Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Life Less Pretty

Home from Palm Springs, and so happy it is Easter. Because it means so many things to me. I love Easter  And this year, Easter marks the end of a particularly painful Lenten season.

I gave up make up for Lent this year, and it has been a journey. The point was to find beauty in myself. The point was to appreciate the beauty that God- not man- gave me. I love make up. This was not an easy sacrifice for me. And if we're being honest, I am so glad it is over.

At the start I found myself staying home because I was embarrassed to go out without my mask. That was unreasonable and couldn't last for 40 days and 40 nights. Eventually I had to give in and go out. I felt like people were staring at me in unnatural ways. I even felt like my self confidence was impacted greatly. It was out and out uncomfortable.


But over the weeks something changed in me. It became second nature to get up, brush my hair and go. No more wasted time on make up. I liked like simplicity of it. And yes, eventually I came to see myself as beautiful on my own. I no longer think I NEED make up. But, I still like it a lot.

I also thought that my skin would turn out beautifully clear because of the fast. And in the end, it has. But there was an adjustment period around 14 days or so that lead to the worst acme of my life. Add that to my wavering self esteem and ugh.

Anyway, it was a sacrifice worth doing. I am glad I did it. But I am really glad it is over.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This just in

It seems like the issue of surrogacy comes up in table talk pretty frequently these days.

The end result is complete strangers wanting to know more. About my journey. About surrogacy in general  About this blog.

Sick of scribbling it on napkins... I made some free cards at vistaprint. I want to reach and help as many people as possible.

I hope I'm not selling out.

Here's the design.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Not very Patient

Tomorrow it will have been two weeks since my medical screening.  14 days. The growing generations staff told me it would not take more than that to get my clearance in writing.

I also know they can't send my profile to the couple Chris and I approved until they get that letter.

So now I'm just twiddling my thumbs. I know I should enjoy this calm before the storm. I don't really feel like this couple will reject me (gosh it'll be embarrassing if they do after this public statement) because I feel like we have SO much in common.

So, this means that this time next week I could be matched on paper and planning our face to face for planning. So I guess for today I will just lather the kids up in sun screen and go back out to the pool.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Chillin Poolside with the Blondsters

Here in Palm Springs chilling poolside and watching my little blondesters play in the kiddie pool and chase bubbles.

Maybe it is because I just came to LA for surrogacy related issues or maybe it is because the next few times I will be here it is for surrogacy issues, but I can't help thinking about the surrogacy today as well.

I know the joy I get from watching those little bits run and play. And I can't wait to give that joy to another deserving couple.

I see the young women across the pool with tight bodies. No stretch marks. No cellulite. I hate them. But then I realize I've got something they probably don't. And it's all OK. :) Making babies is worth it.

Back in CA

After visiting California for the first time just a week or so ago, I'm back in Cali for the developer's summit.  I feels odd to back in the land of palm trees and swimming pools for something other than the surrogacy.  Our profile has been sent, and they are reading our bios and deciding what they think, and there's really not much I can do right now, but being here makes me wonder what they're thinking, and where in the mental process they are, either of accepting us or kicking us to the curb :)  I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dont use MY God to Justify YOUR Hate

It's no secret that I am a passionate person. I am also a big advocate of equal rights as it pertains to gay marriage. I am also a passionate Christian with a great relationship with God.

Considering that very soon I may be helping to create a family for a homosexual couple, I feel like I have a right to have an opinion on the issue.

This morning I read a very insightful blog post about a gay man who opposes gay marriage  Here's a link. (Warning, it's looooooong).  A good friend of mine posted it to Facebook, and Facebook hilarity ensued. I always hate how people can say mean things when hidden behind a faceless computer. But that's another post entirely. 

Anyhow... not surprisingly one of the first comments to be made was along the lines of, "The bible says marriage is between one man and one woman." This argument grinds my gears and my teeth.
First of all, what if the couple in question doesn't identify as Christians? Why should THEY be legally bound by YOUR religious beliefs? Would all you Christians like it if law forced you to dress in modest cloth and cover your face as many Muslim faiths require? I think we'd call that a travesty and go to war about it... oh wait...

