Passionate about Making Families ….. Sunshine Egg Donors

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{guest post from Rikki Walsh at Sunshine Egg Donors}

So, you’ve decided to have a baby.

A HUGE decision in its own right.  Something there is no turning back from, but you want that baby, child, little person in your life.

If you are a couple, you start the conventional way – stop your pill, time your cycle and have at it. Month after month after month nothing happens, and a tiny bit of you dies each time you get a negative result.

Eventually you accept you need to talk to someone about it – find a solution, find out why it hasn’t happened ALREADY.

You make the nerve wracking appointment.

You both head off.  You do all your tests, and more tests, and then wait to see what happens. The news you never imagined you would hear arrives …….. Sorry, you have no more eggs, your reserves are gone.

Your only choice is to use an egg donor.

This news could arrive after many failed IVF cycles trying with your own eggs, or at the first test.  You could be 23 or you could be 43.

There is no way to know before you have tests and trials.

You take some time.

You accept that you need a donor, but what is your next steps?

Who do you talk to about it?

It’s never comes up in discussions with your friends or family  – what will they think, do you tell them?  So far all the “well meaning advise” you have been given is horrific and usually includes “just relax it will happen….”

You ask your Doctor and he recommends a few donor agencies, and that is where we step in.

With 10 personal donations under our own belts and having helped over a hundred couples through this process, we are well versed in the procedures to follow.

Sunshine Egg Donors are here to help with all the questions you may have.  Or if you just want to talk to someone who you will know understands what you are going through.

We have over 100 lovely active donors on our database.

We will work with you as long as it takes to find the perfect donor for you.

This is an intensely personal choice, much like choosing your partner, this is something that will be with you for the rest of your life.  At Sunshine Egg Donors we are PASSIONATE ABOUT MAKING FAMILIES.

To start with, we suggest you sit down with your partner and make a list of what is most important for you in a donor.  This could be looks, education, personality, or simply the fact she is a mom or has donated before, so you know “her” eggs work.

Perhaps a combination of them all.

There is a perfect donor out there for everyone, and we will help you to find her.  If you don’t know where to start, but just need to talk to someone to give you some guidance and assist you in taking the next step, please call us.

Together with your chosen clinic we will help to arrange a donor cycle in a time frame that suits you and go beyond that to make your already emotional journey easier.

This may means helping with accommodation near to your clinic, some relaxing tours or even acupuncture.

We keep you informed every step of the way what is happening with your donor and how she is doing on a physical and emotional level before and after egg retrieval.

Finally I will stalk you until I find out that you are pregnant and can shed a tear with you.  Then drink the glass of Champagne I am sure that you will be giving up for the next 9 months!

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Rikki Walsh – Intended Parent Support at Sunshine Egg Donors

Skype: rikki.walsh | rikki@sunshineeggdonors.com | +27 79 499 4763 | +27 21 813 9081

Interested in donating eggs?

Or interested in how we can help you make a family – contact Sunshine Egg Donors

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The maze that is the government health system….

See previous post about Priv and her bun in the oven.

Priv goes down to her local clinic, which is in Milnerton.

She goes on Wednesday last week, and leaves our house just before 08h00 to get to the clinic.  We know she is pregnant, she has had a fetal assessment centre scan – so she is going for them to check her blood pressure, her weight and have a measure and a feel around.

Seems reasonable.

I had a busy day, and got home with the kids around 17h30 – I thought she was in her room, and I carried on with the evening.  I sent her an SMS, and at about 19h00, I went to knock on her bedroom door to check she was okay and see what the clinic said.  No answer, and I think “shame, she is exhausted I will let her sleep…

At 19h30, I start to wonder why I have not seen her, and now I start to worry, and go back and knock on her door with a bit more force.

I picked up my phone to call her, thinking she must be fast asleep, and saw that she had sent me a message at 18h40.  She was still in the queue, her phone battery had died and she had used the phone of the person sitting next to her.

It is not about 20h00 and no sign of Priv.  I start trying to reach people I think she might have walked to.

I tried to call her just in case.  I then called the number on my phone and spoke to the person who sat next to Priv at the clinic.  She had left the clinic at 19h45, and she is already home, she does not know where Priv is.

Now I was really worried.

It is dark – it is really late.  I know the taxi’s that run no longer run to our area.  How the hell is Priv going to get home?  How the hell am I going to figure out where she is?

Now I am panicked.  I am tried to work out if I should wake the kids and put them in the car and start driving around aimlessly screaming “Priv!!!  Where are you?” out the window like a crazy person.  I am weighing this up, and trying to work out whether I should go in my jammies or not, when I hear out front door unlock, and Priv walks in – it is 20h30!

{long story about how she walked and caught a taxi, and eventually went into a block of flats, someone took pity on her, and packed up his family into his car and gave her a lift to our house}

The clinic had kept her there the entire day.  After hours of waiting, she was told she needs to wait for the pre-natal nurse who arrives at 15h00.  Each patient takes 45 minutes, and that is where the time went, she did not want to leave as she knew that she would have to repeat the exercise and tomorrow might be worse.

She is exhausted, she looked a bit traumatised – I think sitting in a government clinic all day might put you in a position to see too many things you pray you do not ever have to witness.

And for the cherry – she had to return in the morning to have her blood taken, as the nurse who takes blood had gone home.

