Thursday, April 17, 2014

Utah's First Surrogacy Agency!

Yep, you read that right. Utah is catching up to speed in the surrogacy world. It's been a surrogacy friendly state for years and people are catching on. I've seen it grow like crazy here.

I've been in the surrogacy community since the beginning of Utah's new surrogacy law in 2005. When I was first introduced to surrogacy in 2002, I had no idea it was illegal in Utah at the time. However, the time wasn't right for me to be a surrogate at that point anyway. My first surrogacy wasn't even in Utah. I had moved to San Diego with my husband and had been re-introduced to surrogacy right before our move.

After the birth of my first surrogate baby, we bought a new house and moved back to Utah. I already knew I wanted to be a surrogate again. Each agency I used was in a different state than I was. (I have had positive and not so positive agency experiences) My 2nd journey ended in a miscarriage. 

My 3rd journey started in 2008. Utah was still figuring a few things out. It was pretty smooth though and I gave birth to twin boys via c-section in April 2009. They just turned 5 on Tuesday!

Along the way I would come across Intended Parents looking for a surrogate independently. They wouldn't always be a match for me, but I felt a strong desire to help them find someone else. I started helping people find matches in 2007.

I also came to know a lot of Surrogates and Intended Parents online in different Surrogacy communities back in 2005 when I first started out.

Plus I had people contacting me through my blog looking for advice or looking for a match.

I had been through different clinics, worked with different lawyers and agencies. I had a wealth of knowledge and information. I decided to put it all to good use and I created Once Upon a Surrogate *Stork Services*. It was a place where I could focus my energy on helping people. It was a place of resource with matchmaking and advice. I had toyed with the idea of starting an agency, but was overwhelmed. I decided this was the next best thing.

Recently, I went to a monitoring appointment at Utah Fertility Center, getting ready for my upcoming transfer. (Transfer was 4/2/14. We're pregnant!)
I had come to know the staff at UFC fairly well and I absolutely came to love the ultrasound tech that had been monitoring me with this journey as well as with my couple last year. I wanted a picture of me and her. Dr. Foulk happened to be there and I hadn't seen him in a long time. (I love Dr. Foulk too!) We decided he needed to be in the picture too. 


He said it was funny I was there because he was actually just thinking of me. He had found that something had fallen behind his desk. It was a note to call me about being a surrogacy coordinator. (from 2 years ago!) We had talked to me about it (2 years ago) and I was interested, but we could never get a hold of each other and it just never happened. (Now I know why he never called me back) We discussed the need for an agency in Utah and he encouraged me to start one.  It felt right. I had been training myself for it all along. without even realizing it. I had been gearing up for this, and had even stepped up my game more recently. Before wasn't the right time. The right time was Now! Things had come full circle.

I wasn't going to let either of us drop the ball this time. This was serious business. I had some homework to do and I got started. Again, this was all while preparing for my own embryo transfer as a surrogate. And then, sadly my grandma passed away. It was a lot to deal with at once.

Just like I was led to be a surrogate in the first place, I have since had many opportunities present themselves, with one thing leading to another. This is absolutely what I was meant to do. Surrogacy is an amazing thing to be a part of in any form. I feel truly blessed for this opportunity.

My resume now includes: Author, Agency Owner/Director, Blogger, Creative Entrepreneur, Surrogacy Advocate.

The agency is now in place and we have a great team put together. We are a low cost agency, providing different packages, including full services. We already have surrogates (Gestational Carriers) lined up and have a few Intended Parents interested. Our main focus is Utah. But we will work with other states as well. 

Come visit us: LovingStorkServices.com

Our greatest need is for Intended Parents and Gestational Carriers right here in Utah! We are looking for you right now! Spread the word.





Saturday, April 12, 2014

Are we pregnant or not? Beta day!

Beta Day April 11, 2014

After blood is drawn, before the results are in-



And then, the results-

I was so nervous waiting for the beta today. I couldn't sleep much last night. Even though all these tests were looking good.













This morning's beautiful test! It was hard to keep these from Lovely Rita. Quite the awesome secret.


You can see that they started out faint and progressively darkened. But I was nervous. The tests are the first part, then the beta needs to be a good number and then it needs to go up, etc. There had been too many times when the years were positive, but the beta was low or the beta was alright, but it ended in a miscarriage or a chemical pregnancy. 

But, I think 165 is a GREAT first beta number!
When I heard that's what it was, I immediately put my hand to my mouth and was close to tears. Oh my gosh! We're pregnant! 

My daughter painted my nails last night to look like positive pregnancy tests. 

Not the best polish, but it was fun.

I am on cloud 9. So happy! I can't believe it! I can't wait for the next beta on Tuesday and then the first ultrasound, etc. 








Thursday, April 3, 2014

Transfer complete, baby girl on board! #surrogacy


I have so much to update! Pull up a chair, and make yourself comfortable. You're going to be here for awhile. I will catch up first and then try to do a backup post about everything that's happened between now and my last post.

Transfer day was Wednesday April 2, 2014.

