reason I became a surrogate is because I have seen the struggle first hand of many of my friends as they battle infertility. The constant let down each month when the pregnancy test said negative or the financial hardships they have encountered just to try to get pregnant, remain pregnant and to have a child.  I knew that there are people out there who have been waiting for what feels like a lifetime to start or complete their family. I knew that I wouldn’t fully understand the struggles they have experienced, and nothing I could say can make the hurt go away. But I knew what I could do, was to be a vessel and a tool to help their dreams of parenthood come true. Everyone deserves the opportunity to be a parent & I would love nothing more than to help. Even if that makes me “The Walking Incubator”.
Naturally, a surrogate will form a bond and an emotional attachment. But the bond is more towards the parents and the fact that you are creating a family. We will be having regular sessions with our psychologist to help us mentally & emotionally through the whole process. You become very close to your IP’s and know the most intimate details about eachother’s lives.  They are involved in every aspect of the pregnancy. I know from the very beginning that I am not doing this to have a child of my own. My family is complete. My job through this surrogacy is to help someone else create their family. This child could not have better parents or be more loved, and it isn’t even here yet. I am already dreaming of the day when I hand that miracle over & see the look in their eyes & the tears of joy. I know that the child created from this journey would otherwise not be created if it weren’t for me. And this journey will be one of my greatest accomplishments.

One of the greatest gifts modern medicine has given us, is surrogacy. Today, I have discussed the process of becoming a surrogate. Second, I explained the different types of surrogacy. Third, I explained the medical process leading up to IVF. And Finally, I discussed the reason I became a surrogate and the emotional aspect of surrogacy. So when you think of surrogacy, know that it doesn’t matter how children get to their parents, just that they do.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Thanks for wanting to follow this journey!

I will be using this as a virtual journal throughout this adventure.. 

I have been matched with a family since March & we are in the final stages & are so close to beginning to transfer... 

I will be very honest about the entire process, so if you have any questions, please feel free to ask away. The one thing I do ask that you respect is do not ask any questions regarding compensation. That is not why I started this.. The main goal is to create a healthy baby & help an amazing couple start their family.

Hopefully this time next year, the journey will be complete!

This was on our way to meet K + M. We met them in person Easter weekend 2015. We went to the Starbucks in Manhattan, KS. 

I recognized them immediately. They are very good looking people.. Extremely tall.. Jarrid & I are both short, so we were looking up at the when we shook hands during intro's. 

I was a little nervous because I wasn't sure what to expect.. We had been emailing for 2 weeks back & forth every couple days just answering questions about our beliefs about how many babies they wanted, their views on selective reduction, how many embryos to transfer, any special restrictions during pregnancy, how involved they wanted to be with the process, who would be in the room during delivery etc. We ended up leaving the meeting hugging & exchanging numbers so we can text regularly... I left knowing that I was making the right decision.

It was one thing to talk to someone online about their loss & just see their picture. It was another to see their emotion in their faces when telling their story out loud. I could feel just how much they wanted to be parents.

*Don't you like Jarrid's "hey girl hey" wave.. Lol he makes awkward meetings easier because he is so talkative haha..

I am doing an independent journey. That means I am not going through an agency. K + M & I coordinate all the doctor's appointments, lawyers etc directly. There was a little bit of a wait between officially matching & meeting. There is a lot that has to go into coordinating everything. A lot of scheduling has to be done around my menstrual cycle. We had to wait until my next cycle & schedule appointments on a specific day in order to see what my body was doing on that particular day. Timing is everything with IVF!

May 21st I went to Kansas City to meet with the Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). They did a saline sonogram. Saline is injected into the cavity of the uterus, enlarging it. The saline outlines the endometrium (the lining of the uterine cavity) and allows for easy visualization and measurement. It also identifies any polyps or masses within the uterus.

Then we did a mock transfer. It allows the doctor to determine the best “route” to the ideal embryo landing place in your uterus, to measure the length from cervix to that ideal place, and ensure that there are no unexpected road bumps along the way (like an undetected fibroid, scar tissue on the cervix, or other problem that may make transfer difficult).

Personally, the actual exam & mock transfer didn't hurt. It is very similar to a Pap smear. A speculum was used to help place the catheter into and through the cervix into the uterus.

I had some cramping for about 2 1/2 hours afterwards, but it was relieved with Tylenol.

