Friday, October 26, 2012

Back from LA in a day Medical Screening (surrogacy #4 journal entry) #surrogacy

I flew in and out to L.A. Monday (10/22/2012) and blogged all about my lovely experience at the airport. (http://mormonsurrogate.blogspot.com/2012/10/at-airport.html)

This is what happened once I was on the plane and the rest of the day journal entry style (I actually wrote it in a notebook on the plane):

10/22/12
I am headed back to Salt Lake City from my day trip to Los Angeles. 

I sat by a lovely lady on my way to LA. She was friendly, in fact I had a middle seat and she offered up her window seat. She asked what I was doing in LA, anything fun? I told her "Yeah, I'm a surrogate and I'm on my way to lunch and a medical appointment with my Intended Parents" She thought that was so neat. You never know how a stranger is going to react when you tell them you are a surrogate. It was so nice that she was so sweet, positive and supportive.

She kept asking questions, which I thought was great. She wasn't intrusive about it at all. She just asked every now and then in a curious, respectful way.  She asked if I was okay talking to people about it and I said, "Well, yes, I actually have a blog and wrote a book about it." She was impressed and asked me the name of my blog and then asked some questions about my book. I realized I had a copy with me (I was taking a copy to the fertility doctor) so I pulled it out to show her.

I beamed with pride as she flipped through and read each and every page. She even laughed appropriately at a few parts. She thought I did a good job. I was very happy that she liked it.

I love sitting by friendly people on the airplane. She was a joy to sit by and she had a lovely southern accent.

The Intended Father/IF (I need to come up with a nickname for him) picked me up at the curb when we landed. We chatted comfortably. We both drive the same kind of SUV and I thought that was cool. We were on our way to meet Amazing Grace (Intended Mom) for lunch. Amazing Grace had asked me earlier if I had any cravings for lunch. I couldn't think of any at the time, plus she had mentioned lunch by the beach so I figured whatever they had in mind would be lovely.

Sometime before I landed, I decided sushi sounded good, knowing that they both like sushi. IF mentioned that IM was wondering what I was in the mood for. He said they were thinking of a place with an ocean view. I told him, actually sushi sounds good, but whatever you have planned is fine, it's not every day I get an ocean view.

The place they had in mind ended up not working out, so we were on our way to sushi. We got there a few minutes before IM.

IM came in and I could see in her face how genuinely excited she was to see me and to be taking this next step. (I believe she was glowing) The restaurant was lovely. It was all good, even the ice water with a slice of lemon. I ordered a Bento Box with a California Roll and Shrimp & Vegetable Tempura. It was so nice to enjoy spending time with them and chatting and eating yummy food. IF had to go back to work, so he said his goodbyes.

It was 2:00. Time for me to empty my bladder and then fill it back up with 16 ounces of water so I had a full bladder for the sonogram.

IM was sweet enough to bring me a bottle of water. She showed me around her town and even pointed out their adorable home. Then we headed to our appointment.

I had to fill out some paperwork in the waiting room and IM and I sat and chatted. I needed to write down when my last period was and I couldn't quite remember which day. I had been so organized, I wrote it down on my calendar when I started, but hey my calendar was at home on my wall. I knew I could figure out the day from one of the e-mails I sent IM, but there was a lot to sort through. (we're awesome like that)
IM and I each had our phones out sifting through e-mails and IM came to the rescue finding the exact date. Hooray! After about 15 minutes or so the Dr. called us back.We went to his office where I got to meet him for the first time. (He was an older, friendly gentleman)

He asked if I had been a surrogate before and I told him about my previous experiences. I then handed him a copy of my book. He was impressed when he realized that I had written it. IM assured him that it was a good book. At some point and time he must have read it, because he told Amazing Grace how wonderful it was.

There was a little mix up with our appointment and what exactly we were doing that day. In fact I was told to leave a urine sample which confused us because I was told to empty my bladder and then fill it back up for the ultrasound. IM and I were both a bit stressed by this, since I needed to catch a plane back home soon and I was there to get as much done as possible. The Dr. was cool and said, "Let's just do it all today."

I was taken back into an exam room and told I would be fully undressing. I got to wear a very flattering paper vest that opened in front and a paper sheet. The nurse (?) came in and asked if it was okay for Amazing Grace to come in. Of course! I mean, come on, we're in this together and soon enough I'll be birthing her babies and be all sorts of exposed. If I remember correctly all my previous IM's were in the exam room with me for the medical screening/ uterus sonogram. I was only embarrassed that I did not look my best. All my flaws were exposed.

