Family, Post Partum Depression, Surrogacy

Working On Writing Again…..

One of the many things I used to do was write Write to just write. Emails for work just flew from my fingers and so many times they were thoughtless. Not in a way that they were plainly rude and disgusting and offensive; but thoughtless as in I didn’t really need to think to write them. I just put my fingers on the keyboard and it happened. I miss writing, I miss having the mindset to be able to just think.

blog_writing

Everything’s so different based on the meds I’m on. Who knew that lifelong steroids would mess me up far more than the disease I’m taking them for? I thought that my brain would stay regardless of everything I was losing. It was the strongest part of me that has now become a pile of mush.

Someone recently told me I was by far the dumbest smart person that they knew. How did that happen? Oh…..I remember this one! Steroids, Addison’s Disease, Pituitary insufficiency, Primary Adrenal insufficiency, Xolair side effects from an infusion that’s required to ensure I stay alive. Anaphylactic reactions from everything and nothing made a medication that has more side effects than I care to remember a necessity. Avascular Necrosis eating at my bones, I swear the ringing in my ears sometimes subsides in a way that I can hear my bones being consumed. PTSD that I’ve finally come to accept as truth rather than running away from it. That’s another book for a totally different time.

A book, yes; a book! I’m starting and going to finish. Countless people have told me I needed to write a book about everything and nothing all at the same time. Yes, I realize I’ve said that odd statement many times lately. I need a before, during and after type of book.

Not a self-help type of book, but an informative type of what not to do in a situation that you totally lose yourself in. Who knew that trusting someone could cause the amount of pain that most should never even try and endure. Who knew that the one you were supposed to trust in life would be the one that would betray you in ways that made you start blaming yourself because there was no other way to explain it. This is so far off of the surrogacy track, but it’s what got me to the place of surrogacy.

Knowing, learning, loving. Self-deprecating days that I wished never happened to days that I was indestructible and at the same time self-effacing. Days that I learned it didn’t really matter what anyone else thought and being able to hide behind anything as not to be noticed/recognized for anything I was able to accomplish. I knew who I was and what I was doing and that was all that mattered at that time. It allowed me to become much stronger as a person, as a parent, as an independent, somewhat “in your face” confidence that sometimes was so real and other times was totally a front. I couldn’t let anyone know that things were still killing me from the inside out. I needed to be the strong one in every situation. I needed to be the “fixer” rather than the one that needed help trying to figure out how to fix the broken in me.

I think it’s important to write. That it’s important for people to see that their problems, fears, issues, hopes, dreams or whatnot are things that others feel on a daily basis. That things aren’t so farfetched that they should dismiss them or avoid them or feel less than they really are.

I started out in a town that I thought was stifling me to understanding that this small town showed me I needed protection from things that were insignificant at that point in my life. It was also the place that I came back to after the fiasco in NJ in which I felt safe. That no matter how small, no matter how much everyone wanted to know everything about my life; that they just let me be. They let me wallow without question. They let me fall apart without judgement. That one statement from one person allowed me to wrap my mind around needing to live again.

I always felt like the outsider when I was growing up, I needed to flee because there was never acceptance. It’s crazy how things feel different when you look at them with a totally different perspective. Maybe I was still the outsider when I went back, but I just didn’t see it in the same offensive way I did while growing up. Maybe I just felt like an outsider because I didn’t allow myself to fit the square peg into the round hole.  Anything’s possible…….

Family, Surrogacy

When You Don’t Know What To Say…..

You know how there are those times where you have nothing to say but at the same time have everything to say? I’m really at that point right now.

Days slowly creep by and I find myself wondering where I’ve gone in all of this. There have been days, weeks, months and probably even years since I began this process that I’ve wondered just that. I became so engrossed in the process, devoting my every moment to making R&G the parents they so deserved to be. In doing that, I was the happiest I’ve been. I felt I was doing what I was meant to do. In this, I also couldn’t imagine anyone else taking my place.

Guy became a big brother before his third birthday……how did that happen? I mean I know how it happened, but how did it happen without me? How did he grow up so fast and how is there another little boy in their family?

the boys
My Guy with his Guys…..

I had convinced myself over and over again, that I would be the one to start and finish their family. When this was no longer an option, I felt more broken than just the bones in my body. My world had shattered along with my hips. Don’t get me wrong, I am still in their family on a constant basis. Guy even reminds me that he loves “money AND Christina”. I guess I’ve made some sort of an impression, if I’m right up there with the whole loving money aspect.

I spent some time with them in December when they were here for little boy #2 and it was just like we hadn’t spent time apart. There was no hesitation on the part of Guy. He knew me and loved me and was ready to start up right were we had left off the last time I was in Israel. Seriously……could it be any better than that?

