In the waiting line.

Hello again, you loyal bunch of readers! Thank you for allowing me the pleasure of sharing this wonderful journey with each and every one of you. I have to say, as time goes on, I am more and more thrilled with each new interaction I have along this journey. The people, both new and familiar that I have encountered throughout my process as of late, have been for the most part, wonderful.  Please enjoy the next installment of my journey, and feel free to like, comment, and share with any and every one! Please be respectful and open minded as you read, and of course…enjoy.

Home Check.

In my last blog, I discussed that I would have to go through a home check in addition to all of my physical wellness screenings before I could proceed to the next “next steps.” I wasn’t too nervous the morning of our home visit, but even still, I found myself looking at my house with eagle eyes, with every intention of finding something I could clean or rearrange “better.” I kept Charlie awake hoping our evaluator would arrive at the earlier end of our allotted time frame, rather than later. I paced the halls with my fussy, woke up before the sun, baby boy, eagerly checking the windows to see if an unfamiliar car had parked out front. 9:35… 9:41… 9:56… “Just put him down, screw it. I’m sure she’ll understand.” Said an overly calm Casey, as I checked outside once more. “yea, if she isn’t here in ten minutes or so, Charlie has got…” I didn’t even finish my sentence before I heard it, the sound of a car pulling up out front! I did a onceover of the house one last time, and unlocked the front door. Our evaluator drove a really nice car, so nice in fact, that I’d never seen or heard of it before. I always tell Casey when we are driving in areas we don’t often go to (Cherry Creek, Winter Park, etc..) that I can tell we are out of place based on the number of unfamiliar cars that surround us on the road. Maybe it is strange, but there is a certain level of comfort I get when I’m driving around and see 900 other grey colored Kia Sorento’s, just like mine, out running errands, just like I am. It feels like home knowing I will pull up at an intersection and see one or two of those orange and white circular bumper stickers advertising a large church not far from my home.  We live in a suburb of Denver, roughly 20 minutes outside of the “big city”, but man, home is another world by comparison these days. “Are you afraid of dogs?” I call out to the slight brunette woman walking up my driveway. Damnit! I forgot to weed the rock bed in front of the house. “No, not at all.” She responds with a friendly laugh. I invite her inside and notice how immediately she grows 500 eyes, eyes that are taking in every corner of our “humble home.” We don’t have a big house, its about 1800 square feet with 4 adults, 3 littles, and 2 dogs that call it home. It was never in the plan, bringing babies here, but then life happened, and here we are today… standing in a living room with a woman that has said twice in the fifteen minutes that she has been here “that’s a lot of people under one roof!” Is it? If you consider the cost of living here these days, maybe it doesn’t seem so inconceivable. If you take heart to the phrase, “It takes a village” perhaps you can understand and see the benefit from our temporary, but present, living situation. “Sure, it is a lot of people, but we really aren’t all right on top of each other like you would think.” I found myself telling her. It was truth after all, we all had our separate spaces to retire to, and two communal living spaces where we could hangout with the kids, or watch television, there were two small bathrooms and a tiny kitchen, but we had made the most of our space. After I was done dismantling the belief that our household was in likeness with a traveling circus, I began walking her through the upstairs for the “grand” tour. I turned to lead her into the hallway, and promptly slid ten feet on a rogue Christmas book. “GREAT!” I thought to myself. Not even five minutes into this home check and I’ve already shown her just how treacherous the conditions can be when your homestead is ruled by pint sized dictators. I recovered gracefully and managed a cool smile instead of saying a sentence enhancer, that’s 10 points for Claire!

