Sunday, May 31, 2009


"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." -Dale Carnegie

Are we brilliantly resilient women, who fight the battles of infertility, and still have hope? Or are we ignorant, immature girls who consistently set ourselves up for failure and settle for whatever means will turn us into mothers?

I've always considered Hope such a fragile emotion, one that hides under the table when its enemy Doubt walks into the room. I thought Hope literally ran away from home and was never coming back. I thought Hope died and didn't go to heaven because Hope didn't believe in such fantasies. I thought I was glad to see her leave, for a while I thought I missed her in the way I imagine women miss their spouses once they've been arrested for domestic violence. I was exhausted and overwhelmed by the abuse that Hope inflicted upon me and I was glad Hope was finally dead.

It's not until recently, that M has given me a reason to breathe again, that I realize that Hope really never left. If there wasn't Hope, I wouldn't have kept trying to find a better way, a more fulfilling way, a more intimate way, to become a mom. It was Hope that allowed me to not settle for adoption when my heart needed something more. It was Hope that convinced me to reach out to surrogacy forums and reply back to M's original email. It is Hope that sustains me through this moment, as I take this breath, and I'm still childless and full of the pain, envy, and evil of infertility.

I know she's still there but I'm so afraid to welcome her back into my life with open arms. I want to co-habitate with her again but I feel like such a fool to even consider it. How dare I allow her back in when she's let me down so many times? I've told her hundreds of times before that this was "the last chance" and if she screwed it up there were no chances left. Hope has built a lifetime on second chances and I wasn't going to allow that to continue any longer. I'm not sure how I just allow her to walk back into my life? Do we need to set ground rules like you would if a boyfriend was standing at your doorstep begging for a second chance? What if she breaks the rules? Does she have a probationary period in which she must prove to me that she's worthy of access into my heart? I have such valid reasons to never speak to her again, to never allow her near my family, to banish her from every part of our surrogacy journey with M. Perhaps its M that is requiring me to consider allowing Hope into our journey. This isn't just my journey, it's M's journey too. She seems to have an oddly close relationship with Hope, particularly in the reproduction department. She & Hope are like best friends and they seem to go everywhere together and when M is having a bad day, it's Hope that tells her tomorrow will be better. Why doesn't my Hope act like that? My Hope doesn't reassure me that tomorrow will be better...just as she's about to speak up, Doubt starts talking and Hope never insists that he hears her out.

I want my Hope to be like Obama's Hope, I would even settle for the kind of Hope that inmates have that convinces them tomorrow is worth living for (when we all know a simple bed sheet tied as a noose could be all that is needed if Hope called in sick one day).

Friday, May 29, 2009

Emotional ADD

Is there such a thing? I'm certain I must have it. I cannot be at peace with a single emotion for longer than just a few minutes. I was going to post yesterday morning that I was feeling renewed from dh's & my conversation the prior night. There is a reason for all these sick infertility jokes that God keeps playing and I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Then, yesterday I had an encounter with an old acquaintance, Shannon, who used to be very close to me and discovered that she is pregnant. She went through 7 IUI's and 4 IVF's before she was able to conceive. I was genuinely happy for her, but so sad for myself. Her journey has come to an end and she finally achieved the goal that she set out for. I tried to trick myself into thinking that I will also achieve the goal that I set out for: becoming a mommy. But then I wonder if I'm just twisting my thoughts to convince myself that motherhood was my primary goal. I just don't think it was, I think pregnancy was my primary goal. Do any of us really start off on our journey to parenthood and say that all we're searching for is a baby? If so, why do we continue with the medical interventions that could fail and the surrogacy journeys that pose risks? Why don't we all just jump to the most sure path to motherhood, through either adoption or foster care? That would make us mothers...guaranteed! (I'm not trying to diminish the feelings of anyone who has had a failed adoption, but the reality is that if you stick with adoption long enough, you're bound to have a baby). We don't all jump on the adoption bandwagon because our end goal involves so much more than just parenthood. I've known since I was 22 that I would never carry my own baby but yet there was still something more that I sought out than just motherhood. I needed a bond with the woman who would carry my baby in the way one needs oxygen. That was possible with adoption, but never a guarantee, and it was less possible that I would have that bond from the beginning. I can know thank God, and my husband, for not allowing me to rush into the adoption process as I wanted to for the past few years. I feel that it would have given me the more important part: a baby. It also would have denied me the parts that I needed most, not as a mother, but as a woman.