To me, this isn't an issue of allowing or banning gay marriage.  I happen to think it should be allowed. But using God as your moral compass and sole argument for banning it makes about as much constitutional and legal sense as forcing all public school students to pray together every morning. We elect to separate religion and law in this country. Now find a reason to ban it, if you can't call on God to be your bully.

What really fuels my fire to this debate is that people have got the GOD thing all wrong. It is y opinion that these Christians are doing nothing more than hiding behind God to justify their hate.

The bible also says that women should not work. That no one should work on the sabbath. That we shouldn't engage in premarital sex, get piercings or have tattoos. The bible has a lot of rules that a lot of us break. A lot. The bible also does not rate your sin. It's not OK to be a habitual offender of one thing just because everyone else does it.

What I do know is that my God loved ALL. Forgave ALL. And was tolerant to everything. There are far more examples from scripture of THIS than of any opposition to homosexuality. Want proof? Read the good book. Count instances. I've been reading highlighted excerpts all morning online in order to better support my argument. Apart from God sending His son to die for us when we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8)... and that's if you believe hommosexality is a sin (I do not), here's the one verse that rings the most true to me:


Matthew 22:37-39 ESV / 

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.


So while you may suggest the bible and God as reasons to forbid two men or two women from marriage, you are indeed breaking a higher level of commandment.  Using His word to justify your hatred of homosexuality through the presentation of anti-marriage equality is flat out counter productive.

God would love these people you are suggesting we use law to oppress. He would dine with them, forgive them and wash their feet.

Would you? 

Bottom line is, agree with gay marriage or not- your call.

But don't use the ever loving and ever accepting savior of the world as your security blanket.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Edits


I can't stop editing my surrogate profile.
 
Or my letter to the IPs. 

As a professional writer, this shouldn't surprise me. 

I wonder how many times the couple who will get my profile edited their submission before it made it to me...

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Verdict is In

I am sitting at Starbucks waiting on my babysitter of choice to arrive. We will be talking schedules over the surrogacy as how to plan accordingly for all the times I will need care relating to the kids/surrogacy.

As I wait I am just rereading the profile of the couple that was sent to us. I love it. We love them. It's such a big decision though, I am glad we took the weekend to think and pray about THIS couple.

****Flash Forward****


Couple of hours later and I am home, and I have spoken with Lisa from Growing Generations.

Here's the verdict.

Chris and I accept.

 

Now my profile goes to this couple so that they can accept or reject me.

Friday, March 15, 2013

What Does Justice?

I seriously just sat here for 3 minutes staring down the title bar. How do I sum today up? Major development? Super excited? Matched?  None of them seem to do justice. 

I got a phone call from Lisa this afternoon telling me she was about to email over my first profile for review.

Honestly, if it had arrived by snail mail I think I would have ripped it open with my teeth I was so excited.

But it showed up via email about 4 minutes later.

Here's the tricky part of this. How much can I reveal here without giving too much away??? 


My first impression was pure excitement. We seem to have so much in common. From hobbies to dachshund rescue and adoption, I really think we'd be great friends if we were to meet in public. So, here's the break down.

Embryo Transfers- totally agree. 
Number of babies to be carried- totally agree. 
Selective Reduction- totally agree
Amniocentesis- totally agree
Communication during and after surrogacy- totally agree
Interest in expressed breastmilk- agree 


The way this couple answered questions related to these major issues was so in line with how Chris and I feel that it could have been one of us writing those replies.

There are two areas where the profile suggests we might feel differently from one another. Both are very minor issues and were answered with "uncertain" in areas where I would be answering "Yes"

My gut tells me they answered this way in order to not scare a potential surrogate away, and that they really do feel strongly in these areas, and that we probably align in there areas as well. I feel like they chose two areas that were "small point" issues and left them up to a potential surrogate.

I've asked for the weekend to think it over, simply because it's such a major decision. But, it looks like we might just have a match :) 

Okay!

So, they don't raise dachshunds, something got lost in the telephone game :)  But they are proud parents of a little black and tan wiener dog.  Pretty awesome couple, tons of things in common, and I think they will be an excellent fit.  We have a couple questions for clarification, of course, but we don't really get to discuss that unless they approve of OUR profile.  So I'll have to wait.  Next step: send our profile their way and find out what they think.  Very excited!

Wiener Dogs?!?