“I’m sorry for the mess, we are in the middle of a very long lasting DIY kitchen remodel.” I say as we walk through our tiny, table-less, kitchen. I wonder if she notices that the screws are too big on the new cabinet knobs I picked out in a hurry at Home Depot. I’m sure she does, this woman sees everything, even the nothing I have to hide. “who does a majority of the cleaning around here?” She asks as we finish our walk-through and sit back down in the living room. I exchange a devilish grin with Casey and reply, “I do. I’m way too much of a control freak and am not ashamed to say I like things cleaned and organized in a certain way. My way.” We all laugh a little, which proved to be too slight a distraction for my eyes wandered just enough to see the paper she’d been asking questions from and writing down answers on. There were so many questions! I was honestly a bit taken aback. I felt like at this point, I had proven my intentions were good through a psychological evaluation, and given them my medical records to indicate the rest of me was up for the journey as well. “Do you drink caffeine?” She asked me. I didn’t tell her that diet coke and coffee are my drug of choice, even though I only have ONE diet and one or two cups of coffee per day…I am in a very serious relationship with both. To those of you reading this saying to yourselves “diet coke is so bad for you, chemicals, toxins, cancer…” SHUT UP. Who asked you? Not me! I will take my chemical bomb over ice, or out of a warm can, thank you very much! “yes, I do drink caffeine. Not a ton, but definitely daily.” I say back to her. “would you be willing to stop during this pregnancy?” My irritation with this silly question surprises even me. “Of course.” I say back. I think it irritated me because it seemed like such a ridiculous thing to ask. I will follow the advice of the medical professionals and the wishes of my intended family 100%, a promise I’ve already issued several times throughout this process. I am putting a lot more serious things on “hold” like getting back in shape, or even moving out of state with my family,  in order to have the honor of carrying this pregnancy. I want this with everything that I am. I certainly wouldn’t let something ridiculous like caffeine derail my train at this point… though I will longingly admire Starbucks and fountain diet coke from afar, always. Once she was finished asking her questions, she announced that everything “looked okay” and she let me know our case manager, C, would get our results by mid week. It is kind of a deflating feeling to know that people are looking at you inquisitively  under a microscope. I don’t have anything to hide, I am who I am. I am proud of my home, my family, and my life. I just wish that I could turn down the feels when people give me a puzzled stare, or say things in a shocked tone about the number of occupants in our house, or about my occupation as a quote “career waitress.” I am being 100% transparent about this particular visit, and while I don’t mean for any of it to be interpreted negatively, I do want to freely express my feelings or perhaps insecurities would be a better word, even if they are silly.

One scale. No carbs. Angry.

I have never been a person that counts carbs or calories. I am mindful of things that I eat, but for the most part, I do not limit myself to certain categories of food. I am here to tell you all the story of a very sad, very hungry, and very mean woman named Claire. Claire decided that she would “cut out carbs” in an effort to lower the number on the scale. Claire decided that this would be a good approach. Claire was stupid. Claire was hungry. Claire was mean. In all seriousness, have you ever tried to eliminate something like sugar or carbs? I have never been addicted to anything, but the hell that I went through trying to cut down my carb consumption was brutal. I became a woman possessed. I sat on pinterest during nap time furiously searching through carb-free recipes that would make me feel whole again… like the blueberry bagels I’d fed to Natasha instead of myself every morning until they were gone. I turned off Keeping up with the Kardashian’s and stood in the kitchen with alien ingredients laying before me on the counter top, taunting me. “A bag of possibilities!” I read on the side of the Chia seeds I’d just begrudgingly purchased at the grocery store.  “A bag of possibilities for who? A squirrel?” I thought to myself as I mixed a concoction inside a mason jar. The other thing about this “healthy thing” they don’t tell you about, is that you will soon find dislike from simply looking at the mason jars you just had to buy back in your carb days. They represent portion sizes that wouldn’t even come close to filling the belly of my one year old son. They represent a certain creativity in the kitchen, chia seeds, and an expensive grocery bill. Mason jars have been improperly represented all along, and now, I have set the truth free to all of you… you’re welcome.