I was distraught last night after finding out about Shannon's pregnancy. I felt so guilty that I wasn't happy for her. I have the most incredible woman willing to make my parenting dreams come true and I still can't be happy for someone else's pregnancy? What is wrong with me? Will I ever be able to fully feel joy for someone else when they announce their news? I have the best situation that could possibly be available to any woman without a uterus, why shouldn't I be happy for Shannon that she now has the best situation available for anyone with a uterus?

After a few dozen crying sprees while J was cutting the grass, and a few more when he came back inside, I was ready for an emotional intermission. I simply needed a rest from any thoughts, good or bad. That's when I received an email from M. We are in the beginning stages of working on our contract and I had emailed her a document with all the possible fees and compensation topics and she was replying to my email. I had simply stated the topics and she would fill in the fees. In the beginning of our relationship I had asked her about her base comp because I needed to be sure we could at least afford that before I allowed myself to become too invested in the relationship. We hadn't had any further discussion about fees since that time. Her reply was heartwarming, humbling, and so gracious. I know, as does she, that she could charge anyone else a lot more than than she's asking us for her compensation. She truly is what every intended parent wants in a surrogate, she understands the emotional and financial heartache of infertility. This path to parenthood will still be expensive and we're still challenged everyday on how to afford it but she is easing the burden on us tremendously. I don't know how I ever will repay her for her kindness.

I went to Target today to scrounge the dollar bins for some kid related toys and games. I'm going to FedEx M and the kids a package next week. I'm making each of the kids a small "travel bag", with a tote filled with activities and snacks to keep them occupied on the drive to the zoo. She has 3 girls and 1 boy and I tried my best to make the boy's bag different and unique. Each bag has animal crackers, a water bottle with a straw (color coordinated to match the color of their bags, it's so cute!), coloring book and crayons, candy, window stickers (to stick on their car windows). The girls each have lip gloss and the boy bag has a magic game and some type of puzzle. I'm including a card to M and her dh along with a gas gift card so the cost of their trip can be totally taken care of. I also ordered M's graduation gift today. She recently graduated from nursing school and her party is the end of June. Thanks to some help from some former nurses I found a stethoscope that I had personalized with her name on it. I can't wait to give it to her. 2 weeks can't come soon enough to meet her!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We're meeting!

M recently graduated from nursing school and is planning a graduation party sometime in June. We knew we wanted to meet sometime before her graduation party because we thought it would be awkward to meet in such a public setting with so many of her own friends and family that she'll need to attend to. So, it looks like the graduation party will be June 27th and we're meeting at the zoo near her house on June 13th. To say I can't wait is an understatement. I'm thrilled! I can't remember the last time I've been so worried about someone liking me, I usually don't care if people like me, but I definitely care about this person!

J & I will drive about 4.5 hours and M will be there along with her husband and four kids, we'll spend the afternoon at the zoo and then we're going to Red Robin (yum!) for dinner. I can't wait to meet her!

Two weeks after, we'll be traveling back to her state to attend her graduation party. None of her friends or family know that she is pursuing another TS journey at this time. She was a TS once before, for a couple that lives in Germany. She gets pictures of her TS babe all the time (she's adorable!) but the communication is difficult with her FIP's because of the language barrier. Her family was supportive of her journey last time but they apparently had a difficult time when the TS baby had to go back to Germany, knowing they would never see her again. M wants to wait to tell everyone about her journey until after they know me as her friend. She will be able to announce that she is doing this for her friend Sara as opposed to just some random nameless person. I think that is a fabulous idea. I will be able to meet her friends and family as a neutral person, not as "that one".

A good friend from the online surrogacy was generous enough to send me a copy of her surro contract today. Since the contracts are legally not enforceable in my state or M's state, I refuse to pay an attorney to draw up a contract that isn't useful anyway. But, all the good surro rules say that you should have a contract, so we will create our own contract. My dear friend is an attorney in our state so I'm sure she'll review it and answer any questions we have. I will pay for M's legal counsel if she would like but we've already communicated with the top adoption/surrogacy attorney in her state and the contracts are not enforceable.

