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.