Sunday, August 23, 2009

The last (gasp) day of (gasp) summer!

Well, it is official. School starts tomorrow. Aaahhhhh! I am as ready as I ever will be. The kids have their new wardrobes and shoes, the kitchen is stocked with school food, and their new school supplies are labeled and waiting to be scooped up at 6:30 tomorrow morning as we head out the door. They are excited for school to start- I told them to tell me that on Friday when they are waking up for the fifth time at 5:45 am!
I am excited to get back into a routine and have work to occupy my mind. I am anxious to see how my students are doing and be a useful citizen of Earth again. I am worried though that the normal stresses of working will make the pregnancy more uncomfortable. I am so anal about everything being done a certain way (my way of course) that I always do everything myself and I know that I won't be able to this year. One of my surro friends is already on bedrest at this stage in pregnancy, and I am just so thankful that I am healthy, the babies are healthy, and I am able to carry on with mostly normal levels of activity.
Speaking of surro friends, I belong to an online community called It is a fantastic place for surrogates, intended parents, and anybody who wants to learn more about surrogacy to find tons of information. It is also a place where I receive lots of support from other people who understand what I am going through. I was able to meet my surro friend Denise in person when I went to Houston two weeks ago for lunch. We are due within days of each other and it was really fun to talk about surrogacy, teaching, kids, and many other things we have in common! Off my advertising plug now...

The twins are growing in great leaps and bounds. The last few days have brought about a lot more movement from this little girl. So now, both sides of my tummy are moving and it is fun when they both move at the same time. I have never had this big of a party in my belly at once! I am still shocked every time I look in the mirror and realize how big I actually am. I tried on some work clothes yesterday, and there is a maternity work shirt that doesn't fit already- how bizarre!

My back hurts sometimes, but not too much yet. I just need to make sure I lay, sit, and stand in correct amounts or I get to aching. I feel really good most of the time, but have been feeling a bit cranky lately. Hopefully this leaves and I can feel like a nice sweet person for a while before I become whale-sized. My new and favorite solution to pregnancy sleeping is the fabulous Walmart candy cane pillow, as modeled by my daughter. It is actually much more comfortable the way I use it, but she wanted to be in the picture, so she is.

The twins parents have been thinking of names, and have told me the two they are currently thinking of using. They are names I would never have considered for my children, which is just another unique part of surrogacy. We are testing them out and will see what their parents decide.

The journey is going well so far. I have had many people question how I will emotionally handle this. I have had many people question these children not being mine. Well, today I had someone say something I am having a hard time abosrbing, so I am going to explain one little side note on how I view this surrogacy: I had someone today tell me I was the "birth mother" of these children. Well, I am NOT. Just because I have been caring for and carrying them for the first part of their lives, does not make me their mother. The fact that I am going to suffer physical pain to bring them into the world does not make me their mother- for the life of a child, any child, I would suffer pain. Who wouldn't?
I would challenge anyone to look into the eyes of these childrens' mother and tell her that she is not their mother. If I were to be taken away from my children for a year and someone else cared for them, would they belong to that woman? NO. These children that I am caring for have a mother and a father. It is a chance of fate that their mother cannot carry them. For this brief time, I am their host, their home, their protector, their nurturer, but never for a single moment have I been their mother. I am honored to be able to bring them into the world. I am humbled that God chose to give me a body that allows me to grow the miracles He creates. And I will be happy to see these children in the arms of their mother. I am a mother. I am a surrogate. They are two different things.

My mother always used to tell me when I complained about my life that "you choose your life every day. If you don't like it, do something about it." The awesome thing about that saying now is that I am choosing this life, and I like it. I am striving to be happy and raise happy children. We set goals and then we reach for them. My kids have no cavities, they can't think of a single thing they 'need' that they don't have, and every day they tell me they love me. What could be better than that?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

21 Weeks and growing like weeds!

This past week has been very hectic with getting ready to go back to work, mom's surprise 50th birthday party, and the kids (surprisingly) not spending the week with their father. Whew!
The twins have been busy growing. According to BabyCenter, they are the length of carrots and each weighs 3/4 pound. I look at my belly and can't believe I have two carrot size babies living in there!
I can tell they have been growing a lot this week because my belly seems so much bigger. It also extends all the way up to my ribs now so I can't slouch. I guess they will start popping out faster now since I am full from the ribs, all the way down, and even into my sides. This little boy is a wiggle worm and moves constantly. I have been at inservice the last two days and he keeps me entertained while I listen to the speakers and do my work. His sister is either much more peaceful, or she is aimed in such a way that her movements are all internal.
I have told everyone that works on my campus that I am carrying twins and that it is a gestational surrogacy (and then I explain that means that they are not mine!). My superintendent made a comment during our big district-wide meeting about teachers being an example for our students and something about our morals. I sat there thinking, "Hmm, and here I am, single and knocked up." Thus, the revelation to my coworkers on my campus. I guess it will trickle through the other two campuses pretty soon. Worst case scenario, when I don't have the baby in the next two months and just keep getting fatter and fatter, maybe they will ask.
Well, the kids are home, full of energy and needing me. Off I go...

