Here is a recap of our morning on the Oprah show.
We got up at 3:30 am not really having slept at all. We got on the road by 4:30 and I couldn't believe all the traffic. We found the studio without any problems and paid $24 for parking. There was already a line outside the studio so we took our last sips of coffee and got in line. It was a long wait before we checked in and then they checked our bags and purses. We were ushered upstairs and they had us sit in chairs while TV screens played old Oprah episodes. We were exhausted, mentally and physically. We knew why we were there, we knew the show had to do with infertility to some point. Obviously not everyone in the crowd was related to infertility. The room was loud with a lot women talking about how they got tickets, how they called and waited for over 5 hours to get through and their new outfits. Jaime and I just starred at the wall.
Finally they announced that they were getting ready to take us to the studio but were going to call out some names first to get seated first. My name was the first called. The crowd gasped, how cool. We were ushered into the studio and a lady said, "are you the Hansons? Come this way." There was the stage, the 4 white leather seats that Oprah and the guests sit in, the front row was about 6 feet from the stage. Some of the seats had reserved signs and there were two with our names on them. Wow, we are going to be in the front row. We sat down and took everything in, the lights, the cameras, people running around, the screens with the title of the show "Lisa Ling Explores Wombs for Rent." Wow (too early for me to think of any other words), I said again, Lisa Ling will be here, I love Lisa. "Jaime and Tracey Hanson?" We were being called again, this time for personal mics. They took us off to the side to get mic'd and checked. After we sat again, one of the producers (the one I spoke to on Saturday) went through some housekeeping items, how to answer questions, not just yes or no but not long and windy. The couple next to us asked why we were there; "starting IVF" I told them. She told us that they tried for 5 years, were told it was medically impossible for them to get pregnant and they went ahead with IVF and got pregnant on the third try. They have a little girl, 4 years old, and are going to try again.
Another producer came out and got the crowd going. Cheering, practicing questions, answering other questions etc. Then Lisa Ling and a couple came on stage and took their seats. Wow, Lisa is so tiny and beautiful. Then came Oprah. Crowd stood and went crazy. She was beautiful. She had her hair down and curly and was wearing the coolest shoes I have ever seen. We sat right away, serious topic, not much fun and craziness. The show started with focus on this couple, Jennifer and Kendall, who could not have children but wanted to explore surrogacy. The cost in America can run up to $80,000 so they looked elsewhere and after searching they decided to go to India. Lisa decided to follow them on their journey. They had TV screens that showed the series. I'm not going to go deep into the topic because you will need to watch the show to get a real understanding of it all. Most of us were in tears. Jennifer and Kendall were amazing and so strong. Those women in India were amazing and so strong. After that series was over, they put Lisa, Jennifer and Kendall in the front row with us, took away two chairs and this tall beautiful woman came on stage and sat next to Oprah. Oprah introduced her at Alexis Stewart, Martha Stewart's daughter. She is trying to have a baby, using donor sperm, and talked about how expensive it is, what women have to do, IVF, the medications, tests etc.
After a break they brought out a table with all of her medications she takes (and I will be taking soon) including all the different kind of needles. This was very surreal, that is us, that is what we will be going. Oprah asked her good questions.
During the next break a producer came and gave Oprah some cards with our info, another couple's info etc. Oprah looked at us and confirmed who we were. Oh boy, this is it I thought, my heart started racing, and Jaime just took my hand and held onto it. Oprah started the next segment, with Alexis still on stage, talking about other couples going through infertility. First she talked to the couple on our right. They have been trying for many years, 6 rounds of IVF, still not pregnant. Then she said something to the effect of, "And the Hanson's, Jaime and Tracey Hanson took out another mortgage to pay for IVF, Tracey, 34 says they have been trying for over two years?" and she looked at me to confirm 2 years, Yes, I said, 2 years. And then I confirmed that we had taken out home equity loan to pay for IVF. Then she asked if we started yet, and I said that we were going to start with those injections in two weeks. Then it was kind of a blur, Alexis said something to me about injections and then Oprah said to Jennifer, "So Jen, what kind of advice do you have for Trac?" There was a little more conversation, Lisa said something to the couples. I can't remember! Then it was over. Everyone clapped.
Oprah asked us a couple more questions after the "show" and they kept running cameras etc. We had a little more discussion and Oprah left, then Lisa came and shook all our hands in the front telling us good luck. We sat down and more producers came out to have us sign more sheets. There was a Dr behind us from a clinic in Chicago, she started talking to me right away. They will be doing a study with new fertility medications staring in 2008. All medications, testing and IVF will be covered. She gave me her card and told me to call her if we aren't pregnant by then. Another woman and I exchanged cards. Then another producer came told us and the two other couples that talked to come with him. Um, OK, thinking there will be more stuff to sign. He ushers us to back stage where Oprah, Lisa Ling, Alexis Stewart, Jennifer and Kendall were hanging out. "Oprah wants pictures with all of you." Oprah comes up to me and give me a big side bear hug squeeze, Jaime says "am I included in this?" and she says, of course you are! and grabs Jaime, the photographer takes a bunch of shots. Lisa comes up to us again to wish us luck. I looked and Jennifer, who is beautiful by the way, and said, "thank you for sharing your story, it really meant a lot to me to see another perspective." We chatted a bit and were ushered out. As we were walking to our car many people stopped us and wished us luck, it's like we were celebrities. As much as it was exciting, it was exhausting. It was a lot to take in not only because it was Oprah but because of the subject matter.
Whew, done. I'm so tired!