Tuesday, September 30, 2008

asking for help and the stresses of surrogacy

The past week has been a painful one, both physically and emotionally. "Serious Clinical Depression" the three words that defined my adolescence. In adulthood, I have managed to keep these debilitating feelings out of my daily life. Then at a moments notice that old companion creeps back in attempting to stain my world. At these times, I get the interventions that I need and go on with my life and this time was no different.

I do not need a "professional" to tell me what is wrong that much is obvious. I am prone to bouts of depression and my life is stressful at the moment. On top of the surrogacy, I am in my second to last semester in college, and I am seriously loosing the battle to lose weight. At this time I do not think that talking to anyone is going to help, but I have no problem with talk therapy if the medication and working on addressing the weight in a different way. I count my ability to monitor myself this way as the "prize" I earned from struggling for so many years and making it out fairly in tact.

Part of what is not talked about with surrogacy and IF is that you are a parent for years before you have an actual child in your home. As a friend of mine said one day, "Well you are a mother you just do not have the child yet." This is exactly how I feel, every time I feel like I really need a break from all this I immediately feel guilty because I am delaying the birth of my child. It is the most irrational feeling and yet it is one that permeates my life, which is difficult for me because I like it when my life and thoughts make sense (at least to me). Our child is real to me part of this comes from the fact that so much time and energy has been put into getting him/her to really exist this makes every decision to delay the process feel like a betrayal and like I am already a bad parent for being selfish. Before you go running from the insane woman let me assure you that I know this is irrational and walks a razor edge of sanity. Intellectually I understand that these thoughts are not normal and I brush them aside and do what needs to be completed.

Part of the issue that I am dealing with now is that I am almost finished with college. With a degree in Social Work and Psychology, it is imperative that I obtain a Masters degree to work in my area of interest. I have the opportunity to start this summer and cut my time in graduate school down by 6 months this time frame would put my still in school when we had our child. Throughout this process, it has always been my intention to spend at least the first 2 years home with my child. As I am not getting any younger I am not willing to put off the baby making to get my Masters, as it stands now I am firmly committed that if I do not have a baby in my arms by the time I am 36 (3.5 years) then we are finished. Now I have to decide how I am going to work these two very important things together. Women do this every day most women do not always get to plan when they are going to have their children and they are still able to do what I am having so much trouble wrapping my head around. After missing huge parts of the first 9 months, I do not want to miss another second and I do not want someone else being there while him/her is discovering the world for the first time.

Then to put the cherry on the sundae in spite of my decent attempts to lose weight I am just gaining. I am in the gym with my trainer 3 times a week. In the place where I feel so out of place, self conscious and judged, but I go because; I do not want to feel like this anymore. Even though I know that I feel better, that number on the scale keeps going up. It is getting to the point where I do not want to leave the house. My parents were in town yesterday and I was embarrassed to see them, which is crazy because they too have struggled with their weight (They both look amazing and have worked really hard to lose weight and I could not be prouder of them). My desire to put curtains on the mirrors in my bathroom is overwhelming. In the next few weeks I will be seeing a doctor about this situations. This is such a familiar struggle but I am getting scared that I will not be able to get this under control and it will change who I am in a fundamental way. Back to the doctor I go to stumble around in the dark trying to figure out what is wrong with me, figure out where the new cracks are in the body that hates me.

I will start the anti-depressants tomorrow and knowing me it will be a couple of weeks before I am starting to get balanced out again. Yes, I hate it that I could not do this on my own and some part of me feels weak. Stepping back and looking at the big picture, I am surprised it has taken me this long to get to this place and I think I should have asked for help much sooner. Not being able to ask for help will sink someone going through this process. I am so lucky that I am surrounded by people who know how to read me and are not afraid to tell me that I need help, I am so grateful that if I had not been able to get help on my own that they would have made sure that I did. The importance of having great people around you and asking for all the help you need without shame cannot be stressed enough. It is a difficult enough to get through this process with tons of support, trying to go it alone would be treacherous for me.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Distractions from Surrogacy

Yes, I am still here. Honestly, I planned to post a lot this week; it just did not work out that way.

Some of you may recall that I need to loose a lot of weight. Well that has been going about as well as dragging an ice cubes across the desert. In the beginning of May, I began working out 3 days a week with a trainer. To date I have gained 20 more pounds none of which is muscle. To say the least I am frustrated. I am supposed to see the doctor because I believe that the PCOS is once again rearing its ugly head. A part of me thought that once I finished with the bleeding problems this would all be something that would no longer require attention.