I have made new family AND I get to travel to Israel! We are always planning the next trips. Whether it be me going to Israel (likely) or the boys all coming back to ND (highly doubtful….its North Dakota!).

I’ve been procrastinating in writing Guy’s second birthday letter. I believe this is because I don’t want to tell him whats all happened in my life from March 5 2015, to March 4 2016. I don’t want the malady of medical issues to overshadow how I felt about the situation during that time block. So many amazing things happened, but yet; so many more scary, painful, bad, confusing times were there.

How can something so utterly perfect, bring anything to my life but happiness? I’ve asked this exact same question a million times in the past few years. As the night moves on, I seem to have run out of words. There is so much more rattling up in there, but I just don’t know how to get it to the screen.

Family, Random Act of Kindness, Surrogacy

I Should Really Explain….

You know how you get in to that slump where you don’t want to write, answer emails. The slump where you no longer answer the phone; because you just don’t want to talk to whoever is on the other side of that call, because you would be required to answer so many questions that you are at the point of pure, utter exhaustion because you’ve had to answer them over and over and it never seems to sink in, so they continue asking.

Guy’s third birthday is approaching sooner than later, I’ve yet to finish his second birthday letter. I’ve yet to contact IARC with all those wonderful things I want to suggest to help with gestational carriers. I think I was their most determined to have a baby GC. I was so determined that even when there was the suggestions put out there that I may not be the one, I disregarded all of them because in my heart, I knew I was the one meant to have a baby for R&G.

I’m still in that slump where I just don’t know what to do or what to say. I’m trying to get the understanding out there that none of my issues pertain to Guy. He, R&G were there to help me fulfill something I also wanted to do. What is more selfless than having a baby for someone?

I also keep reminding anyone who asks, that even knowing this specific outcome, all of my medical issues after his birth, all of the complications since then; that I would undoubtedly follow the same path!

I may have saved a little more here and there, I may have cut back on all of those dinners out, I may have done a number of things different on my end just to be prepared. With all of that, I still would have gone through the entire process. I still would give up my body, my health, my inability to do a lot of things now that used to be second nature so that Guy was born. So that R&R continued the process with me! They are my chosen family and forever will be. We began this process as strangers, became friends then became the sort of family you just can’t live without. The type of family that you are excessively happy when they send a message or you see their name pop up on your phone. They are my forever family!

I don’t get to spend nearly as much time as I’d like with them, but will be seeing them again in December. They will be coming back because Guy will be a big brother. We will have a month or more where we get to spend together. A month to where I can learn enough Hebrew to understand what Guy is trying to tell me, what he is trying to ask for, what he is seriously upset about because I can’t understand what he’s really saying.

I’m going to be back again. I’m going to write and try to figure this all out. I want to be useful to other GC’s that are going through the process, have finished the process, or who were never able to complete the process because of the heartbreak over and over again.

Family, Post Partum Depression, Surrogacy

Guy’s First Birthday Letter…..

Guy, for you on your birthday I wanted to let you know first, how much you are loved. Love is what brought you into this world and love surrounds you from places you may not know. I met your daddies in a very unconventional way, but nonetheless, it was meant to be. I read through endless profiles of people trying to explain how important it was in their life to have a son or daughter or even both. I flipped through pages and pages of people always feeling so disappointed in the end. Prior to working with your daddies I had the honor of working with people that had tried to have a child for over 20 years! At that time, it was more than half of my life. It’s amazing to see how strong their relationship grew through the pain and disappointment of receiving the news that they were not yet having a child of their own.

I chose your daddies profile because the agency that we were both working with indicated it was far more difficult for two daddies to be chosen for the process, than it was for a mommy and a daddy. This made me so mad! I wanted to be able to help anyone have a baby regardless of who they were. It didn’t matter to me that they lived so far away or that I didn’t know everything about them. I don’t know if they have told you or not, but our first conversation together was spent with far more laughing than asking questions. It was like they were part of my family that I hadn’t yet met. We met face to face on June 17, the day they got married. How crazy is that? We spent such a magical time together in Toronto. I knew after that trip that your daddies would be in my life forever.

I had a few struggles along the way, and ended up needing a year off. Your daddies were so patient and kind to me during this time. They were always more concerned about how I was feeling than I was. They never wanted to hear my apologies for not being able to have a child for them. They only wanted to make sure that everything with me was the way I needed it to be. I’m sure you already know it, but your daddies are so amazing. They are loving, considerate, honest, goofy, patient and sincere. It’s not a common combination when it comes to daddies; you are so lucky, so fortunate.

