Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Decisions Decisions!

Hey everyone,

After many many long conversation, after nights spent awake, after evaulating my future, my wants, my needs, and those of my family, and my husband, a decision has been made. A decision that wasn't easy, one that was painful, and heart breaking, yet exciting and scary...most of all it is the right decision and I feel that way with my whole heart but it still hurts. Chris has been my rock through this, my voice of reason at times, but he also spoke as for my emotions and heart...my daughters, not knowing the struggles we faced also help by expessing time and time again what they wanted. Also, in such a time of need, you all stepped up, you gave your opinions, shared your personal stories and advice...every word was heard, every sacrid story was held dear to my heart and every prayer was answered. Thank you!
Here is the email I sent to the agency, regarding my final decision:
Hey Courtney,
 I am assuming you haven't heard from ORM yet, and at this point I'm going to say it's all right. (although I'm still interest as to what they have to say)

After talking to the doctor myself, and researching Placenta Accreta I think I'm going to have to do what's best for my health, my family, and ultimately the couple and decline.

Although, I haven't had contact with The couple I feel as though I am letting them down, at the same time I feel that I am saving them emotional stress and money. The doctor said complications were a given, plus if I were to have additional surgery due to complications after birth, that would be an expense they could avoid if they had a healthier surrogate. I know the last couple felt guilt and emotionally stressed watching me go through all the unexpected problems and I know they wouldn't wish that on These men and neither do I.

I am so sorry for dragging this decision out, I honestly felt great about doing another surrogacy and I hope to do one in the future. But I think if there is a doubt in my mind, or if I am scared or worried in anyway I better reevaluate, which is exactly what I have done, with the support and help of Chris and so many friends and family.

Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, and please express my apologizes to the men. I really am heart broken and wish them only the best of luck in their endeavors.

Alexis Cummings

Thank you all for helping me make the choice I new was right yet wasn't able to admit. I feel very sad that I am not the person able to give these men the blessing of a child. The experience is one that is unlike anything in this world and I had looked forward to going through it once more. Unfortunately that wasn't in the cards this time around. Although I am extremely heart broken and feel absolutely guiltly for letting this go on as long as it did I am excited to start an adventure of our own, Ruby and hazel come up with silly names daily for their "baby brother" and although I feel that after 3 pregnancies, and 4 girls there is no chance of a "baby brother" in their future, Chris and I look forward to trying:)

So, give us until March, but be expecting the Cummings Family to expend!

Also, if you are interested in becoming a surrogate, I can not say enough great things about the process and experience. Surrogate Mothers Inc is such a pleasure to work with, the clinic is informative and very willing to give you one on one attention to focus on your individual case, the traveling is a lot of fun, and the experience is humbling, life changing and so rewarding. Please contact me with any questions you many have regarding surrogacy or becoming a surrogate and I will steer you in the right direction!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bitter Sweet

Hey Everyone,
Our new journey has just begun and sadly it may be ending just as quickly as it started. As I mentioned in my last blog, I would only accept the surrogacy offer pending my doctor completed a full physical and gave me the "go ahead". My husband and I both went to see my OB/GYN last Friday to discuss our recent ventures into another surrogacy. We also expressed our desire yo expand our own family, he was very open and very honest when it came to answering our many questions so I would like to share with you our discussion: ( Q-representing the question asked by me or my husband. A-representing the answer given by my doctor)

Q. As you know Chris and I have a strong desire to expand our own family, our plans were to try in March but we recently have been asked to do another surrogacy. Given my complications during the last pregnancy what are my risks?

A. With each pregnancy you are at risk of more aches and pains. You will get bigger, causing more back aches, more belly stretching, more preterm contractions and possibly preterm labor, these are typical. Given your past pregnancy, and the fact that you had a D&C just days after your CSection surgery plus given that fact that you have had long term post partum bleeding you are also at a much much high risk for "Placenta Accreta"

Q. What is "Placenta Accreta"?

A. The fetus is fed through the placenta, the placenta has fibers that attach to the uterus, this is the fetus' life support. Placenta Accreta is where the fibers of the placenta attach through the uterus, much to deeply. This usually does not effect the baby. However since the placenta is so deeply attached it is impossible to remove after birth...meaning the entire uterus will have to be removed. if this were to happen this would be your last pregnancy, you would also be at risk for a hemorrhage during the birth especially given you are highly anemic.

