More Legal Stuff

It wasn’t long after the birth, that our attorney showed up. He was one of the first visitors. It felt really strange to have him there. It was such a sacred time and place for everyone. He was very polite and respectful of the situation.

Gordon stepped right up to handle the rest of the legal stuff. It was important that we had the legal rights to our baby, so we could be with him and make decisions about his care.

I was so grateful to both of them for handling it, so I could just BE with my baby. It was very important to me to have that bonding time with MY sweet, adorable, “little man“!!!

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Published in: on November 8, 2010 at 9:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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Trusting/Surrendering

It was very hard for me to relax and know that God would handle everything, but I continually fought my crazys about it. I decided at the beginning, that if things didn’t go smooth, God wasn’t in control. There were several time that I struggled with discerning whether we were supposed to stop because things were getting so complicated, or if I just needed to remember that God would handle it. I just had to be willing to give it to Him. Over and over again.

With still lots of work on my part and a tremendous amount of help from God, throughout the next month, most of the problems seemed to work themselves out.

Dr. Draper’s letter to the courts: Once Dr. Draper finally got all of Alice’s records, he was able to spent sometime and write up the letter we needed to continue our process. Bless his heart, he gave the courts exactly what they wanted, knowing that it was in God’s hands. He was willing to take Alice as a patient if she got pregnant, and monitor the entire pregnancy.

Danny’s health insurance: Our attorney was able to do the correct research, and because Alice wasn’t actually receiving assistance (it was directly for lil’ Danny), she could still be a surrogate mother without cancelling Medicaid for her daughter, Danny. Yay!

Egg Retrieval: We were still very concerned about how the egg retrieval would go and whether my heart would be able to handle it. I decided that if by some miracle all the other blocks could resolve themselves, then God was still with us on this and my heart would be fine with the egg retrieval. It was one of the last steps in the process, so we had some time to come up with the extra money for it.

Six-week eval and court appearance: As steps started to unfold, we got closer and closer to the court date. I was still upset about all of us having to appear in court. We all had to take work off, and I felt like it was such a burden on Dan & Alice. I kept praying about it and asking God to continue opening up the way for things to go smoothly. He was doing such an amazing job!
Well, about a month into the legal process, my attorney called me up and said, “I’m about to give you the best news you’ve heard all year. I have never heard of this judge doing this, and I’m personally still in shock. She is waving the court appearance AND the six-week, child protective service, in-house evaluation!!!” I couldn’t believe what a relief I felt. Thank you God!! AGAIN

Can we start?: Because the six-week eval was waved and everything else finally started to fall into place, I immediately called up the nurse that we were working with at the infertility center to see if we were too late to start the medication process. She was alarmed because she didn’t think we could pull it off in time, and she let me know that we had only a few days left before it would have been too late. There were still a few things we had to do, but she was comfortable starting us, assuming they could be handled shortly.

Finances: As for the finances, we were very much trusting, that God would show us a way for it to be possible.

And MORE Weaving Between Stipulations….

Alice and I were also supposed to start our medications according to her cycle, but we didn’t know if everything would clear in time. I was very anxious to begin the actual process. I felt like I was in a never-ending battle, and wondered if we would ever start the invitro-surrogacy process.

The egg retrieval process, if we could even get that far, is typically a simple procedure that can be done right in the office. Because of my heart, I would have to be in the hospital operating room completely put out with several staff members (cardiac anesthesiologist, surgeon, nurses, and someone to control my pacemaker). The bill that came with that was outrageous, about $5,000!!! My insurance wouldn’t cover a penny of it because it was infertility related, and we had to have the money up front.

Financially, we were starting to question whether we could really pull it off. At the beginning, we had plan what resources we could pull the money from, but all the additional fees that we weren’t expecting, were adding up very fast. The legal fees alone were $5,000. Everytime we had to do lab work and screenings, they would add about $500 per person, and we all had to do them about every two weeks at first. The psychological consult was $1,000. The medication to just get started was about $3,000.

All this never even guaranteed a baby or a pregnancy, and it was only a ONE shot deal. We had one chance to get it right. It became such a gigantic project. It felt like a business deal, and I felt like I was losing. Most of the time I forgot what it was that I was even working towards, that the goal had anything to do with having a baby. I was very caught up in the regimen. It felt so mechanical…..It felt so wrong:(

Weaving Between Stipulations

For about a month, it felt like we were being pulled in way too many directions at the same time. We would take one step with the infertility center, then have to take one step in the legal process, and then back to a lab or test or screening. Back and forth, back and forth, and dead-lines and time sensitive things all over the place. I needed to be more than one person, and I felt like everything was weighing on me to line everything up perfectly.

