Saturday, July 26, 2014

Naked News

Exactly one week shy of my 30th birthday I published my very first book. For nearly a decade I've been writing a column called Naked Salsa for Our Town magazine, and I'm so excited to announce that Naked Salsa the book is now available on Amazon! My mom always said it takes 10 years of hard work to achieve success, and in this case she was dead on.


To celebrate I'd like to announce my first giveaway! Just download the Kindle version of Naked Salsa, and leave a review on Amazon. I'll put all those names (even those who leave scathing reviews) in a generator and select one lucky reader to receive an autographed paperback copy. (Scathing reviewers are welcome to use it in their bathrooms or birdcages as they see fit.)




I want to thank everyone who has helped get this project off the ground, especially P.C. Zick and Albert Isaac, who were not only my editors but also my inspiration to put this thing together.


And I'd like to thank all of you! A book without readers is like a burger without bacon. It exists, but what's the point?


So thank you my bacon bits.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Scary Noobs

Hey there! Just wanted to give a shout out to all the newbies coming over from Scary Mommy

Thanks for joining us. It's getting pretty exciting around here since we're finalizing contracts and we should probably be getting our calendar next week. 

If you'd like to catch up to speed on why the heck I'd let some strange guy put his baby inside me and why my husband is super excited about it may I direct you here

Thanks again for joining us and I hope you enjoy all the delightful information about my lady bits you're about to receive. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Legalities

We got our contracts today!! I'm so pumped!!

I poured over them the second I got them, and I only noticed a few things that needed adjustment. I think they're just standard templatey contracty stuff that just needs tailored for our specific journey.

For instance it says I'm game for 3 embryos to be transferred. I basically count every transfer as two babies because each egg has the potential to split. So 3 embies could mean 6 babies...which brought us to our next order of business...termination. They had some basic lingo in there about nixing a fetus because of overcrowding, which neither I nor the IPs are game for anyway. We're all about keeping whatever sticks, so that wording had to go as well.

Speaking of IPs, I just don't care that much for the term Intended Parent. It's like oh I was intending to give you a baby, but I'm just going to keep it after all. Nah. I think I'll just call them the Parents.

As I said before I totally nerded out and wrote a children's book as a gift to my future surro baby. The main characters are Mama and Papa Turtle and Mother and Father Gator. It's not Intended Mother Turtle. It's Mama. So I've got a Baby Mama and a Baby Daddy.

There were a few other little legalities to change in the contract, like I had to think about what childcare would actually cost if I were to be put on complete bed rest. At first I was like oh whatever I can just get friends to help out or my mother-in-law to come stay for a week or so. But I guess there is a very real possibility that I could be put on complete and total bed rest for more than a week or two. Especially if we have multiples in there.

So I had to sit down and calculate how much it would cost to hire a sitter in that situation. I choked on the number we came up with, but then I realized that my number was higher because that's my job. There's another place on the contract for my lost wages in case I miss work because of anything pregnancy related. So in that case the number was pretty low. I freelance here and there, but I don't bring in a killing.

I texted Mama to let her know what changes were coming so that she wasn't just blindsided by this big ol' childcare change. But she was really sweet and receptive, so hopefully all goes smoothly with that. She has to talk to Baby Daddy about it since he's the numbers guy. I'm pretty sure if it were up to me and Mama the contracts would be really really simple. She'd be like "Anything you need!" and I'd be like "No Charge! No Charge for any of it!"

But my Hubs is like um wait a sec...we can't naked wrestle for two weeks after the transfer? That's gonna cost you.

The Parents also put in the contract that they're good with having a doula at the birth, which I'm so happy about. I think at first they thought I was asking if we could have a witch doctor deliver the baby and then all have a placenta feast. But I sent them some info, and they get it now.

We got a doula with Sweet Pea, and it ended up saving us money because it was cheaper than getting an epidural. I'd love to have a nice mellow labor and delivery in the birthing center here, but I think the Parents are pretty set on a hospital. Which I totally understand from a first-time parent perspective. I don't know that I would have entertained it when I was pregnant with my first. I'd never been through L&D, so there were just too many unknowns for my own comfort. Now that I've done it twice, and since I did all the hard work at home with Sweet Pea, I'd love to attempt a home birth! But this is their baby, so I'm totally fine with delivering where the Parents are most comfortable.

