Friday, January 30, 2015

Birth Pics

Our complete story in a 6 minute video put together by my talented husband: 

These moments were captured by the talented Tammy Biles of Posers Photography by Tammy:


Thursday, January 22, 2015

939 days- (authored by: Laura Small)

939 days.  That’s the amount of time between when my 2 children were born.
 939 days that started with the worst day of my life and ended with the best day of my life.

On day 1, Jon sat by my side as I sipped a surprisingly delicious chocolate milkshake from the St. Vincent hospital kitchen as monitors beeped all around my ICU room, and he told me that they had to take my uterus.  As I dissolved into tears and leaned into his chest, all I had to say was, “Promise me we’ll adopt a Grace.” 

“I promise,” he said.  And so began a 939 day long journey.

Then surrogacy became a legitimate option.  Then Carin came into our lives.  Then our doctor at Oregon Reproductive Medicine told us on our initial consult, “There is no reason this shouldn’t work.  You’re not infertile, you’re just missing a part.”  Then on May 5, the nurse who wheeled Carin down to the car after the embryo transfer who asked Carin, “So how does it feel to be pregnant?” 

And so began 39 weeks that tested every nano-ounce (I totally just made up that word) of patience I thought I had.  The feeling of knowing your baby is tangible but untouchable is excruciating. 

But the days and the weeks and the months ticked by.  Many people suggested I keep a journal through the pregnancy to have as a keepsake and give to Baby Small when they were older.  I didn’t have to keep a journal because every day was exactly the same.  I was stressed and missed my baby.  All I could do was pray for Baby Small and Carin more than I have ever prayed before.

And finally, induction day arrived.  We were a little late getting out of the house so when we dropped Noah off at his grandparents’ house, the good-bye was a little rushed.  I hugged that boy with everything I had and didn’t want to let go.  In the several weeks leading up to this, I wanted to spend as much time just enjoying Noah as I could.  I neglected the groceries and the house and other errands, but I didn’t care.  I knew I would mourn the exclusive time that we have together a couple days a week once the baby arrived and I wanted to just soak in this little person who I will always think of going through the trenches with.  We were both fighters the night he was born and because of that, I will always feel like we have a unique and special connection as mother and son.  He made me a mommy and I knew, even though I desperately wanted Baby Small to be here, that Noah and I would never have a time like this again together.  Change is hard for me, even good change.  Letting him go that morning, when he really didn’t have a clue how life was going to change for us, was so hard.  He deserved a never-ending hug after putting up with a pretty stressed out and emotional mommy for the past year, but at some point I let go.  Our time as a family of 3 was over and it was time to go welcome our newest member.

We arrived at the hospital a little after the 8:00 check in time and by 9am, my patience was again being tested.  Not for any specific reason but because I could not believe that we were actually at the day.  This opportunity seemed like a far off dream for so long and I had a hard time coming to grips with the fact that I would be holding our little person by the end of the day.

As Carin was started on Pitocin, she, Peter, Jon and I played a board game, chatted, ate, and waited.  And waited.  I looked at a clock about every minute or two, willing it to hurry the heck up.  I felt nauseous all day too.  Here I was, sitting in the labor and delivery room with my baby in Carin’s tummy but it still didn’t seem real.   It still felt like I was here to support my friend that was going to have a baby.

As the hours passed, “real” labor kicked in and at one point Carin had her eyebrows scrunched, her hand over her eyes, was looking at the ceiling and muttered to no one in particular, “This is not fun anymore.”

Carin and Peter were amazing to watch through labor.  During our families’ initial meeting in November 2013, they talked about how they worked together during labor:  Peter was the coach and talked Carin through each contraction and push.  We were warned he might yell, if that motivated Carin, and they both had smiles on their faces when recalling the labors of Emma and Liam.  I was in awe of what I watched that evening.  Peter was right there with Carin and seemed to know what she needed and when.  He anticipated her needs and at times asked her to do more and she listened.  It was beautiful and so special to witness.

