Friday, July 16, 2010

mother-daughter bonding

It's been a week full of wedding planning, that's for sure. My sister is having her wedding in Augusta, where we grew up and our parents live, but she currently resides in Columbia, SC. That means that really my parents are busy planning the wedding. This is an interesting scenario all around, let me tell you. First of all, my sister is surprisingly uninformed about any and everything having to do with weddings. You'd think she'd never stumbled upon an issue of Bride magazine or watched an episode (or marathon) of Say Yes to the Dress. Sort of an anomaly amongst the 23-year-old-girls-in-serious-relationships set, if you ask me. The only thing she really cares about (related to the wedding, of course) is that it be a huge party with loads of dancing and karaoke. When asked her opinion on invitations, she replied, "Do you really have to have invitations? Can't we just like...let people know? Text message? Call 'em?" You'll get a similar response when asking about pretty much anything else, too. So anyway, this has meant that my mom is the one doing the bulk of the planning. Ironically, my mom has never taken much part in planning a wedding. HER mom planned her wedding (30some-odd years ago), and I planned my own Mom's pretty out of the loop about what's what. This mean she calls ME, having been the most recent planner-and-participant in many weddings.

Finally, my hyper-organized wedding notebooks and spreadsheets can be of use to someone. I KNEW they would someday!!

So it's been fun this week, giving my "expert" opinion on all manner of wedding-related things. I seriously think I've had more phone calls (let's call them Wedding Related Phone Calls- WRPC) with my mom this week than I have the whole rest of this year! This has also led me to feel somewhat hypocritical, given my previous rantings about how people spend too much time planning weddings and not enough time planning marriages. Go figure. But she is going to have a wedding, and it may as well be done efficiently, and who better to advise on efficiency than me, right?? Right.

Anyway. So today (my very last glorious Friday off, sadly) after a delightfully indulgent trip to City Salon & Spa and a couple of WRPC with Mom, I sat down to catch up on a show I DVRd last week-- Strange Pregnancies (on Discovery Health). I think my obsession with alarming pregnancy shows is pretty obvious, right? There's no Baby Story for's only I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, or I'm Pregnant And..., or this latest one. Hopefully I will never actually EXPERIENCE any of the alarming conditions I'm addicted to watching shows about! (Except for the not knowing I was pregnant. That would be fine. I'd be happy to deliver any day now, thankyouverymuch!) So anyway, this Strange Pregnancies show was pretty off the chain. Especially this one story.

So homegirl (let's call her Mary since I can't remember her name) is in like her early or mid-30s and she's just gotten married. Now, earlier in life, Mary had terrible uterine fibroids which prompted an emergency hysterectomy at a young age. So she's known ever since then that she won't be able to have kids. Since she and the husband still really want kids together, they're pursuing their options. They had some terrible adoption experiences (the kind where you're supposed to get your baby the next morning, nursery's ready, then the birth mom changes her mind). They looked into surrogacy, but it was (is) prohibitively expensive. I mean, without even taking into account the cost of the in vitro fertilization that will get the surrogate pregnant, just the HIRING (paying) of the surrogate is like $50k. Ridiculous. I mean, not ridiculous-- I understand it's an important job to bear someone else's child. I just mean ridiculously expensive for an average person. So Mary and Bob are stuck-- they don't know where to go next.

Enter Mary's mom, Lisa. Lisa, who is 55 and has gone through menopause, tells Mary that if it is even possible, which it may or may not be, she would be happy to try to act as their surrogate, for free. When they interviewed her, Lisa was like "who wouldn't do whatever they could to help their daughter?" and was so humble about it, it was really neat. They debated for awhile whether it would be a little too weird having Grandma bear the grandkid, but ultimately decided it was worth trying.

So as it turns out, you can be "brought out" of menopause. And apparently your uterus doesn't really age much. So doctors thought there was no reason Lisa couldn't successfully get pregnant with the grandkid. So then it's months and months of hormones and crazy stuff for both Mary and Lisa, and finally they're ready for their first IVF. Now keep in mind that IVF is extremely expensive-- at least $12k per try. And don't even think insurance is gonna cover any of that. So Mary and Bob have both taken on second jobs to try to fund this last stab at having kids. So for the first IVF they transfer one embryo. Two weeks later, Lisa sees the dreaded not pregnant on the pee stick. They do a second IVF 6 weeks later, this time transferring 2 embryos. They know this will be their last chance because they have absolutely no money left and nothing left to sell. Unfortunately, it's another negative. Lots of tears and wringing of hands.

