Sunday, December 12, 2010

28 weeks already :)

Well, in good news, we are having a very boring pregnancy!  Isabella is growing strong, I am gaining weight like an athlete on steroids, and everything is normal.  Isabella's parents came up on Friday for a 3D/4D ultrasound.  I didn't know what made an ultrasound 4D until the tech explained that 3D was seeing the baby with color and "regular" shape, and 4D was the movement.  So, her parents now have a video of her playing and pictures of her in color.  What we know about Isabella now:  She has a perfect button nose, beautiful lips, big eyes, all of her fingers, and some amount of hair on her head already.  What we already knew, but enjoyed watching:  She is a wiggle worm!  When the ultrasound began, she was head down and by the time it ended, she was transverse (sideways) with her head buried in my hip.  I had never seen a baby this big move around so quickly.  She stopped moving for a few minutes, but the constant prodding of the ultrasound detector kept her moving in protest. 
I enjoyed watching Isabella, but mostly I enjoyed watching her parents.  I loved to see their faces when they recognized a part of her, or when they discussed whose lips she has.  Everything that was cute and fascinating to me was miraculous to her parents.  The best part of being a surrogate is being able to watch pregnancy become real and tangible to a family that didn't think they would get to be part of this process. 
My Katie commented the other night that this pregnancy is going so much faster than the last one.  I feel the same way.  I, of course, just refer to my skinny ankles when asked how this pregnancy is going.  Last night, for the first time this pregnancy, I went to turn to check behind me as I pulled out of the driveway and I couldn't- the belly is finally in the way. 
I am enjoying this one little girl.  I am enjoying getting to know her personality and smile at the thought of her keeping her parents up all night long, since she is a night owl.  Jason has a habit of tapping on my belly, and she taps back.  It is as if they have a game together and he is helping her practice for future pat-a-cake games with her dad.  We are, after all, a surrogate family. 
My kids don't always love that I do this, but sometimes they say such awesome things, and I know that they see the goodness of their contribution to another family.  I talked to my boys for the first time last week about Emma, Isabella's big sister.  They are so wise in their innocence, and understand what a loss her parents feel, and how special it is that Isabella will always have big sister watching over her.  We are able to not only help give a child to a family, but at the same time we are able to gain understanding and appreciation for the many blessing that we have.
I am always so excited to reach the end of our journey so that my IPs will have their child in their arms.  But after my last journey, I know that the end is bittersweet.  Sweet in these parents holding a healthy, living child in their arms. Bitter in the end of such an amazing and beautiful experience.  I cannot even describe my joy at having such amazing IPs, both my last IPs and my current IPs.  I have friends who have never heard back on how their surro children are doing.  I am in contact with my surrotwins and their awesome family, and I have such involved IPs now, and it is truly a blessing to my family.
I have 12 more weeks scheduled with Isabella.  I am going to grow her as strong and healthy as I am able.  And when she decides to make her debut, I will be so content, so happy, and so appreciative of the amazing parents who will be by my side, ready to welcome her with open arms.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rutabegas, not children, for Thanksgiving

So, nobody really knows what a rutabega is, I mean come on!  But that is what Babycenter has decided to compare Isabella to at 25 weeks.  She is about 1 1/2 pounds now, which is roughly the weight of a rutabega.  She is growing so quickly, but I think she seems so small.  I pulled up a picture of me pregnant with the twins at 24 weeks and am going to compare it to the one I took a week ago at 24 weeks- and then you will see why I feel so small!

Isabella at 24 wks                                                
                 Twins at 24 wks