A lot happened while I was pregnant with you. Most of it was pretty boring; I went to work, I came home from work and napped because you made me so tired. My taste in food changed so much because there were only a few things that you really enjoyed me eating. Most of those things, I ate while in Israel spending time with your daddies. The food in North Dakota seemed to anger you and you made sure that I threw up everything you didn’t like. After I went to Dr. Doyle’s office to get pregnant, I spent a few days lying in bed talking to you. I told you how happy you would make your daddies even if you were a girl. I told you that I wanted you just as much as they wanted you. I pleaded with you to just hang on long enough to be born safely. I was nearly to the bargaining point to where I was going to be willing to give up anything other than Jayde just to have you.

When I flew home from the appointment with Dr. Doyle, I’m pretty sure that Bijou knew you were growing every day. She just knew something was different with me. We don’t have her anymore due to some other issues I had after you were born, but you will probably hear a lot about her. She kept me company while I napped and while I spent endless hours lying on the bathroom floor because I was overcome with morning sickness. She protected you from everything surrounding me. She wouldn’t let people come close to my stomach or lay next to me in bed. She would take her paws and hug my stomach. As you grew, she also believed that she was pregnant. It’s crazy that this can happen with dogs. The vet let me know that she would be fine and not to worry about how oddly she was acting with everything involving you. She would often times put her ear on my stomach and just listen to you moving. You loved to kick her face whenever she did this. I’m guessing you really weren’t sure if you should be sharing your space with a dog that was a bit over protective.

The time I spent in Israel with your daddies was yet another reminder for me just how amazing they were. They introduced me to friends and family and never made me feel out of place. They gave up their bedroom to me so that I was more comfortable. They even had your grandpa come over to fix the bathroom door so that it would close properly. I never closed the door though. It was something that I was never able to do at home because of Bijou. She always got really stressed out if I shut the door at home so it became a habit of mine to never close the bathroom door. I learned so much about your daddy Gadi in the ten days while visiting. I was always so close to your daddy Ronen; we tend to chat quite often because we have the same bizarre sense of humor and can always make each other laugh. Gadi showed me who he really was. He referred to me as his “pregnant wife” and rubbed my stomach and talked to you. Although he didn’t think I was eating enough to keep you happy. We spent a day together doing the typical tourist things. It was really something I needed to learn more about how he was the “outgoing” person as listed in the profile through the agency. Apparently your daddy Ronen is shy and quiet, but I’ve not yet seen that side of him.

During my trip to Israel, I let your daddies know that you were going to be a boy. There were tears and laughter because I kept them thinking they were having a girl. I know they would have been delighted regardless of if you were a girl or a boy, but they really wanted you just the way you are. They knew, just as I knew, that you would be absolutely perfect. I never wanted to leave Israel and return to North Dakota. I loved every second spent in your home, even when I was napping.

I became so sad when I returned home. I just kept dreaming of being someplace so much warmer than it was here. I kept talking to you and playing you the music I loved so much. I was trying to keep things light, but you seemed to be the happiest when listen to Bach! Mozart played a close second, but you were definitely a Bach man. I would turn on the music and you would start to dance. My entire stomach would shift from side to side and to me, you seemed happy. I also learned that you really disliked when I was at work. You would play soccer with my insides until my ribs were sore. Maybe that should have been a lesson to me that you were trying to let me know I should be working somewhere else. That you could hear how unappreciated I was through co-workers insults and bribes. You did love when people would bribe me with ice cream though, just not chocolate! That was another one of those foods that you absolutely hated. Your daddy Ronen and I used to joke that you were definitely your daddy Gadi’s son. He is just as picky about what he eats as you were making me.

A few months before you were born, I started to feel a lot of pain in my hips. The doctors originally thought it was because of your size, or because of the chair I was sitting in at work or how I was trying to sleep at night. In the end, they found that the bones in my hips weren’t doing so well and that I would need to have them fixed after you were born.

I started working from home at that time because the doctors felt it was best that I stayed in bed as much as possible so that you could continue to grow, and you did such a great job at that. You were born on one of the coldest days in 2014. It was a Wednesday and so cold that no one wanted to even leave home. It’s hard to explain how cold it really was, so I will show you one day. I will bring you back to where you were born and let you experience how cold, cold really is.

