Wow! The days are getting hotter and hotter, and longer! We currently have 7 pregnant surrogates, which is wonderful and amazing, and the most we have had to date at the same time. One more is pregnant until proven otherwise, while they wait for the blood draw to find out if the transfer was successful, so they will hopefully bring that number to 8! This does mean that we are busy, busy around here, working to stay cool, and overseeing these journeys. One more family currently match pending, and several more are in the screening and cycling stages of their journeys. I love that all of our surrogates are close by, with opportunities to meet up for lunch, attend appointments, and check in with each other in person on a regular basis, and so many are our IP's are local too! While IP's tend to be a bit more camera shy (confidentiality and all that jazz) we do also love getting to spend time with them in person, and support them in a more hands on way as well. Here is one photo of a "not camera shy or worried about confidentiality" intended parent. She and her husband are now with baby in arms! Congratulations!!! So many perks to choosing an agency in your area. Anyways, duty calls and emails are waiting to be answered, so it is time for me to sign off. Until next time! Stay cool!!!
In the past 30 days, we have had the honor of being a part of 6 potential Intended Parent consults, 3 potential surrogate consults, 1 surrogate luncheon, 1 legal contract signed, 2 legal contracts being drafted and worked on (those reviews are painstakingly time consuming!), 3 match meetings (matches confirmed, yay!!!), 5 embryo transfers, 4 confirmed pregnancies, 4 medical screenings, 1 postpartum visit, 12 monitoring appointments, 14 beta draws, 3 heartbeat ultrasounds, 4 sets of medical records reviewed, 2 PBO's granted, and countless other milestones. Too many to track and mention! This is A LOT in 30 days for a small agency like SCS, but I have loved every second of it!
Some people, like myself, feel called to this work at their core. Since I was a teenager, I was oddly drawn to babies and families, and was interested in those dynamics; how families come to be who they are, how they identify, and how they navigate through life as a team. Having the honor of being a part of the ins and outs of so many different journeys, with all of their twists and turns, is such an amazing and rewarding thing! Not every transfer is successful, not every medical screening and cycle is without hurdles, not every legal contract review is without it's hiccups, not every match works out, but through it, all, the most important thing to focus on is overcoming those bumps together, with grace and a positive attitude. Where there is a will, there is a way, and that way looks different for each and every individual! So, whether you have been struggling, feeling stressed, asking yourself if you are on the right path, or if you are celebrating and elated that every step so far has gone perfectly, turn to your team and collect your hugs!
Public speaking isn't my favorite. Red faced, sweating, light headedness, nausea; you name the symptom and I am likely to be experiencing it on some level when standing in front of a large group of strangers getting ready to speak. Regardless though, this is exactly what I do each semester in the name of education. Education about surrogacy is SOOOOO important to dispel misconceptions, and provide information. Interestingly enough, most of the students in the seminar I present to are pre-law, and they are in the process of studying ethics and how they can or do play a role in consumerism and the marketplace. They are young, fresh faced, and impressionable, and are relatively silent and in shock and awe when I begin to present each year. By the end, however, they are engaged, asking questions, and posing ethical dilemmas. It is so great to know that these future law makers, attorneys and/or public servants who may have the opportunity to rule or represent in cases that involve surrogacy, are able to have some perspective and anecdotes in their tool belt. Speaking at the University is not a way to gain additional clients. It is a way to give back to the community in such a way that the surrogacy community can be better understood and can continue to have support and thrive. I know it is important work, so despite the pit in my stomach, and the embarrassing rosy cheeks that accompany my presence, I will continue to go back whenever I am invited to do so. Surrogacy is amazing! Spread the word!
Sometimes life and everyday work tasks get in the way of items that can be done later, or forgotten about altogether. Blogging for me is one of those things! I am making a new commitment to again take the time to write something new, share a story or post an update at least every few months. You'll be hearing more from me again!
For now, some amazing things have happened over the last few months. We have two families and their surrogates expectantly waiting to give birth any day now. Such joy those sweet babies will bring into the world! We have several surrogates that are happily pregnant in their 1st and 2nd trimesters, and one that was just confirmed pregnant via heartbeat ultrasound last week. This was their 3rd and final transfer. Yay for miracle babies! Another surrogate and her IP's will find out tomorrow if the transfer was successful. Fingers crossed for them that her numbers are looking perfect!!!
Until next time, think good thoughts for all of those who will be having transfers in the next few months, the newly matched, and those waiting for their perfect match! There is a rainbow after every storm.