I have been feeling horrible about everything for the past few days. To top this all, Joe-Bob could be away from home for 14 weeks over the summer that may put a real kink in our surrogacy plans. An amazing opportunity one could advance his career in ways that we could not imagine this soon. I am grateful that he has this chance, but I just want to get on with my plans. Of course, there is still a chance that this will not happen as I think it will.

Over the years, I have learned to prepare for the worst-case scenarios. Some people think this makes me morose or fatalistic, I think that it is the best way to protect myself. It may not be the world's best coping mechanism but it works for me and I am going to stick with it. It hurts a lot less to fall from 2 inches than 20 feet.

In order to maintain my sanity I have come up with a new project. I am going to finally rid my kitchen of the early 90's wallpaper. When we first saw our house I wanted to get rid of that paper, so 2 ½ year later, I am finally going to do something about it. This is all part of having something else to focus my energy on besides surrogacy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fall is here

Just a few pictures I wanted to share.

last days of withered beauty.

the first signs of fall!!

Whispering about surrogacy and infertility

I am re-posting this today because I have had some comments about the "Comments Section" is messed up in the other post. Hope this works. Thank you so much to all of you who read this before.

Just stumbled across this blog Barren and Beautiful who asks the question "Why do we whisper about infertility?"

Since I love answering question (and none of you is asking any), I will answer questions I find floating out in blog-world.

There was a time when I did not want anyone to know about these difficulties, I felt so horrible about myself that I could not fathom the looks of pity and false sympathy. My infertility diagnosis came when I was 21 while I was still trying to identify myself as a person. In childhood, I always imagined that my primary title as a woman would be "Mother" and as I approached that milestone, it was suddenly snatched away. Over the past 11 years much has changed, as it does for most people, the biggest change for me though is my ability to talk about infertility without shame.

At least that is what I believed before reading the above-mentioned post. With my friends and family, I give them all the gory details, of which there are plenty; with others, I use it almost as a weapon. When I hear the questions, "So do you have children?" "Wow, you have been married a long time, when are you going to start a family" or "Do you not like children?" My immediate reaction is to kick them in the shins or stick them with hot pokers, but since my mother did an excellent job in curbing these violent tendencies I usually just say "We are not ready" or a similarly benign answer. At some moments, those moments when I cannot stand to hear that question, I say things like, "I had to decide between being a mother and being pregnant, so we chose to be parents." or "It is not possible for us to have children." or "I am infertile so having babies is not that easy for us." I am sure that there are more but those are the ones I use most of the time. People are always disarmed and generally try to change the subject, though there are others who actually keep asking questions. As stated above I love questions and do my best to answer them.

I hate this part of myself, that part that wants to hurt others who hurt me. A part of me who picks out people's insecurities and uses it against them. 99% of the time, I can keep this side of me in check and then there are those times when I let it out in all its glory. This is the part of me that I would happily get rid of if given the opportunity that is until I feel the need to defend myself. The only solace I get out of this is the hope that the next time they are around someone without children that they will not ask insensitive questions.

I am trying to whisper as much as I can about infertility because lately discussing the subject has brought out a side of myself that I cannot stand.

On track 2 of this album, I am here telling everyone about my infertility. This blog is a safe place for me to talk about what is happening. The majority of the people here are going to something similar and understand how cutting these comments can be. I am sure there will come a day when someone says something negative, but that day has yet to come. I am so grateful to have this outlet and the feedback from all of you. Knowing that other people are out there helps more than you know. Infertility becomes very lonely after so many years and there are some things that try, as they may people not in the infertility shoes cannot understand.

I cannot whisper about infertility because I love this support system made possible by me going "public".

Moving onto track 3, I want to use this experience to teach others about this little understood part of infertility and what I think is the most surrounded with misunderstanding. One day my child will go out into the world and I want to try to reduce the number of people will have misconceptions about how he/she came into the world. It is difficult for me to think that one day someone may say something hurtful to my child about surrogacy. I can only hope that it is long after they are old enough to know the entire story so that they realize how ridiculous the comments are.

I cannot whisper about this issue because the more people who know the reality the fewer chances ignorance has to affect my child.

