my resistance

i woke up today with so much turmoil in my heart.

2016 was the greatest year of my life because it brought me siena skye.

and yet, it was also the year that elected a man into power who contradicts the very essence of my being.

i have struggled these past two months with the decision of how i might show my resistance to this man.

would i march?

can i march?

for many of my friends, the decision to march is an easy one. they, too, see the strength in pounding our feet to the pavement.

but for some of us, those of us that are plagued with anxiety, the very idea of standing in a crowd is too much for us to handle.

so there it was.

the desire to march and the fear of marching in a crowd.

this decision weighed on me for some time.

it has worked its way through my muscles and bones.

it has made me ashamed.

it has made me sad.

it has made me angry.

“why can’t i just go march?”

“why does this anxiety get to win?”

i sat with this decision.

i looked it square in the face.

“what do i do,” i asked it?

inside of me lived the answer.

its complicated and real and vulnerable.

just like me.

because that is the answer.

i just have to be me.

i am a woman that is angry at this new administration. i am a woman that believes that everything he/they stand for is about fear, closed-mindedness, exclusion. i am a woman that believes in our country and still believes in the hope that the obama’s taught us while in the helm.

and yet, i am also a woman that feels anxiety in crowds. this anxiety is pervasive and electric and makes me sweat and shake. it is not a comfortable feeling. i get claustrophobic. it makes me more aware of my surroundings than my senses. it makes me unable to think straight. it takes away my ability to be in the moment and replaces it with the desire to run.

so these two experiences live in me – the desire to express my resistance with my feet, my voice, with a collective group of individuals with our own experiences – and the anxious me that can’t breathe, can’t think, and can’t walk in a crowd.

so how can i show my resistance and embrace my unique needs?

how can i look my daughter in the eyes in many years when she asks me, “momma, what did you do to resist that day?”

i know now, i will say, “your momma resisted in the best way that she knew to resist: by spending the day with you, celebrating our uniqueness and embracing our differences.”

so that’s what i will do tomorrow.

i will honor my need to resist outside of a crowd, and yet,

i will stand in solidarity with my sisters (and brothers).

i will spend the day educating my daughter on the power of hope.

i will teach her about intersectional feminism.

i will teach her to recognize that her skin gives her privilege, so that she doesn’t use that privilege to harm others.

i will teach her to listen.

i will teach her to love her neighbor, to accept and embrace our differences.

i will even teach her to answer fear with love.

i will teach her the power of the message that the obamas taught us:

love trumps hate.

the search is over…

for those of you that don’t know, on may 1, 2016, our miracle took her first breath.

it was a tiny breath coming out of her tiny 5 lb, 15 oz, 18.5 inches little body.

but it was a breath.

those of you in the room will attest that i was in pure shock.

i was eager to be the first person to hold her.

i wanted to touch her. to feel her realness. to know that i wasn’t dreaming.

everything happened so quickly and all of a sudden i am being scooched forward and told,

‘momma, here comes your baby.’

and out her little body came and into my arms she went.

she was perfection.

surromomma was a champion.

she looked like a buddha throughout the labor.

folks say that your labor can impact your life and i am so thankful that our baby had such a calm and serene entrance into this world.

surromomma brought us our baby.

siena skye.

i want to tell you the meaning behind the namesake of the blog.

skye was actually the name of her brother,

that little embryo that i carried for 3 short weeks in march of 2015.

the two of them were troopers.

they were made and frozen in 2011.

they lived together in a locker until 2015, when they were shipped across the country to portland, oregon.

they were once again frozen in portland until they were separated in march, when little skye was implanted into me.

when he didn’t make it, i was devastated.

the worst pain of my life.

and for the months thereafter, i searched everywhere for him.

where did he go?

was he gone forever?

i went into the darkest, blackest pits of the earth looking for him.

but i couldn’t find him.

until…

september.

the day his sister was implanted into her surromomma.

i like to think that in the moment i met her, as she was brought into the room for implantation, that her brother skye was there to tell me…

‘everything will be okay.’

‘i will protect her.’

‘i will always be with her.’

‘you don’t have to search for me any further.’

when i finally got to hold siena for the first time, i felt all of the weight of the world release from my shoulders.

my search was over.

siena skye was in our arms!

