700 Days

Bit by bit our gestational surrogacy journey is taking shape. I’m constantly living in new states of awe-maze-met with the blessings we are experiencing on this bizarre and beautiful path to parenthood. There have been bumps in the road as well. The bumps have provided opportunity for us to reevaluate, reeducate, and renew our decision along the way. I’m learning the balance of it, finding a rhythm to how it will continue this path of tiny little trails or big daunting roads that we must to walk to the end so we can see the next step. It takes a lot of energy emotionally. I wish there was a “skip” button so we could move it along to the end. At the same moment though, I want to cherish every step because once walked, they are paths we may never travel again. The waiting it so difficult as there are still so many unknowns. We are learning so much about this world of Assisted Reproductive Technology and Third Party Reproduction and when I think about how much I knew when we were launched into this world, I’m amazed at my ability to take it all in and be where I am with it today. Merely stating that I’ve learned a lot doesn’t do justice to the knowledge I’ve gained roughly in 700 days.

Seven hundred days!! My estimate is rough but  at this point two years (730 days) ago we were still in the beginning of finding out our unique fertility challenges and hoping beyond hope that I would be able to carry our baby myself or at least that I would have DNA to contribute to it’s being. It simultaneously feels like that was a lifetime ago and yesterday. We know so much more now than we did 700 days ago, yet in some ways we have some much left to learn. I stop. I wonder. Where will we find ourselves 700 days from now?

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot on the fact that this journey may not go as quickly as we’d initially hoped. We have a very sizable financial goal to meet and while we are doing well with the fund-gathering efforts we’ve put forth thus far, the money bit is simply slow going. I often find myself wishing that an extraordinarily wealthy benefactor would drop down out of the sky and give us exactly what we need so we could get started tomorrow. Truthfully, in a deep down hoping place which has developed on this journey and has learned and works hard not to place any expectations or limitations on the dream, I believe that could eventually happen. We have come across such brilliant generosity financially to date. When I sit with that generosity, it overcomes me and sometimes I get giddy, sometimes weepy, and sometimes even completely mushy. Reality check: an extraordinarily wealthy benefactor will probably not be the way we will reach our goal. Our fund-gathering efforts have been so purpose-FULL and wonder-FULL that my heart can hardly contain the excitement I have for our next phase of fund-gathering plans!!!

Seven hundred days ago, I didn’t even have a vision in place for Team Dream Baby. I didn’t even know I’d need that vision yet. Here we are though, and today, as that vision changes and develops with each step of our journey, I must admit my heart gets so overfilled when I think about all the Brave Souls who have joined our journey thus far. My gratefulness is already unending and I cannot begin to imagine how much space I will need in my heart for all of it as we go forward. Reality check: my heart cannot actually burst from an overflow of gratefulness.

To all the Brave Souls who are already here: To all the Brave Souls who will join us soon:

Please know, each of you who plays a part on Team Dream Baby is uniquely cherished as the realization of our dream takes shape. We very literally could not be here without you and we are both endlessly grateful for your support and love!!!!

I want to take a brief moment before we officially launch our next planned event to welcome my wonderful new friend Brooke to Team Dream Baby in the most official way I’ve got. Here on the blog! (That makes it super official, right? RIGHT!) So, without further ado, Brave Souls, will you welcome Brooke with me? She’s our new Fabulous Fund Finding Coordinator (f3c) and based on our first few meetings and plans so far, I’m beyond excited about the energy and passion she brings to the Team.

Brooke and her husband Joe (whom I haven’t actually even met yet) were merely friends of friends a few months ago. They have an energetic four year old son, who was miraculously conceived after their own struggle with infertility. Brooke learned about our Team Dream Baby story slowly over the summer as I was often around the group of people who hung out in our mutual friend’s neighborhood.  She started reading the blog and instantly knew she wanted to be a part of our team. It’s amazing all of the ways she’s encouraged and changed our story in such a short time. She’s now working along side me to put a bunch of our plans into action. Her generosity seems to know no limits. Thanks Brooke, for all you’ve done so far. You’re pretty awe-mazing to me!! Here’s to the next 700 days!!

Awe-maze-ment

Every time in the last year I’ve begun to doubt our surro-journey, something amazing happens. The run of garage sales we did in June exhausted me to my core. There was a regretably memorable 48 hour period in which I was completely convinced everything was falling apart. I was honestly considering giving up completely. Thirty three of those 48 hours were spent awake and I was so sleep deprived from preparing for the garage sale already that I experienced what my sweet R.N. sister identified and diagnosed as a “nervous break down or something very close to one.” Never having experienced a nervous breakdown before, I can say only two things: I hope never to have to confront that monster again and I’m genuinely broken for people who deal with anxiety, nervousness, and panic in daily situations in a different way than I have been before. This was not a lesson I necessarily needed to learn the hard way. Looking back though, I’m glad I had the experience. It certainly gives me a new ability to empathize with a population of people that are still very mysterious to my extroverted, trusting heart. 