Skipping to track 4, being here in the black hole of infertility a lot of emotions build up. In the years that I kept this all quiet were painful and difficult years. For the first four years of our marriage, we dealt with this issue by trying to convince ourselves that children were not something that we wanted in our lives. It was important for us to not discuss children for two reasons, we both knew that it was going to be a long process and we were not really ready to become the parents that we wanted to be. Around 3.5 years into our marriage we started to talk around the edges of adding to our family. Since we knew that, it was not going to just happen we started to educate ourselves about the options. I did really well with this emotionally for about 6 months, I was able to stay detached and look at everything in an objective manner. Then one day I was reading a website and it hit me, "we are going to be parents, we are actually going to have a baby." That was the day the clock really started to run, and it has been getting louder with every passing second. Every announced impending birth felt like a punch in the gut. When surrogacy finally became our chosen path, I knew that I was going to have to do a lot of work on myself before I was ready to participate appropriately in this adventure. Being able to work out many of my feelings here has benefited me more than just about anything I have done. Having to be brutally honest about the process and the accompanying feelings has helped me shape what this journey needs to look like for everyone involved.

I do not whisper here because it is cheaper than therapy.

Finding the balance between screaming from the rooftops, spitting in peoples' faces, or being a mess of mental illness has personally been a constant battle. I believe that I have been getting better at finding this balance, but I am human and do get it horribly wrong from time to time. Infertility is a wild and bumpy journey, but mostly it is an overwhelming journey that gets very heavy sometimes. Staying silent or whispering in corners is doing very little good for all us women and men who are locked in the struggle to become parents in a way very different from what we had expected.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I have been keeping a secret that is important to this journey.

When I first began this blog, I intended to take it down once we had our child. At that point, in our journey we still did not know what information we would share with our child about their unusual beginnings. Honestly, at that point we were sure that we were never going to tell them that another woman carried them. It was not that we were embarrassed, we thought that we would be protecting them from pain and hurt. As an adopted child I went through a time in my life when I felt flawed and carried guilt about my start in the world and I would never want that for my own child. Then I began to have nightmares of our child finding some piece of paper or picture and no longer being able to keep up the charade. All I could think of was how much worse that situation would be than just making it part of their narrative and leaving it at that.

Over that hurdle, we then had to decide how much of the story we were going to tell. Was it enough to just tell them that my stomach was broken and that another lady gave birth to them? Would it be better to let them see pictures of, talk to, or meet this woman? How far would we allow that relationship to go? How were we going to handle the relationship more to the point how was I going to feel about that relationship?

After weeks of debate and looking at every advantage and disadvantage, we made a decision. If we were going to tell the story, we had to tell them everything. It was an all or nothing deal. For those of you who know us will not be at all surprised, we are very much all or nothing people. One of the things infertility has not been able to steal away from me the commitment that no matter what the story of how our child came into the world I never wanted the time between thinking that they got here like anyone else and the true story would not exist we would always be honest with them. I still do not have the words for that day.

Okay so now that I have completely written us into some circle I guess I should tell you what the point of this was. Wow, I am actually nervous about this, and I am not ever nervous about saying anything here. We are using an egg donor. You will be happy to know that my head did not explode, I was afraid of that happening at this moment. I am not sure why it was so hard for me to say. For me this was the hardest part of choosing to use surrogacy. I had to make sure that I was not going to feel that I had less of a claim to our child or blame my husband when they turn out to be horrible people I cannot stand to be around, well at least not any more than a normal person would.

Before we entered into the world of surrogacy, we were preparing to adopt from China. I had researched everything that I could about the process, down to what airline discounts we could use and filling out a few applications with agencies. Something just never felt right, I knew that we were both able to parent a child that was not biologically ours and I knew that we could handle the extra challenges of adopting a toddler who would need extra help. After a year or so I realized what would not be right was that I would miss out on possibly the first year or two of my child’s life, and remember when I said we are all or nothing people because that is what drove me to this decision. I want to have every moment I can with my child, without being the type of parent who moves to the same town their child goes to college in, or calling to ask the nice man at company X who did not hire my child.

Surrogacy became the answer for us. We could be parents from day one and having a child that was not biologically mine seemed to be about the same thing as adoption. At least that is what I thought, until the day that I realized that I was ashamed to tell anyone and was considering breaking rule number 1 “always be honest”. I knew that when I consented for my surgery that I would loose my ability to have a child and I have never questioned that decision.