I emailed M and told her that I'd really like to start talking about contract details. I know our TTC plans are over a year away but I really need to prepare financially for what this will cost us. Obviously, there are countless issues that need to be discussed aside from finances and I want to be sure that both our voices are heard and we agree on something that we are both pleased with. Since we have so much time to talk about the contract hopefully there won't be any pressure to hurry up and make a decision that one of us isn't comfortable with.

There is progress! Real measurable progress. It's been a long time since I felt progression in my life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The little blessings

Last Tuesday we flew home from Disney World and we weren't home long until I was abruptly reminded that we're definitely not in Fantasyland anymore. Two days prior to our departure, my evil SIL contacted me to inform me that my second evil SIL was in labor. Fuck you. I knew my MIL was picking us up from the airport and surely we'd have to hear about it. Through 2 years of therapy, dh & I have worked on how to respond to people when they say things that are knowingly hurtful. He's had a conversation with his mom before that we really prefer not to hear about people's babies, even if they are our siblings, and although we understand her excitement it's just simply not possible for us to be excited and it's painful to hear so we politely request that she not mention it. Of course, that is just too difficult for her to comprehend and my dh avoids conflict the way I would avoid another term of George W as President, so he of course hasn't offered any further polite reminders to his mom that we simply don't give a fuck about anyone else's baby right now.

As predicted, we pull into into the garage and she reaches for her cell phone while saying "Do you want to see a picture of your new niece?". I remained silent, in fact, I think it was one of the short moments in my life that my brain actually rested. We had rehearsed similar scenarios in therapy and at home before and dh & I had agreed upon a certain response. Not necessarily a specific set of words, but generally the rules were that he would respond (not because I'm too shy to respond but he knows I won't play very nice) and he would be firm in saying "no" and exert some type of "what the hell are you thinking" comment and remind her that we've already talked about this and we are never interested in hearing about anyone's pregnancy or baby until we are standing in front of her with serious bags under our eyes from dozens of delightfully sleepless nights from staying up with our own baby. He didn't respond. He was silent. She showed us the picture. I was livid.

Today, after a few month hiatus from joint therapy sessions, we rejoined with Susan the therapist to discuss this incident. I am convinced that if he chose not to respond at such a critical opportunity that he must not understand the depth of my grief and the intensity of the pain his mom inflicted. The therapy appointment was relatively uneventful until I said I wanted to see him angry with his mother. If we were in a bar and someone had punched me, he wouldn't just stand by and allow it, he would be pissed! This is far worse than being punched so why the hell wasn't he mad. Susan started to ask him questions about anger and at one point he said that no one has ever made him as angry in his life as I have.

After we returned home, I was in the bathroom doing my usual crying-before-I-wash-my-face-for-the-night routine and it hit me. I always try to find the reasons behind all this bullshit that God puts me through. I'm convinced I'll have a stronger marriage, that I'll treasure my baby more, I'll be a more attentive parent, I'll have a shared empathy with millions of people, I'll gain an overwhelming sense of compassion toward other woman. I never realized what the benefit was for my dh. Why was he picked to go through all this hell with me? I realized it there, in the bathroom, mid-cry. Yes, I make him more angry than anyone ever has, but it's because I force him to deal with this. He can't avoid it and pretend it doesn't exist like he has with any other difficult time in his life. He has to acknowledge it, understand it, accept it, and learn to live it. I came running out of the bathroom with tears running down my face to explain to him my newly understood rationale for his misery. He smiled and he knew it was true. He told me that although his anger for me is more intense than anger he's ever felt before, so is his love.

I wouldn't infertility as a method to teach anyone a lesson, but, I am infertile and while I'm here I am definitely learning quite a few lessons. I'll take it. I'll take a tearful embrace with my soul mate as we both realize that there is a reason for this misery beyond our understanding, and today, God has given us enough of a taste of understanding to satisfy our appetite for now. Thank you.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Amani....I miss your blog!