The doctor that delivered you was so amazing, because of her, I didn’t need to have a c-section. She believed, when the hip doctor didn’t. There were so many people in the room with us when you were born. Both daddies took care of me. I even wore my good luck socks to ensure everything went perfectly. They were the same socks I wore when Dr. Doyle got me pregnant. I’ve not worn them since the day you were born. They are special to me and I need to make sure they don’t get worn out from wearing them. If there is ever a day where I need everything to be perfect for me or for you, I will wear them again. Phil and Jen were also in the room with us. Phil played candy crush and other video games a large part of the day and Jen was there to ensure I was able to voice my concern if we had a nurse or doctor that wasn’t listening to what I was trying to say. Everyone was so anxious but yet at the same time I think we were all calm knowing that this was the day you were making your entrance. At 6:19 pm, you decided it was time to meet your daddies. I can’t tell you who got to hold you first, but I think it was me. I got to give you to your daddies and that’s what was most important.

Every single person that came to visit you said the exact same things as I did. Everyone knew just by looking at you, that you were perfect. You were alert and not crying, you slept well and I think you knew that you were surrounded by so much love. My parents came to see you but didn’t stay very long. They really just didn’t know what to say or what to do so they just sat beside me awkwardly. Jayde held you and was so in love. She reminds me from time to time how the top of your head smelled. Even typing that last sentence, I can remember. It was something that I wish I could bottle and have whenever anyone asks how perfect you are/were. Yes, it was that good! Jen left shortly after you were born, and I’ve not seen her since. It’s been so hard on me because she had been the only person that’s been with me through all of the disappointment and all of the hurt that surrogacy brings. Teresa and Jason came to see you and it made them want a baby so much more than they already wanted one. They even asked if they could use me as a surrogate because of how perfect you were.

I didn’t sleep for the first two days after you were born, because I didn’t want to miss anything at all. I knew at some point that you would be leaving the snowy tundra of North Dakota to go to New York for a while, and then back home to Israel. I told you every secret I’ve ever kept. I told you my greatest fears and my proudest moments. I cried while you just looked at me and listened. I reminded you how special you were and that you were so lucky. You were chosen; your daddies wanted you for so much longer than I could ever try to explain. I reminded you of how many people loved you even before you were born and how many more people would love you now. I reminded you to keep the easygoing perfect nature that you had while I was pregnant and that sometimes you just need to go the direction least expected when it’s something that really matters. I let you know that you didn’t need to be just like everyone else in the world because you are you. I let you know that not everyone has a family as special as yours and not to take any of them for granted. Life is cruel sometimes and you may get hurt far more than you think you can recover from, but then something so amazing happens and you remember how fortunate you are.

I had my first surgery two short days after you were born. It was scary but your daddies kept coming to see me and sometimes they even brought you with. We had made so many plans of what we were going to do with my time off of work, but I needed to cancel all of those plans due to some medical issues. I had planned on spending Passover in New York with your family. I had also planned on another trip to Israel to spend the most time possible with you. In the end, I spent months in bed healing. I’ve tried to plan many more trips back to see you, but none have worked out. We continued to share pictures of how things were changing and we had our Skype dates. The best Skype dates for me were when you seemed to recognize my voice. I loved it even more when you would try and kiss the screen. These Skype dates will forever be ingrained in my mind. I can close my eyes and see your slobbery kisses, your smiles, your excitement and how perfect you still stayed. I love your daddies so much for sharing your time with me. You were helping me to heal.

As your first birthday approached, I was sure that the doctors would allow me to come see you. I was reminded again that due to additional issues or additional surgeries that it wouldn’t be safe for me to fly that far in my condition. This was so difficult for me. I wanted to hold you so much. I just needed to see you again. I felt like something was missing in my life and the more I thought about it, I understood that it was you I was missing so much. I researched the process of surrogacy for nearly 10 years before I signed the original paperwork, I figured I knew all there was to know about being a surrogate, including how to feel after the birth.

I realized shortly after you were born that there was so much I never knew. I know our story is so different than anyone else’s story. Not everyone has health issues following pregnancy or during pregnancy, not everyone is required to be on “bed rest” even after the delivery. Not everyone has Murphy’s Law and has everything continually go poorly. I need to remind you again, like I did on those first two days of me sharing everything with you, that none of this is your fault. You didn’t cause any of my issues. You made me a better person. You taught me so much while I was pregnant and have taught me so much since you were born. I now understand something that I never thought possible, that there is another emotion other than laughing everything off, or being stressed out all the time. I have feelings again and understand I don’t need to continually push everyone away. It’s good to allow people to help me when I need it and that I need to learn when it’s time to ask for that help. Thank you again for helping me grow over the past year. I will forever be indebted to you.

I’m thinking this is plenty for your first year of life. It’s a lot to take in and a lot to read. If there is anything I can ask of you, please remember how much you are loved and that you have family in more places than you know. I hope by your second birthday that I’m able to hold you and kiss you. I’m going to wait patiently and listen to the doctors so that I’m able to be on a plane for that long. Keep smiling and laughing and try not to break too many remotes. Keep going to the park and swinging so that everyone in the park can hear your perfect little laugh.