 

thank you for all of your support throughout this search.

we are so incredibly in love with our beautiful little girl.

she is so sweet and so tender.

her entire being lights up our lives.

there are NO words, no amount of thanks, that we could ever bestow upon surromomma or surrodad to properly thank them for this gift.

for she is a gift.

this little diamond wizard.

she breathes because of the decision they made.

she breathes because surromomma loved her and cared for her and endured almost a year of pokes and pricks and pregnancy so that we could become her mom and dad.

it still chokes me up to say that.

it still brings me to tears to look at her and know that she is ours.

she traveled so far.

she fought through so much adversity.

and yet, she made it.

and while motherhood is exhausting, especially with a wee one that needs to gain weight and therefore be fed every 2 hours, we wouldn’t trade it for the world.

 

and again, i thank you for the prayers, for the light, for the love, and for the magic you gave us.

your support has been everything to all of us.

siena first photoIMG_4329IMG_2245IMG_2718IMG_9281chicken legs

 

update from the surromomma

Taking a few moments to pause and reflect on how close we are to the due date fills me to the brim with anticipation and gratitude. I can’t quite believe that we’re here, I’m losing patience because I can’t wait to hand Court and Walt their precious girl and have a glass of bubbly, and words don’t suffice to express how downright LUCKY I feel that we have almost made it. Walt expressed similar feelings recently when I asked him how he was feeling: “just totally grateful.” Typing this brings tears to my eyes, because after everything, THIS is where we are.

So I’m getting super giddy!! Spring has sprung, my health is excellent, Mark and I shared a wonderful meal with Courtaney and Walt, and now I’m taking it easy until go-time. I do have “nesting” energy, big time, but I’m also feeling large, so I’ve reorganized 5 closets, but have also been napping a lot. Everyone is asking how much more time, and it’s hard to miss her huge movements across my midsection. She hasn’t dropped yet, so most nights I’m stretching to get a full breath into my lungs and sick from eating a normal sized meal. Typical third trimester joys…

We’ve had many ultrasounds, but baby girl is a burrower and contortionist, so it was only recently that we finally got to see her beautiful face. I can give you the unbiased info, since I’m not her mom… She is a stunner! We’re not surprised, are we? Our time in the ultrasound room was special and private, so I won’t share too much about it, but I found myself quiet and choked up in the presence of a squealing Court and awestruck Walt. Of all our poignant moments in the pregnancy, this one goes down as most joyful.

Since the beginning, I’ve been beset by strong feelings of wanting Courtaney to be able to be the one carrying this baby. Obviously, she desperately wanted to be the one to be pregnant for 9 months, to connect and feel the baby and go through that divine process. But recently at her shower, it was lovely to see her have the experience as soon-to-be-Momma, opening each gift with glee and appreciation. I remembered what it was like when I was a first-timer, and I relished in that for her.

I wrote to an old friend recently that I expect some grief at the end of this, that I don’t fully understand my own feelings for baby girl. I’m very ready to return her to her parents, but I think I will miss her, too. I feel protective of her, in a way, and hopeful that I’ve done right by her. Hopeful that I’ve eaten well enough, kept my stress levels low enough, that my body gave her the vitamins and minerals and all that she needed to develop. Hopeful that I’ve been “good enough” for her as a person, as her first introduction to the world. I’m going to say goodbye to her soon, but she will be a part of my, Mark’s and the kids’ lives forever. And quite literally, since I recall finding out some years back that fetal cells stay with a woman after the baby is born, and have been found to migrate to spots all over the body. And there go the tears… I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to explain why my face is soaking wet now. The emotions have been, I suppose, too powerful to comprehend.

‘Til 4 or so weeks from now!!

And with love,

KF

the milk maid

LACTATION STATION

modern science has been good to us.

they helped bring us our daughter.

they also found a way for adoptive and intended mothers to breast feed their babies.

for the past two months i have been taking medications to induce lactation.

it has been slightly annoying, but relatively easy.

8 pills, 4 times a day.

some days were annoying because i’d leave the pills at home and would have to drive back to get them.

but today,

well today i realize how easy i had it. today i moved into the final stage of the lactation inducing process.

today i started to pump.

now, i have spoken with a few lactation consultants who were all surprised at how eager and excited i was about this process.

every one of them asked me if i had enough time/mental space/support to start pumping.

each one of those consultants were surprised with my answer.