Our first profile has arrived.  I'm at work, so I haven't seen it, but they raise WIENER DOGS!  Mandy is a Dachshund lover, and my mother's in-laws raise competition dachshunds.  Super cool!  I realize this is probably the least important part of the profile, but A) I haven't been told anything else and B) we never told that to anyone, so that's a total coincidence.  Again I say, super cool.  I'll update when I find out more.

Oh Boy!

I feel like writing in ALL CAPS.
But, that's not enough enjoy to express how excited I am.

MY FIRST PROFILE IS HERE.

Too Busy to Worry

I've really only been home to sleep in the last few days; I have paperwork piling up for the surrogacy and work, and hopefully I will get to it very soon.  Mandy is panicking over the results of the psych test, but I have to remind myself, it isn't a pass/fail test, and the staff analyzing the test is presumably out of town anyway.

Whether we passed or failed is out of our hands at this point.  What has me far more worried is Mandy's return to traditional birth control pills.  I have plenty of not-so-fond memories of the emotional roller coaster that was Mandy on birth control, and once we decided to move on to alternatives, and eventually nothing so we could have a baby, I was ever so pleased that it all went away.  Now, I have some concerns about going back.

Mind you, we have the freedom to experiment to some degree until we find one that works well, but each time we change regimens, we have to start back at the beginning of this step.  Once we've stuck out one approach and the doctor verifies everything is working the way it should, we will move to the next process.  So, I suppose the best I can hope for is that the first choice works wonderfully and we don't have to play drug ping-pong.  We can only hope.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Having a Small Heart Complication

OK, For the record... I know I am going to have to stop using fun little phrases like, "I'm having a small heart complication" in the very near future. Because I am not allowed to scare the IPs with such phrases when I am carrying their child.

That said, IPs, I really hope you'll find my sarcastic and witty sense of humor funny and allow me to be me... even when I am carrying your baby. 

Disclaimer over. 
On to my heart condition. 


So here I was, just catching up on some blogs feeling all content that my screening was over. In fact, feeling pretty good that my computer based MMPI personality test didn't send people screaming. Maybe I had finally passed one after all.

Insert blogs talking about MMPI testing. And how most people were told as soon as the testing was completed that they had passed.


I wasn't told this. 
Does this mean I fail? 


I know I am irrational in my fear of this test. But really... this is a great big life decision and it all rests on weather or not I answered questions like, "I want to be a florist, true or false" correctly?

Can I just get the all clear on this damn test already?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Back on My Meds

It's officially official. 
It's really real.

I've started meds related to this process. 

No, I am not on the injectibles yet. But as part of today's procedure I did have my IUD removed and I was placed on birth control pills. The pills will make it easier to sync my cycle with the life cycle of the fertilized eggs that will eventually find a home inside of me for a few months.

Am I excited to be on the meds? Not one bit. I'll be even less thrilled when I have to start sticking my butt with needles daily. But, this is a short term problem to a long term great thing. Grin, bear it and move on.

I also wanted to document a little bit about the medical screening real quick... just to make sure to get it down. 


The docs visit went quick and as a bonus, I actually really like the doc and my case worker at the fertility clinic. I had to offer a urine sample and six viles of blood to prove that I am healthy and that I don't have the HIV. None of that worried me one bit.

Then came the uterine screen. This one was a bit worrisome to me. The procedure itself was a bit like having a pap smear. I laid back and a spectulum was inserted in order to "open me up" so that a small cathader could be inserted into the uterus. I gave a quick cough and POOF. Out was the IUD and in Dr Kolb's words, "You're now very fertile."

Next some saline was injected into the uterus to inflate the cavity a bit. A transvaginal wand was inserted to give the doc a good look at both ovaries as well as my uterus  The doc said everything was beautiful and looked great. He didn't even mention a tilt, much less the severe tilt I've been told I have on multiple occasions.

So tilted or not, this uterus is in business. 


Next steps? 
So long as I actually passed the personality screening then the next step is matching. I am so excited to get that profile. I had really, REALLY hoped to get it today. No such luck. Anyway, once the profile arrives in my hot little hands and we approve one, it's on to drawing up legal contracts and starting the injectible medicines.

Short answer? 

The ball is rolling. 

If you thought things were moving quickly before, I have a feeling it's about to get even more exciting very soon!