If you read this, I'd love access to your blog now that you've made it private (if you are giving access to anyone, that is). I've followed your journey for so long....not having updates is killing me! I do understand and respect your privacy though, so no problem if you are keeping it totally private. You're in my thoughts.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A sigh of relief

I emailed M, I couldn't take it any more, it had been 5 days since we emailed last which may not seem like a long time but it was unusually long for us not to email. I told her that I'm sorry to sound paranoid, but it's tough to be so dependent on another woman to make me a mom...and go through an unusually long period of time without speaking with that person. So, she emailed me back and everything is fine. Her MIL was moving to their state from New Jersey this weekend, so they were busy with that, and the later part of last week was swamped with kid related activities. She said she is anxiously awaiting next year, and although she'll wait for us as long as we need her to, she's ready to start now! We're not, of course, but it's so wonderful that we have her in our life. We leave for Disney World on Wednesday and I'm so glad I've had to chance to talk with M before we left. This is just a small reminder of how difficult it will be to relinquish control to another woman, in another state, for 9 months while she carries and nurtures our baby. I imagine this is only the tip of the iceberg in understanding how impossibly difficult this will be.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Why I'm thankful it's mother's day

...because once it's over; all the tv commercials will stop, I'll no longer hear the radio advertisements, no one will ask me what we're doing for the big day, I can drive down the road without seeing a billboard reminding me to buy flowers or chocolate, and most of all because I will be able to reclaim the smallest morsel of my sanity back as I've clearly lost it during the most difficult time of year.

I hate mother's day. I speak to so many infertile women who say that they cannot wait until they become a mom so they can spend their first mother's day celebrating. Of course I don't know how I'll feel when that day finally arrives, but for now, I do not intend on celebrating mother's day. It is a day filled with immense pain for millions of people and I cannot ignore that and simply celebrate with breakfast in bed and a pot of flowers. Christmas is probably the second hardest holiday to celebrate when you are involuntarily childless, but it is no comparison to mother's day, because in the darkest moments of scraping together a reason to celebrate Christmas I can still celebrate the birth of Jesus. There is a reason for the holiday aside from Santa Clause and Christmas presents. There is no other reason for mother's day, there's no alternative celebratory reason I can conjure in my head, it is a day for mom's and if you're not a mom and you want to be, it is hell.

J set his alarm this morning to wake up early to head to his mom's. I had previously told my mom that I wasn't interested in doing anything, to which she replied, "It doesn't get any easier?". I'm not exactly sure why she thinks that extending the length of time that I remain childless will somehow make this day easier. I'm actually glad that he went to his mother's, it's a big step in our marriage. Last year mother's day was a big fight, he insisted we see his mom and even though he offered to go without me, I felt that would only make it worse. We took her out to breakfast together and the waitress asked me if I was celebrating the day. I don't look pregnant and there wasn't' a child seated next to me, but she still felt she needed to question my motherhood. I should have replied, "Oh, my! I totally forgot, I left my kid in the car, thanks for reminding me!". I think "sensitivity" training should be a requirement for every workplace. What if my baby had just died? What if I just had a miscarriage? What if I was...gasp!!!....never going to be pregnant for the rest of my life because my uterus and ovaries were stolen from me? Perhaps not the best question for the waitress to ask. So, J is at his mom's. The only condition I had, that he completely understood, is that he go to see her at a time that the rest of the family isn't there. I would definitely feel like the one who had been left out and as any infertile woman knows, that's a terrible feeling when you're purposefully missing from an event because you're the crazy woman without a uterus. So he woke up early to bring flowers and bagels and spend an hour or two visiting. I haven't broken down crying yet, instead I'm rather numb to the pain. I'm exhausted that I have to endure yet another mother's day.

I'm the type of person who plans everything and I plan as far out as I possibly can. When we have an upcoming vacation, I get very excited to bust out the luggage and start packing things slowly so that I can be sure I've packed every item I may anticipate needing. It's not unusual for me to begin packing two weeks in advance of our departure. We leave on Wednesday for Disney World and I haven't even dug out the luggage from the basement. I've been waiting patiently to pack everything today. I love Disney and it is the only constant in all my years of infertility that can make me smile no matter what. It's rather bizarre because the place is constantly filled with millions of adorable children but it is a childhood memory that I relive every time I visit. My parents took us to Disney every year of our life and I've sense gotten my dh hooked and we go as often as possible. Last year we bought annual passes for the first time! So, today I will spend my day childless and packing for Disney World. It will be a mix of depression, euphoria, and anxiety.