YEP.

i have carved out the next few weeks for this.

their surprise should have been a red flag.

because i was NOT prepared for today.

to begin with, for all of you breast feeders out there, you may remember the feeling that you got the first time you put your baby to your breast. Or maybe, like me, the pump was the first thing that you used.

well, i was not prepared for that feeling.

i mean, i knew it would be unpleasant. i am pretty sensitive in that region, so i was expecting to feel a little strange.

but nothing prepared me for the nausea.

i have never been sucker punched in the stomach, but i imagine this is how it feels.

there was laughter, at first, then involuntary spasms, then pain.

then that feeling of vomit coming up in my throat.

and that was on a low setting.

WHAT.THE.HELL.

lanolin.ice packs.ginger ale.repeat.

the newman-goldfarb protocol (that all lactation folks recommend) tell you to go on a pumping-moon for the first 48 hours that you pump.

(you can read all about it at http://www.asklenore.info/breastfeeding/induced_lactation/regular_protocol.shtml)

a pumping-moon consists of pumping for 5-7 minutes, doing a series of breast exercises that resemble a breast exam, a nipple flick and a breast shake, then pumping again for 5-7 minutes…

EVERY 2 HOURS.

‘that excludes nights, right?’ (you wonder)

NOPE. that INcludes nights.

thankfully the fairy lactation mother told me i could do 4x a day and skip nights.

for now.

had that not been the case, my husband would need to strap me down in a chair.

i would have wanted to throw in the towel.

well, that was until i had lift off.

yep, actual bona-fide milk production.

BOOM!

it wasn’t a lot, but those first few drops were kind of priceless.

not going to lie. i got really excited.

i jumped for joy… well after i detached those pump shields.

i even cried a bit.

the consultants told me to not feel frustrated if i didn’t get milk for a bit. they said it could take up to 10-14 days.

so for it to happen on my third pumping was pretty exciting.

its another step in preparation for this little one.

this little diamond wizard.

okay, enough breast talk.

SURRO UPDATE

surromomma is doing well. feeling good. feeling ready to meet this little one.

i leave next week to head to the birth place and await the birth.

we’re 33.5 weeks.

if all goes as planned (which i’m guessing nothing ever does), our little one will come sometime after 37 weeks.

that is in 3.5 weeks.

this morning i woke up early and looked at my little pup sleeping at my feet and my husband at my side.

and i thought – wow, there is so much to be grateful in my life.

this milk maid is feeling a lot of gratitude these days.

well gratitude and sore nipples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEST NEWS EVER!

i have been holding off writing a post because i wanted to wait until we had more definitive answers and today we finally do.

from early on in the pregnancy, we were told that our surromomma had placenta previa, a condition where the placenta lies unusually low in the uterus, next to or covering the cervix.

for those of you that don’t know what placenta previa is, here is an article that explains it, the various types, and the risks associated with each type:

http://www.babycenter.com/0_placenta-previa_830.bc

the last two appointments suggested that we had full placenta previa, which would be unlikely to resolve and would require an early c-section.

it could also require bed rest and other limitations as we got closer to the birth.

as we looked into the possibility of an early c-section, we learned that our chosen delivery hospital has a rule that only one person can accompany the person giving labor during the c-section.

that meant excluding me and my husband OR my husband and her husband, from the delivery.

don’t even get me started about how annoyed i am about the limitations that surrogacy pregnancies face.

(i have had to go through extensive paperwork to appeal a denial of coverage for a breast pump because my surrogacy pregnancy isn’t a normal pregnancy.)

needless to say, we were all feeling anxious and i was feeling somewhat annoyed with the current state of affairs for unconventional pregnancies.

but then today happened, this glorious day.

today we went to a high risk specialist to determine the type of placenta previa we were dealing with so that we could determine a birth plan.

talk about another diamond wizard miracle.

the specialist took one look at the uterus and exclaimed:

‘NO PLACENTA PREVIA!’

(BEST NEWS EVER!)

no (scheduled) c-section.

no (scheduled) bed rest.

i mean, there can always be other reasons we would need a c-section and bed rest, but this means the pregnancy is back on track for a natural delivery.