So the birthing center thing is off the table, but we do get to have a doula! I think we can all have the experience we want. The main thing is to just get a healthy baby in their arms.

So now the Parents just need to chat and see if they're okay with the tweaks to the contract. After that we just sign the dotted line and it's CALENDAR TIME!!!!

I'm hoping we can come up with a calendar that will accomodate our 10-year anniversary trip as well as Sunshine's first week of kindergarten. As I mentioned there is some limitation on the amount of horizontal hokey pokey we can do during this phase, and I probably shouldn't take a bunch of hormones the same week I send my first-born off to school. But we'll just see how it all plays out.

I guess on the bright side I could just blame all my kinder tears on the hormones. Yeah...yeah that's why I'm crying. It's the hormones.

Cross your fingers that contracts are finalized this week! Squeeee!! I can't wait!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mommy and Me

I've been meaning to update since our group psych meeting last week, but I was in crunch mode since we decided on a last-minute trip to visit my in-laws to celebrate our nation's freedom. The irony is not lost on me.


So last week we had our group psych evaluation, which I was told about three hundred times is "an industry standard" by the lady doing our psych evaluation. I'm not sure any of us were super opposed to the meeting, so I don't know why she felt the need to assure us that EVERYTHING IS NORMAL!!! lol Umm it made me feel a bit like maybe everything was not normal. But that's psych evaluations for you.

I was a little nervous that I was going to have verbal diarrhea and just blurt out all kinds of craziness all over these people, so I made the Hubs meet me there so he could grab a muzzle if need be.
I just had so many questions and things I wanted to say to my IM since we have the weird no contact thing going. I just felt so in the dark about how they were feeling and how things were going, and I was going bonkers not knowing where we were with contracts and everything. So I was a little jittery on the way to the eval.
But of course when I got there I saw my IM, and she gave me a big hug and it all just melted away. She just has such a calm presence about her. I just know we'd be buds outside of this whole surrogacy relationship. Maybe I'm wrong. I don't know. I could be friends with a brick wall I guess. But there's something about her that's so darn likeable.

So the evaluation went really great. It was nice because it was kind of like when your best friend gets you in the same room as your crush and she's just like "Ok, so do you like like each other or what?"
So I checked yes and IM checked yes. So I guess we're going out now.

Actually what happened is that psych lady asked point blank what kind of contact we'd like to have before, during and after the pregnancy. I just grinned like an idiot and looked to IM to answer first. But then we both gave each other a silly look and basically squealed that we want to be pregger besties. 

I feel super lucky that I have IPs that want to have a lot of contact. I told them there basically is no limit to the number of times they can contact me in a given week. This may come as a surprise, but I'm a bit of an oversharer.
IM on the other hand has worked for a thousand suns in Human Resources, aka DONT ASK DONT TELL LAND.
So basically I'm PR (Hello Hi I'd like to share all kinds of information and be friends forever!) and she's HR ( Your business is your business please don't let me pry).

So I tried to assure her (in a non-needy way) that I'd be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns they have during this whole process since..uhmmm...their first born child will be IN MY BODY. How could someone be like "Yes you're only allowed to check in on your child on Wednesdays at 4." The therapist  lady said we should have weekly checkins, so I'm guessing we'll do that. But I told IM to hit me up whenevs.

Which led us to our next question about, what happens when I drop it like it's hot. Once that baby vacates the premises, what are my expectations. This was such a hard question because my honest feelings were that I'd like to build a friendship with these people since I'm going to be a small part of building their family. But I've deduced from my previous psych meeting that those expectations are unrealistic. So I told them I'd love to be as updated as they want me to be for..uhm...maybe...if they could find it in their hearts...to maybe let me have a few updates here and there for a year after the baby is born.

The psych lady kept reminding me that many IPs have been through so much on this journey that they're ready just to move on. It's too much work to keep up with surrogate updates, so she said a year is reasonable to ask for limited contact. But after a year I should be prepared to never hear from them again. That pretty much broke my heart, but at the same time I do understand. Those times before babies where we were sitting and waiting seem SO distant now. So I guess moving on is totally natural. But I already care very much about these people and the family they are trying to build. So I can't say it wouldn't be hard to just cut ties and never hear from them again.