I feel wonderful, aside from some heartburn and an inability to bend, my body is doing well (I think it is just praising me for not putting in twins again ;).  The crazy pregnant lady hormones are out in full swing, but I can live with those.  Isabella is still moving and happy, or so I always imagine her to be.  She is so easy to get along with and so peaceful.  I hope she stays this way for her parents.
Last Tuesday my surrotwins turned one.  Their mother had sent me a picture of them from Halloween (they were Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Seuss) and they are beautiful.  I think they grow cuter every day, and they have such charming smiles.  Sometimes, I have amazing surrogate moments.  For example, I kept thinking their birthday was on the 19th, and I finally had to ask Jason what the date of their birth actually was!  Obviously, that is information that moms keep track of, so it was just another reminder of how completely I am their not-mother.  I look at those children the same way I look at all babies I love, and I wonder that they grew inside of me for nine months.  I wonder at the miracle of God that He saw fit to allow me to carry children and never doubt who they belong to. 
Yesterday, my children left for a Thanksgiving trip with their father.  I was sad all week leading up to their departure, and I feel like a piece of me is gone.  Divorce is such an evil beast, but sometimes necessary and sometimes it brings good.  One of the ironic good things it has brought is that my love for my children is so strong.  So many parents wish for a "break" from their kids.  Well, I get mandatory breaks from my kids, and I realize every time they leave how very much I love them, how very much they are a part of my heart, and how very devastated I would be without them.  I am sure the pregnancy hormones don't help at all, but I just miss them.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and I will enjoy the blessings I have, and praise God that He has given me my children.  So, even though I won't have them on this certain date, I have them in my life.
My greatest blessing is that I am a mother.  I can never pay back the gratitude I feel to God for this gift.  All I can do is pay it forward, and help other women becomes mothers as well. 
My husband is coming home.  He just drove all around town looking for the movie we wanted to watch.  I will climb in his lap (and enjoy the last few weeks I fit) and he will hold me.  When my children are gone, I still have his warmth to remind me that I am not alone- even if it otherwise just me and the rutabega.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A mango, two dogs, and three monkeys

Isabella is a mango this week.  Well, obviously she really isn't a mango, but she is roughly the weight of one ( 1 pound) according to  Every week, I get an update comparing her to some kind of fruit or vegetable.  Then, her mother and I can talk about her "little mango".  Isabella is a wiggly, tumbly, bouncy little girl.  I love it when I am at work teaching, or sitting in a meeting, and I feel a "bump", "Thump", "BAM" in my belly.  I love to know that she is thriving and playing and happy.  I am gaining weight like mad this pregnancy.  6 pounds last month, and 5 each month before.  That puts me up at least 20 pounds so far- and we are barely past the halfway mark.  So, 23 weeks and counting... this pregnancy is going so well that I often forget she is in here- until she wakes up and starts to play :)
Two dogs are currently racing around my house trying to prove their dominance over each other.  Whisper is here for the week, so our (very new and very young and very hyperactive) dog Charlie-the-crazy-border-collie has a cohort to wreak havoc on my home with.  They both drive me nuts, but they entertain the children, which brings me to...
My three precious monkeys.  I don't know if it is pregnancy-induced hormones, or just me, but the kids were with their father the last two weekends, and both weekends, I just wanted to cry.  It has always been so easy to have those mom moments where I am screaming in my head, "I need a break!", but now that I have spent so many weekends and summer weeks alone without my children, those moments always come with a grain of salt.  I realize now how fleeting my time with my children is.  I never know how much longer I will have them, how much longer God's grace will allow me to be so blessed, or how quickly the remaining years of their childhood will fly by. 
They are growing up so fast, so smart, so talented, so beautiful.  I look at them sometimes and just think, "of all the things I could have done in this life, I chose this."  And I look at the chaos of my home, and I listen to them screeching and hollering and squealing, and I smell popcorn that nobody is watching burn in the microwave, and I think about all the places they need to go tomorrow and the things that must be done by week's end, and I realize, "this is exactly what I was meant to do; this is exactly who I was meant to be."
I cannot imagine my life without them.  I do not hide from them that Katie was nearly here when I married her father, or that I think getting pregnant at eighteen is a very bad idea.  But, I tell them, with all honesty, that I chose to be a mother the day I chose to keep her.  I tell them that I did want other things and I did have other plans, but that I wanted to be their mom waaayyy more than I wanted any of those other things.  I tell them I had made a deal with Heavenly Father when I was a little girl that if I could only do one thing on this Earth, I wanted to be a mom.  And I know with Katie's coming, He was holding me to my end of our deal.  And He has held true to His.  I have my children.  Every day, I see them grow.  Every night, I kiss them goodnight.  Every moment of my life, I am a mother.  
So, when people look at my surrogacy journeys as a sign that I am totally insane, I am flabbergasted.  I was given the miracle of being a mom.  I was given the gift to be able to carry a child safely into this world.  I would choose being a mother- in fact, I did, choose to be a mother- over anything else.  So, my question, really, to those women who look at me like I am nuts is, "how could you not?"  How could you not want to help another woman know the joy that you get every day? 
  Really, am I the one who is crazy?  Or am I the one with compassion, with courage, with love in my heart?
Most of the people I talk to about surrogacy say, "Oh, I could do that for my sister, or my best friend, but not for a stranger."  Well, I happen to believe that God created all of us and we are brothers and sisters.  So, you know what, I am doing this for my sister.  I am doing this for another child of God, another woman who wants to be a mother just as desperately as I did. 
I sit here with a mango-baby in my belly, two dogs running amuck, and three children eating a bedtime snack.  It is probably chaos.  It is probably too noisy for any of these thoughts I am having to be coherent. But, I am smiling through my tears of gratitude.  I am humbled that I have such great blessings.  I am humbled by the grace of God that allows me such joy. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Growing Isabella