Around 6:30, Carin felt like it was time to push and nurses, a midwife and OB came in to help.  I changed into a shirt that would allow me to be skin to skin with the baby.  I tried my hardest to just take in the moment.  I looked around the room and watched the nurses and OB and watched the midwife lovingly take care of Carin.  Carin and Peter were in the zone by now and to watch Carin push and suffer through the contractions was so bittersweet.  I would have given anything for it to be me, but it was clear that her body really was made to do this.  She was so focused, so purposeful and so motivated about her breathing, the pushing, even making jokes when she had time.

I stood on the left side of her hospital bed and clung to Jon’s hand and watched the activity in the room, almost like I was having an out of body experience.  I told Carin earlier in the day that I’d had a vision of this day shortly after meeting her for the first time.  I saw the delivery room and I always stood on her left side.    To finally be there was surreal. . . and I still didn’t believe I was waiting for my baby.

About 15 minutes into pushing, the OB let us know that she could see the head and the light colored hair.  I’m not sure when my ugly crying really kicked into gear, but it’s possible that it happened in that moment.  It was then that Carin looked at me and asked me if I wanted to catch my baby.  I think I just stared at her.  I was trying to process her question and couldn’t speak.  So she asked me again and I mumbled “OK” through my tears and stood next to the OB.  There was my baby’s head.  There was the blonde hair.  He/she was so close and almost here!  The OB told me where to put my hands and how to “deliver” the baby with her.

In those short few moments, the past year began swirling through my mind.  This moment, this once in a lifetime moment, was worth everything we had gone through:  the injections and procedures for IVF, the battles with the insurance company, the outstanding balance on our credit cards from legal and medical bills, the weight gain from medication & supplements to induce lactation, pumping every 3 hours the past 5 weeks, the total lack of control over anything, the tears shed on almost a daily basis.  Here I was, ready to be the first person to touch this precious soul.

The next thing I know we saw the baby’s neck and the cord wrapped around the neck.  “Cry baby cry!” I thought.  The OB unwrapped the cord from around the neck but there was still a cord so the OB calmly said “Oh!  A double!” and unwrapped the cord again.  My baby still hadn’t cried and I was trying not to panic.  There was one last push and the baby was in my arms!  Now I could find out if I had a son or daughter.  I stared at the *diaper area* and my first though was, “Where is the penis?!”  I was so convinced that our baby was a boy that I fully expected to see a penis.  But I didn’t.  But I kept staring and again I asked myself “Where is the penis?”.  And then it clicked.  This baby was a girl. 

Everyone in the room knew Jon had the honor of announcing the sex, but he had trouble getting it out.  “It’s a. . .it’s a. . .it’s a girl!”  He was barely able to speak by the end of that sentence and was crying more than I’ve ever seen someone cry.  As this reality began to settle in, all I could do was hold my daughter, embrace my uncontrollable ugly cry and just heave my shoulders up and down.  “It’s Grace!  It’s Grace!” I yelled.  I wanted everyone to know she had a name.  I heard voices ask me more than once if I was OK and I always just nodded my head because I couldn’t speak.  I think they were afraid I was going to drop her but there was no chance of that happening.  At some point, I looked to my right and said to Jon, “Baby, it’s a girl!”.  The priceless look on Jon’s face will be burned into my memory forever.  He was sobbing with his eyes closed and looked broken and overwhelmed.  I don’t even think he heard me.  When it was time, Jon cut the cord and Grace was ours. 

I remember at some point looking at Carin while holding Grace and that’s all I was capable of doing:  looking.  I couldn’t smile, laugh, talk or even attempt a different facial expression other than the ugly cry.  I’m pretty sure she knew how grateful I was at that moment.

I sat down with Grace, she latched on and we started to breastfeed.  I was so proud that both of us looked like we knew what we were doing.  

After a few minutes, she needed to go under the warmer and the baby nurse took her measurements, administered a shot and eye antibiotic, all normal and routine.  The room had basically cleared out by then and Jon and I just stared at Grace while Carin started to recover.

And then things got scary.

Carin made a comment about how she felt like she was losing some blood.  My ears perked up and I turned around and saw as the nurse lift the white sheet draped over Carin’s knees.  The chux pad was red.

