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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My other life

We're kind of at a stand still at the moment.  We are waiting to be matched.  Currently, I'm okay with this stand still.  

It is late August.  My favorite time of year - the Minnesota State Fair.  It's also the time of year to extract honey. 

OH yeah,  along with my introduction post, I should have told you a little more about myself.  I have 2 hobbies.  I am a beekeeper in the summer and very recently, I've turned my other hobby (baking) into a business.  I won't get too in depth, but I love them both.

Beekeeping:  I first started out when my dad's friend told me he has been keeping bees for many years.  I thought, "hmm, sounds fun... I've never tried that.  I probably should."  I'm in my fourth year now and am completely hooked.  I love it all - even my battle wounds.  Up until this year, I have had a mentor.  He's still around, when needed.  I think I'm doing OK... there are a lot of bees and honey!

Baking:  My true love.  It relaxes me.  I enjoy trying new recipes.  I like hearing people say how delicious it all tastes.  Do I like it as a job?  Not so sure yet.  I feel anxious when someone pays me for something I made.  I worry whether or not they will like it.  I worry whether or not I will get an angry call or email.  I'm fragile in that aspect. 

Along with my hobbies, I have a full-time job, my husband and I raise two kids and a dog, and our house is always under construction (currently the kitchen).

I'd love to be matched with a couple soon. But for now, I am OK with this stand still. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bump

My insurance has been reviewed.  I do not have coverage to be a surrogate mother.  Very bummed.  The agency still thinks they will be able to match me with someone.  It just might take longer than they had originally hoped as they have to find someone willing to pay insurance coverage for me on top of the medical bills and delivery.

Time isn't an issue for me.  I am 27 years old.  I have had two c-sections.  I have two kids.  According to surrogacy law, a surrogate mother cannot have more than three c-sections.  In my eyes, this will be my last pregnancy.  Time is not an issue.  

A bump in the road.  Not the end.  Just stalled until someone picks up this lone hitchhiker...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Why?

Why do I want to be a surrogate mother?

It started out as a selfish thought:: I am done having kids but I want to be pregnant again.  I feel great when I'm pregnant.  I like having a baby grow inside of me.  I love being pregnant.  Me, me, ME!

Surrogacy.  I can be pregnant but not have a child of my own.  Perfect.  

People.  Some people can't have kids.  I love my kids.  They make me happy.  They make me sad.  They bring out a love in me I didn't know I had.  They make me feel complete.  

Everyone who wants to, should feel that way.  Everyone.

Why do I want to be a surrogate mother?

To give the joy of having kids to people who are physically unable to.  To give someone else the sense of completeness I have.  To bring a beautiful life into this world.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Daughter

I have a daughter.  Her name is Josephine.  She is almost a "whole hand!"


Me:  Josephine, do you want me to have another baby?
Josephine:  Ummm.... No.
Me:  What if I had a baby grow in my tummy and then I gave that baby to someone else?
Josephine:  Hmmm... Yeah - and maybe Amanda (aunt) can give baby David (newborn cousin) to someone else!

...okay. Not going as planned.

Me:  There are some people who can't have babies grow in their tummy.  A mommy and a daddy could put their baby in my tummy.  It could grow in my tummy and when it comes out, I could give the baby back to it's mommy and daddy.
Josephine:  YEAH! THAT'S A GREAT IDEA!

Sweet, sweet girl.  And an ongoing conversation.




Happens for a reason? Not always. (Part one and a half continued)

...The best method for me to get my insurance booklet to the agency is via snail mail.  I asked the agency for the address to send the booklet to.  I didn't hear back.  For days.  The day I heard back, I had *just* returned from my lunch break.  My plan was to go to the post office the next day and send my booklet over.

The next day came and there was a conflict.  For the rest of the week, there was a conflict.  I couldn't get to the post office! 

FINALLY!  Wednesday comes and I can go to the post office during my break.  I have my day completely planned out... when I realize my husband and I have switched cars for the day and my booklet was in the other car.  UGH!