When we were 12 weeks into this pregnancy, we had a high tech ultrasound to check the baby and make sure that the baby was growing normally, and to ensure that this baby had no birth defects looming in the future or any developmental problems.  For a couple who has been through so many trials and so much pain, this was very important.  I was just excited to see the baby on a fancy monitor!
Everything with the ultrasound went smoothly.  The baby was moving around a lot for being so tiny.  We were totally unprepared for the doctor to ask A if she wanted to know the baby's gender.  She said yes.  He said, "Give me two name."  A said, "Isabella" and "Mateo".  The doctor said, "Mateo is a beautiful name-"  and A interrupted, "It's a boy?!", and I interrupted, "I knew it!".  And the doctor smiled and finished, "Mateo is a beautiful name, but you will have to save it for later, this is Isabella."  And A started to cry.  Her mother, who was in with us, started to cry.  And I, well, I was surprised that I was wrong (haha, I had thought it was a boy!).
For this appointment, A's parents were up visiting from Mexico.  I had met her mother before, but not her father.  Her mother was as sweet as always.  She told me how wonderful I was, how young I looked, and other words of kindness.  She told me how happy she was that I was doing this for her daughter.  She is a beautiful lady who carries herself so well and speaks so kindly, I see her so much in her daughter, and it makes me love her too.  At this visit, A's father said to me something to the effect of how much he appreciated what I was doing for his family, how much it meant to his daughter, and more.  He did not say many words, and my lack of ability in speaking Spanish made it impossible to respond with anything at all meaningful after he just poured out his soul, but the intent of his words, the love behind his words, and the raw emotion I saw in his face will never leave my mind.  His words touched me so much, I hope that he understands how much those words mean to me.  I hope one day I will be able to find the words in his language to tell him that it honors me to bring his grandchild here.  That it honors me that his daughter and son-in-law chose me.  That it honors me to share this miracle with them.

After our appointment, and in thinking about it, I realized that it might be important to A and H to have a little girl since the child they lost was a girl  I don't know, but it just feels right that they will have another daughter.  I know that she will carry a piece of her sister's spirit with her back to Earth, and that her sister will always be watching over her.  This touches my heart, and I know that E is watching to make sure I take good care of her little sister.  
In the meantime, I will be here growing Isabella for her waiting family.  Grow strong Isabella, grow strong.

Drugs suck even worse the second time around

In May we started drugs.  Estrace, nine gadzillion other kinds of drugs, and, pills, pills, pills... And then by June we had moved on to the fun stuff, namely progesterone and shots, needles, ouch.  Apparently my body remembered the needles because it bruised up right away, and I bled on a very regular basis when I gave myself shots.  I mostly think this is because (TMI warning) I have so many spider veins- maybe varicose veins- in my butt and thighs after having the twins.  Whatever the reason, my body was much wiser this time and let me know those needles were unwelcome!
We had an amazingly quick cycle, everything went really well, and in the middle of June (yes, it would be awesome if I remembered this stuff, I do remember it was a Tuesday ;), we transferred two beautiful embryos.  A, my IM (the baby's mama), was able to go in with me while we went through the super fun procedure. 
I stayed with A and H the night after transfer.  A made food, and we sat around talking and getting to know each other.  She made wonderful food, and I was able to look at pictures of their families.  I was able to see pictures of their daughter, and I determined in that moment that they would have a living child.  I looked at the refrigerator door, which contained pictures of when they were happy.  H said that the pictures were there to remind A of happiness, and that they would have happiness again.  And in that moment, I determined that A would only cry happy tears.  And that is my goal.
I peed every day during the two week wait, watching the line grow darker and darker.  A & H (mom and dad) didn't want to know what the pee tests said, so I just took a picture of the one that said "pregnant" and waited until beta day (the real blood test). 
Once we had positive numbers from the doctor, I sent A the picture that said "positive" because seeing the word is soo much better than hearing "242", right?
Our numbers were about the same as they were with the twins, so I was terrified that I would be carrying another set of twins, A was overjoyed at the thought of twins, but I trusted that God would do what was right.
At 6 weeks, we had an ultrasound and saw one perfect little bean growing in one perfect little sac and heard one perfect little heartbeat.  I knew that A and H had wanted twins, so I felt bad at my relief to only have one, but I was still happy and they were too- for one is so much safer to carry, and they have had too much risk in becoming parents so far.
A cried, and I smiled.  For her, tears are a sign of joy.  For me, her tears are a sign that all is well.  So far, I have only seen happy tears. 