I made it through the first week of carb cutting, and while I was starting to feel a little better, I began to notice my family slowly emerging from the shadows they’d sought shelter within while I was off the carbs… god bless them all. I did learn a lot about myself through this little experiment. I learned that I probably am addicted to carbs and sugar, and that I am not a good quitter. I learned some new recipes that really weren’t all that bad, and even created some of my own along the way. In addition to this crazy diet thing, I had begun working out five days a week with Stephanie commiserating lovingly by my side. We got up every morning at 3:30 and headed out in the darkness to the gym where we could be amongst the ten or so others that were dedicated to this fitness cause. We learned the t.v. schedule, and looked forward to watching the crime channel every morning at four while we struggled to stay upright on the elliptical. We locked eyes every morning as the too friendly gym attendant attempted to strike up meaningful conversation with us as we wiped sleep from our eyes. We laughed hysterically to ourselves upon my realization that I’d forgotten to put a bra on not once, but TWICE. If you just read that and thought “How could you forget? I could never forget that!” It will probably happen to you next. I have never run out of gas because of that same thought process, but I’m sure now that I’ve managed to forget my bra twice, running out of gas won’t be far behind. I’ve always enjoyed working out, and since I’d been either growing a human or nourishing one for the past three years, I’d not found the want or time to spare within myself, for myself. It is very funny to me, this concept of getting in better shape, given that I will likely gain 40 or so pounds during my pregnancy with the twins. I really want to be a good “starter home” for them, though. I look at this like the remodel project going on in my own home. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money, I wanted to be almost entirely hands on throughout the renovation process, and I wanted to stand back at the end of it and say “it is NOT perfect, but I am PROUD of it!” I can’t do much to change some of my physical flaws like stretch marks, or a bust that had indeed gone bust, but I can be proactive with things like diet and exercise in an effort to learn to love myself in a healthier way.

Another silly thing I did was to purchase a scale. I did this because I didn’t want that cold, depressed chill to course through my entire body when I went for all of my lab work with my new OB. The chill that I am describing was particularly icy, especially since I’d stepped on with all the confidence of a newly minted gym rat that had been “food conscious” for two weeks at this point. Three little numbers. 1. 2. 3. that’s it, but that’s all it takes. I stood on the scale disappointed with the black numbers that wavered slightly before my eyes. After all of my hard work, I’d not managed to lose one EFFING pound. NOT ONE. My heart sank in disappointment. “This is why I did not want one of these in my house!” I announced to the dogs, children, god, and the teddy gram box that was still out from Lucy’s snack earlier that afternoon. I put the scale away, along with my disappointment, and vowed to continue my healthy lifestyle change, but to not be as strict with the food, simply because I didn’t like who I was anymore. I honestly don’t know how people do it, dedicate themselves mind body and soul to good food choices AND a good exercise regiment ALL the time. After 10 days of dieting and exercising together, I was EXHAUSTED. I couldn’t eat one more bowl of carrots and broccoli. Healthy chia seed pudding? You mean healthy chia seed PUKE? It made me feel very low and down on myself, I was in a place I don’t want to be in mentally. Physically of course I’d love to be thinner, roll-less, and perky, but I needed to set my sights on realistic goals, and that’s exactly what I have done and will continue doing. We’ve hit the gym five days a week for a little over six weeks now, and while I’m not where I’d like to be in terms of seeing results, I told Steph that I am at least confident in my ability to run should my “thick” ass find itself being chased by a monster. Bagels, guys…. I mean… baby steps.

Will you be my baby doctor?

The weeks seemed to fly by the entire month of May as I painstakingly awaited an email letting me know my Gestational Carrier Agreement, or legal contract, had been finalized. I refreshed my email eagerly every couple of hours in search of so much more than an email from Carters or Kohls. Alas, nothing came of it. I nervously chattered to anyone that would listen about my trepidation regarding my upcoming appointment with who would hopefully be my OB for the duration of my pregnancy. “What if she tells me something awful, something that disqualifies me?” I nervously asked Steph for the hundredth time. “Dude, CHILL. You have had model pregnancies and deliveries, what have you got to worry about?” Steph would lovingly say each and every time I asked her this question. I think maybe it was my short conversation with that former surrogate I mentioned in my last blog, because prior to my conversation with her, I lived blissfully unaware that something could come up at the 11th hour. “They find out some pretty interesting things when you go through all of those health screenings” she’d said to me. Interesting? I have been very healthy throughout my life, I have gone to all appropriate preventative appointments, and I have taken necessary steps to ensure my health stays good. I should have nothing to fear, but then of course, the day of the appointment came and there we were, me and fear, chilling in the waiting room. A very cheerful young woman called out my name and invited me back to the exam room. “We’ll get your weight, and a urine sample, then we’ll head back to meet Dr. B.” I stepped on the scale and to my surprise, I was DOWN  a couple of pounds. “Oh thank god!” I said to her as we walked back to the office. “I’ve never paid much attention to the number on the scale until recently, and it is ruining my life.” We both laughed as she gestured to a chair for me to have a seat in. “So it looks like you are here because you want to be a surrogate?” she asked excitedly. “yes, I do. I already have a match made and I just need the testing and exam to provide that last bit of clearance.” “I think that is AWESOME! I hated being pregnant, so I could never do something like that!” She announced. “Well, Dr. B will be along shortly, if you could just remove your clothing and slip into the gown on the table.” As she exited the room I took a deep breath and sized up my new gown. Of course I’d worn a dress that had an impossible back closure, one that I’d needed Steph to fasten all the way because I couldn’t even come close to reaching it. I got it off in record speed and sat up on the table, trying to pick out an interesting ceiling tile to stare at for the duration of my exam.