After my nervous break down, which fabulously collided with the last day of our sale, I experienced some of the deepest moments of doubt about our surro-journey I’ve had yet. The doubt was so great at one point that I wanted to toss the baby out with the bath water [where “bath water” represents the success of our journey so far] and forget the whole thing. I was a hot HOT mess. The hopelessness (holla to all the IFs out there) felt like it was going to swallow me.

Less than two weeks after the end of our last sale, I had yet another ultrasound to examine my misbehaving uterus. It’s growing polyps already, after having a D&C this past March. We all know it’s nothing  more than a ticking time bomb at this point. I’ve just had this unreasonable ridiculous goal of not needing a hysterectomy before age 35. I was so worried I wasn’t going to make it since it’s rounding the bend here pretty fast. 

Just a few hours before my appointment for the scan, my hope was refueled by a very unexpected potential on the egg donor front. I found out that friend of a friend’s mom’s neighbor may be willing to donate an egg. 

I cried huge happy & relieved sobs of joy all the way to my gyn’s office. Hope was no longer less and in fact, in that moment it was so much more than I would have ever imagined possible. A woman, who is and will remain a stranger to me, made a selfless, generous, life-changing offer. Whether or not the details of this offer flesh out, the very moment it was offered the ending of our story changed. Simply because I did not give in to the overwhelming sense of hopeless.

A lessor “plot twist” might have persuaded me from giving the hopelessness a lasting foothold. But then I won’t ever know what might have been without it. For that, I’m imesurabley grateful. Because this is – though it feels very much like a dream or a movie scene – for real. It was dramatic. It was perfect.

(The details of the possible egg donor are not all ironed out just yet. It is a very in-process offer on the table of our Team Dream Baby future. Stay tuned for developments. This will all take some time to investigate. I’ll update as it becomes relevant.)

I’ve known since it began that our journey to parenthood is not an A to B sort of journey. Our Z – our ending – isn’t clear. There isn’t a 1-to-1 correlation in this gestational surrogacy thing…or really in parenting…ever – no matter how your journey got started! 

We have a list of questions that seems to get longer with every one we answer. Majority of the time though, the answers are leaving me in contastly new states of awe-maze-ment. (Yes, I did make that up. It’s gonna be like YOLO in a year, just wait!)

No. Matter. What. Happens. I stand in awe-maze-ment of this journey and the story of joy it is writing in my soul with each itty bitty baby step. I am classically an over achiever so I say this boldly without the actual experience to back me up: I truly believe parenthood is simultaneously the most difficult and most rewarding journey of life. 

P.S. My uterus “passed” this most recent exam. We revaluate in October. After I turn 35. I do so love to achieve my goals…even if is by the skin of my teeth. Here’s hoping for no emergencies until after my birthday!

The Promised Update  

You wouldn’t know so by my absence from posting, but these last several  months have been full of bustle and hussle in Team Dream Baby land. Lots of things have changed and lots of progress has been made. None of it is very tangible or visible yet and discouragement is never but a breath away. This is not an easy adventure, Brave Ones. We’re so glad you’re traveling it with us!! 

This winter, I embraced technology anew. I familiarized myself with the growing and vast world of virtual garage sales. I sold a bunch of the donated stuff to people and met them in various public parking lots in the NorthWest Burbs & beyond to the boarder of WI. Safety first, folks!

I bought a domain name, found a webhost, and learned (well, still learning) how to self-host a website. Note I emphasize here the still learning bit. I also researched (and very nearly launched) an online crowdfunding campaign. There was one hicupp after another on my technological learning curve…just when I thought I had it all figured out, something new popped up in a little window on the sidebar with arrows flashing. Oie! 

The crowdfunding idea was not all as easy as I hoped. So for now, per advice from a lawyer we hired to advise in the legal implications of crowdfunding in our unique situation, we’ve suspended the plan to crowdfund. It may resurface in the future. We’ve decided that for now, we’ll take the fundraising bit at a slower pace. We aim in the next six months to build the Team Dream Baby up strong so that if or when we hit a crowdfunding platform, we’ll be in really good shape for that run! 

Right now we are in the thick of non-virtual garage sales. Two weeks ago we had our first of 2015 and that pulled in a pleasing dollar amount considering the crap-tastic weather that met us for 1/2 the time. We have been abundantly blessed with donations to sell and its been super overwhelming. Right now, our garage resembles an episode of hoarders and we are forced to exclusively use the  front door in order to exit or enter our home!! (Oh! The horror!!) 

The second 2015 sale will begin this Thursday – there is rain in the forecast again. I found myself hopefully singing along with the Dad & his toddler son in the Target parking lot during a downpour today – Rain, rain, go away!!! Team Dream Baby wants to play!!! Come again, another day!! And…please…if you may…let that not be before Sunday!!