How I met her parents

It has been so long since I have been able to write in my blog about surrogacy- well, specifically, that I am in the middle of another journey!
After I delivered the twins, I was not only overjoyed at their safe journey to life, but, honestly, I was sad that it had ended.  As a surrogate, there is so much time and concern invested in carrying another family's child to their arms.  It is a blessing, a calling, and a privelege.  Within a month of their birth, I knew that I would do another journey.
Luckily, I am married to an amazing man.  When I said to Jason, "I want to do another surrogacy," he didn't say no, or let's wait, or tell me I was off my nut.  He simple said, "I know, and I want you to."  It is the most amazing feeling to know that I have a husband who loves me, understands me, and not only sees my dreams, but is willing to support me and love me as I strive to fulfill them.  Without him supporting me, I would never be able to be and do all that I want to.  With him in agreement, I was off...
It was the end of January when I walked into the restaurant.  I was certain that I wouldn't like these people, certain that nothing could go as well as it did with my first journey, and certain that it would take much more time and many more such meeting before I could find a couple that I would be comfortable working with. 
I knew that I would trust my gut, and when I walked into the room with Jason, I saw a beautiful couple looking hopefully and expectantly at me.  We had a wonderful conversation and talked for much longer than I thought seemed reasonable.
 I learned that their daughter, whose name is precious to me, died the day she was born of complications that nobody realized existed until she was already here.  I watched as this woman's eyes filled with tears as she began to tell me the story- realizing belatedly that I had asked the wrong question.  I asked her to stop; I did not want to bring up pain on a day that should have been about hope.   I remember her face as she said, "no, I am fine" and continued to tell me the story.  As I remember her telling me about her child, I remember her pain, but mostly I remember the love for her child, her determination to have a living child, and her hope for the future- to bring her child a little sibling. 
As we drove to the hotel, I told Jason, "It shouldn't be this easy."  And he knew what I meant.  I did not expect to find another couple to work with so quickly, but this couple had won my heart.  Instead of despair, they held a memory.  Instead of fear, hope.  Instead of grief, action.  Instead of sorrow, promised joy.  They were perfect for me, and I know they will be amazing parents.
Within an hour, I had called to say, "If they will have me, I am in!"
And, fortuitously, they decided that they were in too, and here we are.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I am overcome with joy

For some reason, maybe just crazy hormones, I am full of such strong emotion.  For the first time in so long, I am able to write- to feel- to just be at peace.
Now, of course, I don't have much time to enjoy this feeling, but for now, I just need to let it out.
The laundry is almost done, the children are outside playing, and I have just cleaned off the counter which has been piled up with junk for months.  Whew... and I feel great. 
And now it is time to make dinner and carry on with the rest of the day.
And sometimes I get stressed out about life.  About the laundry not being done.  About the kids fighting.  About never being caught up at work.  About wanting my husband to be happy and instead always giving him more to do.  About making my kids happy and giving them everything I had and everything I never had.  And then  I get overwhelmed. 
But right now, I can see the joy.  I HAVE a husband.  I HAVE three amazing children.  I HAVE a home (even though I hate it).  I HAVE everything I have ever wanted. 
And just for a moment, I am going to sit here, overcome with joy before the crazy hormones wear off.
And maybe, just maybe, I will have time to write about the new story I have added to my life, and update this old blog to include more recent happenings. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Doing Nothing