PHEW!

and to add more magic onto the appointment, the ultrasound tech did another anatomy scan and determined that the diamond wizard is perfectly healthy!

you’d think that the diamond wizard would want to celebrate by showing us her gorgeous face?

nope, the little one was in her usual position:

HIDDEN from the view of the camera.

it’s quite ironic that daddy is a photographer and this baby girl is camera shy. i can only hope that she’s saving her poses for his camera only.

 

we did get some images of her:

her playing with her toes.

sucking her fingers.

but every time we would catch a glimpse of her face, she would put her hands or feet in front of it.

to be honest, knowing that my biggest concern right now is whether she will look like mommy or daddy is pretty much…

THE BEST NEWS EVER!

 

from the suromomma

My turn again… Whew! I still have a hard time comprehending that we’ve made it to 20 weeks. Hallelujah!!

In my own pregnancies, this was assumed. I would have been surprised to get sad news and almost never did. I’ve learned from Courtaney and others who’ve shared their struggles, that the opposite is true for them. Bad news becomes the norm, and it’s assumed, as a function of conditioning and as a defense mechanism, that the bad news will persist. This became my experience in this pregnancy, and worry crept in before each test. Every little test along the way–and there have been many–could have gone badly, and yet every one of them has shown a healthy, growing baby girl. This is THRILLING.

My stress is different from what Court and Walt experience in a couple of ways, I think. First and foremost, I have 3 beautiful, healthy children and don’t experience the terror that Court and Walt feel at the thought of losing this baby. I do feel terror, but not like they do, and this thought is never far from my mind. The other difference is harder to describe. It’s the pressure placed firmly on ME, to do things exactly right, because, let’s face it, this is serious business. It’s taking all the meds according to schedule, driving more cautiously than ever before, being ultra careful about foods, keeping calm in stressful moments. It’s the pressure you feel when caring for SOMEONE ELSE’S CHILD, and it’s huge. This, without a doubt, has been the hardest part of surrogacy. In digging deep to cope with with these intense emotions and responsibilities–not to mention hormonal changes–I’ve become a stronger woman, a steelier woman.

I gave myself about 130 shots in my first trimester, in addition to countless other medications. I threw up violently and had a hard time eating for an extended period. I went to ER for dehydration and pain, and struggled with the effects of being sedentary: sadness, lethargy, fogginess. But, and this is a big BUT, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Mark jokes “I’m NOT gonna do it again, but I WOULD do it again.” Massive shout out to him for genuinely caring about this baby and being fully invested. He took care of me so I could take care of the pregnancy and with Walt, gave us much needed levity during some tense moments. The memories of the 4 of us getting the best news ever are a gift I will treasure forever.

Around 16 weeks, I started to be able to eat again, celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving with my awesome sister Katie (man did she pick up the slack) and now I feel the glow and elation of the second trimester. Oh how we take for granted the joy of eating without wanting to vomit! I am back to my normal schedule, have plenty of energy and am giddy with this girl’s constant kicking.

I’ve been telling Court–now the fun begins. The main hurdles have been hurdled, and she and Walt have 4.5 months to live it up, look at nursery stuff for hours, and pretend to prepare themselves and their lives for what’s to come. Hahahahah, laugh manically with me, parents. They don’t know what’s gonna hit ’em and Mark and I get to witness it. We get to hand a precious baby to her parents and that simple fact blows our minds.

Love, KF

and we’re having…

i suck.

yep, i suck. i promised you more posts now that my school is on hiatus. and i have failed.

sorry for that.

to make it up to you, i will be posting an update from the surrromomma herself (in the next post) AND i am revealing the sex of our baby!

but not so fast…

i need you to keep reading.

TODAY IS 20 WEEKS!

we are halfway done with this pregnancy.

it feels like we have been pregnant for most of 2015.

i spent the first half of the year on hormones and preparing for two embryo transfers (one that happened and one that was cancelled days before) AND we spent the second half of the year getting (and keeping) our surromomma pregnant.

a time for reflection

every new years eve, i take time to look back at the year to see what i learned about myself and what i would like to work on in the upcoming year.

for most of my life, this tradition has consisted of writing out new years resolutions in a journal.

but for the past 5 years, i have taken those new years resolutions and put them into vision boards.

as i look back at my vision board for 2015, i am struck at how much of it rang true.