They've got nothing else to do. They're completely broken.

And then this philanthropic organization in Cleveland hears about them. Apparently this organization is expressly dedicated to funding IVFs for couples who have already experienced multiple failed IVFs and are out of money. So this organization offers to pay for another round of IVF. Mary, Bob, and Lisa don't even know if they want to do it. It's just too emotionally draining. But then they decide to take them up on it-- they do have three embryos left, after all.

This time they transfer all three embryos. And this time they get a POSITIVE.

They're ecstatic. Their first ultrasound, at 5 weeks, reveals it is twins. They're even more ecstatic.

At 9 weeks, Lisa starts bleeding. They tell her it's because her rusty ol' uterus is having to expand a lot, but they do another ultrasound anyway. Guess what? One of those embryos decided to split up and become identical twins-- now she's carrying TRIPLETS!!!!

So, then you get to see the craziness of the rest of the pregnancy and the nail-biting birth, but the end result is three beautiful girls (two years old now) and very happy parents and a very happy granny. The end. Great story.

So immediately I had to call MY mom. I mean...she's pretty anxious for some grandkids. Like us, she's not happy that we're not so much good at having them on our own. Now, even though I can't seem to get pregnant, my doctors say that once I do, there are no indicators I'd have any problem keeping a pregnancy. Nothing at all remotely like the situation in this show. So when I call my mom, explain the show, and then ask her "would you do that for me?", it's a purely hypothetical question. I hope it's one I never have to ask.

But lucky for me, my mom loves me a lot. And she really loved being pregnant. "Of COURRRSE I would!! Oh my gosh!! Being pregnant is the best thing in the world! I would do anything I could to help you, and I would LOVE to do this if it would help!!!!"

", Mom!! Thanks!! Hopefully that won't be necessary, though."

"Oh, but I would just LOOOOOVVVVVVVVEEEEE to!! I would be pregnant all the time if I could! I just think that's so amazing that it's even possible! But how great would that be!?!!"

"Yeah, but don't you think it'd be a little bit weird? How would you explain it to like...your other future grandkids...the ones you DIDN'T bear?"

"Oh, we would just say that God put Erika and Matt's baby in Granny's tummy."

So, apparently Mom has it all figured out. Her enthusiasm for the "plan" was actually a little disconcerting. I'm starting to think she'd rather bear my kids for me. If we ever have to go the IVF route, I'm going to have to keep those little embryos locked up in a secret location lest Mama come steal them!

I'm just kidding, of course. I'm very glad to know that my Mom will do anything it takes to help us achieve our dream of parenthood. I think I'm going to hold her to her commitment, too-- not by asking her to be my surrogate, but by hitting her up for money to fund these stupid treatments! Ha! But maybe I'll wait til she's done paying for the sister's wedding.

So that's that. WRPCs and crazy pregnancy stories and a few trips to Target and Publix and that's been my day. Tomorrow my mom and sister are going dress shopping (in Columbia) and I'm sad to miss out on that, but I am participating long-distancely by picking out online dresses I think she should try out. Then she can picture-message me pics of her in them, and I can feel like I'm helping out.

So, question of the hour: Would you ever consider being a surrogate? If so, for whom? Strangers? Or just a close friend or sister (or daughter)? And don't worry...this is purely for the sake of conversation. If I personally ever need a surrogate, I think we all know who has dibs on that job!


  1. I would definitely be a surrogate! I had an amazing pregnancy. I would only do it for close friends and family.

  2. your sister is copying me and James(the dancing and karaoke.)
    But that's ok, I encourage it. James def. encourages it. ha.

    Hmm...being a surrogate would be a super big deal...perhaps only for you. But Jackie's already got that covered!

  3. "Now keep in mind that IVF is extremely expensive-- at least $12k per try. And don't even think insurance is gonna cover any of that."

    - Our insurance covered our two tries. But they didn't work. :(

    Good thing God doesn't pay attention to IVF failure rates huh?

    Given that they didn't work.. I'm not an option for surrogacy. So I'm off the hook I suppose.

    I loooooooooooooooooove being pregnant though.. but again, due to my high risk (and obviously complicated pregnancies-- bedrest anyone? or Hyperemesis? or preterm labor? Magnesium sulfate anyone?) I'm again, not an option.

  4. "I'd be happy to deliver any day now, thankyouverymuch!"

    Haha! Loved this.

    I used to think I would be happy to be a surrogate for someone I'm close to. But to be honest, I really disliked the majority of my pregnancy. Not sure I could bring myself to do it for someone else. Good thing you've already got the spot filled.


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