It began with the “creepy” factor of looking through hundreds of profiles. Somewhere in the middle of narrowing down these profiles, there were things that I had to start weeding out that made me uncomfortable. There were those things that were obvious, like a history of cancer and then there were things like eye color and GPA’s. I began to feel like I was living in one of those insane private preschool parodies in the movies. The real punch in the face was looking back through those I had narrowed down were nothing like me and part of that made me feel great and another part of that felt horrible, horrible in a way that nothing had ever made me feel and very shocking. I have never thought that biology had anything to do with being a good parent. My parents are great and not a bit of biology is shared between us and that has never made them love me less.

I believe that what was so hard to accept was that I was not just going to have a child “assigned” to me; I was going to have to choose a woman to be half of their genetics. For a while that felt strange, and then it felt hugely overwhelming. My first real decision as the mother of my child was to pick their genetic mother and that is one decision that I do not want to get wrong. I have talked about my paralyzing fear before and this was a time when I was really stuck. More people have looked at egg donors with me, and the more people that I pulled in the more my choices were confirmed. Having others agree that they too were seeing what I was seeing was so helpful.

Affirmation of your choices is so rare in the world of infertility, that when it finally happens it feels like Christmas and the Fourth of July all rolled into one. I have no other words to describe that feeling of elation when you finally feel that you are competent enough to make “parent” level decisions.

We are using an egg donor, because I would not be able to live with myself if my child inherited even one of my disorders. That is the trouble with knowing just enough to be dangerous when it comes to the heritability of disease and disability. Well that is at least what I am telling myself for now. Other than me being able to carry this baby on my own like most women no solution is going to be perfect. Surrogacy just happens to meet more of our criteria. At the start of this process I believed that I would have, a much harder time dealing with my feelings about the surrogate, so far that had not been true.

There is my little secret. Now it does not seem like such a big deal.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

a new look

Well my time would probly have been spent getting my hair cut or my face waxed. If I had done that though, how would you have seen the beautiful transformation?

Instead you may notice that things are looking a bit different over here. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Surrogacy Compensation

I got a question about compensation, from Bump Fairy. First, let me say that I love questions, please feel free to ask away. If you do not want to ask on the blog, you can e-mail me and I will not use your name, but I will answer the question.

So back to the question of compensation for surrogates.

Bump Fairy wrote:

Jaymee, you speak so highly of surrogates. How do you feel about the compensation aspect? I know some don't, but most surrogates request financial compensation for their journeys. I'd love it if you could post your thoughts, as an IM, on that issue. As a surrogate, that was (and continues to be) my biggest hurdle. Being called a "back alley baby seller" never feels good, and from my seat it feels like people suck all of the good out of the journey just because of that one detail; as if it is not a good thing unless it is "free". But the people speaking those words have never been in your shoes; I wonder how it is viewed from your side?

Wow, are you sure, you would not just like to know the meaning of life?

Seriously, this was one of my major concerns when we started this process. First, I need to dispel the myth that all surrogates are poor, financially unstable, and uneducated. In my experience, this could not be further from the truth. The majority of these women are doing this to help others experience the joys of parenthood, they had easy pregnancies or in some cases dealt with infertility themselves or someone close to them has, the money that they receive is a secondary benefit. From what I have read many of these women are using the money to put away extra funds, start college funds, or to help pay for further education for themselves, they are not using the money to throw crazy parties or expensive vacations. Most of the surrogates that I know are appalled when others comment on how nice it must be to get the extra money.

It would be wonderful to live in a world where everything was free, time ran as fast or a slow, as we needed, and every problem would be solved with a hug and a kiss. Unfortunately, we live in a world where everything, including the air at the gas station, costs money. We as a society have agreed that the paper with dead white guys on it is how we are going to trade goods and services, and yet somehow we have made it something dirty when it come to particular goods and services. I guess I could give my surrogate a $25,000 piece of jewelry, like a friend of mine received from her husband after the birth of their first child. That would then really feel like buying a baby and what a more degrading way than with something bright and shiny like you use to distract small children.

For me the compensation came down to taking an honest look at what money was being paid out and what that money was for. Reality is that being pregnant costs money, you eat more, you need new clothes, you need more help with you own children, you have to travel to doctors' offices and worse you have to sit in doctors' offices. Then there is the physical toll that pregnancy takes on the body, weight gain, swelling, being uncomfortable, heartburn, hemorrhoids, morning sickness, not seeing your feet, loss of sleep, limited mobility, and a thousand other things. Of course, there is the big pink elephant on roller skates in the middle of the room, the baby/ies have to get out, and that is something that is not pretty, I saw the film in health class and that is some serious pain and suffering. Of course, this would be assuming that she was getting pregnant the "old fashioned way", which is not how this works. So add to all that the injections (done by her significant other or herself), hormone overloads, and all the other lovely things that come along with regular infertility treatments. Now tell me that you would willing do that free for a stranger.

