Monday, May 11, 2009

Getting on with things

The grief has been pretty bad, but is easing now. I have had some pretty serious depression, which, fortunately has lifted. I wonder how much breathing space from pain I will get. Grief and sadness come on in at times you least expect. I've tried too go shopping and get back into things, only to find myself wandering aimlessly around our local shopping centre, looking at things but not taking anything in. I have just been so exhausted, sleeping a lot, then not sleeping, crying then feeling numb.

Today is good. I have woken up depression free. Today is the first day I have not woken up with a feeling of dread in my heart and thoughts of "Hell no, there's a whole day to get through". I think I can do today.

Much of the grief has been compounded by feelings of anger and betrayal due to the way SI has handled things. It would be in our financial best interests to cycle with them again, with an Indian ED. We wouldn't even have to return to India to do this as we have a frozen sample with their lab. But it is simply not worth it. We will start from scratch with a different clinic, preferably a hospital where everything is under the one roof, and where a separate accounts department handles the money. I have discovered a whole other surrogacy world out there. IPs have a much wider choice of professional doing surrogacy than just the big three we all know of - Rotunda, Surrogacy India and Dr Patel. And they have referees, are experienced with surrogacy and have many surrogacy babies born. SI has only one, born recently. The surprising thing is that the average price for a "package" outside of Mumbai around US$15,000 - $17,000.

I wish I had investigated other options before so blindly signing up with SI. It was all so lovely and positive and supportive back in November. We had a forum to share, and support each other, to ask questions and get advice. Back then even Dr S actually bothered to answer questions asked on the forum. How all that has changed. SI grew too quickly. Their customer service dropped off. They have internal problems, are disorganised and can't handle the amount of clients they have. Yes, they are great at being communicative when they sign you up, but if you have a dodgy looking pregnancy, forget assistance from them.

Perhaps my expectations have been too high. perhaps I asked too many questions. Perhaps I delved in a little too deep, and refused to quit when my questions weren't answered. i have no idea what they are going to charge us for karyotyping and the termination of bubble, yet these are questions i repeatedly asked in the past, only to be told "It will never happen" or just ignored. Well, now it has happened and they can charge me what they damned well please. And what protection do we have? None. We never signed a contract with Surrogacy India. We never had a schedule of prices. We had no independent legal adviser to go over our contract and look out for our best interests. No, we were just trusting and naive. we thought more about how grateful we were to have this opportunity, and cared far too much about the personal side of the agreement, caring for our surrogate and wanting to make sure she was well cared for, that we forgot about ourselves.

Next time round, and there will be a next time, just when we don't know, we will be much wiser and self-protective. I don't want to meet our surrogate if I can get out of it. I won't be sending gifts other than a bit of hand cream and some vitamins. We won't be offering a bonus, or assistance to help educate her children, over and above her payment. there will be no gifts for the doctors, nor jewellery for an egg donor. We won't be shouting doctors or ED agency reps to dinner. It will be a strictly business agreement. If we are happy with the service after we have our children, we may consider a gift of some kind to the surrogate. 

Once bitten twice shy. This is a very emotional process, and we have to minimise contact with the surrogate and her family. I miss Chhaya. At times I feel I have abandoned her. I feel bad that she had to have the termination and not me. I feel bad that she will no longer be getting a monthly allowance. But I have to be hard-headed and smart from here-on-in. I am not letting us in for any more pain nor deception.

For those that don't know, this is where I hang out now:

The forum was set up by Myleen. Some of you may recall her from the SI forum. She didn't stay long because she didn't want to go with any of the usual clinics and decided to look further afield. Very brave of her. She has opened me up to so many different surrogacy options. I am posting all my findings at that forum. For some time I have wanted a forum where you can ask the hard questions and get an answer, or talk about problems, or other clinics, or anything. I tried a couple of times to set one up myself, but just didn't have the energy to organise it all.

This forum is members only and can only be read by members. We all just want to share information about everything surrogacy, and even be able to vent at times, without Dr S deleting comments or getting bashed for saying anything slightly negative about any clinic. The SI forum has been wonderful for so many, but they like to keep everything upbeat and happy happy joy joy, there are no problems doing surrogacy in India. That's fine for those who don't encounter problems, but for those of us who do, it's not the right place to express grievances.

Am x


crystal said...

Hi Amani, I hope you have a depression free day today. I also suffer from minor depression, so I understand how you feel. Your blog said just about everything I tried to say on the SI board, it's all business. The new board is great, and I hope to see everyone there. I'm wondering if SI circled the wagons, and are getting people to join the Yahoo site, for motives other than sharing helpful information.

Todd said...

Megan, good to hear you feel you're able to start pulling yourself out of this horrible depression. There will be bad days, but I hope the better times start to take over.

Crystal, as you know, I am an SI client. I've had no contact like you suggest, but I'm not a blind loyalist / mouthpiece for anyone and they probably know it... and I would never betray a fellow IP over any clinic or agency. We need to look out for each other.

crystal said...

Todd, I'm not suggesting that you are, although I do know for a fact that there are some on the Yahoo board who are doing exactly that. I totally agree with you that the IP'S, should be looking out for each other, the same way that the doctor's who are making all the money look out for each other.

Tigerlilycat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
crystal said...

You are exactly right about that. As on my girlfriend Rhonda, who is having twins in Anand said..." Just let me get my babies, and get the Hell out". Her babies will be will be delivered in early June. I'll ask her if I can forward to you guys all of her messages, just to share, so you will be able to see exactly what her experience is while she is in Anand. My girlfriend who is a journalist and is writing an article for the New Yorker, which should be out within the next two issues, said exactly what you said Tigerlilly Cat, and that is too many couples go to India, and they have romanticized the whole surrogracy process. I give Amani and Myleen props, for starting a board where people can truly be honest, and not worry about it.

Oanh said...

Hooray for having options! I'm glad you are having a good day. Depression sucks. I hope it goes away for good. Kudos to you for sharing your experience. I hope you guys find the right clinic for you.