FullSizeRender 10.jpg

for example, i posted about the north being the place for our mission to get pregnant. i knew we’d be spending a lot of time in the northwest, as our ivf clinic is here. but i had no idea that we’d settle in the north.

and here we are.

i also talked about starting the year strong and staying strong, as well as accepting myself, whatever me looked like.

and sure enough, this year has been a lot of learning to accept myself, in whatever form i found myself to be in.

it hasn’t been a pretty year for me and in many ways i feel like i lost so much of the strength and confidence that i had a year ago.

i say all of this because i think its important to recognize how incredibly hard infertility is and how difficult it is to love yourself as your body changes but to stay strong despite every hardship you experience.

infertility beats us down.

it changes us.

when we’re in it, we feel alone.

we lose our coping skills. we experience depression. we are terrified of leaving our homes.

we change.

as i recognize how much i have changed and been beaten down, i also recognize that i am surviving.

yes, i have been a crappy friend this year.

yes, i haven’t had a job in 6 months.

but i am surviving.

the mere fact that i made it to today is impressive to me.

i found the strength to complete my classwork.

i found the strength to put love and energy into my marriage.

i have been far from perfect, but these two huge feats help me recognize that i haven’t completely lost my strength.

i just survived.

as i put my visions on my 2016 board i am focusing on strength – mentally and physically.

my friend matt likes to have a word for each year.

my word for 2016 is strength.

okay, enough self-reflection…BABY time!

so enough about me and my vision for 2016.

let’s talk baby.

did i mention today is 20 weeks?

we had our anatomy scan two weeks ago.

and baby is looking great.

i, on the other hand, was not looking great during said scan. my husband and surromomma’s husbands were laughing at me because i was pacing the entire scan.

there was a stressful moment when the doctor was trying to see the baby’s heart and couldn’t, so she had our surromomma switch positions.

it felt like an agonizing 5 minutes as the doc was looking at the heart, trying to see all four chambers.

at one point, suromomma’s husband, who was videotaping the entire ultrasound for us, asked

‘is everything alright with the heart?’

and i think my heart literally exploded in fear.

when the doctor said – ‘everything looks good!’ was when i finally was able to breathe again.

so, now to the moment you all have been waiting for…

as we made our way down the baby’s body we got to a pivotal place.

while we already knew the sex of the baby, we wanted to confirm.

and sure enough…

IT IS A GIRL!

so there we are. we are having a girl.

as we concluded the anatomy scan, my husband and i noticed a rainbow outside of our window.

it was a precious, magical moment.

IMG_0349

visions

and speaking of vision boards and other visiony things, i want to say something that is kind of mystical but really helped me get through all of this infertility stuff.

there were so many moments that nothing seemed clear and i felt like it would take forever for us to get our baby.

but, one thing has always remained clear to me.

this baby girl.

i have spent a lot of time in meditation and positive visualization.

and every time i have envisioned our baby, i always see an image of this little girl of ours.

the image has never faltered.

it has remained strong.

early in the year, we learned that we had two viable embryos: a little boy and a little girl.

we chose to implant the little boy first.

which, by the way, if you look back at my vision board for 2015, you’ll notice that my mission for 2015: was baby boy + girl.

just an interesting vision i had BEFORE we knew the sex of the embryos…

as i tried to imagine this little boy, though, i struggled to make out his face. the weird thing was, i could ALWAYS see his sister so clearly.

we would lose the pregnancy with him.

and those were the darkest moments i spent in 2015.

but knowing that i saw his sister so clearly helped me carry on.

it helped me know that she is coming to us.

that feeling was strengthened when i first met her, on her way to surromomma, on her implantation day.

i felt her magic in that moment and as i have endured each and every step of this pregnancy, the vision of her has remained strong.

she is magic.

she is a diamond wizard.

and i know that she is coming to us.

every time i feel fear, i envision this little girl and know that i will meet her soon enough.

i leave you with her gorgeous picture of her taken during the anatomy scan.

