Brooks and I have had a lot of progress since our match! We have hit a few milestones, most importantly meeting our surrogate! Here is an overview of what has been going on:
-Our surrogate, Tarynn, sent over the last of all of her past pregnancy and delivery reports to our clinic, UCSF, and our doctor gave the “Green Light” on June 2.
-Tarynn sent her current insurance policy over to our agency, who is having it triple checked by a California broker to confirm what we all expect, which is that Tarynn’s insurance does cover pregnancy, even if not her child. Can I get an AMEN!?
-We have been assigned a case manager, wonderful Heidi, to oversee our surrogacy journey and keep us up to date on next steps and deadlines.
-Our contracts are being drafted this week, and Tarynn had an appointment on June 5 to go over her initial contract with our agency.
-Brooks and I completed our FDA blood work and physical. This is totally backwards in our situation because we already have embryos from previous IVF cycles. In order to even complete an IVF cycle at our clinic, we were required to do blood testing to be sure we are not carrying an infectious disease such as HIV, that we have had proper immunization, have had the chicken pox, and also to confirm if we have RH factor, among many other tests.
In surrogacy, it is most common to complete all blood tests prior to making em-babies. In 2005, the FDA published the final rule that all intended parents must complete a sensitive series of blood work which needed to be approved and clear “before” the embryo transfer is completed, in order to help prevent the transmission and spread of disease by human cells, tissues, etc. This makes perfect sense, however not so much in our case because our embryos were created before this was done. Yes, we had blood work done before beginning IVF, however it was not the exact same FDA test and also was not sent to them for approval. Even though our embryos were made first, we were still required to have the blood test done now before we can transfer.
-And finally, WE MET our surrogate! Here is a little about our wonderful day together:
On Wednesday May 27th we left for the airport for our flight to Southern California to meet Tarynn and her family. I can honestly say I cannot remember the last time I was this nervous about anything. I feel like I already had such a connection, a relationship even, with this woman and I had this silly fear that she may not like me in person. I know, it is embarrassing to even admit this! I knew we did not have much to go over in terms of our surrogacy preferences seeing as we have discussed it all through e-mail and text messages, and hoped our conversation would flow organically and we would have plenty to talk about.
We got to the airport and quickly learned that our flight was cancelled until further notice as all flights were grounded due to low ceilings – aka – San Francisco’s fog makes for zero visibility when flights are trying to ascend and descend. Gulp – take all the time you need!
The airport was pretty crowded, but we decided to grab a quick bite to eat and a beer to ease our nerves and pass the time. Our drinks came, as well as two full glasses of water. I went to adjust my seat closer to the table and all 4 drinks completely fell into Brooks’ lap. Poor guy was completely soaked. I felt so embarrassed, and truly think my clumsiness is tenfold when I am nervous! A few hours later and we finally made it to Southern California with little else to report.
The next morning I woke up before my alarm and just laid in bed. I seriously could not believe this day was *finally* here. We got ready ahead of schedule and went out to grab coffee and a light breakfast on the go. We were very quiet as we drove an hour to Tarynn’s house, as we were both anxious. The drive went by quickly, and before we knew it, we were at her front door!
We met Tarynn, her husband Josh, and their oldest Kaelyn right away. We all chatted for a bit and allowed Kaelyn to give us a tour of their beautiful home. Tarynn was just as I imagined her from her texts and emails: warm & welcoming, outgoing, detail oriented (be still my right brain), and extremely motivated and bright. Josh was as I imagined him as well: enormously supportive of his wife and girls, relaxed, loving, and clearly an amazing husband and father.
About an hour later, Josh left to take Kaelyn to school, and to pick up their youngest, Scarlett, while we jumped on a call with our new case manager Heidi from NWSC. Even though my nerves were still pretty high, they seemed to increase even more by Skype-ing with Heidi! It feels so ridiculous recalling my anxiety, but I guess in retrospect this is all pretty important and meeting these new people means something amazing and just as scary is about to happen.
After our Skype meeting was over, I returned a call from our clinic who confirmed that Brooks carried the virus CMV, and unfortunately it showed “active” on the day of our blood test. I knew absolutely nothing about this prior to now, so you can imagine not only my fear of my husband having a virus, but also the short-lived loss of hope that our surrogacy journey could have a major road block ahead. Luckily after doing a lot of research, turns out this virus affects 50 – 80% of the population and comes with virtually no symptoms for those without compromised immune systems. Thank goodness! We are not able to start Tarynn on any meds or have an embryo transfer until Brooks’ blood is retested on July 1st and shows the CMV virus has returned to latent or dormant status.
Once we wrapped our heads around this new hiccup, we all left for a yummy Italian lunch with Scarlett in tow.
Scar was very shy, and wasn’t too big on the conversation, but kept flashing us the most adorable smiles throughout lunch. I think looking back, Scar was the one who made me come out of *my* shell. By seeing her being so shy, I wanted badly for all of us to connect and by doing so, I shook off my nerves and tried asking her questions and thinking of anything I could to get her to open up. We left the restaurant and headed back to Tarynn’s home, and it was then the last shred of my nerves completely disappeared.
We ended the day sitting cross-legged on their living room floor, playing Candy Land, and lovin’ on their family pup. Scar was the ringleader of Candy Land, and I was soaking her up now that she was comfortable, playful and showing us her real personality. Eventually, Kaelyn came back from school and the girls brought us outside so they could show us their tire swing, their dance moves, and their beautiful singing voices. They might be two of the cutest, sweetest, and smartest little people I have ever met. Tarynn and her husband are amazing parents, and they should be so proud of their children. I can’t wait to spend more time with all of them, and I could not be luckier that this was the family we were meant to meet and have this journey with. Someone better pinch me.
Am I still cringing at how anxious and shy *I* felt like I was being that morning? Oh definitely. But all of my anxiety is gone now, and filled with nothing but love and excitement at this point. Cheesy, huh!
As far as our next steps, once contracts are signed in the next few weeks we will continue to fly Tarynn and her husband up to San Francisco for their medical and psychological screenings so we do not waste any time while waiting for Brooks’ blood test. We hope things continue to move quickly and that Brooks’ virus is clear as of early July! Finger crossed.
That is it for now, and we will continue to update our blog with next steps and all the emotions that surround each milestone.
Laura (& Brooks, too!)
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