So we headed back to the clinic on Thursday morning, another three hours later she had her blood drawn.

10 minutes to draw blood, 2 hours 50 minutes to find the files that had been misfiled on top of a filing cabinet by the night nurse who had left the night before.  Of course she had to wait for them to find the file for them to draw blood — makes sense.

Priv will need to remain at this clinic, until she is past 32 weeks, then they will refer her records to the clinics which are closer to our (and her) home – they say they are not willing to refer her before that.

I asked her which hospital she will deliver at, she says she does not know.

I get the sense from her, that she has to continue going to the day clinic.  She goes there and if she thinks she is in labour, at that point they refer her to a day hospital to deliver.

Do bear in mind she needs to get to the day hospital by herself while a baby is threatening to appear out of her vee-jay-jay.

She said that they told her not to call an ambulance if she goes in to labour, they will not come fetch her.  Right well, now we know – I am off to buy a Golden Arrow bus card for her, because clearly even head out of vee-jay-jay is not a reason to call an ambulance.

If the birth has complications the day hospital then will then refer her to a hospital like Karl Bremer (which is close by) or Groote Schuur (or the day hospital will close and send her to the hospital or home…) – the hospitals deal with complications.

And here I was thinking a hospital was there to help someone say when they are giving birth or have cut off their leg with a salad fork.

I cannot imagine anything more long winded with gaps to where a baby can be delivered in a taxi or on a street corner, or in my kitchen with the aid of my Carrol Boyes salad tongs.

Or am I missing a key point here?

{I know, I bet you are now laughing at my wait at the emergency clinic for plus two hours with an ear infection, clearly I just needed some perspective on that issue to really fully appreciate how fantastic that service was}

My question is:  Are there OGBYNs who practice at government hospitals, so you pay a fee to consult with them – which might be slightly less than the cost of actually just buying a new lung.

Where the OGBYN sees you, and then when you deliver, you deliver in the government hospital he or she refers you to?  And he/she only comes along if there is an emergency?

I tried to phone Karl Bremer and Groote Schuur and the message was very clear: “Fuck off and leave us alone, we are too busy for your suburban problems!”  They did not say that, though the sub-text was clear. They did say they only take referrals for high risk births and then told me to go away.

I have googled the crap out of this, and have not really come to any other conclusion than what I understand above.

Does anyone (who really knows) know any better, or can offer advise on how to circumvent find a better method of working?

Or is this just the way it is, and I best take a chill pill and start cleaning my salad tongs, and boiling the kettle.

Another baby in the house …. not mine ….

As you know Priv works for me.

To say I love Priv does not even hint at the extent to which I adore her.

Of course I rely on her and she is such a wonderful person that I can’t help but like her.  I realised that I only met Priv in March last year, and hired her soon after that.  She is originally from Zimbabwe, and has a 13 year old daughter who lives in Zimbabwe, and she supports her financially and emotionally from here.

It feels like she has been with us for years.  She just fits in with our household so seamlessly, that it has been like she has been here forever.  I am sure I told someone recently she has been with us for more than two years …. clearly it all started to fuse together and it felt like she was always here.

She lives with us, and I rely on her to function.

Nothing is too much trouble.  I love the way she interacts with my kids, not because she has to, but because she is genuinely interested in them.  When I was retrenched last year, I did not think for a moment that I was going to let her go, I just figured I would make a plan, and I would rather drive myself into debt than even think about retrenching her.

Three weeks ago she told me that she suspects she was pregnant.

Long story, but the short of it is that she changed birth control brands – the birth control she was on meant she did not have a menstrual cycle, so not having one in a month did not necessarily mean you were pregnant (I have been on the same birth control, so I understood what she was saying).

She was not sure of what was happening, and did not know for sure but was going to the OBGYN later that day – she had been to the clinic, and they thought she was, but was vague as only a government clinic can be.

She was obviously distraught, as anyone would be if they found out they may be pregnant.  This was not the life plan they had in mind.  She made it clear that she could not financially support another child, and how was she meant to do this when she lived with us, and did not have a support network to assist her.

She was very clear that her boyfriend and her had been seeing each other for years, but she knew it was not a relationship that she referred to as a “non starter.”

She goes along, and returns and finds out she is 22 weeks along!!

I went in to full lunatic possessed person mode.  Called the Fetal Assessment Centre at Kingsbury Hospital.  As luck would have it they had a cancellation for 12h00 – it was 11h00.  Threw ourselves out the door and headed to her appointment.

She did the initial discussion without me, and then called me in for the detailed fetal scan.

Oh my heavens, there is nothing quite as toe curling and exciting is being in a fetal assessment scan.

There was her daughter, all 22.5 weeks of her.  She is perfect.  I was so relieved.  I could see her toes, her spine, her little mouth, her head, her hands …. I cannot tell you how excited I was.

Priv had not had any prenatal care, and of course she was worried.  Seeing a perfectly formed, perfectly healthy little girl must have been such a relief.  I tried to do a happy dance quietly so as not to distract the scanner doctor person.

I am not sure exactly what is going to happen or how it is going to go.  We have asked her to stay with us, and have the baby here, and then keep the baby here with her.

I do not want her to send the baby to Zimbabwe, to disappear into the hinterland that is Zimbabwe. I want her to stay here and have the opportunities our children have.

Priv is due in June – which is the same month both my girls were born.