Waiting.

I am writing this from the waiting area of the fertility clinic. In just a few minutes I will be called back to have my blood drawn, urine collected and uterus inspected.

I have issued a strict edict to said uterus to straighten up and behave. 


I just wanted to post a quick little bit (I am sure a full post trip wrap up will be posted in the next day or two) to note how surreal this process feels right now. It's really real. It's totally happening. Surrogacy is no longer a dream, no longer a blog topic. It's now my reality.

I have always been such a fertile Myrtle that I never thought I'd be sitting in the receiving area of a fertility clinic. I never thought I'd have my name on patient forms for a clinic that helps people become pregnant. Because to be frank, I have no problem getting pregnant.

Perhaps thats a bit insensitive considering the people I'm about to be helping and the assumed audience of this blog. So if it was insensitive, my apologies...

Even so, I feel the anxiety in this room. It's sort of a terminal of last hope for people who have decided their bodies can't do it on their own. My heart breaks for every couple that walks by. I wonder where they are in their process, and if very soon I will be helping a couple just like one of these.

It's odd to be here, but it fuels my fire to continue this process. Let's Go!

Done.

For better or worse,  the psych test is done.  I was honest as I always am... Nothing more i can do. We will see if i finally passed one.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Safe and Sound in LA

One of my favorite things about this process (so far) has been sharing my journey with new people.

It has been unfaltering that we are met with support, interest and admiration wherever we go.

Tonight we met a flight attendant who asked if our trip to LA was business or pleasure. Unsure of how to answer, we just told her what we were up to. We engaged in a long conversation about surrogacy thereafter.

It constantly surprises me that people are always shocked that I am willing to help someone I don't know personally.

Anyway, it is late, we are tired and it is time to sleep. Goodnight kiddies. More tomorrow.

Ready to Go

Sittting at SEA writing this before the plane starts boarding for LA.  Boss told me not to worry about work, but I can't help but fret a bit.  My projects are important to me, which makes me happy I don't have too much going on at the moment (for life in general, not just the office).  We left our commitments in Washington light so we could handle the surrogacy without upsetting so many other things.  This is the last stop before we're really meeting people face to face!

I'm Forgetting To Do Something...

Oh yeah, Breathe. 


Seriously, my life is a whirlwind right now. I feel such dedication to document this journey, but I am finding that this month there is little time to breathe, let alone document my feelings, emotions and happenings surrounding my life and the surrogacy.

First update- I had an internet meeting last night with Kim at Growing Generations. I thought it was just an audio meeting, so I didn't dress nicely, do my hair, wear make up... nothing. Nope, it was video chat. With a big ole zit on my chin. Niiiiice.

Even so, the meeting went great. We talked about my ideal match in IPs, my biggest successes in life, things I wish I could change about myself and things I would never change about myself. It was almost fun.

Dr. Kim also told me that the computer based pysch test is not like the ones I have failed taken in the past and that it was very rare for this test to highlight a cause for concern. That made me feel much better.

I leave for the airport in about 2 hours. It's a tiny visit, in just 36 hours we'll be back on a plane headed home. Hopefully with a cleared uterus and a IP profile in hand. Pony up, baby.

My girls are still with grandma in Ohio, and while I have enjoyed sleeping in the past two mornings and moving at my leisure (I actually went shopping AND got a pedicure today), I miss those little blondesters so desperately  I am trying to not call every 5 seconds and ruin Scott and Tammie's time with them... but geez... I misses my babies.

Also getting some heat from an Ohio friend for being too busy to do her a favor in what she considers a timely manner. I'll admit, I am quite frustrated by that. My nerves, emotions and schedule are so over the place it'd be nice to just hear support, not guilt.

So that's about all I have time to pen for now. I think I've got about 60 minutes to eat  (bonus) and try to work in that favor for a friend.


More to come, FROM LOS ANGELES!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Oh, By The Way

Just got another call from the Growing Generations staff.

Apparently ANOTHER member of the psych team will be out of town during my visit. Having already rescheduled me once because of the same sort of scheduling mishap, the staff has just decided to do my interview pysch meeting... tonight.... over the internet.

Now that my heart is beating again and I've stopped choking on my own saliva (go ahead and act like you've never done that) I will say this... I think they're doing this on purpose.