The Dr. did an ultrasound/sonogram of my uterus and ovaries. I asked him if it helped to know that I have a tilted uterus. (most doctors say, "I can see that." This Dr. said it actually looked pretty straight. Hmmm, that's interesting. He said everything looked good. He then performed a trial transfer and inserted some saline through a catheter into my uterus. He made a comment that I should be a surrogate!  Ha ha. I replied, "Sounds good!".

I finally got to empty my bladder and leave a urine sample. No problem there. I was later told it was for a drug test. (Oh crap! Just kidding!) All understandable, they need to weed out the crack whores  heads. They also took my blood to test for STD's. My blood pressure was checked and was a little on the high side. But the nurse figured it was from her stressing me out. (I guess over the mix up) No big deal.

IM and I had some paperwork to look over and sign. So exciting. We talked to the Dr. about protocols and the embryo transfer. Since it will be a frozen transfer, I may get to skip shots and take suppositories instead. I don't really have a preference. Sure, it would be nice not to have to do the shots, but it's kind of part of the whole experience. (although it can be a real pain sometimes and you run out of spots to stick yourself)

I will start prenatal vitamins soon and then birth control once I start my period (after all the other steps are done, legal- contracts and validation and psychological evaluation)

The Dr. told Amazing Grace more than once that she had found a great surrogate. She agreed and was happy to hear that from a medical standpoint. He also told her that he would help spread the word about my book. I felt so loved! That meant the world to me. (sometimes I am hesitant to put myself out there for fear of rejection. Here I had written a book about something that was within his expertise, something he knew and understood  far more than I did, and yet he thought I did a good job! I am glad I felt comfortable sharing it with him)

Because of the mix up, the appointment took a little longer than expected. It was now about 4:40 PM and my flight back home was 5:55 from LAX. I wasn't sure how traffic would be or how crowded the airport would be. I know it's a BIG airport! Amazing Grace got me there by 5:02. I had a chance of making it. I was already checked in, had no bags and had my boarding pass. I just had to make it through security.

I walked into the airport and checked the screen for my gate. Then had to figure out where that gate was. I asked for help and was told it was in Terminal 6. I was in Terminal 5.
:(

I walked as fast as my short little legs could go. Security was a little slow and then because I have the best of luck, my gate was the furthest gate back. Boarding time was 5:30, I made it by 5:35. Luckily they were super slow boarding. (and yet once we got on, the flight attendant told everyone to hurry up so we could leave on time)

When I got home I gave my husband a hug and said, "Thank you for being so supportive of me so I can do all this cool stuff!"

I'm so lucky and blessed to have this opportunity in my life right now with these awesome people! I am beyond grateful for the relationship we have and for how smoothly everything has gone.

Aloha Friday Blog Hop

Monday, October 22, 2012

At the airport (surrogacy #4 journal entry)

Here I am sitting at the airport. Breezed through security. I remember when it used to be a lot more fun to fly. Checked the flight status and it said 11:15. I thought crap, I guess it's delayed a bit because I thought it was @ 10:55.

I found my gate, not many places to sit. I started feeling a little anxiety. Took a potty break, went to hang up my backpack and the loopy hook to hang it with broke. It just pulled itself almost all the way out and was hanging by a thread. Started to stress a bit. Luckily I could hang it by one of the big thick straps. It's a brand new backpack, never been used. We bought it for Tristan for school and then found out they weren't allowed. They have to take cheesy drawstring bags.

Texted hubby, e-mailed Amazing Grace (Intended Mom, not her real name) and filled her in. Then I realized the flight was at 11:15. Just then Amazing Grace e-mailed back and said the itinerary said 11:15. IM and I are sometimes in sync like that.

So now all is well, super excited to begin this journey. In case you didn't know, I am flying to see my Intended Parents to be medically cleared to be their surrogate. Going to get my uterus checked out and probably some blood work.

Hmm the pilot was just sitting by me, I thought he was just a regular guy. Probably not good to hear him talk to his wife and say he's feeling kind of out of it, feels like he needs to lay down. OHMYGOSH! Pray for me.(just kidding I'm not really freaking out)  I'm sure we'll be fine, maybe he can take a little cat nap before we take off.