20 weeks!

Yes, I know I am a bit late for 20 weeks, but we have been super busy! We spent the weekend at the lake house Jason's family owns at Lake LBJ. The kids were able to go on the wave runner swim in the lake, jump off the dock, swing in these cool "wind chairs", and play with Whisper- Jason's border collie. I go to spend the weekend watching all of this! On Friday we went to Longhorn Cavern, where we went on the "hour" long tour underground. Well, funny thing about the "hour" long tour, it was actually about 2 hours long and my bladder was sooo full by halfway through I thought I would have to hang back from the group and pee in the caves! Luckily, I made it out and all the way to the restroom before any accidents...

On Saturday, the twins' family was able to come spend the day with us. What a perfect event for hitting 2o weeks, the traditional halfway-through-pregnancy milestone. We were able to swim, barbeque, and visit for several hours. I love watching my IPs with their son and the way they interact with my children too. It reassures me every time that these children will be going to a loving home with capable parents. And, their big brother likes me now and will let me hold his hand when we walk places *smile*.

On Sunday, I decided to put a little sun on my belly while I floated in the lake. Of course, I lost track of time and fried the sucker. I am still putting aloe on it multiple times a day and it is about 10 days later... I am so glad I haven't had to go to the doctor this week- that would have been so embarrassing!

Nothing exciting at 20 weeks. The babies are growing and moving. I can feel them really well, but they get very still whenever anyone tries to feel them move.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Drumroll please...

Well, we are 19 weeks, 3 days into this pregnancy. We just had the most fantatic weekend. On Sunday morning, my IPs and their son came into town. We were able to spend the day with them and took them to my parents' house for dinner. There they were hopefully not too overwhelmed by the size of my family- there were 16 of us at the dinner table! It was terribly humid on Sunday (I guess like most days!), but we were able to go out on the ranch and see the horses. Their son was able to hold a chicken, a frog, and see countless other "farm" animals. It was so much fun. I also think it was important for them and my family to meet. I knew it would be good for my kids, but hadn't realized the import to the rest of my family as well. Now my family has the faces to go with the names, and a family to fill the void they had seen me sending these children to.
Yesterday, we went to our ob appointment and our ultrasound! I have gained 6 pounds- I was hoping for more since my belly looks so big- and I have normal blood pressure, yada yada...
We put the u/s thing (can't think of the right work) on my belly, and the first thing we saw were two little heads, side by side. So, as of now, both babies are breach- which explains why my guts feel like they are being danced upon- they are! I love that their little heads were side by side! We were able to see perfectly beating hearts, complete spines, bladders, very wiggly limbs, alien-looking eyes, and profiles of both faces. And then we saw... drumroll please...
A very proud little BOY (Baby B) and a very sweet little GIRL (Baby A). So, my wonderful IPs are going to be parents of a boy and a girl in 4 1/2 short months! This little boy showed us his "boyness" at every angle we turned to look at him with. This little girl is a thumbsucker- just like her mom- and is the wiggly reason my right side gets sore- I think her feet are lodged into the side of me.
Seeing these children in their so healthy and active was absolutely beautiful. It amazed me that so much life was going on inside of me that I still don't feel too much. However, the most beautiful, touching, and heart-filling part of the whole day was the love and joy I saw in their parents' faces. To see their tears of joy as they embraced at the sight of their children is the memory I will keep forever in my heart. I can't imagine seeing anyone more full of love than these parents yesterday. I only imagine it will be stronger when these children are finally here- but I don't know how that will be possible.
Through all of their words of appreciation, I just keep thinking how happy their happiness makes me. I knew I would love these children. I didn't realize that I would love their family so very much.
I will be able to see my IPs again next weekend. I am hoping and hoping that these two kiddos will cooperate so that their parents will be able to feel them bumping around in there!

Life is good. Sometimes, it is so good that I forget to see how absolutely great it is. I see it today, and I am so grateful for the opportunity.