So- most awesome of all is that I got to finally meet Lovely Rita in person! She even said I could post pics of her. We'll get to that soon enough.


My youngest gave me a pedicure the night before I left for the transfer.


And my 14 year old painted my fingernails.


My lucky green and purple! 


This is my "not thrilled that our flight was delayed" look.


But then we finally boarded and I was happy again!


It's important to have a good support system when you are a surrogate. I have an awesome support system and this guy is my #1 support!

We arrived at the San Diego airport a few hours before Lovely Rita.


We picked up the rental car. They were having an upgrade special, so we got this bad boy! Lovely Rita was thrilled! It was awesome to pick her up and meet her for the first time!


Don't we make a cute couple? 



Test shot.


We went out to Benihana, my favorite restaurant, and the one in San Diego is the best!! It was so cool to se her come to life if that makes sense. Almost like a blind date on hold for 4 months. Ha ha.
(I look extra plump in this picture, boo! Blaming it on the meds)


I've been eating pineapple in the morning and at night as part of my surro pregnancy regime. (Just stuff I've learned over the years, pineapple is supposed to help with implantation) Well, I drank my pineapple that night in a Mango Pina Colada. Yum! I was really full from lunch, so I didn't get to experience the full Beninhana meal, but I got their yummy California Roll and Fried Rice. We all had ice cream for dessert.

My night before the transfer post on Instagram.


Breakfast view on transfer day.


Lovely Rita and I ordered the same yummy breakfast. I was so happy that my fruit included pineapple. 


Alright, let's go get knocked up!


We were having a blast cruising in the Mustang and I insisted we get a hair blown selfie. Although, that wasn't very fair because I had pulled my hair back.


In our private transfer party room. Me and the lovely ultrasound machine. They insert the embryo(s) through a catheter and use ultrasound guidance.


What a lovely hatching embryo. Female, by the way. They did PGS testing and this baby was top notch! I believe they gave us an 82% success rate. Wow!!



It wouldn't be a transfer without a newly designed transfer shirt, however, sadly, the one I ordered was a small fitting state and did not fit me! So, I just held it up for a picture. It says, "Is it bad that I am meeting someone for the first time and hoping I get knocked up?" The Dr walked in and seemed to get a kick out if it.


My awesome, beautiful surro friend that I have known since my first surrogacy journey (2005/2006) came to the transfer. I thought it was awesome that not only did the clinic tell my IM that we could invite people, but she was totally cool with me inviting my friend. Kari brought 2 good luck charms with her, she is pregnant with twins and due next month. She also wore green (good luck fertility color) and brought me yummy goodies. So sweet! And she hung our with us afterwards for our after transfer fries. (Another tradition that is supposed to help with implantation)


Scoot up and into position.


Time to get up close and personal. Hello Dr, nice to meet you! #slightlyawkward (but so used to it)
I was a bit bummed that this clinic didn't offer Valium. I was extra bummed when I had no warning and there's the speculum and soon after, there's the catheter. Not very comfortable. Ouch.
:(
I've had two Dr's like that now. Other than that he was pretty nice and friendly. The assistant didn't seem very friendly to me. 

After the embryo was transferred to my 13 mm uterus, I had to lay down for 15 minutes. Then we were sent on our way.


We were off to find fries and we ended up at Smashburger which happen to be my favorite fries!! Too bad I wasn't hungry enough for one of their delicious burgers. 

Afterwards, Lovely Rita stopped for ice cream and tried to talk me into getting pineapple gelato. I was too full, but I got a sample taste.

Then, back to the hotel for bedrest for the rest of the day.
I updated Instagram and Facebook with a few pics and then took a nap. Hubby slept too. Then he picked up some movies and snacks. We ordered dinner too.




Check out this adorable stork necklace a friend of mine made me for good luck.


Also good for pregnancy. A bit tart for my taste though.


More pineapple!


And then it was time for shots. I had to start Lovenox on transfer day. With my first surrogacy, the RE (Dr) did a ton of genetic testing and found that I had the MTHFR mutation/gene. He put me on Lovenox to help prevent blood clots/miscarriage. Not every Dr has agreed to put me on the Lovenox, but the times I've used it were the times I was successful, with the exception of my last transfer with my previous couple. I was impressed that this clinic agreed to add it to the protocol, since it has worked before. Lovenox is a blood thinner and is subcutaneous. It goes in your belly and stings a little. It usually leaves bruises. I will be on it plus PIO (Progesterone in Oil) for pretty much the first trimester.


The next day it was time to head home, but first another breakfast with a view, this time at the hotel restaurant. 


I was sad to say goodbye. I had to get a picture on this lovely couch. (?)




Lovely Rita thought this chair was fun and funky! 



Time to go to the airport in style.


The shuttle ride from the car rental return to the airport was bittersweet for me. Look at our matching bracelets Lovely Rita got us. She got one for the egg donor too.


My transfer suitcase. Ha ha!

I felt some cramping on transfer day and 2 days later felt more cramping, twinges and what feels like stretching.

How sweet is this?? 


The official blood/pregnancy test is April 11. I can't wait to hear good strong numbers.