Tried to take a pic of me waiting, but I don't do self portraits well with phones and feel like everyone's watching me and can't figure out how to quiet the shutter. But here you go. Not an attractive photo at all but it's all I have and I think it showed my nervousness. (from taking a self-portrait in front of a bunch of freaks at the airport ha ha)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Medical Screening, Meeting the Intended Parents, Surrogacy Progress

Sometimes the surrogate meets her IPs (Intended Parents) in person for the first time at the medical screening. That's how it was for me with couple #1 and couple #3. However, with couple #2, the IM (Intended Mom) flew to Utah to meet me before the medical screening, before we were even technically "matched". Same with couple #4, my current couple, except that the IM (Intended Mom aka "Amazing Grace" on my blog), IF (Intended Father) and their CLG (cute little girl) all came to Utah to meet me.

Let's flashback to that awesome day because sadly I have not blogged about that yet.

They came for a visit September 15, 2012. They arrived at our home around 11:00 AM for lunch and to hang out and get to know each other. My youngest daughter saw them pull up on the security camera. I looked out the peep hole on the door and saw my IM coming up the steps with a bouquet of beautifully bright colored flowers. It was such a beautiful sight it brought tears to my eyes. I was very touched and super excited.

I opened the door and blurted out, "You're taller than I expected." What a dork... just me being a little nervous I guess. She laughed, handed me the flowers and a card and said "Happy Birthday" and gave me a hug. My birthday was September 10th. It was super sweet of her to bring me something.

My husband and oldest daughter had gone out to put up signs for the IPs to follow. However, they got to our house just fine about 10 minutes after John and Tristan had left. After about 15 minutes, I called hubby to tell him they were there and to come back. It's the thought that counts, and IPs thought it was cool that they did that.

I was still working on the chicken enchiladas and I was a little bit shy. However, I soon felt like an old friend was hanging out with me. IM and I get along beautifully. (we already got to know each other pretty well through MANY e-mails and 2 phone calls)  She offered to help grate cheese. I didn't want her doing too much, since I invited them for lunch. However, I was grateful for her help. *No pun intended* LOL

We chatted and visited and ate lunch. IF was wonderful as well. He was easy to talk to and seemed to get along great with my husband. They talked and talked and talked. Both IPs have fun personalities. I think we all got along great. Their adorable little girl was cute and full of energy. She really liked my oldest daughter and followed her around and even held her hand now and then. Everyone thought lunch was yummy which made me feel great!

I gave Amazing Grace a copy of my book. (Once Upon a Surrogate: The Stork's Helpers) She read it and thought it was great. I showed her some other children's books about surrogacy and she genuinely said she liked mine best. She thought mine was a little more real-life and not just a cute little story. That meant a lot to me. She was very grateful for such a tool to help her share the story of surrogacy with her daughter when she is a little bit older.

We decided to head up to Snowbird (our local ski resort) and go to Oktoberfest. We hung out, checked out some booths, got a drink and shared a cookie and chocolate cake. There was some German dancing going on that we sat and watched. The cute little girl asked her dad to dance with her. It was the sweetest thing ever and he did dance with her.

IF paid for us all to go on the Alpine Slide. IM and I were slightly hesitant. It looked fun, but a bit scary. As we rode the ski lift up to the top I was having some anxiety. Part of the reason, was there was nothing holding us in and I was freaking out about the possibility of falling out, and also I was hoping the slide wasn't too extreme. IM and little cutie were in the lift in front of us. All of a sudden I see little cutie's adorable pink flip flop drop to the ground. Oh no!
We get to the top and it was pretty exciting. Once it was all over IM and I felt like we could have done better. I went super slow, being super cautious. I could have gone faster.

IP's anniversary was coming up and they stayed the night at Snowbird. The next day we got together for S'mores. It was nice to spend some more time together before they got on the plane and went back home. It was an awesome weekend. They told me to think it over (being their surrogate) and I said there is nothing to think over, you guys are great. (something like that) IM said I was pretty awesome too. (or something like that) Their cute little girl gave Tristan (oldest daughter) a few hugs and even gave her a kiss goodbye. She gave me a high five.

And now you're caught up which brings us to tomorrow. AGH! (that's happy, excited screaming) Tomorrow I get to hop on a plane and hang out with these lovely people. IM says we will have lunch by the beach. How cool! Then my medical screening is at 3:00. I get to drink a bunch of water and the fertility doctor will check out my uterus among other things. I believe there will probably be some blood drawn. Every time I've had my uterus checked for a surrogacy, I've been told I have a "lovely uterus". Sometimes beautiful, sometimes lovely, but pretty much all the same. I wonder what the doctor will say tomorrow. I also wonder what do you wear to an appoint where a stranger checks out your hoo-ha.

With each journey I have been with a different fertility doctor/clinic. I am excited to meet another Fertility Doctor.