Luckily IM was like Heck Freaking No. We've talked about it and how we want to approach the subject with the baby, and you can just count on us being bros and staying in touch and all kinds of really nice things. I really really really hope she's right and that all goes well and we can stay in touch at least on Facebook or something. I don't want to put pressure on them or make them feel obligated. But I just want to know that they're doing ok!

I've just heard a few stories lately about some really touchy relationships between GCs and IPs. I'm sure tensions and hormones run high, and I don't want to jinx anything so I'll just say I don't know how things will go. But in this moment, today, I am hoping to stay in touch with these folks for years to come.

Then we moved on to some logistics and things we'd already discussed at our first meeting. Then came the yucky horrid subject of termination. I've mulled it over and over and oooooooooovvvvverrrrrrrrr. And really my feelings haven't changed. I know I won't terminate for too many buns in the oven. Check. They're totes on board with that.

But the subject of termination for life-threatening stuff came up again and we had to really delve deep. It was a hard thing to explain, but I'm so glad we approached it because we really got everything out in the open and I'm so happy to report that we all seem to be on the same page for this one. Honestly it sounded like they were more concerned about my safety when it came to termination. Like terminating their own child if my life was at risk. I thought that was pretty hardcore. But thankfully in the end I think we all felt good about where we are on that subject. So WHEW!

As we neared the end of the meeting the psych lady asked how often we communicate now, and IM and I just kind of looked at each other longingly. We explained that we really don't have any contact and of course my verbal diarrhea was bubbling and about to spill out and explain that I'd almost hit the Friend Request button on Facebook about a million times. Then all of a sudden IM is like "Yeah I finally realized I had your email the other day when we were scheduling this consult and I was like 'Well is it weird if I email her?'"

So the HR in her totally prevented her from contacting me, but at least she had the same thoughts! That was just adorable. The psych lady said it was pretty clear that we both wanted to have more contact, so after the meeting we went outside and exchanged contact info. It was totally like scoring some hottie's number at a bar. I know she's totally just interested in me for my netherbits, but she'll totally call me after it's over. I'm pretty sure it's in our contract. 

So as I'm punching in her number the diarrhea hits and I just purged all the ridiculous and crazy things I'd had pent up inside for all this time. Thaaaaaaaaat was probably overkill and they probably think I'm a nut job now. But I was just so excited to finally be able to just talk to them like people. Turns out they're every bit as anxious as I am to get this show on the road. They also explained that they were waiting on some test results from their old clinic to be sent over, and that they found an attorney to draw up the contracts but then she went on vacation. So that was the hold up. 

I filled them in on all my testing and probably went overboard by telling them about Dr. Ramrod. I need to remember these people are not giant extroverts who need to know every speculum detail. But what's done is done. I haven't heard anything from our agency saying they've decided to back out because they think I'm mentally unstable.

What I have heard is texting bells from my IM! We've now texted back and forth a few times, and I just love her to pieces even more. She's making little wish bracelets for my girls....I know...seriously I thought I was going to cry.

And I told her I'm totally passing on all my baby stuff to her that was too sentimental for me to sell but that I'll clearly never use again.

I also heard from her today and they have contracts!!! It'll be a while for them to go through them, but I should be getting them really soon which means CALENDAR TIME!!!!

I'm just so happy with the way things are going right now. And tonight the dork side of me totally took over...I've been thinking for a while I was going to write a little children's book for my kids to give to the surro baby. I was thinking I'd go with the egg hatching theme maybe with a Mother Hen taking care of a Mama Duck's egg.

But today IM told me that she really wants to do a turtle theme in the nursery, although she can't bring herself to buy anything yet. 

So I got on a dork kick tonight and wrote the whole darn book. Since I'm a University of Florida grad my little surrogacy children's book is about a Mama Gator who cares for a Mama Snapping Turtle's egg. Yep. Dork. Don't care. If you know any dorky illustrators who want to illustrate a dorky children's book and can draw a decent gator send them my way!

Meanwhile we just wait for them to comb through the contracts. IM texted today and said "Ok in the contract it says that you need to let us know when you're going into labor. LMAO seriously?"

I told her I was just going to text them a few days after the kid is born for them to come pick him up. She said that's cool but don't name him or I'll get in some trouble with the contracts.

I said I was thinking of Cleopatra Louise, but if they don't like it whatevs. She said she's more of a "Christmas Apple" kind of namer.

I just love her.

So now we wait...but not much longer!! Those transfer dates are just around the corner.