Friday, November 5, 2010

A special Homecoming & my last post...

The babies are HOME!!! :) They made their journey into the real world Friday the 12th of November. I am overwhelmed with happiness for Ann and Joe and their families. What a joyous day! AND they got to come home together which I think must be some sort of small blessing. With Liam having his surgery I had always thought he would have to spend more time in the NICU. Maybe Luke was waiting for his brother because he didn't want to leave him behind :) We got to go over and visit and they look so content being home with mom and dad. And for the first time we got to see what they actually look like without the tubes and monitors. I didn't think they could get much cuter, but of course they always surprise me with how they continue to get more and more adorable :) Leo and Carmela FINALLY got to see the outcome of those months of my big belly! They were cute with the babies - petting their heads and unintentionally poking them, in a nice way of course - lol. Leo just keeps talking about when they get bigger and can come play with him and go to school with him! There were many times along the way where it was unknown what the outcome would be, so the fact that both babies are home and healthy is such a relief.

So I come to the end of this journey. As for me, I question what the future will hold. I am pretty sure I wouldn't qualify to be a surrogate again, what with having delivered at 30 weeks, and also having 3 c-sections under my belt (or belly I guess!). Many people lately have been questioning my emotional state after having the babies. I know it seems hard to believe or understand, but I truly have no "maternal" bond to the babies. I don't feel any sadness that they are no longer with me, but rather a happiness that they are where they were meant to be all along. I guess the best way to describe it is that I feel like they are my nephews. I love and care for them deeply and only want the best for them, but I know and feel that they are not mine. This became perfectly clear to me the first time I got to see them in the hospital. They were tiny and seemingly fragile and Ann told me I could reach my hand in their isolette and touch them. I did, and really just agitated them and felt a little uncomfortable about it. I felt sad because I had taken care of them for so long, and now I didn't know how to comfort them and help them. But then Ann put her hand in the isolette and knew exactly where and how to lay her hand over the babies. I know this because as soon as she touched them, they immediately relaxed and became peaceful. That was amazing! It proved to me (even though I already knew this) that being a mom and having a mother's instinct/connection has nothing whatsoever to do with carrying the babies! Being a mom is SO much more than that.

I am so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to be able to do this. All in all, rough patches and smooth sailing, the happy ending I was dreaming of helping to create for the past two years is here! And there are 2 very special people (and 2 special babies) that I want to thank for giving me that chance.

Dear Ann and Joe,
Seeing you both at home with your babies has to be one of the best feelings I have had in a long time. It seems crazy to think that we met less than a year ago, and here we are 11 months later and you are holding the 2 most precious things that will forever change your lives! I am so thankful for getting the opportunity to be a part of this. Brandon and me knew the day we met you guys that you would be awesome parents - it's just a feeling that you conveyed with your words and actions how deeply you wanted children. This feeling was confirmed every step of the way. It was so strange how the whole journey unfolded and fell into place - it seemed every detail came to be by fate. I feel like Luke and Liam were in the works long before any of us had ever even thought about it. They were meant to be here with you.

You have both been an inspiration to me. You have such an unconditional love for everyone/everything in your lives and you are so accepting and grateful for everything life has dealt to you, both the good and the bad. Just from the short conversations I have had at your baby showers with the people who know and love you best, it is clear how generous and genuine you are. You have touched so many people's lives and that is shown by the wonderful people that surround you! You so deserve to have your own family you wished for. Everyone I talked to said the same thing to me. "You couldn't be doing this for a better or more deserving couple." And I couldn't agree more! I love you guys and I hope you enjoy every moment with your little angels. Thank you for inviting me and my whole family into your lives. I hope we can continue to be a part of your life so that we can see what wonderful and caring young men you will raise :)

