By: Kerrie Olejarz
As we tried to figure out this doctor situation, a small miracle occurred. Nicole, as in “lawyer Nicole”, sent us a note that she had found a doctor willing to see us. She suggested I draft and email to him an introductory letter with the details of what we needed. This was an easy task and we completed it that same day. The kicker was that we needed our files from the previous doctor to be transferred to the new doctor…here we go… I heard from the new clinic with a booking for consultation, and fortunately the wait was only 56 days! So, we plugged away at getting our files transferred. It seemed a monumental request, and the days passed as we waited for confirmation that our file would be released.
This was December, 2008 -Christmas time -a horrible time for us. Another Christmas without a child; “painful” is the only word to describe it. Television and print media focus on children at this time of year and it is a tough pill to swallow day in and day out. Work mates chat about their kids’ excitement about Santa and the company throws a children’s Christmas party from which I am excluded. I have no Christmas cheer. I am a sloth. Slowly getting through the days, trying to keep my emotions in check as I fake-smile at the conversations about the great gifts everyone has accumulated for their children. It is an exhausting task, year after year, so, we do our normal Christmas with family and it is over.
Somehow we survive another season of retail propaganda and find ourselves looking forward to 2009 when our lives would hopefully be changed forever and we could put the pain and sadness behind us. Just two weeks more until we could see the new doctor. We are naively filled with optimism and have been working on our basement, hanging drywall and doing electrical work to pass the time. My mornings have become very structured during this time as my Groundhog Day routine repeats. Every morning I awake, make a coffee, and sit at the computer checking surrogacy blogs and forums. I become emotionally involved in perfect strangers’ journeys to parenthood. Every day I look for updates, pregnancy results, births, and any other detail that my new community offers up. I have become obsessed. I eat, drink, and sleep Indian Surrogacy. I find myself talking about it all the time and realize I need to stop. This is my obsession, not my friends’ or family’s, and I am probably boring them to death.
At this point, we still have not heard from God – I mean- my old doctor about whether or not he will release our file. Meeting our new doctor is days away and nothing has happened. This journey has really taught us patience.
Finally, it’s D-Day, January 26, 2009. We walk through the doors of a spa-like fertility clinic, nervous as hell and excited beyond imagination. We had waited 56 days for this appointment, and we have finally arrived. In typical medical professionalism, we wait. First in the waiting room, then in the doctor’s office -a grand room with beautiful pictures of his children. Gorgeous black and white photos decorate his walls; his children are beautiful. As we wait, we get impatient. We chat, we stare out the windows, we sit, and we wiggle our butts as they get semi-numb from sitting and waiting. Finally, the door opens and in walks the doctor. We have quickly forgotten how impatient we just were and get down to business. After many interruptions of phone calls, the doctor says he can help us, and asks where our medical records are.
On February 19th I get the call; our records will be released! It only took two and a half months. I immediately arranged a same-day courier pick up, as I was not taking any chances with this. Later that day, the courier dropped off the overstuffed manila envelope and we breathed a sigh of relief. I could not wait to read it, a sick and twisted punishment that I felt I deserved. I raced home from the office and tore open the envelope, flipping through the pages, blood test, blood test, blood test, pathology report after D&C –this was when my stomach sunk and my heart started to race. I read it in detail. At the time of our last loss, I turned off the need for information. I did not want to know the sex of the baby or any of the details. I just tuned it out, no need for information, and Mark supported me in this. Now, with the file in front of me, I read the post mortem that states “ovaries detected” and that is the end of my denial. I sit and sob with this file laid out on the kitchen table. The medical terminology on the pathology report is beyond me, so I turn to Google. Each term gets my attention and I spend over an hour researching the full pathology report, sobbing and wondering why I am doing this. The fact is that we had lost a baby girl and I was finally dealing with the end bits of pain and working through the emotions.
A few days later I returned to see the doctor and the mood is somewhat apprehensive. He started out by asking me a rolling number of questions about the surrogates. At this time, I was not able to answer these questions, and what I could tell him was not satisfying him. He was looking for specifics about our surrogate, which I did not have. At our clinic in India, only once you are ready to start the process do you typically get to choose your surrogate. We were not even close to the selection, as we still had not started the process because we needed a doctor to confirm all our medical test results. Up until now, this has been our biggest challenge. I left the doctor’s office with a promise to put him in touch with the doctors at Surrogacy India, which seemed to satisfy his requests for the time being.
When I returned home, I quickly wrote the introductory email in an attempt to facilitate communication between the doctor in Canada and the doctor in India. What happened next was not at all what we had expected. Dr. Sudhir at Surrogacy India was very quick in responding, noting in the email that he would be happy to help with any questions. The doctor here replied the next day or so and starting asking specifics about our surrogate. Dr. Sudhir was very helpful, but also protective of the privacy of the surrogate, which I understood. The emails went back and forth and the doctor here lost patience. He was asking for what seemed reasonable in Canada. We were caught in the middle, understanding both sides and what both doctors were trying to do. I played the role of mediator for a few days and then it stopped, abruptly. On March 3, 2009 we received communication from the doctor here that he was not willing to help us any more. Done, finished, devastated, and back to square one. We were really at a loss to understand this. What seemed a simple task of blood tests and an ultrasound screening had now become an impossibility. Seven months had gone by since we first started organizing appointments with doctors in Canada and we were no further ahead.
Knowing that we could do the whole IVF cycle in India, we decided to dumb this down a bit and see a regular family doctor and see if he or she would do the required testing. We made the appointment, which came quickly, and after only a few days we were in another waiting room. This time we took a new approach, as we had decided to make up a white lie and leave out some pretty important details. We took with us only the testing schedule from India and asked the doctor if she could run these tests on us, leaving out details like surrogacy, India, IVF and so on. At the time, to us, this seemed simple enough to ask the doctor to write up a lab requisition. Of course, as luck would have it, she said no. She wanted to refer us to a fertility clinic and noted it would take about two months to get our first appointment. Out of politeness, we thanked her for her help and exited the office feeling defeated yet again.