“Knock, Knock!” said a friendly voice as the door opened. “I am Dr. B, I am so excited to meet you!” We ran through my medical record, and highlights of my both of my pregnancies and deliveries. “I have told patients before, some people are just built to have babies, I wasn’t at either of your deliveries, but those are some really large babies to have delivered, you should be proud of that!” I never know what to say to people when they make comments like that. I know of course that it is intended to be complimentary, but what do I say in return? About an hour after I’d given birth to Charlie, the nurse doing his measurements announced to the whole room “That’s the biggest head I’ve ever measured on a newborn!” Do I say “yes, I know I just delivered it!” or do I just say thank you and move on?  I had a woman at the zoo notice Charlie in my arms a few weeks ago, she said to me “My god he is ENORMOUS! Did you deliver him vaginally?” I laughed as I told her that I did, and that I had really great drugs before and after. Dr. B went on to tell me that she has worked with surrogates before, and it is an endeavor that she always enjoys being part of. ” I think that based on your history, you could absolutely deliver these babies vaginally, so long as baby A is in position, and so long as that is what you would like to do.” she said to me with a smile. “That’s great! I am a little afraid of a C section, of course that’s only because I’ve never had one. If I don’t have to have one, I will be thrilled!” Realistically, the babies will be delivered the safest way possible regardless of my fears or preferences. I don’t want a C section because I know that the recovery time is significantly longer, and at the end of this delivery, I will still have two children to tend to once I get home. We finished our conversation and moved on to the exam, where she used every OBGYN’s favorite catch phrase, “scoot down.” It was over and done with, and we both laughed as I told her that I’d rather go to these appointments than the dentist, ANY TIME. I fulfilled my blood test requirements, then headed home to be with my kiddos. I was told as I left that it would take “one to two weeks” to get my results via mail.

As I drove home, I reflected on what an odd feeling it was to have just selected the doctor that will oversee my health and that of these precious surro-babes with absolutely no input from my “intended parents.” Our contract had not been finalized, thus, our contact information had yet to be exchanged. I wanted to call them. I wanted to tell them with great excitement that I’d found “the one”, I wanted to reassure them that we would be in great hands, and that the provider I’d selected was knowledgeable and experienced with Gestational carriers. I wanted so badly to tell them all of these things, and knowing that I could not just took the wind out of my sails. I mean I saw M’s last name flash on my screen with our first intial Skype conversation, this particular part of the process might just be worthy of breaking all the rules, looking like a total creep, and finding them on Facebook to share the good news. After every prenatal appointment I’d ever had, I could always count on a joyous “after” phone call with either Casey, or my mom to discuss with joy, the progress of the baby. Here I was, not even pregnant, but feeling like I’d left out a huge piece of this puzzle. I don’t necessarily know what J and M’s response to this news would’ve been, but I felt like my happiness and excitement was dimmed slightly because it could not be shared with the two of them. I called our case manager, “C” on my way home from the doctors office and let her know that I’d fulfilled my requirements. C told me that we were just waiting to hear back from J and M’s attorney at this point, and that we’d probably be communicating with each other by weeks end. I was thrilled to hear this, and so I waited.

New friend request.