Q. You have mentioned I am at high risk for this placenta disorder, what is considered high risk? like 10% or like 80%

A. A typical pregnant woman is at less then 1% risk for any kind of pregnancy related problem. In the case of Placenta Accreta it a 1 in 1200 chance. In your particular case you are at a 5% chance, which doesn't seem like much but that is 5 times more likely then the average woman.

Q. Putting all your moral issues aside, wether you agree with surrogacy or not...what is your recommendation, with my best interest in mind. If you tell me "No, this isn't a good idea, don't do this!" I will stop the process in its tracks.

A. Knowing your desire to have another child, and assessing the risks at hand, my recommendation is to wait! To have a child of your own first...Then follow through with a surrogacy if that is something you are still interested in doing, This way your family is complete, and if something goes wrong there will be no regret.

This basically summed up our appointment, and as you can imagine Chris and I had much to talk about. We discussed doing this surrogacy for a month before coming to the conclusion we did. Now it was back to square one. our hearts and minds weighed heavy and still do today.

Do the risks we have to take to give this couple the family the dream of out weigh our desire to expand our own family? is it selfish to want another child when we have two beautiful healthy children and this family has none? If we went through with a surrogacy, and I was unable to have another child, could we handle that emotionally?

These questions plus so many more run through our minds constantly. it has kept us up at night. Our hearts say to go on, go through with this surrogacy, help this couple. Chris has said that although he too wants another baby of our own he is perfectly happy with the two we have, emotionally he could handle not having another child, but he isn't sure how to comfort me if that was the case. He also brought up that fact that we have always wanted to adopt, and we could use the money from the surrogacy to adopt a needy child if in fact I was unable to get pregnant again. although this is what Chris has said, it has also changed day to day. My feelings aren't as easily said. Im not sure how I feel, until a doctor say "Alexis, I'm sorry but you will never be able to bare a child again" I just don't know how I would feel about that kind of news. Would I chalk it up to fait. would I regret my choices, or would I be depressed...maybe I would accept it and find a child I love through the process of adoption. I really don't know how to answer these questions, I don't know how I feel.

like I have mentioned, Chris and I have a lot to talk about. We have to think about ourselves, our families, our children as well as our feelings toward a cause we support 110%, our morals, our values, and our love for helping people in this very special way. I am still waiting to hear from the clinic in Portland, they are currently still revising my medical records. I look forward to seeing what they have to say, because their thoughts, plus my doctors recommendation, on top of the may talks between Chris and myself will hopefully help us make our final decision.

either way I have a feeling I may be heart broken, this is a very bitter sweet situation and with good comes bad and that will weigh very heavy on our hearts. Most of you know by now I am not a religious, but those who are I ask for you to pray we make the right decision for our family. those of your who are not religious please just keep us in your thoughts, and feel free to share your thoughts with us....through your support and encouragement I have gotten through many tough times...this is no exception!

thank you again for following our journey, though it may be short lived, we appreciate it:)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Hey everyone,
  It's me again, and I am sure your wondering why I'm writing...especially since I ended my surrogacy story a few weeks ago. 

  Well the Cummings Family has some exciting news to share with you. Over the past year you all have followed our Journey Through Surrogacy, your kind words and tremendous amount of support was so overwhelming and appreciated especially during the tough times but not forgotten during the great times... We hope that you will continue to support us and follow us as we enter  into another Journey through another surrogacy!!