Bringing a new baby home is filled with excitement. When welcoming a new little bundle into your household, the first few weeks can be challenging. When babies are in the womb, they are most active at night. This is because the uterus is more relaxed at night, so there's more room for baby to move around. Once your little one is born, they sometimes don't get the memo that they are not longer inside a womb. They often go right on ahead and keep spending most of the night awake. Another factor that contributes to your little one's sleep schedule is the size of their stomach- it's tiny! Think how quickly food travels through your stomach, and realize that nourishment will travel quite quickly through a small little tummy. So, your baby may be awake and wanting to feed quite often.
These two factors alone can contribute to exhausted parents. When you add sleep deprived parents to a baby that relies on you for all of their needs, keeping your living situation under control, especially if you have to stay in a temporary home for a bit, and keeping yourself fed and nurtured may be the furthest thing from your mind. So, what's the solution? You need a house fairy! A house fairy is someone who slips in wherever your new little family is, and does magic. They don't tell you how to parent, they just do your dishes. They might make you meals, do your laundry, and make sure baby is resting peacefully while the new parents take a nap, a shower or a relaxing bath.
A house fairy is not your guest, so you don't need to worry about entertaining them. You don't need to worry about getting dressed before they come over. If they come over and your little family hasn't gotten out of bed all day, they will be happy and probably tell you to stay in bed as they bring you some food.
Maybe you have stellar relatives who would make awesome house fairies. They know what it is like with a newborn and they are more than willing to help. If you are so lucky to know someone in your family or circle of friends who would love to you help you out like this, graciously accept their help- they will make your first few weeks so much better. You will get to enjoy those precious days with your new baby knowing that your only job is to be with your baby.
There is also the option of hiring a postpartum doula , a nanny, or a night nanny to help you out. All of these professionals are essentially house fairies, plus so much more. They can do light cooking and cleaning for you, and are also experts in newborn care. They know how to encourage parents to nurture themselves after baby comes home, and they are also great at integrating the whole family, such as older siblings, into the new situation with baby.
Whether you have friends, family, or a postpartum doula to help out after you bring your new baby home, having someone designated as your house fairy will help assure you have the best time possible bonding with your baby. It's likely been a long road to get you to this point, so relish every moment and get the necessary help however you can.
We here at Supportive Conceptions Surrogacy can guide you in the direction of a professional in the area where your surrogate gives birth so you have all the help you need while waiting to be able to take your baby home. Let someone else do the dishes so you can enjoy those long awaited baby snuggles!
Cultures all over the world have the right idea. Families can be seen wearing their babies on their bodies. In America, there is no shortage of baby carriers. There are moby wraps, tulas, mai tais, ergos, and k'tans.
Your baby attached to your body is one of the safest places for them. You know exactly where they are at all times. This can be especially helpful for new parents who find themselves constantly checking in on them when they're in their crib or bassinet. There are different ways to carry a newborn versus a toddler. What carrier you use will determine the correct way to situate your baby. In general though, you want your newborn to be in a similar position as he/she was in the womb, with knees bent, and in the fetal position. There are some safety issues to keep in mind when wearing your baby. There are also times when you shouldn't wear your baby, like when your working over a hot stove. General rule of thumb regardless of the carrier, you should at all times be able to kiss the top of the baby's head. Not only is this an important safety guideline, but they then have the comfort of your heartbeat.
When you wear your baby, there's no bulky plastic car seat to worry about lugging around. Most baby wearing carriers are super small and lightweight.
Babywearing is of course super beneficial for bonding with your baby, but did you know that is also really great for their spine? Newborn babies' spines are 'C shaped,' and completely flexed, just like they were inside the womb. When they are in a carrier on your body, this allows their spine to maintain this natural curve. This is something that doesn't happen when they're in a hard plastic carrier. Also, when your baby is being worn, there is constant movement in all directions. This constant stimulation helps to form their vestibular system, which controls balance.
Moms, Dads, siblings, and other family members can all participate. This is a sweet way for everyone to develop a special bond. I remember hearing a story about a dad who, whenever his baby would get upset, would put her in her carrier, and take a walk around the block with her. She always calmed down. The combination of a deep voice, big hands, and the movement which comes along with wearing your baby are great soothing tools.
Have you heard of kangaroo care? This is a perfect name for when parents wear their premature infants on their body, like a little baby kangaroo. The parents wear their little babies on their bodies while they are still in the hospital. Amazingly, this technique has been shown to be more beneficial than incubators for premature infants. This has been shown to have a huge effect on the baby's ability to regulate their body temperature, and is beneficial to the baby's development. This not only applies to premature babies. Neurologically, babywearing is very beneficial for all babies. Because they are surrounded by constant stimuli, babywearing affects brain development for all babies. They are able to fully interact with their environment, and you are able to have an up close and personal view as your child learns about the world around them.
All IP's have clearly gone to great lengths to have the children they now have forever to hold as their own. Babywearing is a great option for those who wish to hold their precious ones as close as possible, as long as they possibly can.