Days passed by and then came the next week, NOTHING. I stopped checking my emails on Monday using the “a watched pot never boils” logic. To my surprise and excitement, there were two emails greeting me on the Tuesday the 30th. One email was from C, she was letting me know the contract was finalized and providing me with J and M’s contact info, and the other from J. I cried such happy tears as I read his email and wrote a quick response, FINALLY, I thought! I am new to this world of contracts and legal processes. I have learned both from purchasing a home, and going through this process, that anytime there is any sort of legal or contractual process involved, there can, and likely will be delays. Nearly three weeks had passed us by since the proposed date of finalization for the contract, during this time I felt myself wondering if J and M were as antsy, and silently impatient, as I was. Then, there it was… I had run a marathon bigger than the map had displayed, and I was finally at the finish line with my co-racers. I was at last, able to look back on my short, but winding road and be proud to have made it to at least the middle. J and I exchanged some back and fourth conversation via email, and decided that we would set up a time to Skype or facetime on Sunday June 11th. I could wait 12 short days, I told myself, but offered to let them be a part of my Facebook or instagram profile in the mean time. Minutes later, I had a friend request from J. I wonder if he could see the overeager-ness hanging on the words in my email, or if he too felt the same way. Later in the day, I got another friend request, this time from M. I don’t really post anything controversial, I don’t dabble in politics or fighting on Facebook, but I found myself worried that they’d see something they didn’t like. I’d told them when we met that I was very public about this journey, that I was writing a blog, and that I’d had the support of all of my friends and family, all true things. I still wondered if when faced with my postings about the surrogacy process itself, they’d feel a level of discomfort reading about how I interpreted what was largely THEIR journey on my Facebook page. By becoming friends with them on social media, we were mutually allowing each other to begin the discovery process about the person we’d just signed a legal contract with. A little backwards perhaps, but exciting no less. We had access to photos, status updates, check in’s, both old and new… its like viewing the photo albums of a family you’ve only barely met. I told Steph “I don’t want to over-like their things because I don’t want them to think that I am sitting here stalking them… I don’t know what the rules are here, I’ve never played this game!” It was true, I hadn’t. I equate this feeling to that of having a new crush when you are younger. ” I know he likes me, and I like him, too, but I’m still going to play hard to get.” I wouldn’t post the typical nine million pictures of my children, I’d cut that down to just six or seven million. I wouldn’t like everything they posted, just “some of it.” Finally, I’d heed Steph’s advice, and not “like” anything that was too far back for fear it would make me look stalker-esque. At this point, I am very ready to talk to them, very ready to get to know them without there being an interview agenda, and very ready to begin building what I hope is a forever relationship with them. J, M, Casey, and I are set to have a chat on Sunday the 11th, and I am counting down the days, writing down the questions I have to ask them, and thinking of what they could have to ask us in return. All of the waiting we’ve had to do will be made worth it once I see their bright, eager, smiles fill the screen as we chat away. I’m not even worried about awkward silences, or what I’ll wear like I typically would be in circumstances like this. I got the impression that J and I could talk for hours like old friends when we’d only first met. I feel like M and Casey have enough in common personality wise that perhaps they will have many things to talk about, too. Of course, there is always the future to discuss if we run out of content in the “getting to know you” category.

Testing. Testing.