That very same day, a friend directed me to an Instagram post.  It was a post by a young lady who has been having troubles getting pregnant but wants a baby so bad.  My friend tagged me in this post because she thought maybe I could carry this woman's baby but what I got out of this post was so. much. more.  Despite this woman's inabilities to get pregnant, she had so much faith!  It brought me to tears, reading about how her fertility treatments keep failing but it also brought me so much joy reading that she is still praising God - even when things don't seem like they will work out.

Questions.  Flooding my brain.  Is there a reason I haven't been able to find time to send my booklet?  Is there a reason my friend led me to her Instagram post?

I took the initiative.  I am not known for being bold.  But I did it.  I emailed her.  I told her my story.  I told her how touched I was by her story and how amazing her faith is.  I told her that if she and her husband chose to have someone carry their child that they could contact me.

I didn't expect a response but she responded a few hours later.

Kimmie ::

Thank you for your perfectly worded email. You approached the subject with such grace and respect. Thank you again. 

Unfortunately we are not interested in pursuing a surrogacy, I want nothing more than to experience each part of pregnancy as much as it might be challenging at times. We are going to continue this road as the Lord guides us and pray and hope that it is in His will for us to have our own children. I do have so many friends in this same icky infertility journey and will keep my ears open if you would like and I could connect you. Just let me know. 

Again, Kimmie your heart. SO sweet and awesome. Thank you.
 
Sometimes, you just have to be bold and see what happens.  I didn't feel rejected.  I don't know what will come out of the emails - whether or not her friends will contact me.  But I do know some part of me was led to email her.  And I did.
 
The ending to that story?  I mailed my insurance booklet to the agency.  They have received it and are reviewing it.  
 
I got insight.  I got perspective.  I got the option of doing a private surrogacy got instilled in my brain.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

More Homework

Homework:  Talk to someone very involved in the pro life community and get information about the different processes.  |  I had a meeting a couple of weeks ago with a woman in our church who is very involved in the pro life community.  I learned A LOT!  

I want to be a surrogate mother to bring life to a family who can't have kids.  To bring happiness to people who can't carry a child, for whatever reason.  

My understanding of IVF prior to the meeting:
IVF.  In Vitro Fertilization.  Embryos are made in a Petri dish and implanted into someone and the baby grows inside of them.  On average, not more than 3-4 implanted.  I have already told the agency I will not be a part of selective reduction so everything is good.

What I learned at my meeting:
IVF Process:  10-30 eggs are placed in a Petri dish with sperm.  Many of these turn into embryos and are watched for 3-5 days.  After 3-5 days, a number of them (but not all) are implanted.  The parents of the embryos who are not implanted have different options: 
  • Donate to stem cell research
  • Freeze them
  • Discard them
Wow.  I want to be a surrogate mother to bring life to a family who can't have kids.  I do not want to end life for the ones who didn't get selected.  Wow.  This is a lot to digest.

I voiced my concerns to the agency.

Hi Kimberly, 

You understand the process correct; and I understand your concerns. I want to add a bit more "food for thought" if you will...

-While 10-30 eggs are retrieved a majority of them aren't fertilized due to being immature. Then those that are fertilized only the strongest embryos make it to transfer date. Many of them stop developing naturally. We literally see this in the lab but in nature we don't because its "inside" but studies indicate that 1/4 pregnancies are chemical which would be the same scenario (the embryo fails to develop) but in the womb. With that said the number of cycles that end with frozen embryos isn't as high as it may seem and then the number of embryos frozen is typically low. For example for my first surrogacy we retrieved 28 eggs, about 20 of them fertilized and on day 5 we had 7 embryos left. We transferred 2 and the remaining 5 are still frozen (11 years later). 

Keep in mind that these embryos are going to be created or have already been created regardless if you decide to become a surrogate mother or not. But if you DO decide to carry you will be the caring person to possibly help give those embryos life. 