Isn't that why I became a teacher?  So I can stay home all summer with my kids?  I just watched them perform a "fashion show" for me.  Katie always plays the "host" and the boys dress up as cowboys, football players, old men, babies, and all kinds of funny things.  They even dressed the dog up for a wedding!
We do a few things every day ,but mostly we just hang out, watch a movie, go for a walk (if it isn't a bazillion degrees out- so not for a while), and count down until our short vacation we get to take in a few weeks. 
I think I should probably be doing more to get ready for the wedding... I think I should probably try to get started with learning about my new job... I think I should get the house organized for the upcoming school year when I will be super busy... I think I should clean the house since we will have guests soon... but I think I will wait until next week!
I have read, by my estimation, 7 books this summer and am into number 8.  I know, I know, the English teacher should have read more.  But, in my defense, I read Atlas Shrugged, which is 1100 pages (ish) of very small print.  I love disappearing into the realm of fiction.  Somebody else's big adventure, somebody else's screwed up life, somebody else that I know will get a happy ending- and if they don't, well, I know that it isn't real. 
I can't wait for the wedding.  I can't wait to FINALLY be married to Jason :)  I can't wait to see (most) all of the people I love and have a huge party.  I can't wait to sigh a big sigh of relief that we made it through all the drama and now get to get on to the business of living our lives.  My grandma is coming to Texas for the first time- Wahoo!  I think I decided to have a real wedding just so she would come ;)   My siblings- mostly (and I won't comment on the "mostly" or I will be cranky) are coming.  I get to meet my niece that I have never seen, and play with my niece I haven't seen since she was a tiny baby!  I get to see my surro twins- I haven't seen them since March.  They will be nine months old and I am so excited they can come.  I can't wait to be with my family.  Did I say that yet? Okay, moving on...
I am so excited about the kidney bean, but there will be more on that later ;)
And, since I have a fussing child, I will leave you with my profound thoughts on life I have gleaned from my summer reading, my topsy-turvy life, and whatever else I have experienced lately: 
There is only one way to live a fulfilling life- on your own terms.  Nothing else will be satisfying.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dear IP

I have been thinking lately about everything I see when I look at an IP (surrogacy- related term for Intended Parent- the person that is intended to become a parent by the end of the process). 
I think about all the things people say about surrogates.  Aside from all the negative things and the misunderstandings, people seem to see that surrogates give their time, their bodies, their hearts, and receive in payment for services rendered varying sums of money, or no money, as is the case for many.  I have been called a blessing, an angel, and a gift.  I am embarrassed to be spoken of that way, for I am none of those things.  I am just a woman doing something that I know God wants me to do.  And when I think about what I have received as a surrogate, it brings me back to the IPs.  So, I have been writing a letter in my head to all of my IPs (and somehow to all IPs) and I am going to go ahead and try to write it now.

Dear IP,
As I imagine meeting you, I wonder what you will be like.  I imagine a woman suffering from the loss of dreamed-of- motherhood, I imagine a woman who has been weakened by sorrow, and overcome with despair.  I imagine a man by your side who is empty and aching for the joy of throwing his own child into the air as she squeals with delight.  I look at my children, and I imagine the loss of each of their lives, and can only barely, slightly, infintesimally glimpse the horrors you have seen as you have watched your living children die, as you have watched your body betray you and leave you vacant inside.  I imagine the pain in your eyes, and I don't know how I will bear to see the hurt.

As I meet you, I look into your eyes and I am amazed by what I see.  I see the strength of having endured unimaginable loss and still being able to believe in miracles.  I see the determination of a person determined to succeed when all they have met with is failure.  I see the power of true love in the man who married a woman knowing she would never be able to bear the children of his dreams.   I am amazed by what I see, and by what I don't see.  I don't see anger at the world, I don't see jealousy of the mother walking by, I don't see you feeling sorry for yourself.   I see someone driven to action.  I see someone who knows that there is always a way.  I see a mind with a dream.  I see a heart full of hope.
And when I see your strength, when I see your determination, when I see your love, and mostly, when I see your hope, I am humbled.  I am humbled to know that I will never be as strong as you.  I will never be as determined as you.  I will never know what it means to try and try again.  I will never have to hold to hope as tightly as you do, and I will never be able to inspire anyone as you have inspired me.
Dear IP, you have taught me what it means to love.  You have taught me what it means to hope.  You have taught me that if you never give up, you will reach your goal.  You have taught me to believe in miracles. 
I thank you.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart for granting me this moment to see into your soul.  I thank you for sharing your most private pain with me, and for allowing me to see the brilliant light of your soul reflecting through your eyes.  There will never be adequate words to express my gratitude for the values you have brought to me.  I will be forever changed. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer is here