Dear Luke and Liam,
If you ever have the opportunity to read this blog, I want you to know that the both of you have a very special place in my heart. You are courageous and strong fighters, and I want you to know you can be anything and do anything you set your mind out to. You have a mom and dad that love you more than the world, and have loved you far before I got the opportunity to meet you. You are so very lucky to have the family that you do - they have prayed and waited so long to have you both. I loved getting to help bring you to them - even in the most uncomfortable of times, you were both a joy to carry around! Luke, you were comfy cozy the way you were (you settled in head first and never budged) but there wasn't a moment of the day I worried about you because you were constantly pushing, kicking, squirming! You definitely didn't want to be messed with. My son Leo would always lay his head on my belly over you and you would kick him off every time- lol! Liam, you were a funny little guy because although you were constantly moving and changing position, I very rarely felt you move at all. You must be the sneaky one - watch out mom and dad! You are full of surprises - everyone was so concerned over your health and well-being once we found out you needed surgery when you were born. You sure showed them! You soared over all of your hurdles like nothing :) You are a very determined little man and I know that will allow you to excel in whatever you do in life.

Although you are both still so tiny, you have taught me so many things! Through this experience I have learned to trust my heart and to have the courage to follow what I believe in, despite what others may say. You have taught me to appreciate every single moment and never take things for granted, and that miracles do happen! I feel I am a stronger person for having been a small part of your lives, and I am thankful for that. I can't wait to see what amazing things you will both accomplish in your lives. We all love you both very much, and I know with the support team you have behind you that you have everything you could ever need, but please know we are always here for you no matter what!! :)

A while back after visiting with her boys, Ann sent me a text that said "I love them so much, it makes my heart hurt". Isn't that exactly the feeling of being a parent, if you could capture the feeling with words? I thought to myself, Yes! And being able to allow someone to feel this, that small but profound phrase, THAT is why I am/was/will always be in my heart, a surrogate.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A visit with the boys...

Can I take a moment to brag on my little surro-boys?? :) They are SERIOUSLY cute and growing so fast! We went for a visit this past week and they are just a month old. In the picture of Ann and me holding both of them, I have Liam (on the left) and she has Luke (on the right). The shy boy with his hand to the camera is Luke - it's so funny because in all of the ultrasounds he always had his hand up to his face, as if to say he wants to be left alone :) And in the bottom picture I'm holding Luke. They are doing so wonderfully - they are both almost at 5 pounds, taking bottles, and I believe in the past couple of days since seeing them they have had their nose-buds (that give them extra oxygen) taken out, and also their supplemental feeding tubes removed as they are taking bottles like champs :) I am so proud of how great they are doing - I am really hopeful for them that they will make their way home within a couple weeks! And even with his surgery, little Liam is keeping up with Luke in weight and all of his milestones.

This visit was the first time I got to hold them, so of course it was very exciting!! It is really difficult to go through a pregnancy and deliver babies and not be able to hold them - and that is coming from a surrogate's point of view. I can't imagine how hard that would be to be the parent and not get to hold your child immediately. Something so simple, yet so easily taken for granted when you have had full term babies. But all of this waiting and patience will pay off - it will just be that much more exciting when they get to go home! It's amazing how simply holding a tiny baby can make you feel so at peace. They are so very precious - you can't help but not want to put them down. I can't believe it has already been a month since I was carrying them around, but yet it seems like they have been here forever all at the same time.

As for me, my incision is *finally* fully healed, so I feel fantastic. It was really bothering me having all of those problems. I have a pound or two to go to get back to pre-pregnancy, and am already back in all my old clothes (yay for that!!). It's amazing what not having a newborn to take care of can do for recovery - lol! Pumping is going much better. It's not nearly as painful anymore and I feel like I have gotten the hang of it. I can't quite produce enough to cover both of the boys feedings, but definitely the majority so I feel good about that. I really have no idea how moms out there pump for months and months (who have trouble nursing) AND have to then feed their babies what they pump. That would be utterly exhausting... I have a newfound appreciation for these women for sure! Really I have a new appreciation for ALL of the people that are involved with pregnancy and babies. I have met some amazing doctors, nurses, and hospital staff throughout this journey - such caring and genuine people who truly just want to help. It takes someone with a special heart to be able to so deeply care for the tiniest of patients and give them the best chance at life possible! It restores a lot of my faith in people in general that I had temporarily lost with my first journey. And because of these wonderful people, hopefully my next post will be that the boys are home!! :)