In making, my decisions through out this process I have tried to put myself in the shoes of our future surrogate. This is hard to do at times, because I have never been pregnant and cannot fully appreciate what pregnancy is like. I consider myself to be a very generous person, I give to charity, donate my time, and think nothing of going out of my way to help others, but short of doing this for my sister (and even then there would have to be some really nice Christmas presents) I would never put myself through all that for nothing. Sure, the knowing that I helped fulfill someone's life dream would be an amazing feeling, but realistically I do not think that many people are that altruistic.

This is Joe-bob and mine's child who is lucky enough to have another woman willing to get them through the gestation period. This is going to sound like I am insane but bear with me for a moment. As a teenager, I was clinically depressed and my parents, who loved me more than anything, sent me to a boarding school where people could help me in a way that they were unable to at the time. Those people were paid to care for me when my parents were unable to, and nobody would expect it to have been any other way. I am unable to care for our child through gestation so we are sending it to someone who can. I do not see any difference in me going to boarding school and using a surrogate. Maybe I am stretching here but I really see these things as analogous.

What our surrogate will give to us is something that no amount of money could ever repay. How much is the appropriate amount for a dream? So realistically, the compensation that she is getting is simply for her pain and suffering, and I believe that she deserves every penny of that 25 to 35,000 dollars. At least this way I do not feel the need to follow her around for the rest of her life laying rose petals at her feet or erect a temple in her honor. In reality, she is not just giving us the chance to be parents. Going through this process is giving us the chance to heal from years of disappointment, intense pain, and so many moments of agony. Infertility takes away so much of your dignity, self-respect, confidence, trust and faith in humanity; it makes you bitter and makes the world a horrible place to live. The first time that I knew it was stealing parts of me was the first time that someone who I love told me that they were pregnant and I was angry. People are supposed to share in the happiness of a new life, not be angry and jealous. I do not want you to think that I believe a child alone will heal all this, because it will not and I am well aware of that.

Before we started this process, I did a lot of work on myself. Bringing all the pain and hurt of infertility into a surrogacy takes away from the beauty of the process. If you are going to be jealous of your surrogate and think that you are less of a woman, because another woman is carrying your child then you and your surrogate are in for a very long journey. From what I have seen of others' experiences it is these feelings that lead to misery for everyone involved. This is not a process for the weak; you have to know who you are and where your limits are to get through this, which goes for both parties. People are going to question what you are doing and say some of the most horrible things you have ever heard straight to your face. Without knowing whom you are and how you got here surrogacy is going to be another painful experience and the pressure will bury you. That is why being in this for just the money will never work; there is not enough money in the world to make anyone go through what surrogacy asks of you. It is a beautiful and amazing way to begin a family. It is also difficult and emotionally draining.

Bump Fairy, I hope this answered your question. Thank you for all the love and support you have given me through this process, you truly are an amazing woman who is giving P-daddy the gift of a lifetime.

For everyone else please feel free to ask me anything. I may not answer here but I will answer. I want to get as much information into the world as I can about this process.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Decision Making and Surrogacy

After reading Amani and Bob Surrogacy this morning, I began to think about redefining dreams. How through the adventure of having a baby these dreams have been redefined a hundred times. From the first time, the reality of medical intervention steps in to the point that you are going to need the help of more than just a doctor. Going through this process so many times it would be logical to think that this gets easier, that by the time you need to decide between surrogacy and adoption that it should only take a few moments and the pain should be non-existent. No statement can be further from the truth. Each moment is excruciating, because with each decision comes a new reality and with each new reality comes new chances to have your heart broken. Each new decision drips with the dew of self-doubt, rages with the thunderstorm of unknown factors, and culminates in the hurricane of excitement for new possibilities and intense emotional exhaustion.

The worst part about it all is trying to keep emotions out of something that is so intensely emotional. For me this is where having my father to go through all the legalese makes it so much easier. I am not capable of taking out the emotional intensity of needing to hold my child in my arms and dealing with the business side of all this, of making huge economic decisions. This is not to say that he is completely emotionally detached, he is just able to separate it out, ah the wonders of men. If I had to give only one piece of advice to people who were just starting out with surrogacy, get someone in the trenches with you who can keep their emotions out of the proceedings (and this cannot be your lawyer, agency, etc.).