I'm afraid to put my thoughts into writing...but I'm nervous about M. Maybe it's been the impending holiday that is making me more sensitive that usual and I know she's been extremely busy with school and then one of her kid's birthdays this week, but we haven't emailed much at all. I just know that so much is riding on this relationship that I'm going to over analyze everything. She's busy and I know that. We're not planning to TTC until mid to late next year, so I'm sure she doesn't feel like it's critical that she emails me everyday. Of course, I would love to get an email from her once a day, but she has a life to live and 4 kids to raise. I need to relax. It's like the beginning stage of a relationship where you've already fallen too far into love but yet the relationship is still too new for any type of "where do we stand?" type of talk. I will text her and wish her a happy mother's day, she will be the only person receiving that wish from me.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Home improvements

We've been swamped with home improvements the past few weeks. We live in a wonderful city that is right on the water. Although our house isn't directly on the water, it was built with clay sewers so the water can flow through. Unfortunately, tree roots flow through also. Our big beautiful tree and it's monstrous roots caused our sewer to collapse in January, amidst the feet of snow and ice hard soil. Several thousand dollars later, we had a new sewer, custom built with gorgeous white PVC piping. As Spring arrived our yard was in need of much attention; our landscaping had been destroyed and we had a mound of unsettled dirt that evidenced we buried Big Foot in our front lawn.

After months of planning, we ventured into some pretty large projects. We built a new walkway with brick pavers and lined our much too narrow driveway with the same. My husband thought the pavers were so beautiful, that we should rip up our old brick paver patio in the backyard and install a new one. At the same time, my mom offered to give us her hot tub because she doesn't use it anymore, which meant the backyard patio had to be dug extra deep to sustain the weight of the hot tub. Weeks of rain, the bobcat getting stuck, thousands of dollars later, and endless back-breaking hours of labor, it was all complete. The only remaining work to be done was landscaping. Yesterday & today the landscapers came and created a beautiful design on our front lawn. They are cleaning up their mess now, but essentially it's complete. It's gorgeous. I can't wait to play with our children on our new lawn or set up a tiny plastic princess castle on our new patio. It's difficult to part with the money that I feel should be saved toward our surrogacy journey, but it's also liberating to know that each improvement we make is a step closer to making our house a home not for a couple but for a family.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'll cry if I want to

My birthday was this week and I couldn't help but remember the song "it's my party and I'll cry if I want to." It was my birthday and I didn't want to celebrate, I wanted to be miserable because I don't have what I want most on my birthday. I didn't want anyone to sing to me, I didn't want another day of artificial happiness induced by others needs and not my own. I wanted to cry. I wanted to throw my gifts back and tell everyone that I'm only pretending to be happy because the gift I want most isn't anything anyone can buy me. I didn't. I was polite, I offered thanks each time someone wished me a happy birthday, and I told my husband that the hot stone massage he booked me during our vacation next week was the perfect gift. I lied.

To add to my birthday excitement, I had to take a significant pay cut at work. Of course, all I could think about is how this would effect our plan to save enough money in time for surrogacy next year. I know that we're blessed that we both have jobs still, but I could help but feel a little pissed off that yet again forces beyond my control are managing the conditions surrounding becoming a mommy. I get so mad at myself that this is all about money, but then I realize, it is all about money! It takes a lot of money to be a mom when you don't have a uterus or ovaries! I need that extra money to save for our surrogacy journey. I don't really have a Plan B, but I suppose I should begin to consider other ways to manage our budget so we can still reach our savings goals.

I'm so proud of M, she graduated from college this week! She'll be taking her boards within a month or so and she'll officially be a registered nurse! She had a 3.57 GPA! We haven't spoken as often as I would like because she's been so busy with finishing school. I hope we can talk more often now that she won't be in school and doing clinicals. She's looking for a job, hopefully on the L&D floor, which I happen to think is really cool to have a TS that is an RN on the L&D floor. I will be going to her graduation party, date still TBD. I need to find a gift that is personal, but not too personal, and somewhat 'nurse' appropriate.