I am sure the road ahead will not be easy.

I am sure there will be challenges, but I am sure we can overcome them and her daughter will have a better chance of a life here with us, than if we let Priv go, and she had to return to Zimbabwe.

I am not sure what the rules are around helping to raise your Nannies baby, but we are going to give it a go and see what happens.

{I discussed whether she wanted to consider adoption or foster care, or whether she wanted to raise the baby here and we help her as much as we can – at this stage she is going to have this baby, and we are going to help her and we are going to just make it work.}

So that’s that then!

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Thinking about being an egg donor?

At The Sunshine Agency they are passionate about creating families!

If you haven’t experienced infertility first hand, it is difficult to understand the unbearable heartache, anxiety and pain that it brings.

As a team they have thirteen collective years of experience working with egg donors and intended parents.

Sourcing first class donors for recipients and helping them through their process of egg donation, from when they start looking for an egg donor until they are successfully pregnant.

They pride themselves on an ethical and professional approach to egg donation whilst still maintaining a compassionate and personal touch.

By working with recognised SASREG accredited fertility clinics in South Africa, recipients and donors are assured of excellent and safe medical care from private clinics that deliver good success rates.

Whether you are considering becoming an egg donor or know someone who may be on fertility journey of their own, The Sunshine Agency offers personal, compassionate and on-going support.

Who makes a good egg donor?   A healthy young woman between the ages of 21 and 33 who has the time to commit to the egg donation process. Preferably a non-smoker or someone who smokes less than 10 per day.

Egg donors are always in short supply – and so too are surrogates. If something in you resonates with the idea of donating an egg or being a surrogate, give Rikki a call, even if it is just to chat and discuss what the options are.

Nice girl that Rikki!

Rikki Walsh | Director, Donor Support | Rikki@thesunshineagency.co.za | +27 79 499 4763

Would you donate an egg? You really aren’t using it much, right?

{I APOLOGISE IF YOU SAW THIS POST EARLIER – I pushed on the “publish” button, as you do, by accident mid-post}

I am not referring to the chicken eggs you buy from Pick ‘n Pay, I am talking about the eggs that you {possibly} have sitting in your ovaries.

Taking the general female structure in consideration, a woman is born with about one to two million immature eggs, or follicles, in her ovaries.

When a woman reaches puberty and starts to menstruate, only about 400,000 follicles remain.

With each menstrual cycle, a thousand follicles are lost and only one lucky little follicle will actually mature into an ovum (egg), which is released into the fallopian tube, kicking off ovulation {raging hormones, cramping and usually PMS symptoms that require  a long lie down with a cup of tea}.

Relatively little or no follicles remain at menopause, which usually begins when a woman is between 48-55 years of age. The remaining follicles are unlikely to mature and become viable eggs because of the hormonal changes that come along with menopause.

So the short answer is that we {the majority} of us are born with far more eggs than we need.

The only time I needed eggs was when I needed three to catch three {separate} sperms, after that, my eggs are of little or no use to me. I barely think about them, except when I see a really cute newborn photo on Facebook, then my ovary tends to just squeeze an egg out ….

So why are we so reluctant to act as egg donors?

I’m not using the eggs.  Someone else might really like to use them.

A need for egg donations has risen for a number of reasons.  Infertile couples have often turned to acquiring eggs through egg donation when the female partner cannot have genetic children because she may not have eggs that can generate a viable pregnancy.

This situation is often, but not always based on advanced reproductive age. Early onset of menopause which can occur in women as early as their 30’s can require a woman to use donor eggs to grow her family.

Some women are born without ovaries or other reproductive organs.

Sometimes a woman’s reproductive organs have been damaged due to disease or circumstances required her to have them surgically removed. Another indication would be a genetic disorder on part of the woman who can be circumvented by using eggs from another person.

Many women have none of these issues, but continue to be unsuccessful using their own eggs.

So there are many reasons why a woman may not be able to produce an egg on her own, and needs to enlist the help of another woman.  If it was a help ad it would read: “Eggs Needed: If you are a healthy young woman between the ages of 21 and 33,  has the time to commit to the donation process, and is preferably a non-smoker.  Take a few drugs, have a scan, give a life ….  please call me 0800 NEED EGGS!”

I have approached two agencies, but it seems no one wants my 40-year-old eggs.  Slightly rejected.  Much?  Very actually.  Have they seen what my eggs can do?  My eggs are like super freaking hero eggs, but no one wants old eggs.

Its all about the new and shiny ones.

I wonder if I am a bit pro the idea of egg donation, because it is not a decision I need to face.  What being old and all.   The decision is really out of my hands  {Unless someone calls and tells me they want my eggs, then we are game on!!} as age has sort of made the decision for me.

I think the notion of egg donation is a subject fraught with lots of emotional content.

Is it just a part of your body, that is manufactured and you can pass along to the next person much like you may do blood, bone marrow or your body parts when you leave this earth?  Or is it something intrinsically more personal?  A pre-child that you think about?  The fear of a child who looks like your children walking around out there without you?

Is your egg a child – your child – or a nearly child? – or is it a  bunch of potential that is wasted each month?

Is the idea of donating an egg the equivalent of giving a child {potential, that realistically you are never going to have} away to many?

I think I could argue why egg donation is really a wonderful thing – but I could also understand why woman are somewhat reluctant to do it.  My brain does feel a bit “overloaded” by this subject, so for now I am going to park it and will come back to it.

