By: Kelly Rummelhart
I originally wrote this post 5 days after the embryo transfer for my second surrogacy journey. This was the same day I found out, via home pregnancy test, that my Intended Parents were going to have a baby (at least one). At the time, I couldn’t share any information so I passed it off as post solely inspired by my friend Stacie.
My friend Stacie goes in for her Embryo transfer this week and it got me thinking about how, as a surrogate, there really are no books that tell you what to expect. In the book, “What To Expect When You Are Expecting”there is a lot of information about pregnancy and there are lists of what to bring to the delivery, etc. . . but as a surrogate, it is a little different. Maybe I should write my own “What to Expect When You’re a Surrogate” book. I should approach the authors and see if they want to piggy back with me just so I can use their well known branding. Hold on- I may be onto something here!
I figure I’ll do a few parts of my upcoming book (hell yeah, this will happen) on my blog over the next few weeks. It will be out of order since I’ve got Stacie’s transfer on my mind. In my head, right now, this book is writing itself. You can read about the leading up to and including my first transfer back in March of 2008 here.
So your transfer is soon? Time to start getting prepared. Besides the obvious things like childcare and missing work, there are a few other things to think about. You are only days away from putting your legs up in stirrups, so time is of the essence!
* Are your legs hairy? If so, it’s time to shave. Yes, I understand it may be February and you haven’t worn a skirt or shorts in months, but your legs are going to be right in your doctor’s face and…hello! Your IPs that you’ve tried so hard to impress, will be a mere few feet away and that blanket that hides your “goodies” doesn’t extend long enough to cover your legs or feet . . . which brings me to your feet/toes . . .
* You don’t have to go out and spend money to get a pedicure but for heaven’s sake, make your feet presentable! Again, your doctor will be right there. You want him/her concentrating on placing embryos in your uterus, not wondering how long it’s been since you’ve given your feet some love. Not to mention, your IPs may start to question your ability to take care for their fetus, if you can’t even take care of your own feet . . . at least put on a fresh coat of nail polish, if nothing else. If things go well, it will only be a matter of months before ypu can’t see your feet and toes and bend down and make them pretty on your own- so do it NOW!
* Speaking of hairy . . . and I’m not talking legs now- make sure you trim the ol’ pube zone. Now, your IP’s won’t see your “lady bits” but for the sake of your doctor, it may be time to wax or at the very least, trim and shave. Your partner can even help you with this if need be. Now I’m not saying you have to go all Playboy centerfold bald but it may help the speculum get where it needs to be if there isn’t a jungle for the fertility doc to search through. Crass? Yes. Good advice? Without a doubt!
* When you’re packing for your trip you should bring some things to help keep you busy for the 24-36 hours you’ll be on bed rest. Now, it’s great if your IPs can spend time with you but they won’t be there 24/7 and things can get pretty boring when you just have to lie there for hours and can only get up to eat and go to the bathroom. Do you have a book/books you’ve been wanting to read? Some magazines you need to finish before you recycle them? I always bring my laptop. That way with the Internet provided by the hotel I can check my email, Facebook, and update my blog. Heck, that many hours of bed rest you can catch up on some TV/movies on HULU or Watch X Online. Stacie mentioned she was going to make a trip to Blockbuster to grab some DVDs.
The night before your transfer you should definitely shower or take a bath. It will be at least a day or two until you can shower and it will be more than a week until you can take a bath- so do it now. I think it’s always a great idea for you to meet up with your IPs before the transfer for dinner the night before or breakfast the day of. It’s a great way to get to know them better and if they live far away, it may be one of your only chances to see them in person for awhile. One of my favorite parts about being a surrogate is the relationship I form with my IPs. It is a special relationship for sure!
You aren’t supposed to walk around too much but if the hotel you’re at has a pool/outdoor area, there is nothing from keeping you from doing part of your rest outside. Just bring a book or computer, etc. with you and rest in the fresh air. Here’s a surrogate, let’s call her Irina, doing part of her bed rest . . . notice her toes? Exactly!
* The number 1 thing to bring with you to your transfer is a POSITIVE ATTITUDE! People sometimes ask me what the success rate is with IVF. Do you know what I tell them? “I don’t know and I don’t care.” A surrogate should go into her transfer knowing it’s going to take. Knowing that good things are going to happen. Knowing that she and her IPs deserve a stress-free journey. Now, does this always happen? No, but I do believe in the old saying, “What the mind dwells on, the body acts on.” Put positive out there and hope positive happens. Hell, I even believe in “positive uterine talk” . . . envision yourself as your uterus. You and your uterus repeat after my uterus . . . .”I am sticky, I am bringing in the embryo . . . I am holding it . . . I am nourishing it…” and so on. It’s like my sister said to me, “Your uterus is like a magic fountain; you throw hopes in there and dreams come true!”
So, again, repeat after my uterus . . . “I am a magic fountain . . . I am a magic fountain . . . I am a magic fountain . . . ” Keep it up and a few days later you might end up with this:
Kelly Rummelhart writes about her experiences as a two-time gestational surrogate for gay couples. She calls herself a “Uterine Activist” and will be the first to tell you that her uterus is an ally. Kelly also writes at Just The Stork