With all of my love,

Christina.

Yes, I know this is seriously over due. I find it very difficult to get anything done, when the only thing I need to do is “heal”.

Family

Before the actual beginning…..

I’ve been told that I should write a book based on my journey. Not only the surrogacy journey, but what led me to surrogacy and everything leading up to Guy’s birth. It’s hard, really, knowing where to start with everything. I’m sure it would upset some to know that I was on birth control when I got pregnant with Jayde, or that I had thought about adoption because I was scared. Terrified actually! Terrified that I would never be enough for her.

This was a thought of mine up until I held her. She locked eyes with me and let out the largest sigh, and I knew that was her way of letting me know that everything would be just fine. Maybe not the perfect picture I had in my mind of starting my family, but that everything would be fine in the end. Some of you also may not know that her dad wasn’t at the hospital when she was born, nor did he want to meet her until she was nearly a month old. I went home from the hospital to an empty house, like no furniture other than her crib sort of empty. It was quiet in a scary sort of way. Here I was a new mom, alone and not really knowing how I could do this all on my own.

Life has a funny way of providing what you need, just when you need it and my life is no exception to that rule. When Jayde was two weeks old, I returned to one of my two jobs full time. Three days after I had returned to work, Jayde was hospitalized with a high fever and chicken pox! The doctors told me they were baffled that she had contracted chicken pox at such a young age. They were also concerned that she had a fever over 103. The fever turned into pneumonia and Jayde was placed in isolation. The medical staff wanted to know yet again if either of the families had anyone, past or present, with Cystic Fibrosis. After filling out numerous forms indicating this wasn’t the case, they did a sweat test just to ensure she didn’t have CF. My pregnancy was considered somewhat high risk because during a routine ultrasound they saw a build up of mucous in her lungs, her pancreas didn’t look quite right, and the long leg bone seemed to be an issue. I was told that she would be born with CF, and most likely have issues moving her legs. They really thought she would be born paralyzed. Oh, and one more thing; after seven different ultrasounds they were certain it was a BOY!

I didn’t listen to what doctors were saying and continued purchasing all things girl because I just knew. I had a feeling deep down inside that it would be a girl. I also wasn’t so sure that there was anything wrong with her legs because of how hard she would continually kick me and how I could see a knee or foot pushing so hard from the inside that you could definitely tell what it was from the outside. The CF part though, really worried me. After the sweat test they classified her issue as a “breathing condition.”

When other children would catch a cold, Jayde would ultimately get pneumonia. This happened multiple times each year up until she was in middle school. After middle school came around, it was down to maybe once a year, and now, never. Jayde hasn’t had pneumonia in so long, that I can’t even tell you how old she was.

Back to Jayde’s dad. He kept his distance until she was nearly a month old, then wanted to move in with me because he was certain this was what he wanted. Many of you have met him, known him, hated him or were scared of him. There was something about him that made me believe everything would be just fine though. He moved in with Jayde and I in October of 1997. This was after I had returned to working both of my jobs so I wanted to believe that I could rely on him for watching his own daughter here and there so she wasn’t with my mom at her business so often. It ended up being that I got her ready for a long day with Grandma every morning. I would actually go to my mom’s house and put Jayde in bed with Grandma and Grandpa because I was leaving for work right around 4:30 am. Jayde learned to love these mornings in bed with Grandma and Grandpa so much, that on the mornings I didn’t work, she would be awake and ready to go snuggle in their bed.

Michael took us to New Jersey to meet his family for the first time in November of 1997. This was the first time I was really able to see who he really was. Let me tell you one thing, looking back on all of this, I should have been able to see how much of a disappointment he was going to end up being. We got off the plane and went to his mothers house. After he introduced me to his family, he left with his sister. There I was in a house with his mother and a dog that wanted to continually bite me and was all too happy growling and barking at Jayde. For those of you wondering, no, it wasn’t a pit bull. It was a shepherd cross (maybe shepherd lab?). About a half hour later, his mother left to go play bingo so it left me alone in a strange city, house I’ve never been in before and with a dog that wanted to use me as his next meal.

This happened nearly every day we were there. Michael had no regard for whether or not Jayde or I were fine being there. Nor did he have any regard for the “family” he wanted while he was out meeting up with his old drug buddies. He was messed up the entire week we were there and didn’t really care who knew about it or what they thought. This was the time that I knew he was doing any type of drug and what they turned him into. I grew up in rural North Dakota in a town that had less than 40 people. I didn’t know what any drug looked like, smelled like or what the effects really were. You’d think that I would have been more aware since my parents owned the bar in town, but at the same time, I was very sheltered and that was fine with me.