Summer is upon us.  I look forward to this time all year long- it is what I think of when I am fed up with my students, with waking up at 5 am every morning, with never having time to clean my house.  So why is it that with its arrival I am filled with such nostalgia?
This year marks my fourth year here in Alto.  This year the students that I have taught since their freshman year are graduating.  On Friday night, I will sit in the stands and watch them walk across the stage for the final time.  I will see them together, laughing, crying, cheering, and hugging each other- as they have done for the last thirteen years of their lives- for the last time.  They will hug me good-bye (or not) and I will see them when they come to visit or pick up transcripts (or not), but it will never be the same. 
While they were at graduation practice yesterday, I was cleaning out my cupboard.  I found poems, posters, projects, and short stories they had written.  I have kept these things for the last four years mostly on accident, but gathering them up and throwing them away at the same time my seniors were coming in to tell my good-bye was so bittersweet.  I realize how quickly time flies by and how important it is to tell people everything good and wonderful about them every minute you have with them because the time we have to influence them for good or help them understand something is so small.  I will never see these kids in this same context again.  They are grown.  I have done my job, and I pray that I did it well enough that it will enable them to succeed in the world outside.
And another day has passed and I am on day two of trying to write this post!  Today is the last day of school.  Very few students are here, my room is clean, and I am going to go pick the boys up "early" so that they can feel special ;)  It has been a great year, a busy (crazy busy) spring, and now the kids and I get the summer to just play sports, games, travel, and SLEEP IN!
I love what I do, especially in the summer ;)

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Some days, life just seems overwhelming.  I am surrounded by people I love, I have a good job, I am going to marry the man I love, my children tell my they love me every day, and it will be summer in just eleven more school days... why do I get overwhelmed?  I think it must be hormonal or something.
Why am I so annoyed that after I buy my daughter a new bathing suit, sunglasses, and t shirt for her field trip, arrange the sleepover so she can go, and make sure she has sunscreen for the water park, does she get mad at me because I can't call her principal at six o'clock at night so she can get special permission to ride with a friend?
Why am I so upset that the house is a disaster when I at least have a house?
Why does it matter that I have no time to sit at the computer without knowing that something important is not getting done?
Why do I worry that the plants Jason carefully planted will die in my care before they even start to wilt?
I don't know... and I am too tired to look for the answers.
I know that life is good.  I know that I love being alive and being healthy only slightly less than I love my children being alive and happy.  I know that I am so immensely blessed, I shouldn't even worry or stress out.  I hope maybe it is just because I strive to be the best I can be and know that I have a long way to go...
Goal number 1:  Get the kids to bed
Goal number 2:  Get to work on time
Goal number 3:  I'll think about it in the morning (that's why I have a calendar).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

I have heard many quotes and cute sayings about Mother's Day.  Today my mother gave me a book of them as a gift, and I love the pictures with the quotes on them.  I guess, if I had to write my own quote for Mother's Day, it would go something like this, "Mom- I can't imagine who I would be without you, and I can't imagine life without you.  Thank you for choosing to love me for all of these years."
Being a mom is the most amazing gift I have ever been given.  Having an amazing mom is the greatest blessing.  I thank God for my mother every day, and I pray that I will get to keep her for a long, long time. 
My children let me sleep in this morning.  They bought me flowers.  They helped Jason (I think) get breakfast ready.  They tried not to fight.  They folded and put away laundry (with just a few loud complaints).  They made me pretty things at school and brought them home today.  But better than that, they hugged me and told me they loved me.  And even better than that, they were here.  Through all that we have been through, through the loss of our 'perfect' family, I have learned that having my children with me is a gift in and of itself.  They don't have to do anything to make me enjoy Mother's Day.  Just by virtue of being here, I am able to not only honor my mother, but celebrate this day and realize the depth of love and respect we owe our mothers, because I understand what each one goes through for her children. 
I was able to wake up today to a house full of love, even with the whining and fighting and the mess, I have three children.  These are my blessings, these are my gifts from God and the only thing of worth I leave to the Earth. 
I am many things, but if I could only be one, if I had to sum up all that I am and all that I want to be, it would be in the word "mom." 
I spent the afternoon with my family.  We watched the children play, we ate good food, and we even played kickball- girls versus boys- and we lost terribly!  I can't imagine not having a family.  I can't imagine my family without the mothers we have in it. 
"'Mother' is the name for God in the minds and hearts of little children."
What a task I have before me.  What power I have been endowed with by God to be ready for all that I must do for my children.  What greater power and responsibility has God put on the earth than that He instills in His daughters?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's been forever and what news I have to tell!