Have you donated an egg, are you the recipient of an egg donation, are you thinking that this is probably not something you would ever do?

Possibly the reason you have stayed away from the idea of donating your eggs {that you are not using, you cannot do it once it is walking around outside of you with a snotty nose, and a lollipop stuck in its hair … then technically it is not an egg … just saying} is that you have not had a chanc to find out how it works, or chat to someone who has done it already.

If you are wanting to know more and just let the idea run through your head – there is an agency in Cape Town, Sun Shine Egg Donors – they are always willing to assist donors and donor recipients.

Have an egg you are not using? These guys, they know gals, who would really would like your egg(s).

Giving it some thought, give them a ring, or drop them an email, or don’t.

Take a breath ….

Funny what a difference a few days with a total break from reality, and a few bottles of wine can make to your countenance?

The entire weekend was just a complete waste of oxygen.

It has been a very long time since I functioned whilst being totally removed from myself.  I could not have been more absent/removed/vacant/not present this weekend if I tried.

It is a bit like an out of body experience.  You can see you are in a room interacting – or not, whilst you are existing in the corner of the room, far removed from anyone/anything except this dullness around you.  Strange?  Yes.  True? Yes.

Fortunately it is not something I have to go through as much as I used to.  When my depression was at it’s worst, I would have weeks in this state, so I am thankful that I only got a few days of it now – and it really has not occurred in what feels like an age.

Kennith gives me the space when he sees I need it.  He tries not to ask too much of me when he knows I can’t do more than I am doing.  He goes a long way to just quietly helping me through these times..

I met with some friends for pizza and wine on Tuesday night – not too much pizza, possibly too much wine, and it really was a fun evening.  The conversation ranged from spousal abuse, growths on partners’ bodies, to sex and everything in between.  It was a relaxing evening and nice to have people speaking incoherently about so many funny things – the dinner was punctuated by loud guffaws of laughter – just what the doctor ordered!

I also had the fortunate opportunity to chat to someone this week who I really do feel a “soul connection” with.   I have known her for some time, but we have not seen each other for quite a bit.

We spoke about adoption, and the various urges that exist in our souls that we cannot always quantify or qualify.  For me it was great to just speak to someone who just got what I was saying, and did not look at me with that slightly raised eyebrow of confusion.

I am not sure if she was getting me, but after two bottles of wine suddenly it does appear like the whole world is just getting you.  But seriously, it was great to connect with her after so much time.

Last night I went along and met some moms from the Moomie forum.

We have been chatting on that forum for about 6 -8 months.  Before that we were chatting on the Pampers forum, and all seemed to migrate together to the better managed Moomie forum.

It is very strange seeing people you have been friends/adversaries on a forum, then there you are sitting across from them at a dinner table.  Having a relationship outside of the protection of your monitor and keyboard.

I would imagine that a Russian brides meeting her husband at the airport for the first time has similar issues.

Initially I thought it would be weird and awkward, but it really wasn’t.  The only part that was a bit strange was that you are so familiar with them in a cyber room, but sitting across from the table, one sometimes forgets who the person is without the benefit of their avatar to view.

It was a really relaxing evening – like dinner with old friends.  The girls are all so interesting and really unique – it did not feel forced, and conversation flowed easily.

Now that I am a tad more calm – I have realized that none of my ‘wants’ have faded into the morning light of fluorescent overhead lighting and in the even harsher light of reason and logic.

I feel a bit more comfortable that I know what I want/need.  It is okay to be me who wants/needs these things even in the face of opposition, fierce reasoning, pie charts and logical argument.

It is enough for me to just feel strongly that this is what I need, even if maybe they do not make sense to others.  Sometimes you cannot always explain what drives you to do what you do … sometimes it is just the want.

I also appreciate that Kennith and I are in this family together.

I need to respect his opinion and his feelings on the issues that are going to impact on our family – as a group and as individuals.  I can’t say that I will just quietly abandon what I want because he does not agree, and right now I do not really have a chart of the way forward.

However for now, I will take a breath and see where things go.

I am not sure where my path with adoption/fourth child issues/surrogacy will take me, or whether I will progress on any of those paths, or whether it will just go no where.  For today I am willing to exhale and try a modicum of patience and see what happens ….

Nothing to do but have a little bitch ….

You know when you just have a “I feel really shite and I should have just stayed home” day. I was fine physically, but for some reason I felt like I was on the verge of having a total break with reality sort of day, you know the kind?

Please tell me you do, so I do not feel like a total freak of nature.

I do realize that I am way past sounding like the crazy cat lady – but I am not sure how far past.  My friend suggested it was possibly all the hype pre-wedding and then the stuff after.  And add my stuff now. She felt I was just a little emotionally-strained and well, she did not want to say sensitive and emotional, but I knew where she was going.

Quite possibly.

This entire weekend, I just felt flat, and removed from everything.

I think part of it is the rather somber conversation Kennith and I had on Friday night.

In one conversation I realized that this may well spell the end of my surrogacy/possibly fourth child/adoption and any plans that require the purchase of maternity wear and booties.

I realized I am sounding a bit unhinged.

I woke up this morning at 03h40 so by the time I got to work I was totally destroyed.  I am one of those people who needs eight hours sleep, else does not function and starts to experience a bit of a strain.