When we returned home from that trip, the abuse began. I was asking far too many questions on what I saw from Michael, or what I saw him doing. He reminded me over and over again that I was not allowed to have an opinion. He would let me know what my opinion was supposed to be and I was just supposed to accept it. He told me that he had more life experience in his little finger than I did in my entire body so it was my job to listen and not ask questions. Coming from someone that was always quite independent, this was a tough pill to swallow.

Day after day, week after week, month after month, this was the pattern. I took care of Jayde every minute I was at home and he did his own thing. He worked seasonally in construction as a pipe fitter so there ended up being more months that he didn’t work than what he did work. Again I was naive to believe that when he wasn’t working that he would take care of Jayde. He would spend his days laying on the couch drugged while my mom watched Jayde, or he would take Jayde to my mom shortly after he woke so that he could go fishing, ice fishing or to meet up with one of his “friends” to have a good time.

As the time went on, I could tell that I was losing myself in this situation. It was common for me to be yelled at and put down in front of Jayde, my family or any of my friends that dared to come around. It was common for me to hope that Jayde would stay awake just long enough for Michael to fall asleep so that I could find an excuse as to why I never came to bed. It was also quite common for me to close Jayde and I in the bedroom so that we didn’t need to listen to the yelling and being constantly put down.

I won’t go into graphic details about the bruises left on my skin because I’m sure people would be offended or that it would be a trigger for abuse victims like myself. I will say that my house was nice before Michael moved in, but after, there were holes in the walls of every room and nearly every door was broken. This also was true for many windows as well as just about everything of value. I never called the police out of fear, but the neighbors living closest did. It’s sort of hard to explain the size of the yard to provide prospective. On the block that we lived, there were three houses and a small building that was my parent’s business. Everything was spread out pretty evenly, so for them to be able to hear what was going on, to see things being thrown at the windows and my screams, was pretty hard to believe.

I’m not going to pretend that I was a total innocent bystander in all of this. I was so lonely and so broken that I had been talking to a good friend of mine who just happened to be a man. Michael didn’t want me talking to anyone unless he approved, and this he definitely didn’t approve of. There was a day that my mom asked me to come see her so that she could show me the obituary of someone’s dad. I was really close to this person and their family so I was utterly heartbroken that their dad had passed away from a massive heart attack. I called the family to give my condolences and let them know I was only a phone call away. Taking the newspaper clipping of the obituary home was a huge mistake. Michael saw that I had it and demanded that I give him the family’s phone number to which I refused. More things were thrown, more things were broken and it was the first time that I seriously thought I was going to be taken out of the house by the coroner.

Again, I won’t go into great details but Jayde was taken to her God parent’s house to be protected, and I went to the hospital. I’m not happy about what the authorities said to me since it was my house and he moved in with me. They told me that it would be best for me to leave since I had many friends and they were allowing him to remain in my house. He remained there with my parents down the block. I didn’t know if everything would be OK, or if I needed to continue worrying. A restraining order was in the works to protect Jayde and I.

The funny thing about being abused is that you never feel like the victim. You end up feeling that you provoked it somehow and that you deserve everything that ended up happening. I’ve heard this from so many others that are in an abusive situation as well. It seems that once the abuser contacts the person they hurt, that there are so many ways they have at manipulating you to believe that somehow it was your fault. This happened to me time after time and I never realized it. Michael convinced me to drop the restraining order because he would never do it again and that I needed to try and not do something that would continue to make him so mad.

For months I walked on eggshells in my own house. I didn’t want to say anything wrong, do anything wrong or upset him in any way. I think back and wonder if I had changed just one little thing, how much of a profound effect it would have had on my life.I will never know the answer to that question just as I will never know why no one was able to convince me that I wasn’t causing the abuse. That it wasn’t all my fault he was doing what he did.

In the end, Michael ended up taking Jayde one day while I was at work and I really wasn’t certain where they were going. I didn’t know if or when they would return and I didn’t know if she was safe. I called the family I knew he had and was provided the same response over and over again, that he wasn’t there. Days, weeks, months passed before I saw her again. You know how you hear about NY or NJ and people having connections to get them anything they want or need. Yep, that’s what happened. NJ took jurisdiction of Jayde because of some “dirty” authority indicating Jayde had always lived in NJ and I was the one that left NJ without her.