No, no, no, no, no.

Carin:  “Is there a lot of blood?”
Carin’s nurse:  “There’s more than we’d like there to be.”

I’m a nurse.  That’s code for “Yes”.

The room was suddenly flooded with staff again:  the OB, midwife and more nurses.  It was controlled chaos.  Medications being ordered.  Sterile procedures being prepped.  Multiple chux pads being weighed and the EBL (estimated blood loss) began to add up.

No, no, no, no, no.

I forgot about Grace.  I forgot about Jon.  I only had eyes for Carin.  I stared and her and prayed:  “Please God no.  This cannot happen.  This is not our story.  Please God no.”

The bleeding was controlled and everyone exited the room.  But it happened again.  Scrubs came back into the room and the staff was more excited than before.  Moving quicker.  Looking more anxious.  Orders were now barked and no one could move fast enough for anyone else’s liking.  I was holding Grace and sitting next to Jon now but I just stared at Carin while praying profusely.  I just wanted to stand up and yell, “I’m a nurse!”, grab some gloves and help.  It went against everything in me to just be a bystander.  They described her uterus as “boggy”, they ordered labs, they had the blood bank on the phone with 2 units on hold.  I was reliving Noah’s birth and I couldn’t move. 

Again, Peter and Carin worked as a team.  They were touching the entire time, Peter was talking to Carin in her ear and they looked like warriors.  Someone asked Carin if she was OK since she was shaking really hard and she said, “I’m not nervous.”  She was fighting.  Even Peter appeared cool as a cucumber.  They just kept fighting and working together.

They got Carin stable and it was time for our little family to leave the room and let Carin and Peter focus on themselves.  Before we left, Carin held Grace and I wanted the moment to last forever.   Carin had always said she just wanted to kiss the baby’s cheeks and she was able to do that.

 Grace was put back in her hospital bassinette and we all hugged good-bye.  I didn’t let Carin go for a long time, but when I did, I gave her a kiss, looked her in the eyes and said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”  The implication being, she was going to be well enough for us to visit tomorrow.  I refused to say the words “good-bye”.

Jon and I grabbed our bags and 2 nurses went with us and we all rolled Grace out the door into the hallway of the L&D unit.  I just stared at the floor.  After a few steps, I lost it.  I broke down and started crying again, this time, for my dear friend.  I hoped that she wasn’t able to hear me but I was crying pretty loudly.  I felt a nurse put a hand on my shoulder and I told our story in 1 sentence:  “I had a post-partum hemorrhage with my son’s birth and needed a hysterectomy.  That’s why we needed Carin.”  Suddenly I was engulfed with arms and hands rubbing my back and head.

I love nurses.

I kept crying and then asked, “Why is there a black cloud over our baby’s births?”  One nurse replied, “There is no black cloud.  Your babies are beautiful and Carin is going to be just fine.”

We settled in to our room and just prayed.  We sat up next to our phones and waited for news.  Peter kept us updated and when we heard that Carin had been stable for a while and hadn’t bled in some time, I felt like I could try to sleep, but it was still hard.  I kept crying and kept praying:  “Please God no.”

Sleep was not to be had that night.  Grace and I were up every hour trying to figure breastfeeding and burping out.  Sunday at 4:26am, nine and a half hours after Grace was born, Carin sent me a text saying she was stable but they were keeping a very close eye on her.  It was time to exhale and keep praying she stayed that way.  I knew that even when you’re stable, things can change on a dime and I couldn’t bare it if any more bleeding occurred. 

The next morning the sun rose and some amazing nurses made sure that our families were reunited, even though it went against policy of the NICU (where we stayed that night. . .but that’s a whole other story.)  I loved these nurses.  Policies be damned.  The nurses knew it was psychologically vital for all of us to have this time together.  Jon captured on video Emma (with Carin’s help) giving me Grace.  “Here you go, here’s your baby!” she said in her sweet little voice.  I couldn’t talk.  I was crying again.  That one simple sentence marked the end.  

This chapter of our families’ journey together was coming to an end.  The Shermans were all reunited and after lots and lots of good-byes, thank you’s, hugs and tears, the four of them left our room.