Things are still going very well and I'm so excited for this next step (although I'm kind of nervous to be flying alone). Following the medical screening we need to do a psych eval and work on contracts, then we can set up the embryo transfer. I believe everything should continue to go smoothly and fairly quickly. I'm guesstimating an embryo transfer in December/January.

I've carried a baby girl and twin boys as a surrogate. I think it would be cool to carry boy/girl twins now. Who knows...



P.S. Last time I flew was in 2008 when I ended up getting pregnant with my surro-twins.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Celebrating the 2 year anniversary of Once Upon a Surrogate: the Stork's Helpers

To celebrate the 2 year anniversary of my book Once Upon a Surrogate: The Stork's Helpers, (released 10/10/10) I am hosting a giveaway. And/or you can order your own copy at a discounted price, right here, right now)


Once Upon a Surrogate: The Stork's Helpers 

ISBN: 978-1-4507-3642-8


Order now at a Very Special Discounted Price!

Order safely and securely right here through:


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Please add a note including your name if you want a signed copy.

I apologize, my 10% off button wasn't working. I'm not sure if it ever worked. This button should work just fine. I have discounted my book even further to make up for this. Instead of $16.95, you can order a copy for $13.01. With shipping/handling  ($3.99) this makes an even $17.00 total. I will leave this special pricing available through Christmas. Sorry for the inconvenience! Now is a great time to stock up to give to surrogates, intended parents and children.




Up for grabs I have 2 copies to giveaway as well as 1 child t-shirt. ( Ash Grey M 10-12) 


   

Kids Light T-Shirt

If you are an intended parent and not sure how to tell your child about their surrogate mother, this book is a wonderful tool. It is also wonderful for surrogates to show the love they experience as a surrogate with their own children or as a gift to their surrogate children.

What others have to say about the book:

Have you ever wondered what is like to be a surrogate mom? Jill Hancock Reeder describes what it is like to be a "helper"- a stork if you will in children's terms. Jill has been a surrogate before. She knows what it is like. Illustrations for the book are created by none other than her own children! It is simply beautiful!
If you or your children have ever wondered what is like to be a surrogate, I would highly recommend this book. You can catch a small glimpse of what it is like to be an incubator to someone who can't have any children of their own. You can teach your children there is more than one way to have children. And if you yourself are struggling to have children perhaps surrogacy might be the answer for you! 
Snyopsis by Alexes Covington
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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2010

First Review for Once Upon a Surrogate: The Stork's Helpers


This book is fantastic! It was great to be able to read it to my children and see that them realize what surrogacy is. They really enjoyed the story and so did I, I think that it really helped them to understand the whole concept of surrogacy.

I have two boys who are young (6 & 4) and they loved this book and have asked me to read it to them several times since we received it and I am more than happy to do it!

I would recommend this book to surrogates and intended parents alike, this is a great way to teach your children what you do for other people or to teach them about their beginning. Thank you Jill for writing such a lovely book, I have been looking for something like this since I started my first journey and finally my search is over!

-Sarah 
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Once Upon a Surrogate: The Stork's Helpers

Wed, 11/17/2010 

Submitted By :
Maryann507
Once Upon a Surrogate: The Stork's Helpers
For most of us, when we're sick or when something unexpected comes up, we can take a personal day from work. But what happens when the Stork gets sick? I mean, babies still need to be delivered, right?
That's why he inlisted special helpers, called Surrogates! Although surrogates can't carry babies in their mouths, they can still carry them in their bellies!
One special surrogate is Jill Hancock Reeder, who received that very important call back in 2005. Jill grew up in Utah, where she currently resides with her Navy hubby and high school sweetheart, along with their three beautiful young children.
Her husband was an avid blood donor, but Jill wanted to do something more. After contemplating egg donation, she came across the idea of surrogacy. With extensive research and help from another online surrogacy community, Jill was able to make her dreams come true, and help other families who weren't able to have children. In fact, not only is she surrogate mom to a little girl, but also to twin boys! To read more about Jill and her decision to become a surrogate, please visit her blog, at http://mormonsurrogate.blogspot.com
Jill was inspired to share her experiences as a surrogate in her new book, Once Upon a Surrogate: The Stork's Helpers. I received a copy, and thought it was a great story to be told, even though I have never been involved in surrogacy. It is told from the perspective of her children, from how they handled the experience to how they were involved. Jill even involved her children as her illustrators for the book and her father as her printer and consultant!
Jill has even designed merchandise for surrogates and intended parents, using unique phrases and sayings. My personal favorite is "I'm not the mom, I'm just the stork"---I think it would be a whole lot easier when talking to inquisitive passerbys that always want to talk about your pregnancy! You can see her entire collection at http://surrogacybooks.blogspot.com
So if you've ever wondered what it would be like to be a surrogate mother, or to teach your children that there is more than one way to have a baby, this book would make a great addition to your bookshelf!
Back to the giveaway-
Each copy will be signed if desired and will include bookmarks and stickers.
I will continue the celebration for the rest of October offering my book at 10 percent off. (you can even order below)

