Friday, April 18, 2008

You Like Me! You Really, Really Like Me!

“The couple is thrilled. Thrilled! They loved you and loved Blaine and couldn’t be happier. They are so excited and said it went great! Fantastic! Fabulous!!!!!”

Ok, maybe the counselor knew my ego was still a little bruised from the first couple turning me down, and so she laid it on pretty thick.

But you know what? It worked. I loved them, they loved me, all was right and rosy with the world. And woo-freaking-hoo, I would be pregnant in no time!!!

“Now,” the counselor said, “You’ll move into what is considered the slow, frustrating, boring part ---- testing and contracts.”

Wait, what? *NOW* it was going to get slow and boring? What on earth had the previous six months of applications and interviews and screenings and psych tests been??? I thought *THAT* was the slow and boring part!

But no, she was right. We entered the Ice Age component of the process, better known as “Getting Everyone’s Ducks in a Row”. My couple had only recently relocated back to the United States, so they had to decide on a fertility clinic to use (NOT a decision to be made quickly or without research, for certain) They hired a lawyer to write up the contract, I hired a lawyer to review the contract, and once they decided on a clinic, she and I both had to have consultations, exams, medical record reviews, and be run through a multitude of “practice” procedures and medications and what-not.

Although I’m not exactly a split-personality, I am a little bit Sybil in that half of me is a lazy slob who is perfectly happy eating cookie dough, sitting on the sofa, watching TV all evening. The *other* half of me is a type-A, get it done yesterday, what the heck is taking so long, impulsive, rash, hasty freak of nature. [/see: paid full sticker price for a car when I was eighteen because OMG it is so cute!! and I wantitwantitwantitnownownow]

Naturally, *that* part of my personality, they hasty freak part, was a bit annoyed by the tortoise-like pace we were forced to follow, waiting for this person to do this, and that person to do that. In the surrogacy world, as I was quickly discovering, there is a LOT of waiting around for other people to get their shit done. You can make phone calls, you can be Ms. Johnny On The Spot at getting your own things done, and returning forms, and making appointments, and gathering information, but in the end, you are often at the mercy of other people. People who, sadly, are sometimes NOT as impatient and impulsive as yourself. In fact, here is a word-for-word excerpt from the journal I was keeping at the time, almost three MONTHS after we met:

March 2, 2001

“I have to admit that I’m a little frustrated with the way things have gone this week. M. from the center called and said she lost my lab results from last November (she just now realized she didn’t have them?) so I went and had my blood drawn again. Then, I got my initial consultation with Dr. M. set up for March 23. I called the agency to make travel arrangements and S. said they would try to get the appointment bumped up so we could get things started more quickly, yeah! Dr. M. himself returned my call and suggested March 7, so I said great. Then, when I called the travel agent to make plans, she didn’t return my call. The surrogate agency (who holds all the money for travel expenses in an escrow account) doesn’t want me to buy the ticket until I know how much it’s going to be, and I can’t know how much the ticket is if I don’t know the times I need to travel, which I didn’t know until today, when the appointment was finally confirmed. It has also been a week and a half since my phone consultation with the attorney, and I still haven’t received my corrected contract, which he said I should have in a few days. So I called his office today to ask about that, and no one from there ever called me back. Are the four of us {meaning me, Blaine, and the Intended Parents} the only people who are taking care of our end of the deal? I feel frustrated that I keep leaving messages for these people and no one is doing what they say they will do, or what they should. In the meantime, they most likely think I am the pushiest, biggest pest in the free world, but think about it! It’s Friday. They want me to fly round-trip to Maryland in five days. I have to get flight arrangements, plus make childcare arrangements. No one is going to be around at the surrogate agency or the travel agency all weekend, and since no one returned my call today, nothing will get done until Monday, when I most likely will have to call them all again myself, and I’ll have less than 24 hours to make all my arrangements. And apparently I need to call the attorney again, too. Can none of these people return a single, stupid phone call???? I’m telling you, surrogacy is not for the faint of heart, which thankfully I’m not, but it’s obviously also not for the impatient, which I am even more than I realized. I guess this entire experience will be one big lesson in patience for me, and we haven’t even technically gotten started yet.”