And no, not to harm me. I think it's to help  me.

I noticed that this last minute change only freaked me out for a nano second. Then I was like, yeah OK, whatever works. I think all the rearranging and changing is to get me distracted from my fears and help me relax. I don't have time to get nervous or over analyze... because now my meeting is in what, 6.5 hours? So OK, bring it on.


But there is still the mater of the computer evaluation....

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Conundrum

The most common feedback I get from this blog is that it is well received because of my total honesty.

Yet because it has become so well received, there are some facets of my life I don't want to be totally open and honest about.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Where To Even Begin?

Hello, blog. I've missed you. 

I have become so accustomed to writing nearly every day that this little hiatus while I deal with family business in Kansas has left me feeling alien and a bit disconnected.

I feel like so much has happened in the past week that I don't even know where to begin. Blogging basics tell me to practice brevity. So, I shall try.

As it relates to my personal life, I have spent the last week in Kansas tying up loose ends with the family estate. This process has been physically exhausting. Perhaps more emotionally exhausting than anything though.

Today I watched people bid on the items in the estate that no family member wanted to inherit. Some parts of the auction were fun. Others broke my heart and left me crying in the audience. ( THAT really drove sales...)

The end result is that it's all gone. I have the items I want. But their life possessions are gone like vapors. Its sad to realize the marginal items that make a life, and how easily they can be gone.

Tomorrow my in laws are taking the girls back to Ohio for a few days. This will be the longest I've ever been away from either girl, let alone both at the same time. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared. It's a mixed bag of emotions. I swear, it's as if I were already pregnant.

Speaking of... I will be in Los Angeles on Wednesday for my screenings. The trip had to be rescheduled due to a scheduling mishap on Growing Generations end. You all pretty much know how I feel about the screening process... I am just ready to have it over and move on to matching. Considering I've been told the G.G. family has a couple in mind for me already, I wonder if I'll be flying home with a profile in hand. I wonder if a week from  right now I will be matched.

*Surreal* 


Seriously, just typing that made my stomach do the little flippy thing.

One thing I am grateful for is that my babies will be in loving hands having a blast while Chris and I are off doing this. Which reminds me.... I need to confirm our sitter for regular visits during the process...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Travel Plans Revisited

I am writing this from a hotel room whose wifi has decided not to work for me.  Thankfully, Mandy has a phone plan with tethering, so I am able to write THIS.  My credit card security alert came up, internet troubles, these are the sort of things that come up with traveling.  And I think we will be doing a chunk of traveling with this baby-to-be.  In fact, our plans for next week were rescheduled due to an unforeseen circumstance on the other side, so we had to scramble to reschedule for some time this month when both of us would actually be in-state together.

But we made it happen!  We will be flying in Tuesday night to kick off the official process... I think.  What is official?  We've signed paperwork, we're scheduling flights, but we haven't met anyone face to face.  I think that counts as a project kick off.  I'm going to have to become accustomed to traveling, and hopefully our travels are successful!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Breaking It to the Boss

Just got out of a meeting with my boss where I explained why I was flying out of state next week for a medical visit.  It made me very nervous, starting that conversation, because you never know how someone is going to react... like they are going to come over the table and attack me or something.  Well, she didn't attack me, she was excited about it and asked some questions about the process, and let me know that she was happy that the medical trip didn't have to do with any major health issue :)

The flight will be next Thursday night, and I'm trying to be a model employee while taking time out for conferences, surrogacy visits, family business, and *gasp* actual vacation!  But I get the impression that the trip to California will be worthwhile, so I'm looking forward to that.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Suck on This

I just sent two care packages to two new mothers whom I love dearly. Yes, I skipped baby shower gifts. I do it on purpose.

I always wait until the baby is born and then I send the gift that most are too embarrassed to send. Boob gifts.

Ages ago Chris told me I was a one woman walking talking advertisement for the La Leche league. I took it (and continue to take it) as a compliment.

It's funny, isn't it? When I found out I was pregnant with number one, I said, "Breastfeeding is barbaric. Its gross and I am NOT doing it."