Maybe to help ease your conscious you could only match with a couple who already has frozen embryos. Therefore you can rest assured you are not party of any procedures that would be creating life with the possibility of not giving that life a chance to grow. The life is already created and has "no where to go"

We have matched a lot of pro life surrogates but I think this concern is a first so I hope I was helpful in your soul searching and decision making. 

Talk soon,

Again, overjoyed.  To be able to help a frozen embryo grow.  To bring life to a baby who has already been created.

I need to say Thank You!  To everyone who has made me dig deeper and get answers and do research.  I'm feeling very blessed today.

-Kimmie


Homework

My homework:  Talk to other surrogate mothers and their husbands and ask questions about the aftermath - the emotions they went through after birth and after giving the baby to their parents, after caring for him/her for 9 months.

Let me tell you, with each person I interview, I get more and more excited!  They all tell me the same thing about giving the baby to their parents - "That is the best part!  To see the joy on the parent's faces." 

I just became a member of a surrogacy website and am joining a couple of Facebook pages  to further my research.

Each step I take makes me more and more excited

Short and sweet. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Part I (and a half)

I asked for a referral from my OBGYN for a new surrogacy agency.  I was referred to an agency in Chicago.  I went on their website and filled out Part I of the application.  Like before, I passed with flying colors.  After Part I was complete, I got an email from a Surrogate Coordinator who works for the agency.  She sent me a lot more paper work to fill out and asked a few questions.  I started filling out Part II and told her why I was rejected from the other agency.  She told me she doesn't think they will have any issue matching me with intended parents and asked if I would send them my insurance information. YES!....wait, WHAT?!

WOW!  Amazing!  On cloud 9!  Then, all of the sudden, scared out of my mind!  How is this happening so quickly?  There are a lot more people I want to talk to before a baby is implanted in me!  I haven't talked to my work yet.  I haven't talked to our Pastor.  OMG! What am I going to do?!

*Deep Breath* First, I have to find my insurance booklet.  That will buy me a couple of days.  

I talked to my work.  They were speechless because they had never really thought about someone working for them becoming a Gestational Surrogate.  They asked questions.  I answered.  They are very supportive.  I am so blessed to have this job.  

I set up an appointment to talk to our Pastor and he suggested I talk to a lady in our church who is very active in the pro life community so after a few emails back and forth, I set up an appointment with her. 

IVF...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Part I continued

Abortion.  A controversial issue.  I am pro life.  If this blog post will make you mad, please don't read it.  I'm not writing this to offend people.  Like I said in my first post, this is a diary for me.  People are welcome to read my diary but I write this for me.  And guess what?  I have the same values as me. 

Do I understand that the parents would want the final say on what happens to their baby?  Yes.  Do I understand this is not my baby?  Yes.  Do I understand they are paying for the pregnancy?  Yes.  

The thing I didn't understand from the email is how there can be an agency that has zip, zero, null, no one in their database who has the same views on termination as I.  They dismissed me.  Completely.  They didn't say, "we'll keep your application on file for when we have someone with your same views."  They didn't say, "we will try to match you with someone who is open to hearing more about your point of view."  They simply dismissed me.  

Why do I feel this way?  I don't like abortion.  I don't like terminating a baby for any reason.  I always think there is another option.  I have faith.  I have hope.  This is who I am.  This is what I believe.

My beliefs differ from a lot of people but I know, personally, I would not be able to participate in an abortion - whether it is my baby or someone else's baby, I would not be able to be a part of it.  

What I want to do with my role as a surrogate mother is bring life to people who want more than anything to be parents.  I know how I feel about my kids and how much love they have brought to my life.  I hurt for the people who struggle to get pregnant.  I want to help.

My search continues.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A word from my better half

Hello, my name is Phil.  My wife asked me to write a little about my feelings regarding her being a surrogate mother, so here it goes. 

We decided after our son Jude was born that our family as we see it is complete.  I couldn't be happier with our two children.  They amaze me every day and bring us so much joy.  Both of Kimmie's pregnancies went exceptionally well.  She had no complications, or issues of any kind as I recall.  I know that she truly enjoyed being pregnant, and she finds great joy in helping others.  So I understood her interest in surrogacy. 