See? See how the hasty freak part of me might have felt thwarted and annoyed?

PS. Speaking of impatient, hasty freaks (ha ha, you guys, not me!) (kidding, that was not very nice) for those of you who have mentioned “cliffhangers” and “making you wait” for the next part of this story ….. well ….. I’m not quite sure what to say. I can assure you I’m not dragging this narrative out on purpose. First of all, I started my first surrogacy journey in 2000; it’s now 2008 and as you know, I’m in the process of trying to do another. A lot of stuff has happened in the meantime, which I hate to gloss over. To do a single journal entry with the entire story, from start to finish, would be about a bazillion pages long. Quite frankly, I have soccer practices to sit through, and laundry to do, and dvr'd episodes of Dancing With The Stars to watch, and just don't have that kind of time, to sum it all up in one fell swoop. I guess I could give you the abbreviated version:

“I delivered four babies for three lovely families in six years. The End. PS. My stomach muscles will never recover.”

Personally, I’d like to flesh out the details just a wee bit more. :)

So if you’re the type of person who hates waiting around for the story, might I suggest that you quit visiting this blog for the next few months, which is probably how long it will take me to reach the very end. Especially if I take breaks every now and then to vent about stupid people, my hatred of feet, and my love of Diet Dr. Pepper. Just stop visiting for now, and then come back sometime this summer and read the entire story from beginning to end in one fell swoop. Really, it’s ok. I’ll even bake cookies so you can munch while you read.

PPS. To the person who asked in the guestbook about the pediatric cancer writing project that Julianna Banana’s dad Terry and I started …. Well …. As much as it saddens me to say this, I’m afraid the project died a pretty quick death. Not because we didn’t care, not because it’s not an important subject that (duh, obviously) has a special place in both our hearts, but because Terry and I both went through (in my personal, uneducated opinion) a little bit of PTSD after our girls finished treatment. I coped by eating my weight in Russell Stover candies (the purple caramel box, thank you very much); he coped by taking a few giant steps back from the overall experience of pediatric cancer. We both needed to remove ourselves a bit from that surreal world that had commandeered our lives the previous three years, and unfortunately, our neophyte writing project was the real victim.
Who knows if we’ll start it up again? Never say never, I suppose, but in the meantime, I’m just waiting for Caringbridge to shut down our sites for inactivity. Which on the one hand makes me sad, and on the other hand, helps me pray every night that I never need to start it up again.


Messy and Wonderful said...

I like the segments of the story. It's like reading a chapter in a really good book. And I would never get anything done knowing it's all there ready to read! My kids would starve, my DVR would fill up and start deleting my shows - then what would I do??? Good story, thanks for sharing with us.

The Running Girl said...

I don't mind reading a long, drawn out story. I like details. I wish you and Terry could have made the book happen, but I guess everyone deals with things differently. I sure do miss reading posts from him, though. Both of you write well, and both of your families have a very special place in my heart.

Anonymous said...

I like the way you are telling this story. You are an excellent writer and that is what keeps me on the edge of my seat until the next entry. "Cliff hangers" are a good thing, take it as a compliment. :)

We have 4 bio boys and then could not have any more children so we adopted my sweet girl. I feel I can relate to your life story just a wee bit in those areas.


Unknown said...

great post. I like the way you do it in bits and pieces and I wonder where you get the time.

I also understand where you and Terry are in the crazy world of pediatric cancer.


One thing that you and Terry don't know is that you both helped me through my PTSD. My son was finally on the road to recovery from his serious chronic illness (not cancer) when I found the Banana's blog and through them yours.

Reading all about your ups and down while your beautiful girls fought cancer and doing it with such grace and humor helped me re-enter the so called normal world of non illness.

Following along with your stories of everyday life I was able to release my bottled up tears on your hard days and laugh along with you on your good days. I have rejoiced ever since your girls knocked that cancer right out of the ball park.

So I totally understand where both Terry and you were at.

And I'm thankful you continue to blog because I enjoy your writing so much that I probably would read your shopping list just to see the kind of stuff you buy to eat! LOL


Anonymous said...