Faced with having to make so many "life decisions" at once can also make having to make other decisions just excessively overwhelming. On more than one occasion, I have left the grocery cart in the middle of the aisle and just walked away, because there were too many choices in bagels. The prospect of having to make one more choice was too much. Funny as this sounds it really happens, at some point the brain just says "I am not going to make another choice" and the body must obey. Thankfully, I did not have to choose which way to turn on my
way home, or I may still be sitting in the parking lot. Truly there are no words to express how overwhelming all of this can really be.

Enter the fact that you are making decisions that affect a child who you love more than life itself, even though it has yet conceived. I know that this sounds weird, trust me it feels weird. It is like trying to live in a fantasy world and making decisions that affect the real world. At moments you feel the need to have a psychologist follow you around to make sure that your brain did not escape and go running down the road screaming in agony. I am almost positive that this cannot happen, but there have been moments when I look behind me just to make sure.

Then there are the moments when you have to make the big decisions that are going to affect a number of people who you care about deeply. For me it came when Joe-bob told me to make the decision that I thought was best for us. WHAT? YOU WANT ME TO MAKE A HUGE LIFE DECISION!, you are the one with the big huge brain and all that knowledge; you should be the one to do this. I make decisions on laundry detergent and dinner choices and I am not very good at those. Okay, I decide that we are going to do nothing, we are going to sit right here for the rest of our lives and not move, because movement will require other decisions. We sat there for a while and then came the moment when sitting a there was more painful than being terrified and making
decision. I got up one morning and taught myself everything that I could about surrogacy. I weighted through all the moral and ethical issues, because I was going into a fight and I was going in armed with as much ammunition as I could gather.

That is right, at the beginning of this whole process I thought that maybe I could not go forward with this because I would not stand for doing something that would put others in a situation where I was taking advantage of them. Obviously, I found this not to be the case. Now this ammunition is used to defend myself against people who look at me like the devil incarnate for wanting to have a child. More specifically that I want an infant whose parentage I can trace and who will be mine from the first moment they breathe air. Those people who try to make me feel guilty about not taking in some sweet orphan who will be condemned to roam the streets in some 3rd world capital. I myself question whether it is right to create another person rather than taking in one who needs me. In the end I want what I want and if that is selfish then so be it, if it makes me a bad person I will beg forgiveness to the powers that be, but I know that it is not any of these things this is the way things are meant to be for me.

I cannot express the feeling of excitement and terror that accompanies every step in this adventure. All I can say is that coming to this point has been difficult, but actually being here is wonderful. To be in the presence of women who are willing to sacrifice so much to give to a stranger the chance to make a dream a reality. At some point on the road of infertility, I began to have a very pessimistic view of the world then I found this option and something changed. Even with all the fear there was suddenly a light that I have long forgotten existed, I was able to see the light at the end of the cave and I knew that this was where we were meant to be. Finally, I had made a decision that made perfect sense. While this happens to others when they find other alternate methods of reproduction for me, it happened with surrogacy. The other day someone wanted to know how I knew that this was going to work for us, and all I could think of is that you just know, in the same way that you just know when you meet the person you were meant to be with for the rest of your life. I am not saying that this made it any easier it just made is easier to get through the rough spots. In future months, I know that there will more overwhelming decisions but knowing that this is how we are to expand our family makes it a little easier to make those decisions.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Something very scary

My dear friend Amanda is going through some very scary medical issues. She is one of the smartest, compassionate, and most amazing women I know. After a long struggle with IF she gave birth to Hazel, the most perfect little girl, 6 months ago. No one should have to go through this ordeal, but especially someone who has just found such a profound new love. Please go by and leave her a comment at Hazel's Adventure Begins or just send her good healthy thoughts.
I love you dearly Amanda.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