It felt like the longest 5 days ever waiting for the results... 
Even though I have given birth to 2 healthy kids, I was so nervous that something was going to be wrong & my body wouldn't be able to "perform" for them... I was afraid something was going to show up on the images & that they would have to start all over with someone new. 

This was the final go ahead that we needed! 

We didn't want to do the counseling or contracts because I would hate for them to have to waste money on a psych & lawyers if I wasn't going to be medically cleared to proceed with IVF.

Next step is to do counseling. One with Jarrid & me, one with K + M & then one with all 4 of us together.

On June 1st, we had our first session with the counselor. Kim has been involved in many adoptions, but never a surrogacy, so we will be her first one! 

She is very easy to talk to & I will be seeing her throughout the pregnancy & for 2 sessions after. She seems genuinely concerned about my wellbeing, K + M's emotional wellbeing & the future wellbeing of the child(ren) we are trying to bring into this world.

She asked the normal questions about our home life, background, my calling & what type of support I will have... 

Overall, she said it seems like we have the ideal situation for a successful surrogacy. K + M will be meeting with her Saturday & then we will all be meeting together Monday night!

Had a nice dinner at AJ's NY Pizzeria with K+M. Got to discuss more surrogacy things... They do their counseling tomorrow & then group counseling Monday..

I should be getting a call from my lawyer this week & we will sign our final contracts..

June 21st I should be starting medications!!! First week of August is our approximate transfer date !!

Had our last counseling session with K+ M. Talked with Kim about how everyone was feeling up to this point.. What emotions everyone was going through. Main emotion was excitement & anxiousness to get everything started! Got the "green light" from Kim to proceed. The letter in the envelope will be given to the RE & that's her stamp of approval that we are good to move forward. 
Just waiting on contracts to be finished being drawn up before I can start meds! 

Next time we see K + M will probably be on transfer day smile emoticon yay!

Went & met with my attorney today...

Definitely some things that need to be added for both parties protection, a few oversights... But overall a good start.

Probably won't be able to start meds this cycle, since it should be here any day... But everything will be completed by next cycle!

I am anxious to get everything started, but this is one of the most important parts & it's better to be protected. Can't rush the process! Thankful to have a knowledgeable & thorough attorney!

Yay! Had an appointment today, June 30th... My ovaries are "quiet" and we are ready to start medication. 

We will be signing our final contract & I will be taking estrogen 3x a day starting tomorrow. Waiting for my blood work to come back & will get my full med schedule hopefully by the end of the day. 
Coming back to KC on the 23rd to see how my body reacts to the medication & making sure my lining is thick enough for transfer. As long as everything looks good, we should be transferring an adorable little embryo on the 29th!!

Ready, Set, Goooooooo! 

I am so very excited! 

The clinic called & moved the transfer to August 4th at 12:30, as long as my body responds well to the medicine!

July 12th
Just an update... Still taking the estrogen. I am not really having side effects. Kind of moodier than usual, but nothing too crazy. Today I am a little more fatigued & hungry than usual... Probably has to do with the extra estrogen in addition to what my body naturally produces. Next appointment is on the 24th!

July 20th 
Had a little spotting over the weekend which freaked me out a little... Talked to the RE this morning & said it's normal.. 
We have our lining check on Friday. Cross your fingers that I am at least a 7 & have a triple stripe of endometrial lining! Those are the ideal conditions for an embryo to dig deep & implant itself! 

Drinking POM juice is a wives tale that supposedly helps increase blood flow to the uterus & thicken lining... I am willing to do almost anything to make this baby stick!

Soooooo. My lining is at a 5.4 right now..  :[ They took blood & will be calling me soon to find out what we are doing next.. Probably upping meds & drinking a shit ton more Pom juice.
But I did have  lunch with K + M at a really good BBQ place- Oklahoma Joe's BBQ.. Probably the best BBQ sauce I have ever had.. They bought me a big bottle of the spicy BBQ & a sandwich to take home to Jarrid. They really are super amazing people & so optimistic about everything!

They just called & said estrogen levels are good. Almost at 500. But wants me to continue with 3x a day oral estrogen & add a vaginal estrogen at night. Come back on the 30th @ 9am to see what we are at before starting the progesterone. Still on track for a Aug 4th transfer!