I totally understand the wanting to get away from the cancer world. I had my annual cancer follow up this morning. Melanoma diagnosed in November 97. Even though I know the cancer is gone, it still makes me sick to my stomach when they check my lymph nodes.

Take as long as you need. I love a good story.

By the way, they just started building Bend, Oregon's very first Sonic. It should open in May, and, why yes, I will be visiting that very first day.

Anonymous said...

Oooohhhh, can I have the baked cookies anyway? I mean, even if I don't take a break. I check EVERYDAY for a post. I love reading your posts. I also still check the caringbridge websites and Julianna Banana's too (several, actually). I keep up with lots of "my kids" through there. Maybe someday it will updated, but I know it will NEVER be for the dreaded "r". Both girls are super-fabulous now. Nobody could be happier than me. Madie Ice still keeps hers up and running and I love to read about how well things are going.
Wendy in Winder, GA
Wendy in Winder, GA

Anonymous said...

I may complain about the cliffhangers, but really I enjoy the suspense of wondering what happens next! As for the project with Terry, I wondered about it too, but your explanation makes sense. I do miss his updates, though about Julianna and family.

CAT said...

Hey Kristie,

I hardly have time to get on here and read your entries so I can't even imagine trying to find the time to get on here and write your entries! Take your time, your experience is amazing and I for one can wait for you to have the time!

Have a great weekend,


Anonymous said...

I just spent all morning (thank you for saving me from the laundry!) catching up on three months of your blog....things have been busy around here (not as busy as you, however!) I just want to say how sorry I am about the miscarriage and I will keep all of you, IP parents especially, in my thoughts and prayers...I wish you well in wherever the journey takes you next. You all look fantastic, happy and healthy (LOVE the Lighthouse pics and Blaine has always, always been a hottie in my humble opinion) and I personally love Kendrie's new soccer duds :-) Look forward to keeping up with you on a more regular basis!!

Anonymous said...

I like reading your story and don't mind at all to read it in installments. I like the details and you do such a great job of keeping it interesting. Thanks for sharing with us.

Lisa C.

Eloise said...

Enjoying the story! The pace is fine as long as you keep the installments coming!

Tammy said...

Ok, fine, take you time, enjoy the games, shows, you know darn well and good wild horses could'nt keep me away untill summer, so just quit it, but those cookies do sounds good! Hows the banana family doing by the way, sure do miss hearing from crazy Terry! Hugs from Fort Worth!

Anonymous said...

Hey Not-Quite-What-I-Planned Lady :-)

Thank you for articulating (in kinder words that I would have chosen to direct to me) what I have had a hard time understanding in myself as to why I can barely write. You have such a way with words, and I'm telling you Kristie, you have matured as a writer tremendously over the past couple of years! It's a pleasure reading here, and believe me there is a legion of people that I know of up here just in my neck of the woods in hell-frozen-over Canada.

You know, Julianna had her 2 years off of treatment anniversary and her 2 year doctor's appointment...and I can't bring myself to update her page for the more-than-kind people who come by to check up on her? THere was a time when you couldn't have convinced me that I would ever stop writing. Messed up, man, I tell you!

Take care,
Terry, Julianna Banana's PTSD dad
Winnipeg, Canada

P.S. - I think we're driving by your neck of the woods on our way to Dallas this July. Please tell me it's nice and cool that time of year!

Anonymous said...

I like the segments as well as most of the others. Thanks for continuing on with the story !!

Anonymous said...

Any good story is loaded with details! Love your entries whether they about the mundane details of the day or a new chapter of the surrogacy story. Keep them coming and thank you for sharing.....

Anonymous said...

Gosh, a two-fer! Both you and Terry! I imagine all of us who follow your lives are just happy that all is well with those two cute girls!

As for your writing, chapters are good. I know this is a book that I hope will never end.


Unknown said...

I'm finally back to blogs and all caught up from the last entry I read. I'm so sorry about the miscarriage and you and the family are in my prayers...I hope all turns out well! I love reading the stories of your journeys. I've missed reading your blog! I also miss having you in Georgia...Brie's soccer team played Kellen's old soccer team last Saturday and I kept wishing you had been there!