At this phase of our journey, I am coming closer to facing the less desirable parts of this journey…. namely, the IVF injection cycle. I received a welcome email from the doctors and staff members at Oregon Reproductive Medicine that will oversee J, M, and I through this process. I had a phone call with “H” one of our coordinators, and we discussed what the next steps will be from here. I think in my mind I got too attached to the idea of an August embryo transfer, and thus, my disappointment when I confirmed with H that the transfer would need to be pushed back by at least a month or so. It is amazing, these babies are not “here” in terms of being in utero, but I am already so excited for them to exist within this world, that I felt a sadness in that being put off. Uh-o! I’m showing emotions… I care about these babies and their daddy’s emotions…  but, of course I do. I am eager to see the process through so that I can see the process begin in terms of J and M’s new little family. I’m not sad for me that the transfer is delayed, I’m just a bit bummed for them that they will be waiting even longer for something that I’m sure has already felt like forever. I will travel to Portland around the first week of July for a “uterine evaluation” at Oregon Reproductive Medicine. It is a quick procedure where the uterus is visualized and evaluated to make sure that it is strong enough, and safe enough to withstand a pregnancy. At this appointment, I will meet the reproductive doctor and his team that I will be working with through my first trimester. I will learn how to give myself the required injections, and I will be given a list of very time sensitive dates and instructions for completing each step of this process. I went through the packet sent to me by H, it was 21 pages long, very detailed, and lets just say I am grateful we will be going over it at length on my first visit with the clinic. I am hopeful to take my brother Evan with me for this quick day trip, just as support, and a great source of comedic relief from what I’m sure will be an information packed day. It feels great to have an idea of when I will be traveling to start this next phase, as it is also a date where I must cease fire on many other things. The directions said “only one 12 ounce serving of caffeine is permitted. Sexual activity with your partner must cease on the date of your last active birth control pill. No alcoholic beverages may be consumed. Only Tylenol may be used for pain relief.” I am only paraphrasing, as it said those things and then some in much greater detail. As I read about this process, I felt like I was reading a list of can and “cannot-s” for the early weeks of pregnancy. I can do all of these things no problem, its just another new adjustment period in this journey. Admittedly, the only thing I am sad to see again, is that Tylenol will have to be my primary source for any sort of pain/fever relief. I got a really nasty cold about two weeks before I had Lucy. I pleaded with my OBGYN for some kind of miracle relief, only to have her laugh at me and say “well, you can take Tylenol, or you can take two of these M&M’s I have on my desk and pretend they are something better. Either way, there really isn’t much I can do for you, dear.” Tylenol sucks, so naturally, I took the M&M’s… red ones, and pretended they were ibuprofen. I am sure as I go through the packet with the reproductive center things will not seem so daunting. I have a very real, very deep respect for women that have to go through this process because of infertility. I cannot even imagine having to go through this process like so many women before me, knowing that my body has been unwilling to carry a pregnancy, and knowing what loss feels like. I think any sort of fertility struggle is painful and sad, but one that carries such great expense both literally and emotionally, weighs that much more, I imagine. I hope that I only have to go through one cycle, and that our transfer is successful the first time, but I know that it doesn’t always work that way. I too have to come to terms with some ugly Martha’s parading around in their “what if” sweaters. I vow here and now to remain positive, even when shots suck and my belly and butt wear the bruises of my efforts. Even when I experience mood swings or hot flashes… unless its on a day where the AC isn’t functioning at work, then forget the positivity. I know there are a lot of unknowns coming my way, but I’m ready. I think between J, M, Casey, and I we are up for the challenges that we may encounter on this winding road ahead of us.

Hello Again.

M’s name lit up my phone screen and sent my heart into a rapid percussion of excited beating. It had been two months since our last “face to face”, I felt like I’d been waiting for this moment for forever. Have you ever noticed that with people that are truly comfortable in their own skin,  and firmly footed in their lives and convictions, that there is a certain beauty about them? Call it an aura, call it whatever you’d like, but it is there with these kind of people. J and M filled my iPhone screen, and in an instant I was distracted by this aura. J and M sat comfortable in their home, eager, and delighted to be talking with Casey and I. The smile of a person that has this aura, or quality cannot be described in any other way other than to say it is the essence of joy. My heart sang with delight before more than a “hello” was exchanged between us. We not only made the right choice, we made the BEST choice.

Our conversation was flawless like it would be between old friends. We of course discussed these babies and our future engagements, but we also discussed ours fears, how this journey could stand to impact the LGBT community, and of course, we discussed sports. Another bridge was crossed, and I am so glad that we all, (J, M, Casey and I) met at the end of said bridge, and did a perfectly choreographed dance (think the thriller scene in 13 going on 30 my fellow chick flick watchers)… BAD WORDS. One of my lovely intended daddy’s felt so comfortable being himself with us, that he slipped my favorite four letter word. Yes, the F word and I are like star crossed lovers being reunited after an eternity apart, more important than the usage of this word, was the fact that these two are human beings, just like Casey and I. I think it was Miranda Lambert that once sang “I’ve got a mouth like a sailor and yours is more like a hallmark card”… well, I am glad that J, M, Casey and I all share in the beautiful duplicity that is being the sailor writing the damn hallmark cards. I hope that if J or M read this later they can laugh, I mean I’m not suggesting we write this shit down in a baby book, but it is such a silly memory that will always put a smile on my effing face. J and M are going to come to Oregon Reproductive Medicine for my initial meeting, something I was told by our coordinator “is not usually attended by intended parents.” I was thrilled that they immediately said they’d be there as I didn’t really want our first in person meeting to be the day their embryos were transferred into my womb. M made a comment during our call that while they are beyond excited, they are at the juncture where every new parent sits in the beginning… excited from afar. J and M also told me they will hang around for most of my three day stay in Portland when the time of the embryo transfer is upon us. I really did strike gold with these two. J and M are by their own admission, traveling down this path with very little knowledge or experience with “all things baby” nevertheless, they are both extremely agreeable students. I cannot wait to teach them what I know, and to learn some things with them, as this experience will probably serve us all a large portion of new found knowledge.