100 things

  1. I will never give up the quest to become a mother
  2. I am still afraid of the dark
  3. I am constantly fighting off depression
  4. I believe that only 4 people in the world truly love me
  5. I feel so lucky that I have a whole 4 people who love me
  6. When sick or in pain I still want my mother
  7. My husband really is my best friend
  8. I hate my body
  9. I am angry that my body betrayed me
  10. I am sick of surviving my life
  11. I am trying to just be happy in the moment
  12. I feel guilty that I have so much and still want more
  13. I have a learning disability
  14. It has taken me almost 17 years to finish college
  15. I feel like an amalgamation of disabilities and disorders
  16. I have never felt "good enough"
  17. I still hate my 4th grade teacher
  18. I have only lived alone for two weeks of my life
  19. I am terrified of being alone
  20. I try very hard to keep everyone in my life happy
  21. I am afraid of getting yelled at
  22. I do not know how to argue
  23. I hate stereotypes
  24. I try to treat everyone as an individual
  25. There are books I still have not read because I was assigned them in school
  26. I am afraid that one day someone if going to discover that I am just winging this
  27. I really love my 1000 thread count sheets, even though they are snobby
  28. I am terrified of rodents
  29. I hate shaving my legs
  30. Christmas is my favorite holiday
  31. I am adopted
  32. I am fatter now than I have ever been in my life
  33. I sent myself to Weight Loss Camp when I was 12
  34. I had an imaginary friend named Fruity
  35. My fears stand in my way more than I want to admit
  36. I want to skydive
  37. I love my camera
  38. Taking the photographs helps keep me separate from situations that make me nervous
  39. I am not sure who I really am
  40. I miss my nose ring
  41. Daisies are my favorite flower
  42. I read to put myself to sleep
  43. I had the first cavity of my life filled today
  44. I took my braces off with a spoon when I was 16
  45. I miss my Beetle
  46. I do not feel safe in the dark until my back is on the bed
  47. #46 started because of The Brady Bunch episode about Jesse James
  48. The shower scene from Psycho still scares me even though the last time I saw it I was 5
  49. My favorite TV show as a kid was Little House on the Prairie
  50. I often feeling intellectually inferior
  51. I hate being scared
  52. I do not understand why people like horror movies
  53. It still amazes me that my husband married me
  54. I am addicted to toiletries
  55. I get nervous when I am down to my last 3 bottles of shampoo, conditioner, etc.
  56. I gave up cigarettes
  57. I love Diet Dr. Pepper
  58. I do not drink alcohol
  59. I have a scar over my right eyebrow from an accident at my 2nd grade back to school party
  60. I had a pony named Scout when I was a kid
  61. My first intercontinental trip was to Kenya
  62. I love to swim
  63. I learned to scuba dive when I was 12
  64. I went to boarding school when I was 13
  65. I have taken two cross country trips in a van full of other teens
  66. I got my high school biology credit in the Florida Keys
  67. My favorite place that I have lived is Oregon
  68. I have lived in 6 states
  69. I have been to 7 different colleges
  70. I hate moving
  71. I have never climbed a tree
  72. I have a turtle collection
  73. I do not like Sushi
  74. I can kill plants just by looking at them
  75. I got my first driver's license when I was 19
  76. I had my first e-mail address in 1995
  77. I still wish on shooting stars
  78. I got my ears pierced when I was 2
  79. I have 2 cats and wish I had a dog
  80. My nana served me breakfast in bed every Saturday morning of my childhood
  81. I am named after my maternal grandparents
  82. My parents video taped most of my childhood and I love them for it
  83. I was a very lonely child
  84. My eyes look like snake skins
  85. I used to cry very easily
  86. Sometimes I worry I do not cry enough anymore
  87. I never look in other people's medicine cabinets
  88. Some day I want to live in an Earthship
  89. My own medical issues do not scare me as much as they should
  90. I love shoes, but only wear 1 pair the majority of the time
  91. There are way too many people I miss
  92. It is easy to make me laugh
  93. It is hard to make me mad
  94. I got my first stretch mark when I was 10
  95. My middle toe is the smallest toe on my foot
  96. I have always wanted to learn to blow glass
  97. I wish I was artistic
  98. I never went to public school
  99. I love roller coasters

I still believe that my wishes will come true

Saturday, September 6, 2008

the isolation of surrogacy

tonight we went to a department party to welcome all the first year graduate student. let me start by saying that i hate these parties, because i am the spouse and therefore am looked down upon, and who wants to be looked down on by a bunch of people 10 years their junior. i used to think that this was all in my head until another one of the spouses said the same thing and then a student said something about how hard it must be to be "just a spouse".

let me tell you there is no such thing as being "just a spouse" when that spouse happens to be in a PhD. program. in those cases you are the person that keeps said spouse's life in order so that they never have to worry about anything because there is no time for them to worry. in addition to making sure that my life is in order i have to keep his life in order so that his energy can be focused on getting his research, papers and whatever else it is he does done. add to this that i am going to school myself and that makes me one busy person. there are days when i want to tell him to make his own lunch or cook his own dinner, but i can not because there is no time for him to do these things. let me also say that during the time that i was working i never had to worry about doing anything around the house, he made sure that everything ran smoothly.