Chris and I had planned on expanding our family very soon, but in my heart I knew I wanted to do another surrogacy. I struggled for a long time and to be honest it's still a struggle at time: do I expand my own family right now? Or do I help an unfortunate couple start a family they otherwise wouldn't have? I desperately want another baby of my own, and so do Chris but we have 2 beautiful daughters who have my whole heart...my life without them isn't a life I want to live...so I put myself in the shoes of a family unable to have children and my heart breaks, so to me, to us, this is our way of giving two people the "light of their lives" just has Ruby and Hazel are the lights of our lives:)

We re-applied with our agency, fully expecting to wait a long time to be chosen, just as we did the first time around. Our thought was...if this was meant to be we will be selected by March...if we aren't selected by March we will work on expanding our own family. The next day we were selected! A sign...this is what we were supposed to do!

We discussed the pro's and con's for over a month...as you can imagine Chris was very skeptical and concerned for my health (as I am still struggling to with complications from my csection) after discussing and really racking our brains we agreed to continue through the process.

  This is still in the early stages, I still need to be cleared by the Portland clinic, and for my own personal benefit I want to physically be cleared by my doctor, as well as discuss any risk and recommendations.

Given I am cleared, This transfer will not take place before my body is fully ready (typically 9 months after my last delivery). Also I can assure you there will be only 1 embryo implanted so the risk for twins is the same as it is for the general population (3%).  As far as the couple who selected us, we are very excited to get to know them. We have not spoken to them yet because we all feel it would be best to invest ourselves emotionally AFTER getting cleared by the doctors. As of right now I know very little about them and their "story" and I think at this point what I know is much to personal to share, as I don't have a personal relationship with them...and we are not sure if we are a compatible match for one another, only during many conversations, and a physical meeting can that be decided. I will tell you this couple and I have some common ground, FRANCE!

Stay tuned, no matter which way this journey goes I will blog all along the way...remember though, these beginning steps take time so writing may not be consistent, however, since this is my second (and last) time doing this, it will go much faster then the first time around. Thank you all again and gain for your ongoing support and kind words I look forward to sharing this process with you once again:)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Until next time