I discussed some other important things with J and M, things that I feel will impact this experience positively. First, I discussed the importance of having them here for the anomaly/gender reveal scan at 20 weeks. To my delight, J informed me that they already know the genders of these babies… drum roll please… ITS A SECRET! Of course if J and M decide to share the gender of their babes, then I will share with all of you, but until that happens… my lips are sealed! I am really, really, excited to carry these babies regardless, but now that I know what I will be carrying, I am even more excited to SHOP! J and M shared some name ideas with us, and because I feel I’ve already shared too much in sharing their genders, I will say the names they shared had to of been the universes way of winking at me… they are names very dear to my own heart, and if that is what they decide on, I will be lucky to share that in common with them also. I told them I think that the 20 week scan is important to attend because it is the first ultra sound you have during pregnancy where you have the profound visual experience of the miracle growing from within you. I’ll never forget watching the tech light up various areas on the baby and telling me that she was watching the “blood flow”, or watching a heart beat in real time, or the obvious best part… watching the break dance going on inside. I am sure this ultra sound will be my favorite also, as there will be two babies and a very excited audience watching them grow in real time.

Another very important visit on my checklist requires me to travel to J and M. I think that feeling a baby move from the outside is honestly the coolest thing, second only to feeling them move from inside. I think that bonding with the babies in that way is particularly important for J and M because we do not live a quick drive from each other, thus, interactions like these will be very limited. I want to travel to them because a large portion of their family resides in the same state they do, their work, their pleasure, and their life is there. I want J and M to connect with these babies in the same way I watched Casey do with our children. I want them to feel the dancing of their little ballerina or the kick boxing of their future athletic star. I want to afford them every opportunity I can, including the little ones that are often taken for granted. I will try my hardest to make them forget the distance between us by celebrating the quality in our relationship moving forward. J and M both told me how grateful and appreciative they are of this “gift” I’m giving to them, it is my hope that they also see the gift they’ve given to me once this process is completed. I could never repay them for the peace they are bringing to my being by allowing my to be a part of this with them, I am the one that is truly the luckiest.

No turbulence.

The next steps for all of us will be my day trip to Oregon Reproductive Medicine where I will get my calendar of dates and events for happenings with these surro-babes. I will get to meet J and M, and finally have a forecast for the weeks ahead. As our conversation ended tonight (6/11/17) I told J and M that I loved them. I know those three little words carry a lot of weight behind them, but I also know that when you truly feel it, you should say it. I said it and it felt perfect. I knew the first time I spoke to them that they were it for me, a feeling that was so powerful, it consumed me with delight for days. Casey always does a great job of telling me “why” he loves me, and not just saying the words out of habit. With that in mind, I love their hearts, I love their chemistry as a couple, I love their individual and joint journeys in life, and I love their joy. I said it earlier, people like them just have that special something. In the beginning it was J’s southern accent and M’s kind smile, but in the span of just two phone calls, it has become a far more detailed picture… think the Mona Lisa. I don’t have anything else to share now except tears of elation if you catch me in person and bring this up. I will be back to share more next month, but until then, think happy thoughts, say a prayer, and send us any and all of your positive vibes. Thank you J, Thank you M, and thank you all that are supporting us as we go. We are officially cleared for take off, and we are hopeful for nothing but blue skies until we reach our final destination.

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