while at this party people kept asking if we had kids. i guess this is a natural question when people know that you have been married for 7 years. each time we answered no, the immediate response was "oh you don't want children?". not wanting to go into the whole explanation i just said that we were too busy right now to be able to devote our full attention. thankfully these are psychology PhD. candidates who have a basic understanding of the demands of rearing children. at least they do not think that children are pocket pets.

generally people i know well enough to ask the kid question already know the story. these people do not because frankly it is not the kind of relationship that joebob has with these people. it was the first time in a long time that i have been in this situation, and it was painful. more painful than i can explain. after the 5th person asked, i wanted to scream. i wanted the questions to stop and i wanted the assumptions to cease. i wanted to yell, "we want children more than you will ever want anything in your life, and the pain and heartache that we feel right now would shatter you." i know that this is not true, because 5 years ago i would have told you that i would not be able to survive this and somehow i have found the strength.

it was quite an experience to be around people who know better than to talk kids with me. i know that none of them meant any harm, i just forgot what a charmed life i live some days. it also made me worry that maybe we do not get out enough. these past few years have been so difficult that i have isolated myself from being around people who are not in my circle of friends and some family. that is right there are even some people in my own family that i try not to have too much contact with, not because they have done anything, but because i just do not want to have to deal with them.

being so isolated from others is something that i suspect that many others dealing with infertility do to themselves. the truth is that other than that we had a good evening. i met some people that i really like and was able to really enjoy myself once we got past that sticky subject. now i am wondering how many really fun nights have i missed? how many opportunities to step outside of the pain and misery have i missed? the truth is that even those people who are close to us are not around all that often.

this is something that i am going to try and work on over the next couple of months. i can not allow my life to stop.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

the surrogacy waiting game

nothing is happening, we are in a holding pattern. which means nothing is happening except that my mind is racing. these are the times when i start to question everything, i am trying to stop this. these are the times when that dark monster finds a way to invade, and this time i am going to win the fight.

one of the blessings and curses of infertility is that you get to decide when you want to start trying to have a family. the really bad side of this, is that there is never a "perfect" time to have a family. something is always standing in the way, there is always one more thing left to do, one more trip to take, one more dream to accomplish. the depth of this struggle makes us want to be the "perfect" parents, while we know that there is no such thing, and that we will fail miserably in this quest within the first hour of our child's life. we just are not perfect people types, we are the type of people who do everything in life the hard way. we question everything that comes easy and deem it not worthy of our attention, those are the things we toss aside. it is my biggest fault and the thing that i would change tomorrow if i could, unfortunately it is just not that easy.

our child will start their lives with a father who is tattooed up one side and down the other, a mother who only wears makeup when her mother makes her. yes i still worry about what my mother thinks, which leads to another point, my child is going to be raised by someone who has never felt like an adult. do you need to feel like a grown up to raise children? i know grown up things and can handle some big situations, but i have never felt like an adult. i told you that monster was trying to get in my head.

fact is that i know we are going to do the best we can and that will be enough. we are going to manage to raise a perfectly fine child. we just need to get one and start the raising process. we just need to give up the idea of the perfect time, because no such thing exists. times that are better than others sure, but not the perfect time. i feel like a kid the month before christmas, my letter to santa is all written and now i just have to wait and i hate waiting. i have been waiting for this all my life, i want to start doing. it is coming fast, and i know in a few months this will all seem silly, but tonight i hate the waiting.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

why are babies following me

These past few days have been bad baby days. Those days where everywhere I turn there is an infant or a pregnant woman. I want to hide from all these bundles of joy. Do not get me wrong, I love babies, why else would I be going through all this, I just have had it with them infesting my life. I just want to be able to go anywhere and not have babies follow me. Today in class, a college class, there was a baby, babies should not be in college. They are distracting and I need one place where I do not have to think about my lack of child.

I always feel like a horrible person when I have these days. Most of the time I can deal with children. Going to places where children are, the zoo, kid's stores, and parks, are not a problem for me 90% of the time. I do have a horrible time with baby showers, I am not sure what it is about them they just make me sick to my stomach and depressed. One day I will no longer feel this way, or at least I hope I will. I am just so ready for this all to be over, and I have barely started.