And now that we’ve been home for a few days and I can process the past 939 days, I can fully say in all honesty:  If it was not for the event’s that followed Noah’s birth, Grace wouldn’t be here, so I’m truly thankful for my journey that led me to her.   I feel back to “normal”.  Gone is this load from my proverbial shoulders that weighed on me day after day after day:  How are we going to grow our family?  What are our options?  What can we realistically afford?  How open are we with people about this?  Why do I feel so ashamed?  How are we going to grow our family?!

Although this experience has dominated my time, thoughts and energy over the past 2 and a half years, it won’t define me.  I won’t let it be my label.  It’s now just a part of my story, that Grace has been bestowed on me. 

Grace:  God’s unmerited, unearned favor.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Our Birth Story- (authored by: Carin Sherman)

When I began typing this I just stared at the screen for hours not knowing where to start. A lot of this experience has had no adequate words that could be put to the moments…but I will try.

January 17, 2015. I walked into the labor and delivery room a bit nervous from all of the anticipation surrounding this long awaited day. Baby Small was going to be welcomed into this world on THIS day. The baby was going to be brought into this warmly lit room with beeping machines. This was going to be the room that brought the ending to our time together.

Laura and Jon were shortly behind us as my nurse, Christina, checked us in for our induction. Her warm presence eased my anxieties and I could begin to laugh and joke around as I changed into the scratchy hospital gown and slowly began our induction process.

As I pulled the rough material over my skin my heart ached for my sleeping kids that were tucked into their little beds back at home. As many of you who have followed my blog know, this placenta lake raised concerns, which held with it, risks that possibly put baby Small and myself into possible scary scenarios. For the past 20 weeks I had felt in my heart that something might go wrong. Here I was preparing to fight for my life and this baby’s as my 2 ½ year old and 4 year old unknowingly were peacefully oblivious in their beds. 

The night before induction I had tucked our 4 year old, Emma, into bed and explained to her that we were going to the hospital the next day to give Laura and Jon their baby. As I told her she would be with grandma Jill that weekend she grabbed my hand and said, “Mom, look at me. Don’t be worried. There are angels all around you protecting you.” I awkwardly laughed and kissed her on the head and closed the door noting that strange lingo from a 4 year old and wondering where she heard about angels. It was never a conversation that we had held with her before. 

As my nerves began to fade I focused on the end goal. Finishing this race. Finishing strong.

-The Magical Part

Laura and Jon were in the room with us the entire time and that helped. We all played board games and laughed. I felt like I had this amazing team beside me and didn’t feel alone in this for a second.

My contractions were every 9-12 minutes when I entered into L & D but not strong enough to activate labor. We started pitocin around 10 am and Peter and I walked laps around to encourage the contractions. I did squats in the hallways and could FEEL the contractions but they didn’t HURT. Contractions began to get closer together at every 3-5 minutes. They soon administered my epidural around 2 pm and broke my water. I could feel contractions increase in intensity but with the epidural nothing was unbearable and I was still able to laugh and play games. 

Around 5 pm I changed positions and suddenly FELT the contractions switch. I think I muttered the sentence, “This isn’t fun anymore.”

I felt my competitiveness kick into gear and I knew game time was near. I felt my body remember what to do. I felt so empowered and strong. I knew we were getting close to pushing. I embraced each contraction and breathed through them. My Peter was right by my side holding my hand through each one. He is the most amazing coach and would talk me through each contraction. 

His voice is so strong. I channel into it and know he expects me to be strong. I know I can rise to that expectation and follow his guidance. He is my rock. I don’t need words for him to know what I need.  Our souls are connected in an almost telepathic way and he does everything right in times like this.  I couldn’t have done this without him.  He takes a step forward and I merely follow. Without his lead I would have been lost.

Around this time, Laura’s dear friend Tammy arrived. She was taking pictures of the birth for us and I barely knew she was there. If I caught her eye, I was given an encouraging smile and I was so grateful to have her there to capture these moments for us.