At office – feeling all sad and flat – I am in an open plan office, and I face my entire team while I work.  So I figured I will just have a quiet little cry there at my monitor and carry on working … you know, as you do.  Sad, but productive.

Fortunately every time someone looked at me and they start to frown at the state of my face – I just said “insomnia” and they nodded sagely, and then give me a little look of sympathy.

Of course that did not explain the raccoon-mascara rings on my face, but bless my colleagues for just ignoring me and getting on with their day.

On the stranger side, Kennith had a s.e.x. dream, that included me and chutney … listen I don’t even make this stuff up … the Mrs Balls’ variety.  He even texted me today asking if he should stop and pick up some chutney … and they say I am having a break with reality <sigh>!

The week that burnt ….

What a week hey?  It sincerely felt like the longest four days in history, I limped through this one.

I do take things to heart – any thing really.  Even the most insignificant thing becomes quite an issue that causes me to reel, be hurt or feel like I have sustained an injury.

My emotional reaction often far outweighs how I should react to something.  I often keep my reactions to myself, and react in a private way where only Kennith gets to see upset I am by something.  Because I am slow to heal, it often take several days or weeks for me to bounce back from an injury – it is just the way I am.

For all the callous bitch impression I put out there, I am actually a bit of a soft jelly on the inside.

I do feel I try to put up a front/mask/façade of indifference or a tough exterior, but with all things of this nature, underneath this rather pathetically thin layer, I am a weeping hurt and very sensitive individual – but don’t tell anyone, trade secret and all.

I was left reeling this week from the IP (intended parents) turndown.

I do wish to point out that I totally understand their point of view, and they were nothing but honest, personable and upfront from the get-go. I just tend to start imagining us all living together and knitting socks as soon as the “Hello, how are you?” is over.

I was totally crushed on Thursday and Friday – I was not lying on a heap on the floor sobbing, but I felt like my wind had been ripped out of my sails. I just felt flat and well, just flat and had to still get through my busy work day, juggle work and attempt to maintain some sort of normality at home.

On Friday Kennith had spoken to his friend at work about me acting as a surrogate – it was a chat between friends.  E had spoken to Kennith about the problems him and his wife experienced and the potential problems they may face carrying a second child to term.

Two issues that E raised were:-

  1. What were the benefits to our family of me proceeding with surrogacy?  Did Kennith realize that for our family unit there was only negatives for us as a family – there were really no ups.
  2. Did Kennith realize he faced the real possibility of raising these kids alone should things not go to plan?

Nothing that E raised was new information, or something I had not thought about.

But when Kennith posed these in the rather harsh lights of our kitchen – it suddenly felt stark and naked and well, not so good.

Kennith wanted me to understand that though he did not want to be the “handbrake” to this – he wanted me to “see” the high risk and decide for myself that it was time to opt out for the sake of our family.

I am not naive, I am not ill-informed, I am not ignorant – I do realize these key points, I was sort of glossing over them.

How can I argue either of them?

I can’t – they are justified and real points.

My only argument is that for me this is an emotive issue, which is difficult to reason out in the world of logic and pie charts.

Children are not logical.

If we all remained logical, we would not opt to go through pregnancies, a birth, the broken sleep, the stress on a relationship, the high cost of a baby, child and the related schooling.  If we remained logical, we would opt to remain childless and book a yearly holiday to somewhere exotic where they speak foreign.

But the fact that so many of us pursue children and golf, often at huge costs to our relationships, psyche and bank balances, shows that many of our decisions are not led by logic alone.

In closing I did indicate to Kennith that one of two things were going to happen now.

One, I few days/weeks/months would pass and there would be nothing that happened on the surrogacy front.  I would realize that maybe this was never going to work and I would start to think that maybe the risks far outweighed the benefits, and walk away from this plan …. maybe.

Second option, an IP would make contact with me, and I would get all excited, and start to salivate and well things would lead to things.

So that is where we are …. or well, that is where I am today.  Catch me later, things are known to change ….

Take a pill and have a lie down day …..

So I really have had a bit of a week which just felt like crap frankly.

It started on a very high note when there was a potential IP interested in my potential child-carrying uterus.  I got very excited and was already imaging myself in stirrups and knocked up – insert Kennith’s rather disconcerted look here.

Unfortunately the decision did not go as hoped, and I am feeling very disappointment and just a little on the devastated side.

I know we can all wax lyrically about “how it is not so bad” and really you just need to  “relax and look on the bright side..” but I don’t roll with clichés and platitudes. I prefer to lie in the pit of hurt and to lick my open festering wounds, rather than to look on the sunny side of the street or imagine the cup half full.

I know that there is always the possibility that I will be matched with another IP, and they will like my uterus.  And then following lots of hugs and spooning, we will all skip off into the sunset of gestational-surrogacy happy in our various roles.

The problem is that right now I feel that like the ugly unpopular third cousin who does not get asked to dance at the local “dik–sko.”  While all the other chicks are kicking it old school on the dance floor, with their blue eye shadow and shoulder pads.

What must I do to get this show on the road?  Clearly something that I am not doing yet.

I’m considering an A2 cardboard sign “Uterus available, only used three times”  – just trying to decide on the font.  It needs to show desperation, willingness, but not neediness …… difficult to select a font like that.