Hey Everyone,
  WOW! I am so sorry to keep you all waiting, at least I hope you are all still waiting. I have really just been enjoying my summer with my family, I feel like during my surrogacy I was so sick that my time was mostly spent in bed wishing I could run and play with my girl...now that I am able to do just that, I am...and I am loving every second of it!
  But I think its finally time to fill you all in on the heart warming ending to this wonderful journey we started just a little over a year ago. I use the word “ending” loosely though because though the surrogacy has ended our friendship has only just begun...plans are already in the works for a reunion in France next July and we couldn’t be more thrilled. But for now, here is how our surrogacy journey ended...
I will say, the day came much to soon for all of us. None of us wanted to say good bye, and it was easy to pretend the departure day would never come. We spent our nights visiting over meals and laughs with the couple, we held the twins tight, fed them, changed their diapers, and coo’ed over their beautiful smiles. My daughters fell head over heels for the twins, Ruby was never without a baby on her lap! The guys were so patient with my daughters and were always willing to have them participate in feedings and changings, this made it even easier to pretend they would be staying around forever. But you can only put reality off for so long, weeks turned into days, days turned in to hours and before we knew it Chris and I had packed our girls up and were driving to the hotel where the new family was staying so that we could say our good byes.
  I had rehearse all day what I was going to say, when I was going to give them hugs, how I was going to give them the gift we had made and how I would say goodbye to the twins...as we drove to Plainfield (where they stayed) we were all silent, i’m not sure any of us knew how to comfort one another during this time. So while it was quite, I again went over what I planned on saying...It was perfect! it went something like this:
“ A year ago we embarked on this crazy journey with two men we hardly knew with the intentions to teach our children to be humble, teach them to be giving, teach them the importance of equality and love, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine an out come like this, one where we too learned many things. Over this year we have learned that sometimes you find more in common with two gay men who live an ocean away then people who have known your whole life. we have learned that through an experience such as a surrogacy its impossible to walk away without a massive amount of love and respect for one another, but the most important thing we have learned throughout this year is that family is not defined by blood relation because over this last year our family has grown by 4. We can not imagine our lives without the twins and the guys in it, and these months and years without you only minutes away will be the hardest months and years of our lives. we look forward to keeping in close contact and celebrating the milestones as they approach, we look forward to sharing special moments with you through emails, phone calls, and skyping....and please know that though you are many many miles away you are always close in our heart and you will always be on our minds! We love you, and we have cherished this time together and look forward to the day when we are together again, sharing laughs, meals, and coo’ing over those beautiful smiles”
This is what I had practiced saying, however as you can imagine once I got to the hotel it was a whole different ball game.
  We pulled up and one of the guys was outside doing the last minute packing. the car was jam packed, full of baby supplies and suitcases...I looked at the packed car then at him and as we made eye contact i felt my nose start to tingle and I could see his eye water, t was too soon to start the sobbing so I instantly started talking about the girls, and making jokes, again pretending today was not the dreaded day. We all headed upstairs to their room, it was bare, other then the two beautiful bundles of joy laying on the couch just waiting our arrival. I could have sworn the they had gotten bigger over night. of course Ruby wasted no time, she wanted a baby on her lap, so did Hazel...maybe it was because the twins were still so small, but they didn’t seem to mind Ruby and Hazel’s not so gentle handling of them. We all had a seat, and for the first time it was hard to make conversation, no one wanted to be the one saying goodbyes, no one wanted to acknowledge that in moments we would all be getting in our cars and driving separate ways.
  The girls were done holding the babies, it was now mine and Chris’s turn to hold them and say our goodbyes. This is one of the moments I wished never came, I held Chloe’ she was so cute, chubby cheeks and her little O shaped mouth, always hungry that one!  I told her I loved her, and that I would miss having her close. I didn’t want to switch with Chris because I knew that meant my time with Chloe was over, but I did. Garance...She was perfect, so small...which these pretty lips, never did you see her eyes, she always had them closed but when you did, wow, just gorgeous! Again I said the same to her, she and I had some hard times together so seeing her healthy was just overwhelming, and saying goodbye was hard because if you can remember way back to week 14 I thought we would be saying our goodbyes then, what a miracle!
  The guys strapped them into their carseats and we grabbed what was left to grab. i could tell Ruby and Hazel were confused, I am sure they assumed we would see them again the following day, but Chris and I knew that wasn’t the case at all. we made it to the parking lot, still not saying much. They put the carseats in the car, and Ruby and Hazel hopped up in there and gave them both kisses and said goodbye, thats when we tried to explain that the babies would finally be going home to see the rest of their family, and it wouldn’t be for a very long time that we would be seeing them again. still it didn’t set in. My girls ran off to play in our car while the four of us adults just blankly stared at each other not sure how to say goodbye. so I started, All I had rehearsed flew out of my head and all I could think to say was “I hope you all have a safe trip, we will miss you and we love you all so much” even that didn’t come out without an out pour of tears. I tried to hold it together but failed. both guys began to cry to, Chris was the only strong one, and even he was having a hard time. Words meant nothing during this time, we all just hugged each other tightly not wanting to let go but knowing we would have to. Finally I had to pull away, I kissed both babies one last time and told them I loved them and walked away without turning back. I saw this confused look in Ruby’s eyes, she had finally figured it out...This was it, there was no tomorrow with these guys and the babies she had grown to love. From the car she ran across the parking lot, arms spread wide open and both men got down on their knees and embraced her in the biggest hug...I knew in that moment it wouldn’t be long before The Cummings Family would reunite with these men and their daughter in France, we had become 1 family over the past year, and although the surrogacy was over this journey had just begun, we have a life time of these moments, so that day was not a goodbye, it was a “Until next time”
So, there you have it, we ended on such a wonderful note, and from that day on we have remained in close contact. Emailing at least twice a week, Skyping, texting, and sending pictures as much as possible. We will be In France for two week In July and that day is always talked about in our house and in theirs.
  Thank you all so much for sticking with us through this amazing life changing journey I can honestly say that you have all made this so much more worth while. and sharing my story has brought me so much joy over the past year. I look forward to sharing some great news with you all very soon but until then stay put...I WILL BE WRITING SOON! ;)