IMG_0347 2

check back later today or tomorrow for surromomma’s update! 

a much needed check in

‘hello, from the other side.’

like all of you (unless you live under a rock), you have heard adele’s new song, ‘hello.’

this morning, as i set out to give you a quick update, it dawned on me that it’s been a while since i have said ‘hello.’

my lack of updates hasn’t been intentional, its been as a result of a busy month.

the other day someone asked me about my surgery. i said, yeah, it was last month. and then it hit me, it was almost 2 months ago.

where has the time gone?

a LOT has happened since then and i have been operating under the weight of recovery, (school) finals reading/writing/preparation, travel, sickness…

the list goes on…

so first, onto the update.

so let me get this off of my chest.

i recognize that i SUCK.

i do a great job of hooking you into the story of our diamond wizard and then i do nothing to update you on its progression.

for that, i am sorry.

i hope this makes up for it.

IMG_0014

here is the little wizard one day shy of week 14. this was taken on november 18!

it was a beautiful feeling for my husband, my surrogate, her husband and i to be crowded around this little baby, looking at the diamond in all of its glory. the baby felt our excitement and was giving us quite the show of ninja kicks and breakdancing. it was pretty awesome!

guess what?

we are currently at 16.5 weeks!

the last few weeks has been better for kerry, our surrogate. she isn’t feeling as nauseas and is able to do more. she has also been feeling the baby kicking!

this is one of those times where as the intended mom, you feel both ecstatic and somewhat jealous. YES, you are so happy the baby is moving around. it ensures you that things are going well. yet, you also are craving the ability to feel the baby moving, yourself.

i’ve also noticed that i am craving a lot more connection to baby now that we’re in the second trimester. i was really nervous for most of the first trimester that i spent a lot of time feeling thankful that the baby wasn’t having to deal with my nerves. yet now,as we are moving into safer territory, i am really craving more connection with the little one. i find myself wanting to see the belly growth, to know more about the development and to generally to know as much about the diamond wizard as i can.

thankfully, kerry is much obliged to indulge in all of these requests.

in two weeks we will have the anatomy scan, which will confirm that the babes is growing as expected, that the organs look good, and that the genetic testing was accurate. we should also be looking at a MUCH better ultrasound and hopefully a better representation of what the babe looks like.

it dawned on me during the last ultrasound, that the diamond wizard could look like my husband. its such a strange thing to imagine what your baby will look like… i mean, my husband is a babe, so lucky for the kid if it gets his genes. yet, there is also something so intrinsic in us that we want to pass on our genes and see ourselves in the face of our little one. yet that desire is a trivial thing considering all that we’ve been through.

truthfully, all i really want is a healthy baby.

(lack of) update on the sex of the diamond wizard

the last thing is just an update on the sex.

i have fielded a lot of questions about the sex: do we know it yet?

the answer is this: YES, we know the sex.

we had genetic testing done on both embryos that survived the defrost. those results did more than just confirm that the baby has all of its genetic markers, it also told us the sex of both of our embryos.

and while WE know the sex of this little baby, we are doing our best to keep that information between us for a little while longer.

i say, doing our best, because as you all are aware, i am an open book (obviously). what you might not know is that i am not an open book because i really want the world to know everything about me. i just don’t know how to speak without the complete truth. so when someone asks me about the baby, its hard for me to call it an IT. invariably, i slip and have slipped many times. so if you really want to know the sex, just engage me in conversation.

health insurance help!

so with the update and apologies accomplished, i am now going to solicit your help.

without going into all of the details about how we landed here, i am hopeful that one of you knows of NEVADA health insurance carriers that cover surrogacy in their individual plans.

if you do, PLEASE message me.

again, i don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of our situation on this blog, but while some group health insurances cover surrogacy (group meaning the health insurance you get at work or through a group), i have been informed by a nevada insurance broker that the only 3 health insurance providers that offer individual plans (meaning a person, not a group, is seeking coverage), aetna, united healthcare, and blue cross/blue shield, do NOT cover surrogacy in their 2016 plans.

a promise

as i finish up this post, i want to make a promise to you all. i have finals this weekend, but after that, i promise to be more present on this blog!

thank you for checking in with me and with my surrogate, kerry, about our progress.

thank you for thinking, praying, loving this little diamond wizard as it develops. your support has been instrumental through this process!

a yeasty, poopy post with a sprinkle of joy

and we’re back online folks!

it has been 2 weeks since my last post.

much of the last two weeks has been foggy to me. foggy with medications and pain and healing and fight.

so much good and so much difficulty.

lets start with the good, the best.