To add to my rather caustic mood.  I have this huge printing job come through like a storm yesterday.  It needs to go to print this morning or the world will end (someone’s world is always ending here in my neck of the woods…)

The one thing – the one fekn thing – I asked someone to do for me yeterday, they did not do.  I spoke to them, they understood – it was actually their responsibility and I sent them an email to confirm what they must do – I may have also used bullet points to stress the sequence of events and where they came into play.

Shocker, they followed the bullet points up until the point WHERE THEY ACTUALLY had to do something.

The result was it knocked the customer pass out on the proof by several hours.  Which meant that “kippie die k***” -otherwise known as me – was sitting here until late last night playing sort-out-this-job.

I had to get proofs amended and artwork changed, and remain until final sign off was done – fortunately it was a lovely publication, and the clients were very pleasant.

There I was trying to just get through this, while my heart was bleeding from IP rejection – and then Kennith phones and goes: ‘Guess who just took her first steps?”

Not only did I have a super-crapper-liscious day, but I got to miss my daughter’s first steps.

O.u.t.s.t.a.n.d.i.n.g  d.a.y!

<apologise for the overuse of the word fek’n … it somehow makes me feel better when I use it …>

Super Human …

This morning there was a brilliant show on BBC Knowledge called Superhuman.

Clearly a series – and hosted by the same bloke who does “Child of our Times” – also a brilliant BBC documentary.

I missed the beginning of the show, and have never caught the series, but within 30 seconds I was hooked.

When I came in it was all about these parents and how they were going for IVF.  This was the first time I had caught the show, and it really was very interesting.

One couple had had a previous child with cystic fibrosis, and had gone through a horrific experience.   In wanting to fall pregnant the second time, they wanted to genetically test the embis to check if they in fact carried this trait.

They then implanted a pre-tested embi back that did not have cf, so the couple went on to have a healthy son. (I am simplifying the process here as I is simple folk)

The second couple were Jon and Alice, and they called themselves everyone’s favourite aunt and uncle.

They are THAT couple who are dying to have kids but are being th-warped at every turn.  They are the couple that would make great parents, but by some stupid set of circumstances, they are knocking their respective heads against a brick wall.

It seemed to have something to do with when the fertilised egg started to divide.  Alice had an enzyme that caused the embi to not divide equally and eventually the embi would start to disintegrate. (Again I am simplifying it here considerably.)

The reason I am telling you this tale of woe, is Kennith and I are lying in bed watching this while Isabelle (13 months) is bouncing around on our bed.  She is at that bounce around stage – where every now and then she tries to throw herself off the bed, and the only thing keeping her anchored is either me or Kennith holding her leg.

I glanced over at Kennith while we are watching the show, and realised how truly sad he was for these couples on the show.

I could actually see the disappointment on his face when Jon and Alice’s procedure was not successful, and he groaned out loud for them.

I often say that Kennith is a good egg.

The fact that he can look at this situation as a man, and could really grieve for a couple he does not know, made me go all warm and mushy for him.

He could have sat there and scratched his balls   (as you do first thing in the morning), and played games on his iphone.  But he sat and watched the show and showed real emotion for these people who are trying to have a baby of their own.

He is a good egg that Kennith is.

<of course then the show said that in the time we have been watching this show, I have lost three eggs, while Kennith has produced about 20 000 sperm – Kennith then asked me if I had anywhere to put the sperm … sigh>

Of surrogacy and disappointments ….

I feel quite despondent that the path I am attempting to take is being blocked.

I heard from one of the agencies that I contacted regarding surrogacy.

The Cape Town Ethics Committee met earlier this week and discussed my case, and my application to act as a surrogate was turned down.

The reason they supplied was they considered that the risk will be too large to me for me to undertake for a third party.

I accept their reasoning, and no doubt this comes from years of experience.

However that does not stop me being very disappointed that my pursuing surrogacy in Cape Town through an agency will no longer be possible.  I assume the ethics committee includes doctors,  social workers and agencies that work in Cape Town

The agency I contacted in Johannesburg, does not seem to fall under the Ethics Committee’s jurisdiction (I make this stuff up, as I have no real idea of how it works).

They  have agreed to take on my profile, but will then leave the decision to IP to consider the risks, and if a set of IP or a single IP decides to pursue this with me, then it will be subject to an extensive physical to confirm that there is not underlying reason why not to pursue a 4th pregnancy.

Of course I am gutted and disappointed that this is where we are on this road.

Do I accept it is the end of the road for me with regards to wanting to act as a surrogate for someone?  No.

Do I think that the chance are very slight that an IP will select my profile?  Yes.

Do I understand the that chances of me being a surrogate are slim to pretty much nil?  Yes, I think the odds are stacked against me now.

Am I really disappointed?  Yes, unfortunately more than I can explain in a sensible and logical manner.

I really do not do well with platitudes or cliches of “it’s for the best” or “I am sure there is a reason” or something along those lines.

I do feel the over riding urge to scream into the storm and swear at the thunder.

As I type this post I look down at my two children (one is watching a movie downstairs) and I think of how lucky I am I get to have them, and have them as part of my life.

I am gutted that I can’t help someone else just have a third of what I have … however a huge part of me hopes that the agency in Johannesburg will align me with an IP and the process will still go on.

For now it is a case of taking a deep breath and waiting ….

Some days I should just keep my mouth shut …

I have mentioned the fact that I have been thinking about surrogacy for some time and some of the background to that.