And the door into forever has opened wide...
On the last Friday of Spring Break, Jason and I went out to breakfast at this fabulous restaurant in Marble Falls. This restaurant even boasts banana cream pie- and it is sooo good! I knew he had something for me, and I kept waiting for him to break down and let me have it. So, when he told me that he put it in the pie, I started looking to see if there was a gap or smeared spot in the cool whip. There wasn't. So, no ring, but I got the best banana pie ever...
We decided to go to Enchanted Rock for a picnic. Enchanted Rock is this humongous (I think an acre big?) rock that you actually can climb up and walk around on. It is the size of a very large hill, but it is all rock. We failed to realize that there was a crazy long line to get in, so we ended up eating our picnic in the car- which was good, because it is really windy on top of a rock...
We hiked up the rock, and it was so beautiful. We looked around at the land around us that seemed to go on forever. I asked a man to take our picture, Jason said something to him (I thought about making the camera work), and we smiled for the camera. The man said, "just let me take a few more", so we just stood there smiling. Well, let me rephrase, I stood there smiling, trying to ignore Jason bumping around in his pocket while I pretended not to know what he was doing. Then, he leaned in close (it was hard to hear over the wind) and said, "Emily, I knew from the first day I met you that I was going to marry you, (then he started to cry and I think he forgot whatever he had planned to say next)", kneeled down, opened up the ring box with my BEAUTIFUL sapphire ring in it, and asked, "will you marry me?" Of course, I said yes and pulled him up for a big hug and kiss. It was a beautiful moment. And, thanks to our picture-taking friend, we have pictures of the entire event!

Since we were on top of the world, we had no cell service, so we sat down in a niche in the rock and looked out at the world spread ahead of us. There were no interruptions, no phones ringing, no noise that could out match the wind, just us. And we held hands and talked. And my heart was full.
I can see into forever and now I see the man I love walking beside me into eternity.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Moving On

It has been two months since the twins were born. In these two months, my body has healed, shrunk back to my scrawny size (well, except for this ridiculous extra skin around my middle), and I can now move at a regular speed. It feels good to be "normal" again.
I am spending time with my kids and with Jason. I am working and directing the play. The children have begun all of their spring activities- riding horses, tumbling, and soon we will be in baseball season. Life is busy, but busy is good I suppose...
I have seen pictures of the twins as they have grown, and they are growing like weeds! Their little faces have filled out, and their parents seem to be over-the-moon-happy still. They sent me a necklace with two doves on it- one to represent each child I brought into the world for them. It was one of the most touching gifts I have ever received, and the only necklace I have ever worn with regularity.
I am moving on, and many days I don't really think about the twins. I have found that what really makes me think of them is when I see a pregnant woman or a mother with a newborn baby- especially twins. The first time I saw a mom with newborn twins, I almost left the restaurant. I am somehow fascinated by newborns still... the only explanation I have for this is that my body and my subconscious don't realize that I'm not "supposed" to have a baby in my arms. It feels like my body is sending me signals of sorrow for the infant I should have. It is only a temporary feeling, and I understand it for what it is. The thing that I love about this feeling- and it may seem absurd- is that it makes me understand infertility just a little bit better. I think of the sorrow I feel at the "missing" babies I delivered, and then I think of the pain it must bring to the woman who is actually missing her child. I cannot imagine her pain and her grief. It makes me appreciate my children more. It makes me appreciate the miracle of surrogacy more. It makes me love these families that look to surrogacy or adoption to have children even more. Every part of this journey has been a gift- even the sorrow- for the sorrow brings joy much greater than the sadness it springs from.
I am still moving on and every day I grow further from this journey. It will always be a part of me, and I will always love this family that is now part of my heart. Every time I get a new picture of them, my heart leaps with joy. Every time I hear from them, a smile breaks out on my face.
I think of this heart-filling contentment, and I wonder, how can I not do this again?

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Montage 1/3/10 at

I finally made a video of our journey. It was so amazing to look at all we have been through to get these babies here, and I am so thankful for each step of the way.