diamond wizard is well!

today is 10 1/2 weeks. that just feels great to say.

on monday, my husband and i were able to watch the latest ultrasound.

it was so glorious to see the little wizard on-screen, heartbeat strong.

the doc said that wizard was kicking. and you could see it! that babe has moves.

little fire-y one, telling us not to worry.

sickies

surromama has been incredibly sick, which has been so hard.

whenever our dog miso feels ill, we call it the sickies.

our surromama has the sickies.

so sicky that she has had to seek medical intervention, which has been scary for us all.

the silver lining was that it forced us to find an OB gynecologist for her, which is something i had meant to do but it got swept under the rug as i faced my own medical interventions.

i think there was also this part of me that was scared to do things that normal pregnant people do.

if i did stuff like find an ob gyn, i would be hopeful.

well nothing like a good old medical scare to force me to get over myself.

that’s the beauty with medical scares. they kinda force you to see what is important.

i wish i could take away her sickies.

the nausea.

the stomach pain.

the inability to do anything but rest.

i wish i could hold that pain so she could just be the amazing momma she is without having to juggle the pain.

oh, you want to know what kind of momma she is?

she is the kind that celebrates her kids uniqueness, basks in their glory, and laughs at their silliness.

i wish you all could see her kids. they are so incredibly unique and awesome. they are so much fun to be around.

diamond wizard is going to have some amazing surrosiblings.

graduation

tomorrow we should graduate from ivf world, which is bittersweet.

on one hand, it will be nice to be like every other pregnancy.

on the other hand, it’s also nice to have someone tracking your pregnancy.

but in the end, this graduation means that we are one step closer to the big production.

the big finale.

the big introduction.

but i digress…

a surgical conundrum 

my healing has been long and labored.

i have had so many ups and downs.

the surgery, in itself, was up and down.

my doctor removed 6 fibroids and said that was a success.

sadly, there was one fibroid that was in a dangerous spot and she decided not to remove it because the risk of perforating my ovary was too high.

not sure what that means for moving forward with pregnancy, whether that fibroid will cause us concern or not.

but what would my pregnancy adventure be without a little complication?

that was sarcastic.

sort of.

the pee challenge

the hospital time was hard.

monday was a blur of surgery prep and post surgical daze.

tuesday was little sleep, minimal attempts at walking, and no catheter removal.

wednesday was a crazy day of early morning pizzazz and late afternoon hell.

catheter came out wednesday morning, which meant that i had to get up from bed when i needed to pee.

peeing on my own was on the checklist before i could be released from the hospital.

the morning was promising and in the early afternoon, i finally peed on my own.

(like a big girl)

but by the afternoon, i was in excruciating pain.

it was looking like we’d be spending another night in the hospital.

thankfully, after some forced food and lots of rest, i was in better shape and able to go home.

home sweet home

the attack of the pain meds

the next few days were a struggle as the pain medications attacked my stomach and made it impossible for me to have a bowel movement.

the pain and nausea were unbearable, which was an ironic twist.

here i was experiencing much of what my surromama was experiencing.

after a medication switch, the nausea and stomach pain subsided and with some suppository help i was able to have bowel movements again.

never thought i’d see the day where poop was my highlight.

talk about good parenting practice!

sadly, though, the new pain meds didn’t address the pain as well as the old pain meds.

so i was experiencing far more incision pain than before.

you can get that where?

and to make matters worse, my tongue and throat were killing me.

i thought i must have bit my tongue during surgery and imagined the throat pain was from the tube removal.

but when i eventually looked in the mirror, i was SHOCKED.

turns out… drum roll please… you can get a yeast infection in your mouth.

NASTY.

so there was that.

ups and downs

by the middle of this week, i was ready for the healing to begin.

and its been up and down since.

speaking of up and down…that is the hardest part.

getting up and down from bed is like taking a knife and stabbing oneself repeatedly in the lower abdomen.

don’t even get me started about showering.

although now that i think about it, showering is kind of my favorite activity.

well, not counting the pain i feel during the shower.

pain. that little thing.

but showering means cleaning. i loathe feeling dirty. and greasy.

and i LOATHE having hairy legs.

the problem – however – was that i couldn’t bend to reach my legs to remove the hair.

talk about love.

yep, you see where this is going…

loathe leg hair. love showering. can’t bend down on my own.

after some batting of the eyes, walt’s sister agreed to shave my legs for me.

talk about getting to know me up close and personal!

this would be a good time to stop and talk about how amazing those sisters have been to me.

those two sisters (in love) of mine are the most special people i know.

they were angels.

they were incredible to me.

they set alarms to make sure i was taking my medications.

they made charts and organized my recovery so that i didn’t have to think.