Flash forward three years and I am defined by spending 29 of the last 36 months with a baby on my breast.

breastfeeding_icon_won.jpgIt has becoming a calling on my life to do everything I can to help new mothers STICK with breast feeding. So, once baby arrives I send my first aid kit for nursing mothers. A good nursing cover (I recomend the L'oved Baby shaw), a package of Lansinoh Soothies, and a package of Medela Therashells. Add that to my phone number, which you can call to moan, whine or seek advice 24/7.

Why do I give intimate gifts they may abandon in a week or two as opposed to cute little onsies? Because I feel so passionately about breastfeeding. Because I've seen it work. Because I know what it does for mom AND baby.

I get excited to watch women tread down the road of nursing. I have two friends who I'd like to think I've had a direct impact on so far as nursing goes. With baby number one they either were low on luck or carefree in concern. I really focused on them through their second pregnancies and I am proud to say both are almost exclusively breastfeeding baby number two.

As a disclaimer, I do believe that so long as mommy and baby are happy, and baby is gaining weight, then mommy is making the right choice. That includes if she chooses to formula feed. I don't think less of formula feeders, I just choose to support breastfeeding. :)

Confirmed

Flights confirmed, hotel confirmed.

Going to California March 14-15 for screening!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Life Adjustments

There is something in a parent's lifestyle that shifts after you have made the magnanimous statement, "I am finished having children!"  The youngest child becomes a sort of moving bottom line of things that you don't need any more, things you don't need to do.  When Emmy stopped breastfeeding, we sold the pump.  When she grew out of some clothes, out they go.  Hers will be the last diaper, last potty training, last car seat, the list goes on and on.

And then we have this unique situation of surrogacy.  We won't be having another child again, but we WILL be having another child.  Up to the birth, anyway.  The maternity clothes and the unusual cravings, the adjustments to massage (I love to give massages, but pregnancy massage is much different).  I'm sure there are a plethora of things I can't recall at the moment, but a big one occurred during our day out.  We are in the market (idly) for a home in Washington, as we only moved to the state a few months ago.  A colleague recommended Issaquah, so we went out there to look, and experience the neighborhood.  This little area of the city called Talus is at the base of a mountain, so we took off on the trails.  Up and up we went, children on our backs, huffing and puffing the whole way.  What an adventure!

Except as we were wrapping up our splendid day and putting the children to bed, I was thinking: the day will soon come when Mandy won't be able to just take off up a mountain with a kid on her back AND one in her belly.  And even if I let one of the children hoof it, I'm not sure Mandy will be in the condition to do much mountaineering, pack or no pack.  So some of the child things are gone, never to return, but some of the pregnancy fun will be back soon.  I wonder how we'll handle it.

Friday, March 1, 2013

It's (not) All About The Benjamins, Baby


Does that image upset you? When I see it I don't know whether to breathe fire or laugh.

It makes me really angry because it paints surrogacy in such a negative light. Frankly, it really diminishes what I'm about to do.

It makes me want to laugh because it is so, SO far from truth.

I've just received my benefits package and insurance paperwork to sign. Seeing my name on a financial spreadsheet really makes this process seem so real. There are no surprises on there, nothing I didn't expect, but it's still kind of surreal.

One of my greatest annoyances of telling people I am trying to become a surrogate is that one of the top three things I hear is, "Wow, what are you going to get paid for that?" With tabloid stories like the one above it is no surprise that people think my mother ship is about to come in with this life event.

Well folks, it's not. 


To be clear, honest and perfectly truthful, Chris and I made the decision to become a surrogate family on the assumption that while we would not have to spend a dime, we would not walk away any richer. I am really happy that was our idea of how this worked. Because when we found out that indeed it is common to receive compensation for the process it was a totally unexpected, unbudgeted bonus.

Baby playing with dollar billsI don't even like to tell people what the rate of pay IS. I prefer to simply say, "I could make more working at McDonald's for 9 months and not have to deal with the stretch marks." It's true, by the way.

I'm not going to get into what the compensation is here. If you really are curious, check out any reputable agency. The information is clearly stated and posted on their website for anyone to see.

The fact is that, for us at least, this is about helping another family. And it's because I enjoy pregnancy and childbirth. It's not at all about the Benjamins....and talking about them just makes me flat out uncomfortable.

That said, it's time to go get uncomfortable, sign this financial benefit package, and have this part of the process over with.