I showed up in NJ unannounced with a few family members to bring her home. I knocked on the door and the person that opened it clearly wasn’t expecting me. They let me know that Jayde wasn’t there and neither was Michael and to return later. I didn’t leave the driveway! Michael showed up with some of his friends and was equally as shocked that I was there. What he didn’t know is that I had an attorney in ND advising me that we had equal custody of her since we lived together in ND and once I had her in my possession, not to let go! When I was finally able to see Jayde, she had been sleeping and wasn’t quite sure who I was. She asked me in that perfect two year old’s voice “Are you going to be my new MOMMY?” I’ve never experienced pain like that before or even now. It’s that gut retching pain that you will never forget.

In the end, Michael was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (his car) and Jayde and I were able to return to ND for six weeks. The courts explained that she needed to return to NJ while the states fought for jurisdiction and so that Michael could have visitation. I ended up getting a job in NJ over the phone explaining my situation to the business owner. I was able to rent a room in a house with a single mother that I had never met before but was highly recommended by the person that gave me the job. I packed my car with everything I thought I would need and nothing really I “wanted” and embarked on what my future would be with less than $500 in my pocket.

There is so much more to this story though. This just happens to be the maximum negativity I can deal with for the day. I don’t want to get to the point where I’m spewing every thought I have on Michael, his family or the entire situation. I want to remain calm about what was and how far I’ve come in such a short time. Everything happens for a reason and dealing with Michael was no exception. Some pretty amazing things ended up happening because of all the bad things.

Family, Surrogacy

What I needed to hear today…..

A wonderful friend shared this with me today. It was seriously exactly what I needed to hear and it really hit home!

“Let whatever you do today be enough!! Let go of the judgement you have about what you should be or could be doing, and today, allow yourself to simply be.

Comparing yourself and your journey may be habitual, but it gets you nowhere. It makes you feel worse and it keeps you STUCK. So stop fixating on where everyone else is, and start giving yourself permission to be exactly where you are.

Quiet the voice telling you to do more and be more, and trust that in this moment, who you are, where you are at, and what you are doing is ENOUGH.

You will get to where you NEED to be in YOUR OWN TIME. Until then, breathe! Breathe and be patient with yourself and you process. You are doing the best you can to cope and survive amid all of your struggles and pain, and that’s all you can ask of yourself.

It’s enough. You are enough.”

Family, Surrogacy

Starting Over……

Just a little over a year ago I was able to complete the long, complicated journey as a surrogate. I gave birth to Guy on March, 5, 2014. I really felt that it was the beginning of what was to come, rather than the end of my journey.

I struggled with surrogacy for a number of years. No matter what we tried, we ended up with negative responses. Chemical pregnancy, miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, negative pregnancy tests. It really felt that there would never be a light at the end of the tunnel. What R&G didn’t really know was that the more I am told I can’t do something or the more negative responses I receive, the more it pushes me to complete the task. To end up with a positive result. After seven years, I heard the heart beat more than one time!

It’s terrifying to be pregnant and be totally on edge thinking something is going to go wrong. I was totally stressed out with wondering if I took estrogen a few minutes early or if it was late. I worried with every progesterone injection that it wasn’t exactly the proper amount or I didn’t rub the injection site long enough to disperse the progesterone oil.

Getting passed that first trimester lifted a huge weight off my shoulders and allowed me to breathe a little. I was able to stop the injections and pills and just focus on keeping my body healthy for that little guy growing inside. If anyone is wondering, a pregnancy as a surrogate is definitely NOT the same as your own pregnancy. There are so many other components involved with surrogacy than a natural birth that it becomes a job rather than just being pregnant.

The second trimester was supposed to be the super easy part of the pregnancy. The entire second trimester was spent with all day sickness. It got to the point that the dog wouldn’t even remain in the bathroom with me while I was vomiting everything I had eaten or anything I had drunk because of how violent the projectile vomit was. My previous pregnancy was so easy; I never had any morning sickness or any real issues. I was losing weight as Guy was gaining. I was taking naps as he felt the need to try out for soccer or kickboxing or hip-hop dancing. It was insane that at the size he was, I could totally see my stomach moving because of the strength he had. I was still napping daily! Yep, daily. When I wasn’t napping I was working and when I wasn’t doing either of those I was on the bathroom floor. My life was totally consumed with these few items.