To enter the giveaway please spread the word through Twitter (mention @surropepperbird or @surrogacybooks or link to http://surrogacybooks.blogspot.com or link to this very blog post)  or Facebook or your own blog and send me the link at pepperbird@gmail.com.

If you don't already follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you can do that as well, just let me know.

My Facebook Fan Pages:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mormon-Surrogate/129139433785474

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Surrogacy-Books/164401093599033


My Twitter Pages:

https://twitter.com/surropepperbird

https://twitter.com/surrogacybooks


Or leave the link here in my blog as a comment. Comments here will count as 1 entry, Facebook and Twitter activity will count as 2 entries. Whatever you do, please include a short sentence of why you are interested in the book.










Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Twelve Months by Steven Manchester (book review and giveaway)

I was recently sent Twelve Months by Steven Manchester to review. It sounded like a great book and I couldn't wait to dive in.

I absolutely loved this book. It was beautiful from beginning to end. I really got consumed in the story.

It is about a man Don DiMarco who finds out he has cancer. He decides that he better start living. He has a few adventures by himself and with his wife. Along the way he learns some important life lessons. It was a very touching story and it was well written.

From Amazon.com:

Twelve Months
(You can't really click to look inside unless you go to Amazon, so if you want to, click on the link at the top)

Book Description


August 14, 2012


Don DiMarco has a very good life – a family he loves, a comfortable lifestyle, passions and interests that keep him amused. He also thought he had time, but that turned out not to be the case. Faced with news that might have immediately felled most, Don now wonders if he has time enough. Time enough to show his wife the romance he didn’t always lavish on her. Time enough to live out his most ambitious fantasies. Time enough to close the circle on some of his most aching unresolved relationships. Summoning an inner strength he barely realized he possessed, Don sets off to prove that twelve months is time enough to live a life in full.
A glorious celebration of each and every moment that we’re given here on Earth, as well as the eternal bonds that we all share, TWELVE MONTHS is a stirring testament to the power of the human spirit.


If you're looking for the next great book to read, this is it. If you would like a copy for yourself just let me know and I will be happy to pass it on and share the joy. (although I'd be fine to hang on to it too)

* Only 1 lucky duck gets a copy

Leave comments here along with a way to contact you if you win. I will pick a winner soon.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mike Monkey Has 5 Bananas Children's Book Review

I was recently sent Mike Monkey Has 5 Bananas to review.

It is written by Richard Garrett Dews and Illustrated by Toby Mikle.


From the author's webiste:

"What’s more fun than monkeys, bananas, and singing? Mike Monkey Has 5 Bananas, a new pre-K and Kindergarten children’s book from Richard, helps young readers learn to count down from (and up to) 5. Kids pick up the catchy tune almost instantly, and the book’s many happy lessons seem to happen without effort!
The sing-along song was created first, before the book, and sheet music is included on the book’s last page. An MP3 instrumental version is available, from online music retailers, to lead and support young singers. It’s great background music (or a lullaby) when looped!"

This was a cute, fun book to read. I liked the story along with the counting. The pictures were bright and colorful, giving it a cheery feel. It has a lot to offer in one story. I would recommend this book to parents and teachers of young children.

My daughters are 8 and 12 and they read it as well on their own. My niece also read it and she is 8.

Jessica (8) said: "I like that it has monkeys in it because I'm a monkey. (I was born the year of the monkey and my mom calls me a monkey) Mostly in the book, the bananas are mostly green. I also like books that are like songs and rhyming stuff. I like books that rhyme."

Tristan (12) said: "I thought it was very, very interesting. Definitely a good children's book."

Tatyana (8) said:
(spoiler alert)

"It is about a monkey who first has 5 bananas. And then some of them are green. Then he has four bananas, he ate one yesterday. They are still too green. He has 3 bananas and he ate one yesterday, they are still too green. He has 2 bananas left, they are still too green. He has one banana and he ate a ripe one yesterday. They're still a little green. He has no bananas, but he'll be okay now. He picked 5 more. I liked it."

Please visit the author's website where you can purchase the book and learn more.