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.