I was a bit uneasy when Kimmie and I first discussed surrogacy.  I really didn't know anything about it.  My immediate concern was for her physical health, and to be honest, my mental health.  I didn't know how I would feel about her carrying somebody else's baby.  I didnt know how Kimmie would feel after carrying a baby and then giving it up.  I suggested we do some research.

After taking some time to talk, think, and pray about it, I began to feel a little more at peace with the idea of my wife being a surrogate.  There are a lot of things to consider in this process, many of them moral issues.  We are both pro life, and the more we learn about surrogacy the more we see it is a slippery slope, as she learned after part 2 of her application process.  We are finding there are ways to go about this process in a pro life way.  So that is the route we are currently looking into.

I know that most times I see things in a worst case scenario.  That's just how my brain works and I know Kimmie understands this.  With that being said, I love my wife and will support her in what ever way I can, in what ever decision we make. 

That is all.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Part I continued

Who do I tell?  My parents?  Sisters?  In-laws?  What if it doesn't work out?  Will people think I'm doing this for accolades?  I know, I just won't tell anyone until I'm pregnant.  What a good idea.  Wrong.

I filled out my first application.  I WAS ACCEPTED!!!!  Physically, I was perfect for the job.  I started filling out Part II of the application; the family profile, the morals and values.  One of the questions that really stuck out to me:  Who will support you emotionally through this?  I can answer that question in my head, no problem, but it got me thinking.  That's when I decided I'd tell people.  I first told my mom and asked if she would support my decision.  Of course she would.  If there's one thing my parents have excelled at, it's been supporting us.  My friends said they would support me, too.  A few of them even told me I could put them down as a reference.  Now for the scary part - my in-laws - some of the most wonderful people I know, but they also have a side to them I am not used to...being very blunt with me, asking a lot of questions, and making sure I'm well researched (all admirable traits, just not the norm for me).  Well, that's exactly what they did.  They asked a lot of questions.  They voiced concerns.  And they gave me some good references to talk to.  And yes, they support me.

I proceeded to fill out Part II of the application.  I felt really confident in my answers.  I submitted my application and was surprised to hear back within hours.  I was even more surprised when I read the content inside of the email:

Dear Kimmie,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your application with our agency.

However, we are unable to proceed with your application at this time. We take many factors into account when reviewing applications for surrogacy.  We honor the wishes of the surrogate as well as the intended parents.  Most intended parents come to us wanting to make the ultimate and final decision regarding termination/reduction of a pregnancy should there be a problem detected.  This does not mean they would terminate for any reason, but that they want the right to choose what happens in their lives and their pregnancy.  Unfortunately, we do not have any intended parents that share your views on termination/reduction.  I am very sorry.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best wishes to you and your family.

Warm Regards,
Surrogate Mother Coordinator


...until next time 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Part I

Hi. I'm Kimmie and this is my life. I don't understand how people can find a blog and read it. I advertise my beekeeping blog but I don't advertise my other ones and somehow, people keep reading them. I write this stuff for myself...kind of like a diary. The thing is, I don't care if people know what's going on in my life. I am not a private person.

December 10, 2011. Jude Philip Pearson is born. Beautiful baby boy. Second pregnancy. Second birth. Josephine, sweet 3 year old girl, waits patiently for us to arrive home with the baby. Our family. Phil, Kimmie, Josephine and Jude. Complete. 

Kimmie: What do you think about me becoming a surrogate mother?
Phil: I don't know... I don't know how I would feel...giving up a baby.
Kimmie: It wouldn't be our baby to begin with. I would just carry it so someone else could have a baby. I have great pregnancies and feel great throughout the whole thing.

6 months later

Kimmie: I'm thinking about becoming a surrogate mother
Phil: Let's do some research

December, 2012

Kimmie: I'd still like to become a surrogate
Phil: Let's do some more research

July 2013

Kimmie: Phil, I think I'm going to apply to be a gestational surrogate. 
Phil: Okay.