There were several places in the process that problems would arise and damn near stop the whole thing. Just to mention a few:

The courts needed a letter from our OB/GYN, stating that in his professional opinion, Alice could carry a baby without posing health problems to her or the baby. He didn’t know her or her previous pregnancy, and didn’t have any of her records. He only knew that she delivered her twins at 29 weeks. He was hesitant.
Trying to get Dr. Draper all of her records from her previous pregnancy and delivery, was more than a challenge. The office would say that they sent all the records, a week would go by, and I would stress and wonder why Dr. Draper hadn’t written the letter, cuz he knew we needed it by a certain date. When I called his office, they would say they didn’t receive anything, or they only received part. We did this back and forth about five times until the dead-line came and went. I wanted to drive wherever the hell her records were, and knock some sense into the people down there. I was furious! I’m not sure when or even how all the records finally made it down to Dr. Draper’s office, but thank God they did!

Another legality, was that the surrogate mother could not be receiving any assistance from the state or government. Alice’s smallest preemie was on Medicaid because of how small she was at birth. The paperwork that had to be researched and reviewed just for that was unbelievable. I didn’t know which way it was going to go. She was very close to having to cancel Medicaid (health insurance for her daughter). I didn’t want to make Alice change anything so permanent for the sake of my dreams. I was ready to stop the process completely….

Once our attorney was assigned a judge for us, he warned us that that judge was very particular and would require all four of us to appear in court. Also she would require child protective services to do a six-week, in-house monitoring of us with our families. It would have put us out another month, several hundred dollars, and invasion of privacy beyond belief. That’s what they do to couples who are planning to adopt a child, and some judges require it with surrogacy as well. I couldn’t believe that they could do that to us! We just want our OWN baby!!! GOOD HELL!!!

Psychological Consultation/Evaluation

I went home excited to have started, overwhelmed at all the hoops we had to jump thru, and confused at how unnatural it all felt.

The psychological consultation: Both Dan & Alice and Gordon & I each had 2 hour appointments to be cleared by a psychologist. You know, make sure we could all handle it and knew what we were getting into. Dan & Alice had theirs first.

During our appointment, I was so nervous. I felt like we were on the spot light and if there was one wrong move, one wrong answer, or a personality conflict between her and me OR Gordon, then our dreams could be squashed…….I was sweat`n like a pig!!!

At the end of the consultation, the psychologist seemed to be very comfortable with our answers and decision to create a baby through surrogacy. She was very kind and supportive.

Finding An Attorney

We were given a list of things we had to do before we could actually start the Invetro-surrogate process. The first was lining up an attorney and getting cleared thru the courts. Legal stuff is so intimidating…

The Infertility Center we were working with, gave us the number of an attorney that they had worked with in the past and that was up to date on all the surrogate laws. They let us know that we could use anyone, but strongly encouraged using him. We were so relieved that he was handed to us, because we hadn’t the slightest idea how or where to find a surrogate attorney.

We set up an appointment as soon as we could get in. He went over the legal process in great detail, and reassured us that he was very familiar with the surrogate process. He made it very clear that we had to get cleared with the psychiatric evaluation, do a background check, and a physical examination with blood work before he could begin the legal process. He spent 2 hours with us, it was very overwhelming. He was very professional and detailed, which gave us comfort to know that he knew what he was doing. Cuz we had no clue……

First Surrogacy Consultation Appointment

I again became excited at the thought of starting the surrogate process. Our first consultation appointment was June 30, 2009. Me, Gordon, and Alice all were there. The nurse discussed every step in detail. She discussed the financial portion, and seemed to doubt that we could come up with all the money and seemed hesitant to continue the process. It was about $28,000 to start. We had some ideas, but really didn’t know how it was all going to work out. It was too overwhelming to figure out; we had family that we borrowed some of it from, and left the rest to God. We knew that if we were supposed to continue in the surrogate process, God would continue to open up the way.

There were still several steps we had to go through before we could even start the process. We had to have a psychiatric consultation. We had to line up an attorney who knew all the surrogate laws specifically and could write up a contract between the couples involved. We had to be cleared through the courts. And we had to have background checks and full blood work and examinations…..Jeeze!!!!

I couldn’t believe how many people could control whether we could have our own baby. It felt like such a sensitive, personal subject, and EVERYONE had to have their hands in the middle of it. I immediately went to a negative place and again felt very sorry for myself. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t simply have intimate intercourse with my loving husband and become pregnant in the peaceful, relaxing environment of my own personal space.