(because, trust me, thinking was just not in the cards.)

and they prayed with me when things got a little scary with the surromama and her pain.

that brought me to tears.

i am the lucky one.

the sisters left as my husband was flying home.

it was actually pretty amazing because the sisters were boarding their plane as my husband was getting off of his plane. only two gates separated them, so they were able to see each other long enough to hug.

gotta be a little honest here.

i was a little worried about the sisters leaving as they had been the foundation for my recovery.

my husband is amazing in many ways, but he isn’t a fan of care-taking me.

but man oh man, that hubby of mine sure stepped it up.

we had this cute little ritual that we’d do when he helped me stand up. he’d lift me up and as i reached full standing, he’d kiss me.

little moments like that made the week bearable.

time for healing

today has already been a tough day.

incision pain is strong as i try to space out the pain medications.

but i am determined to do it.

there is something about healing that makes you appreciate the life you have.

appreciate the support you have.

appreciate the friends you have.

appreciate the family you have.

appreciate the body you have.

i feel inspired to get up from this healing and take back control of my life.

i feel inspired to exercise again and to return to the body i knew before IVF took over and changed its form.

i feel inspired to focus on gratitude – to do everything in my power to focus on the good.

with all of the ups and downs and ins and outs, there really is a lot of joy to be felt.

so here’s to cultivating that joy, healing this body of mine, and experiencing the beauty of this pregnancy that i get to share with my surromama.

here’s to moving out of the fog and into the bright lights!

a little pre-surgery, pre-exhale update

my update:

tomorrow is the big day.

tomorrow they will cut through my abdomen to my uterus and take out those pesky fibroids.

the logistics are simple.

i check in tomorrow at noon. surgery starts at 245 pm and ends about 3 hours later. i stay in the hospital until i can get up to use the bathroom on my own. last time it took me 3 days and i left on the 4th.

my doctor is optimistic that i can do it in 2 days.

oh i just love optimism.

yet, the details are a little more complicated.

a lot is on the line.

and there are risks.

like…

–perforating my uterus and causing irreparable damage.

–severe bleeding (apparently this is one bloody surgery).

–and rare ones like death and issues with anesthesia.

which is why i had to seriously consider the alternatives.

–continued observation

–hormonal treatments

–hysterectomy

but surgery is the only real shot i have at experiencing pregnancy for myself.

and i’m not ready to give up just yet.

(how’s that for a cherry on top?)

so i’m going for it.

as i rest my head tonight, sticky from the weird antibacterial wipes i had to use, i am focusing on my little diamond wizard. i am thinking about all that we have done to make it possible for the little one to have a chance. i am thinking about gratitude for my husband, who is working hard in orlando and for his twin sisters, who flew here from ohio to take care of me in his absence.

and i am thinking of my surromama. and her family. and their sacrifice.

speaking of their sacrifice…

surrogacy update

today the diamond wizard is 8 weeks, 2 days and looks like a kidney bean.

surromama is feeling really sick, which is a mixed bag. on one hand, it is reassuring to us both that the diamond wizard is still growing. on the other hand, she feels really sick. which makes life a little more challenging.

it really, really makes me appreciate even more (if that is possible) the sacrifice she is making for us.

it propels me forward, makes me fight to get stronger, gives me small bits of hope.

our next ultrasound, our most crucial ultrasound is a week from thursday. my husband is flying to stay with the surrofamily and see it in person! i can’t wait for him to experience it firsthand. if we can get through the next 1.5 weeks, if all looks good at that ultrasound, our ivf clinic says we can let out a BIG exhale.

i’ve been practicing every day for that moment…

breathe in, breathe out. breathe in, breathe out.

so, until then… thank you for the continued prayers, love and support. the surroweb that you have created for this little diamond wizard is strong and sustaining.

storing that big deep breath in and getting ready to exhale.

(see you on the other side…)