I discussed it with Kennith.  In reality he would prefer it if I did not pursue it. However he accepts that if the need/want in me is so strong  (I realise I sound like the short balding guy from Star Wars), he will support me.  However he wants to be sure that I proceed with caution and as little risk to me as possible.

Kennith feels I will fail the psychological analysis.  Sadly I agree with him.  That is probably where I will tick all the wrong blocks, and be overwhelmed with all the what if’s and starting blabbing on uncontrollably and crying and they will write “unsatisfactory” on their form.

I contacted some agencies.  I have been turned down due to the fact that I have had three c-sections, which puts me into a high/higher risk according to their “tick a block” list (sorry to sound a bit bitter, I’m also not feeling very well and struggling with insomnia, so I am not such a happy camper today).

Someone I met through a forum contacted me and said that she was dealing with a set of intended parents who were Johannesburg based.  They had a Cape Town based egg donor and would I be interested in speaking to them about the possibility of acting as a surrogate.

I was meant to meet with a couple this Friday, as they were going to be in Cape Town. It was really just a meet and greet, and to see what their expectations were and whether it aligned with what mine were – and maybe whether we potentially could see us working together.

I was really excited that finally there was some “progress” and someone wanted to talk about my uterus.  Go little uterus!!

Unfortunately they have not confirmed the appointment.  So I take it to mean that either they have cooled to me, or cooled to the idea, or there is possibly something else happening which they have not made me aware of.  I am quite disappointed actually.

Yesterday a private social worker contacted me – she was referred to me by a contact through my blog, who had acted as a surrogate before.

I spoke to the social worker and she was really great.  We had a lengthy discussion and I explained that I appear to be an “untouchable” based on my three c-sections – I wanted to blurt that out right at the start, so she knew what she was dealing with before she got too excited.

I also explained that I had gone to my OBGYN on Tuesday and he had confirmed that there was no pre-existing condition to exclude me from embarking on a 4th or even a 5th pregnancy.  He is a very cautious (and very experienced) OBGYN, so counseled me at length on the potential risks that I may face and we discussed the idea of surrogacy at length.

Strangely his comments were “Why do it?  You have nothing to prove.  It is not like you are doing it for a friend/sister/cousin – it would be for a stranger. Why would you want to do it?”

I really can’t argue with him – I do not know what my motivation is, so it is difficult to quantify or qualify it to someone else, let alone myself.  I just want to – and really that is it in a nutshell.

Maybe it is the simple act of charity.  Maybe it is the liberal ingestion of too much wine.

What if I get to do this, and for me it does not seem that huge in comparison to what other people have to endure to have a baby.

I am not naive enough to not comprehend that there are inherent risks.   I think I am fairly well read and well informed even for a novice.  I am not saying any pregnancy is easy.  Any pregnancy or procedure does carry a certain measure of risk – I do get that, I know stuff about this and do comprehend the risks.

Sure I prefer not to think of myself as dead, or with a ruptured uterus, but I understand that this is a possible outcome – which cannot be ascertained at the outset (as with any pregnancy).

I also grasp that there are potentially huge psychological costs and other factors at play here that may affect me, my family and my children in ways I cannot begin to  comprehend – I hear and understand that too.

That being said, if pregnancy is (relatively) easy for me and I am able to make peace with the baby I am carrying not being mine genetically, and I am willing to go through this to give a couple something they cannot have any other way, then why would I not consider it.

Imagine the power of that play it forward?

At least let me go through the process to see if it is something I can do.  I think I am a bit puzzled at people’s reaction.  They almost have a look of revulsion on their faces that I would consider this.  They start edging away from me in a she-has-leprosy sort of manner.

Is this  not what charity is about, the showing generosity of spirit to your fellow man/woman?

If you can do something to assist someone, why should you not?  And what is more generous that giving someone something that they yearn for more than life itself?

Why must we agree to nod and go “ag shame” but then walk away, why can’t we assist if we can and we feel strongly about it?

Last  night the subject came up in book/wine club – obviously I brought it up, it is not something that comes up by accident.

I realise that maybe I skate on the thin ice where angels fear to tread.  But my thinking is that everyone in bookclub is a mom, and  must understand the fierce love they have for their child and thus be able to make the leap of who it must feel to be that someone who is desperate for a child of their own, and who has literally moved heaven and earth to try to get there.

Maybe if they comprehend that, maybe they can empathise with how desperate it must be for someone not to experience that – through no fault of their own.

Being denied that basic human right and need – the right to procreate because of a stupid roll of the stupid dice.  Having the odds stacked against them which really seems so unfair beyond any measure of my comprehension.

At the same time I am not seeking approval from others.  I welcome healthy debate and am open to the idea that someone may have an opinion that makes me go, “shewie, never thought of that.”

I nearly sh*t in my pants when one of the girls made a statement first basically saying that infertiles need to “just relax” things will happen.

Listen, I am not an infertile, but even I took offense to that.

I nearly pooped a bit in my beige knickers right there!!

Of course years of fertility treatment, injection in the arse, the abdomen, being probed and proded, miscarriages, BFN and all the tears, clearly were in vain – they should have just relaxed.  I wish someone had told them before – wow, sometimes the answer is the simple one (insert sarcastic smiley face here!)

