Updated: Jun 3
It’s been just over 12 months since my world changed and I was catapulted back into the world of surrogacy, and oh what a year it’s been! It’s true what they say, If you continue on the same path, doing the same old, same old, you go nowhere.
Well, I think I’m finally getting somewhere!
Despite the rough start (and the global pandemic), the past year has allowed me the opportunity to explore so many new and wonderful experiences, revisit old past times, and most importantly, set me on the path to fatherhood.
In the past 12 months I am proud to say I have achieved the following:
Joined Surrogacy UK
I submitted my application in June of 2020 and since then I haven't looked back. Most weekends I have attended the online Zoom socials, and through these, I have met the most amazing, wonderful, loving, selfless and caring people. For once in my life, I have a real sense of belonging, and I truly believe I have "found my tribe".
I was informed that I would become a member on Friday the 7th of May and completed my Membership Advisory session (MA) on Thursday the 20th of May. I am now looking forward to starting my profile on the new Members Hub and excited to be able to communicate with others whilst making many more friends for life.
Fertility Treatments/Embryo Creation
The medical side of things has been one of the most stressful aspects of the journey to date. To begin, was I fertile? If so, how fertile? Once my fertility was established it was then time for blood to be taken and genetic samples to be stored. Over the course of 12 months, I have travelled to and from CRGH in London to attend various consultations and clinical appointments. I can't fault the service I've received from CRGH, despite the communication being a little ropey on occasions, and can't thank them enough for helping me find an egg donor and creating my embryos.
To date, I have spent an estimated £18,000 on fertility treatments (and travel costs), and anticipate I will probably spend another £3000-5ooo for surrogate clinical costs.
In late October of 2020, I decided that I would take the plunge and grow a moustache for Movember. My confidence in my appearance had grown dramatically over the previous months and thought now was the opportunity to do something which could potentially help others. Whilst I appreciate I didn't have to do anything too strenuous, I am grateful to all my family and friends who were able to donate and help me raise £300 for men's mental and physical health.
I joined ODL in 2015/16 as a means of socialising with others from the LGBT community and to increase my exercise opportunities, but as with many things during a relationship, the regularity of attending these events dwindled as life and responsibilities took over. My membership was due to expire last November and so I decided to make the most of my final few weeks by attending a few local walks. However, I soon came to realise that I really enjoyed attending these walks and these were a perfect opportunity to get away with the dog and explore other areas of the country that I wouldn't normally have explored.
After a few walks I was asked to undergo my leader training and I jumped at the chance. Since then I have renewed my membership and attended at least 1 walk a week since March, which has been a great distraction and a great boost for my mental health and wellbeing.
BBC Wales Live
As discussed in a previous entry, I had been approached by BBC Wales in the late summer of 2020 as they wished to share my story on their Wales Live show. It was a great experience to be able to share the first chapter of my story with the “world” and I do hope this may help to inspire others who are in the same or similar situation to myself. Whilst the odd "Daily Fail reader/Biggot" felt the need to share their opinion on an issue which will most likely never affect them in any way, the feedback following this was predominantly positive. In fact, I even heard back from many single women who had seen the article and felt that now was the chance for them to start their own families.
Since May of 2020, I have lost 3 stone in weight. It was not a conscious decision to set out to lose weight, rather a mixture of grief, healthy eating and an increase in daily/weekly exercise which has ultimately resulted in me feeling much more comfortable in my own skin once again.
The Blue Lady (Formerly the Green Lady)
In previous years, discussions took place around trading cars in for a cheap "run-around" and a campervan, with the aim to take the children away camping. This has been a dream which has remained with me for some time. Following a random conversation with a fellow ODL walking member, and now a good friend, I decided to take the plunge and look into a campervan. I quickly settled on a VW T4 and found my dream campervan on Gum Tree. I fell in love with the van the moment I saw it and knew this was the van for me. My intentions are now to upgrade the interior to make a comfortable and safe living space and look forward to fun times and many an adventure with Tor. And with a little bit of luck and hope, one day we will have a little person for a travelling companion to see the world!
I've always liked the idea of getting my nipples pierced but never felt body confident enough to do so. With my renewed sense of self-esteem and on careful reflection on the past year, I felt I was now ready to "take the pain" and do something completely outside my comfort zone. I contacted a piercer at a local tattoo parlour in my town to discuss my options, expectations and aftercare. One nipple would cost £30 and both nipples were £50... as many people know, I'm one for a bargain! I attended the tattoo parlour a few days later for the procedure. The left one was pierced first.
"Take a deep breath in and then exhale immediately". OUCH! On a scale of 1-10, I would say the pain level was about 6/7. A small amount of discomfort and pressure followed by relief as the canular was removed and replaced with the first bar. One down!
"Take a deep breath in and then exhale immediately". HOLY MOTHER OF &#*%! On a scale of 1-10 the second was definitely a 12! Besides the pain, once again, a small amount of discomfort and pressure followed by the rush of relief as the canular was replaced by the second bar.
I'd done it! The piercer explained once again the cleaning regime and allowed me to view them in the mirror. I love them!... but I shall spare you the "graphic" images of those!
Moving Forward, Moving On
And these are just a handful of life-changing experiences that I have taken part in. If you asked me a year ago if I would go on to have achieved all these things, I probably would have laughed! The past 12 months have gone so quickly and whilst I still have downhearted moments, the happy times greatly outway the sad. I also know that I am well on my way to achieving my life dream of becoming a father. So, here's to the next 12 months.
I wonder what they will bring?
Until Next time, Keeping the Dad Dream alive!
Read more from my Dad.Be blog here
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