Where do I begin? It's been a week since we had the fundraiser and Ryan and I are still blown away!
The week leading up to it was... busy, to put it mildly. We had a ton of last minute prizes being donated, tickets being sold, and things to do. The prize donations we received were quite unbelievable, both in quality and quantity. Our home is 'cozy' as Ryan puts it, so there wasn't any room to walk around or play with Winny, the dog. Every single day I looked around at everything and shed at least a few tears, some days more than others, both from gratitude as well as from a feeling of disbelief that people could be so generous just for us. We ended up with TWENTY regular prizes!!!! We had a lot of prizes for our wedding social, but not that many! There were FOUR grand prizes, and again, we didn't even have that many at our wedding social. Ryan made a bean bag toss game which was a huge hit. We ended up getting 3 sets of NHL tickets donated, so we had one for the bean bag toss, one set for a grand prize and ended up putting one into a 'mystery' box. I know the winner of that prize was even more excited when they opened it up and saw what it was. Honestly I wish I could write about all of the prizes we had because each one was really fabulous. But, it would take up my entire blog post.
Our surrogate came into town for the fundraiser. She was here for a week and stayed with us. It was very nice getting to spend so much quality time with her. She was a great help in finalizing the prizes and wrapping them up, along with both my Mom and Ryan's Mom. We wouldn't have been able to get it all done without their help. We are so lucky, and so thankful.
We set up a 'guest book' for anyone who came to the fundraiser to sign. Not everyone ended up signing it, but that's ok. Now we have something tangible that we can keep, and if we are successful in creating a baby, when they are big enough, we can give it to them to show them how many people helped 'create' them, how loved and wanted they were. Ahh, it makes me cry just thinking about it.
The fertility clinic also lent us some information flip charts for people to peruse through. They detailed the steps involved in IVF, ICSI, and other processes people go through to make a baby when the natural way doesn't work out. I don't think people looked through them as much as we had hoped they would, but it felt great just knowing we had them there for people to learn from if they chose.
The day before the fundraiser was one of the craziest, most exciting days ever. First thing in the morning our story came out in the local Free Press. It was well written and explained the situation clearly. It created such a buzz that we ended up getting a ton of online donations, people talking about, and sharing out story. By 5:15 we were in CBC News Radio giving an on-air interview about surrogacy and the fundraiser itself. We were so excited and shocked by the media attention that our nerves didn't have much time to kick in to full-blast. It was an incredible day.
The fundraiser was a blast. We had a great turn-out with some people surprising us and others that we knew were coming. It was a total whirlwind since Ryan and I decided to 'work' the door and the bean bag toss. Ryan's Mom ended up helping me with the door because I was often caught chatting and hugging, and Ryan worked the bean bag toss the entire time. His legs are still sore from bending and picking up bean bags a billion times that night! My Mom was so busy catching up with friends and family that came, that she didn't even get to say hi to everyone that was there! I am still telling her about some people that were there that she didn't even see! The hugs, kind words and love that were shared that night will never be forgotten. I am still totally amazed by everyone that came and helped us with this dream, it will forever be one of my favourite nights in my whole life.
I had expected myself to cry the night away, and not to be able to keep my emotions together, but I did! It wasn't until we were calling the prize winners that it began to hit me. I kept it together though while speaking and thanking everyone, but once the majority of people left, I bawled. It all seemed to hit me at once and I felt like I had been hit by a truck....I was exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically. I was overwhelmed, and finally it felt like I could let it out. It took about 3 days and a ton of tears for me to 'release' all of my pent up emotions. I think I just kept it all in until it was over, then I felt like I could let it all out. It felt great being able to cry, and to sleep. I hadn't had a good sleep in weeks, but that night I slept solid and it was amazing.
It turns out that people are still wanting to help us, which is beyond
amazing, so we extended the online fundraising page until the end of
October. We aren't posting the link anymore because we don't
want to be asking for more than we have already gotten, but since people have still been asking us how to donate, even days after the fundraiser,
we decided to extend it just a little.
We are simply blown away
by the love, support, kindness and generosity from our friends, our
family, our community and even complete strangers. We feel very loved
and know that what we are doing, and how we have done it all, has been
the right thing.
A lot of people have been asking how it went, and though I know they wanted all of these details, I know most people are really wondering if we reached our goal. The answer is that we did not reach the full monetary goal, but we did reach the main goal, which was to help offset the total costs. Of course we didn't expect to make the full amount anyway, so it wasn't upsetting or surprising. We did great and were both so very happy and grateful with the end result. We are so excited to say that we did make enough to be able to move forward!!!!!
We promise to keep everyone as posted as possible on our progress..... on that note though, we are going to keep quiet for the next little while as to where exactly we are in this journey. The next steps are for me to take hormone injections at home to create follicles, which hopefully have eggs in them to be retrieved. Then for Ryan's sperm and my eggs to be fertilized, frozen, then transferred into our surrogate and hope for a positive, viable pregnancy! Due to the fragile emotional nature of these steps we have decided not to let everyone in during each step, but to announce a pregnancy at the 12-week mark, like all other couples!
Again, thank you, everyone, to the stars and back for all of the love and support, for the donations and encouragement throughout all of this. Please know that every single hug, word of love, donation, kind gesture has all gone into making this dream possible, and we fully understand that without each and every one of you, it would not be happening. Our hearts are SO full of love and gratitude. Hopefully the next time you hear from me it is because we will be expecting a little peanut of our own!!!