My first time as a surrogate, I was carrying a baby brother for a sweet little boy. In fact what caught my attention about this particular couple was that the letter to their future surrogate was written from the perspective of their 1 1/2 year old. So sweet! When baby A was born, big brother took great delight in the train set that the new arrival had picked out especially for him!
A new baby in the family is a joy for everyone. But the reality is that babies also change the dynamics of a family. Whether you are first-time parents, or have older children who are also welcoming the new baby, everyone's roles are changed. If you have older children, there is an opportunity for a special sibling bond to develop with their new tiny baby brother or sister. But, depending on the ages of your older children, there is also potential for the older child or children to feel jealousy, confusion, and anger. But there are some concrete things you can do to help encourage positive interactions with all of your children.
2. Give special tasks to older child to help out
It is essential that your older child feel that they are part of welcoming your new baby too. If you can come up with a special role for them to do, they won't feel excluded. Some ideas of things they can do are helping throw the laundry in the washer, and they can also help out with dishes. They can also help out with diaper changes. You may be surprised how fascinated they will be with diaper changes!
3. Give them a gift from baby
Some people suggest picking out a small toy to give to your older child, as a gift from the baby. Other good things to do? Help your older child pick out a gift for the baby, to set the seeds for a loving and appreciative relationship. It might also not be a bad idea to have some other small toys on hand to give to older sibling in case people bring a gift for your baby, but neglect to bring one for your older child. You can easily avoid this situation by reminding people that if they want to bring a gift, not to forget older brother or sister.
4. Greet your older child before the baby
This is a simple request that you can make to other family members and friends. When your older children are acknowledged before baby, they won't feel left out. After all, how would you feel if you were constantly being passed over for someone else?
A new baby in the home brings special joys and challenges, but if you are patient and empathetic, there is an opportunity for a wonderful deep loving relationship to develop between your baby and older children. There's definitely enough love to go around! To this day, it is heart warming to see them together and to watch their deep bond grow through the years. Being an integral part of making that a reality is so precious and such an honor. In fact, the plan for sibling project for my second set of IP's is in the works. Hopefully 2016 will bring a second child into their home and make her a big sister!
Last month many of our surrogates were able to join us for some fun times and support in Sacramento, Ca. Some came from two hours away, some only had a 20 minute trip to make. No matter where they drove in from, or how much or how little time they spent with the group, I was so glad to get to have that time and to get to do something fun with them and for them.
We started out by getting to know each other, sharing where they were each at in their personal surrogacy journeys. They may have been recovering from the disappointment of a broken match or a failed transfer, they may have been blissfully pregnant, they may have been newly matched. A blend of experienced and first time surrogates. Some of us went out to a murder mystery dinner on the Delta Queen. We all agreed it was just about the cheesiest, funniest things we have ever been involved in!
That evening we had some nice, very real and candid conversations. Surrogacy is not for sissies and not every aspect of a journey is butterflies and roses. It is so important to be honest and to share real, uncensored experiences. Then when something unexpected or upsetting happens, each of them know they are not alone.
Oh yeah, and did I mention, lots of talk about pregnancy and birth? Let me repeat, LOTS of talk about pregnancy and birth.
The next morning, some additional surrogates came to join us for breakfast and some more talk and support time. Such a great group of women. I had to sit back and take a deep breathe and look around several times. It's awe inspiring to know that everyone of them are doing something so wonderful for someone else.
We so appreciate our surrogates. Each and every one. The families appreciate these wonderful surrogates. The getaway was a very small token of appreciation from me to them, but it was the least I could do.
Today was a wonderful day.
There are some days filled with a lot of paperwork, background checks, faxing, scanning, booking travel, reading through legal contracts, and filing documents. Those days feel great because they are productive.
Items are checked off of a never ending and always growing to do list. Phone calls are returned. Emails are received and answered. Everything moves along like clock work. Other days are more light hearted and fun filled, like today. I had the pleasure of introducing a couple of surrogates to each other. Watching them exchange information, thoughts, questions and experiences with one an other and seeing them gain so much valuable support in an open way was just the best. Then it was back to the office and down to business, but the temporary reprieve is a very welcome breath of fresh air.
We are so blessed to bring people together on so many levels in order to give each party the best experience possible. Surrogacy rocks!!! ~Kim
In the past seven days we have been busy bees around here!
One beautiful embryo transferred, one surrogate matched, another surrogate with a complete profile now ready to be matched, a set of intended parents counting on us to find their perfect match, seven potential surrogates in the screening process, contract negotiations, and so much more!
Every day, everything we do, is to help others have the family they dream of. There is so much hope, dedication and love put into everything for everyone. It is an absolute blessing to be trusted to take part in it all. To all of you we are currently working with, and to those of you who we will be working with in the future, thank you for including us on your journey!!!! ~Kim