I finally made it to the third trimester and it was much like the first and second. I was continually taking Zofran so that I could keep a little bit of anything down. There were still so many days that the Zofran wasn’t nearly enough and I was still spending time laying on the bathroom floor so that I didn’t need a bucket next to the bed. The dog would lay with me on the floor until I got up to vomit, then she would run and hide under the bed and cry! At the beginning of January, I knew that some things weren’t quite right. The pain I was having in my hips and legs was something totally unexplainable. I saw a number of different doctors, had PT for a few weeks and had an MRI completed. The physical therapy really wasn’t the right decision. I was being stretched, massaged, had ultra sound on my hips, back and legs. The stretching the therapist was doing was making things so much worse. So much so that I went from being able to sort of walk a little on my own as long as it was really slow and I convinced my legs to just let me go a few more feet before resting yet again, to not being able to move my legs to walk. I was unable to bear weight without collapsing. I was unable to get my legs from the side of the bed, to being in bed. I was unable to move my legs under the weight of the sheet on the bed. I’m not really sure what a king size flat sheet weighs, but I’m not thinking it’s more than a pound or two. That sheet may as well have been a cement sheet based on my ability to move with it covering me. The MRI was able to determine what the real issue was and I was told on January 18th that I needed to omit any additional movements in hopes that I could save my hips. They were broken and had multiple fissures. They were moving in and out of the socket as I was “trying” to walk. The diagnosis from multiple doctors was AVN in both hips. Who knew this was even possible?

A few months of lying in bed and endless hours of terrible television brought the day that Guy was born. He really wasn’t in a hurry to be born early; he took his time after I was induced. We were all hoping for a speedy delivery since Jayde was born in 25 minutes. I showed up at the hospital on Saturday, August 9, 1997 at 11:00 am, and Jayde was born at 11:25 am. My water hadn’t broken and I didn’t feel that I was in active labor, but Jayde knew that it was time to come out! My due date with her was July 27, so she was definitely cramped in the small space she was hanging out in. The delivery was so fast that there wasn’t time for an IV, there wasn’t time for me to do anything other than getting my pants off. Back to Guy though…..we had numerous monitors hooked up to ensure he wasn’t in any distress based on my condition. There was an internal monitor stuck to his scalp after my water was manually broken. I also had multiple external monitors for him. I was required to have an epidural since the doctor was going to be required to move my legs and we didn’t think that the pain I would be in would necessarily be safe for him.

The epidural took just under three hours to be properly inserted. Seven different people “tried” to get it hooked up. I was poked and prodded 26 different times. The final attempt ended up working, but it felt like it feels when you hit your funny bone. My spine, neck and both arms were tingling the entire time the epidural was “working”. I was told that someone would be able to get the epidural inserted in the first or second try, and not to worry even after I had voiced numerous concerns from previous spinal taps that didn’t necessarily work so well. I shouldn’t complain though, it was a small price to pay to have a happy, healthy little Guy.Perfect little GuyPerfect little Guy

I was visited by friends and family shortly after Guy was born. People that I never expected to bond with him were ogling over how perfect he was. It’s crazy what happens when someone holds a baby.

I was visited by the hip surgeon just as he had explained he would the day following delivery. The x-rays that were done the day he was born were inconclusive so he needed to move me in a totally different position to be able to get the best possible images. Those x-rays were far worse than anything experienced during the pregnancy or quite possibly my entire life! I had always heard that the bones in your pelvis or in your hips sort of hold you all together, to say I totally came apart during those x-rays was a total understatement. I was asking the radiologist to chop my legs off. I had asked, rather demanded that they stop because I was vomiting from the pain and was covered completely in sweat. I generally don’t raise my voice or use choice language but the position the tech insisted I needed to be in totally pushed me over the edge. This position was to hold one leg about six inches off the table so that the side angle would show both hip joints (think a really low leg lift from lying on your back). I think about it now and it seems crazy that this small difference from one leg to the other caused so many issues. There was even someone standing next to me holding the weight of my leg because I was unable.

The only good part was that I was allowed to take a bath in a tub that was long enough for me and was jetted. It had been so long since I was able to take a bath since I was unable to lift my legs over the side of my tub at home. The tub at the hospital was about half the height and my baby belly was near gone. Phil still needed to lift me over the side and to lower me in the tub because I couldn’t hold my own weight yet. About five minutes into what I thought was the best feeling bath in my entire life, I was told the hip surgeon was in my room needing to talk to me. I thought that odd because it was close to 10 pm. Apparently the x-rays showed far more damage than the surgeon thought possible. The reason I knew this was he insisted on talking to me immediately. Even though I had just gotten in the bath, I knew it was important to discuss the issues with the surgeon personally. He joined me in the bathing room at the hospital to have the conversation with me that surgery was scheduled for 5 am the following morning. I figured there were a ton of people who were in the room for the delivery and it wasn’t like he was just standing there staring at me. He had his back turned to me, which I thought was an acceptable compromise.

I’m sort of happy that he didn’t provide me a long time to think about whether or not the following day was the perfect day for surgery, because I would have probably postponed due to being terrified of what my life was going to be like after that particular day.