Then there was another comment basically saying that well if it is not meant to be, there must be a reason that God does not mean it to be (insert WTF smiley face here!)

If I had not actually had bits of poo escape from my anus before that, I think some did now!

I sat looking across the room at someone who has three healthy children, who knows how that feels to have your own children.

Who for all intense purposes is a lovely, warm, caring, loving person who lives what I would assume to be a good life and cares for others in the world. But here she sits and actually thinks that if you have unfortunate ovaries, or a uterus that just is not playing along, or your partner has unlucky sperm, you should just sit back and go “Oh well, God meant this to be, so there you are!”

Then does that mean God means it to be when a 12 year old girl is gang raped in a township on her way home from school, falls pregnant and decides to go into labour in the toilet and throw the baby in the dustbin, because she is so terrified and does not know what other choices she has?

Because if God meant that to be, then I think we all need to sit down and have a little talk.

People are so quick to use this blanket phrase of “things happen for a reason” and “it is God’s will” – I am not denying that many people love a bit of cliché to get then through troubled times, but seriously!

But I digress as my adrenaline level climbs.

The bottom line is, for now I think surrogacy is huge.  If I can I would like to act as a surrogate.

I spoke to the social worker and she said she would take my case to the Ethics Committee that meet in the first week of August.  They, it appears, have the final say.

If they say no, then well that is that, and I should just happily skip off in to the sunset and say something profound.  Odds are I won’t and I will be upset, but there is not much more I can do than I have done.

If they say yes, then I would have to first go to a nominated doctor who would do an exam and make a decision as to physically whether I would be approved to be considered to be a possible surrogate.  Of course at that point I would still have to go through the interviews and psychological screening and anything could happen there.

On the other hand, the ethics committee (I actually have no idea who they are – I am just saying it like I am familiar with them) really makes the decision as to whether I am a possible/potential/maybe candidate.

So there we are, now you know!

Womb for hire … squatters welcome …

When I was just had Connor I realized that if something happened to him they would need to take me out to a field and shoot me.  I loved (and still love) that child with such a fierce emotion that it is difficult to quantify.

I did not want kids.

I do not even like kids.

But I realized that when that child was pulled from my uterus, my heart went with him.  I feel him near me, I think about him, even when I don’t.

Having a child really is that cliché of taking your heart and soul out and letting it just walk about outside.

I theorized, that if I could feel that strongly about Connor, how must people feel who had been wanting/begging/pleading for a child for what must seem like forever.

I am no genius, but I can recognize the pain and suffering in others.

I have always wondered, imagine if I could do something small that would change someone else’s life so dramatically, how would that be?

I thought I might offer myself as a surrogate.

I read up a bit, took a few book out of a library (yes, a real library with cards and librarians who go “shooooossshhhhhh” a great deal) and tried to understand the process (surrogacy, not library, I got how that worked.)

I approached a few “fertility nurses” who I was referred to.

I did not get much in the way of response.  I was not sure what I wanted to say, but they were not trying to help me – and I just felt awkward, apologized and put the phone down – I felt embarrassed actually.

I googled (back then when it had just taken over from yahoo – you had like 38 hits – oh the innocence).  I found a UK and US listed site that gave more information, but there was just nothing South Africa related (this was back in 2002).

I was not sure who to speak to.  I felt like I was doing something embarrassing and covert.

I saw an advert in the weekend paper for a couple looking for a surrogate.  I sms’d them on the Saturday, there was no reply.  A few days after that there was another advert run in the same paper, mentioning that it was illegal to advertise for a surrogate.

Interesting times.

Time passed.  I got involved in my stuff, commonly referred to as survival.  I promptly forgot about “surrogacy” and had another two kids (I also had a little breakdown and a few bouts of chronic depression, but let’s leave that for another post shall we.)

Recently I found out  that surrogacy is a much more accepted custom than back in the day, and so is egg donation.  I am too old for egg donation – no one really wants a thirty eight year old’s eggs – no matter how pretty they are.  I tried, but I have an official rejection letter on my eggs.

Shame poor eggs, and they try so hard!!

I contacted an agency that deals with surrocacy, and they said “well, no three c-sections are above what we will accept” and bounced me – in their defense they did do it in a very polite fashion.

Ask me why I feel I need to be a surrogate.

Ask me why I need to donate eggs.

Ask me why I feel a need to adopt.

I really do not know.  I can’t explain it.  I can’t qualify it.  I really do not have a martyr complex, or an undying need to find favour with others, it’s not that either.  Really can’t explain it to anyone in any sense that will make sense.

I should just say “thank you universe for my three healthy kids, see you later!” and skip off happily into the sunset.

But I feel I can’t.

The one thing I know is, imagine if something small I did makes such a monumental difference to another couple.

I get a few injections, I sit in stirrups for a few hours – but a couple have a chance of having a baby.

I go through a few psychiatrist appointments, more time in stirrups and through a pregnancy – a couple gets a chance to hold their baby, can you imagine what a small sacrifice that is for me, if you compare it against what that couple must have been through to be at that point?

I still hope (against the odds) that Kennith will roll over one morning and say to me: “let’s adopt.”

He knows I know, that he knows he wont.  He knows that I know that maybe I hope that maybe he might change his mind.

We all live in a world of fairies and ghosts.

Mine are in the form of little cheruby not-born-yet babies, that aren’t always my babies – but that is the magical place I get to live in.