Saturday, May 29, 2010

Half Baked!

Not only only of my favorite flavors of ice cream, but also the mark we hit today! This pregnancy is officially 20 weeks today, and no one has any idea where the time has gone, except for my parents. Sabrina is doing very well and says that Cletus is a very active little one, which I am hoping is not a sign of things to come. The husband and I are making our way up to Sabrina's for the BIG ultra sound on June 7th! So let me know what you believe, are we have a Cletus or Cletusette? I hate to let you know that I already know. In fact, I have been keeping this semi-quiet for a good long while now.

In a journey where there is so very little you get to have to yourself, knowing this has really been a wonderful thing. We never had that moment when we were the only two people in the world that knew we were having a baby. Really, we did not with the gender either, but for some wonderful moments we have been able to pretend.

When we first began looking at surrogacy it was very difficult for me to wrap my head around sharing all these moments with someone else. To my surprise it has been much easier than I could have ever imagined. Most of this is due to the fact that we have an amazing surrogate who lets us know everything that is happening and really does everything she can to make us feel like we are going through this with her. The other part is that there are little things we know that we are not telling others and we are so happy to have these little things that we really do not worry about the bigger ones. In about 20 weeks, we will have millions of moments that just the three of us share, and really that is all that matters.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

a different feeling

I have been trying to post here for a week. For the past seven days I have come here, written a little and then walked away. I just cannot seem to hit the publish button. Whatever it is that is standing in my way is so powerful that I am feel paralyzed when it comes to this space in my little universe. There are so many things that I want to share, but at the same time I know that for some it is going to hurt to come here and see these posts. I know this, because I have been on the other side reading about the happiness of pregnancy and wanted to just crawl back in my bed.

I am sorry if you are one of those people who stumbled over here today. As frightening as this has all been, being firmly in the 2nd trimester is such a huge relief. The fear part now comes from the panic that comes when I get terrified that I am going to forget to get something that Cletus will need and then some ridiculous crazy thing is going to happen. It is all silly craziness, and sometimes it even gets to be funny.

Since Cletus has been making sure that Sabrina remembers there is a passenger on board, I am feeling like I can do more permanent things. I know that we are never really out of the woods, but I have to do something to keep me busy. So many people do not seem to understand that when you are expecting through surrogacy there is just no other experience the feelings can be compared to. I have known the date the baby was due since before the transfer, I know that sometime in October that baby will be mine. Until then there is nothing to do except drive myself coo-coo with every detail, and I mean EVERY mind numbing detail! The things that I know about strollers alone is enough to fill a book, and some days my brain is oozing from being stuffed with information on baby bottles. I am loving every minute of this. I have earned every minute of giddy pleasure that I get from this tiny step into motherhood.

We are no longer playing house in our heads. I put paint on the walls in the nursery, and trust me paint seems enormous when you have ignore that whole part of your house for so long. Our child has a room with paint picked just for it on the walls, that is just the most amazing statement in the world. Our child is real and we are about to become parents, we are about the end years of wanting and wishing. It may be taking a gestational surrogate and an egg donor, but our family is going to finally be complete.

Which leads me to one of the other reasons that this space is a bit uncomfortable. I know that infertility will never end for me. This child is not the cure to anything, nor should it be. Infertile will always be a label that belongs to me and I am sure that there are going to be many days when I still feel the pain of that label. For now though, my mind is other places and moving in a very different direction. I am not going to stop writing here, this is the place that has sustained me through this process, I am just going to have to figure out how everything fits together here now. Thank you all for being patient with me. I am working very hard to figure this all out while getting used to being happier than sadder!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The "What IFs"

All the what if questions I have ever asked is a variation of the scariest "What IF" ever. What IF becoming a mother turns out to be the worst decision I have ever made? Over the years I have tried so hard to avoid all of the “What If…” questions that seemed to permeate every part of my reproductive life. At some point I had to put these questions aside, I had to accept that parenthood may never come for us. Infertility is often accurately described as being on a roller coaster, for me accepting living child-free felt something like finally breathing in from an oxygen tank and sitting quietly on the sea floor. In that moment, just as on the sea floor, all I could hear was my own breath.
In that single moment I gave up on a lifetime of dreams because that dream was threatening to drown me. My body had failed me but somehow I needed to find a way to move on with my life and focus on the wonderful things that were attainable. Without accepting that I would never be a mother was something that I had to do for my own survival. Thankfully, my wonderful husband made this very easy for me, after we got married he made a rule that we would not talk about kids for three years. Not that I was always able to do this, but having him fully take the pressure off of me was exactly what I needed at the time. For those years I concentrated on those things that would fulfill me because I was going to have a lot of time on my hands. There were times when months would pass without me thinking of adding a child to our family. I was really getting to the point of total acceptance when our fourth anniversary rolled around.
We agreed that we would give it a little more time because we were just not in a place in our lives where children would have made sense. More and more our conversations turned to children, until we knew that we were really ready to take on the challenge of becoming parents. My infertility was no surprise, we knew years before we got married that reproduction was not going to be our strong point. I cannot properly express the level of happiness I felt knowing that some way we were going to have a child.
So here are the big huge questions that haunt my thoughts.
What IF becoming a mother turns out to be the worst decision I have ever made?
Somewhere deep inside I must really not want to be a mother if I could really imagine my life without every hearing, “Mommy!” On that day that I let go of this dream there was so much relief. Our life as just a couple has been wonderful. We really are those people who fly off to see concerts and once we took off to Europe on the spur of the moment. A child will make these things impossible, but then again we do these things much less these days.
What IF this dream turns into a nightmare?
There has never been a time that I have dreamed of sitting up all night with a sick child, or fondly imagined walking the halls with a child that will not sleep unless I keep moving. In my head there are always those wonderful moments of watching our child discover something for the first time or giggling uncontrollably at a magnificent laugh. The reality is that, for a while at least, my whole world is going to be turned upside down. That imaginary piece of baby perfection is going to become a real child with real demands. I worry that I will just be overwhelmed, that what my heart tells me is what I was born to do become something that I am unable to handle. There will always be the part of me that feels like being just a good mother will never be enough.
I am being given this child. Two women have given up parts of their lives to give me this child. We have spent years fighting to have this child. Our ability to have this child is a privilege that I can never take lightly. A culmination of living in a country that allows surrogacy and egg donation, access to finances, and a wonderful support system of friends and family have all made this child possible. For all these reasons I know that I am so fortunate to even have this chance at motherhood. Someone so fortunate should never complain. Long sleepless nights, days without a shower, and all the other joys of parenthood are not something that I can ever possibly complain about. All these things are what I signed up for, not only that but these are all the things that I have fought so hard to finally have.
What IF all this junk in my head is really just junk, and what I know in my heart is exactly right?
I worry about everything; it is just part of who I am. The worries about becoming a mother are just my way of preparing for the worst, so that the best is that much better. All it takes is a simple glance at the embryo or later ultra sound picture for me to know that this was what I was meant to do with my life. When I look at those pictures the amazing amount of love I feel for this child, grown in another woman’s womb and from another woman’s egg, makes me know that I was put on this earth to be that child’s mother. Yes, infertility has robbed me of my compassion, self-esteem, sense of purpose, and years of my life, but the sight of my baby makes me know that these things are not lost forever. Wounds heal, not through our children, but by a shift in our focus. I will always feel the loss of not being a physical part of making my child, but it will not always be the center of my universe. Love is too small a word for what I feel for this child.

This post is part of Project IF. For a better basic understanding of infertility: click here and for the background of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW): click here. To read other posts in this project, please visit Mel's list.