The nurse, who checked me in, Christina, turned out to be a blessing I directly thank God for. She was my voice and I trusted her. I felt so taken care of and advocated for with her near by. I knew her shift was ending around 7 pm and my goal became to give birth before her shift ended.

Laura and Jon were by my side the entire time. I could feel Jon and Laura hold their breath every time I had a contraction and felt like they were both laboring along with me.

Around 6:30 I was checked and was fully effaced and 10 cm dilated and ready to push. I knew I was ready to push before they checked because I felt an overwhelming pressure and my body kicked into gear of remembering what to do. I cannot put into words other than “empowered”. I love that my body was made to birth. It is beautiful and I feel so fulfilled with purpose.

This was the first time I ever requested a mirror and was able to watch each push lead towards progress. I thought it was beautiful. I think a few cuss words slipped out along with loud groans but I didn’t scream. I was able to breathe intentionally and use that energy to push baby Small with each contraction. I heard Peter who continued to tell me how long and hard to push each time.

The original birth plan was going to be for the OB to hold the baby below and cut the cord and place baby onto Laura for skin on skin right away. When I looked to my left I saw Laura in the corner and KNEW her place wasn’t in that corner. I asked her if she wanted to go catch her baby and she excitedly jumped in.

I saw Baby Small crown and breathed one last time and there SHE was… her mommy’s hands. They didn’t know the gender and asked Jon to announce it and his voice quivered as he said, “It’s a…It’s a… It’s A GIRL!”

I melted into Peter’s arms and as he told me how good I did and how proud he was…I glanced over at the Smalls. I will never experience anything like that again.

Laura held her baby and was speechless. As tears dripped down her face she said, “It’s Grace. It’s Grace!” The look she gave me as we connected eyes was something beyond what any human can ever say to another…with no words spoken. I FELT how grateful she was. I FELT overwhelming happiness. I FELT her heart.

Jon was able to cut the cord and as he stared at his baby girl…he broke. He hugged me and thanked me and held Laura and the glances they exchanged….there are no words. I can never adequately describe how much love was in that room.

There wasn’t a dry eye. Doctors, nurses, Tammy, all of us…we all cried as we took Grace in. As we embraced these moments.  

She is one of the most beautiful human beings this world will ever see.

Grace Finley Carin Small was born at 6:51 pm weighing 7 lbs 7 oz.

Yes! Her middle name is mine! I had no idea until they announced her name in that very moment she was born.

I broke. For some reason, I thought they were kidding at first and my reaction was “Are you sure? She has to live with that the rest of her life!” Laura said, “It’s always been your middle name.”

Another life moment that will never be forgotten and tucked into my heart forever.

Laura did skin on skin right away. Laura had been working months to have her breast milk come in and the long awaited anticipation of Grace breastfeeding was quickly fulfilled right after she was born. I saw Laura telling Jon that she latched and the world suddenly made sense. All was as it should be.

Laura and Jon have been holding their breath for months and at that moment that Grace latched on, I saw them both finally breathe. The confidence in Laura radiated off of her. The pride in Jon’s eyes overflowed as he kept doing double takes of his angelic little girl.

I was so proud of my body and myself.  I felt on such a high that I reassured Peter that I was okay and asked him to go get me some food. There was sushi right across the street and I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. Tammy headed home and my nurse Christina hugged me and went home as her shift was coming to an end. The room got quite and I breathed in the peacefulness.

That’s when everything changed.

-The Scary Part

I had my phone in my hand as the nurse was checking my bleeding and I felt a few gushes of blood. Suddenly, the room went black and began spin. I called Jon over and said, “I’m not okay…I’m going to drop this” and handed him my phone. That’s the last thing I remember. I didn’t pass out but it all happened so fast.

Doctors and nurses were called in and codes were being yelled out. I began to loose blood uncontrollably and too quickly. My body stopped listening to me. I began to shake all over and became so so cold.

I wasn’t scared. I had prepared for this. I knew it was a possibility of happening from the placenta lake that had always been a concern and in my mind thought, “Okay, next stage…I got this.”

Jon called Peter to come back and explained quickly that something wasn’t okay and I needed him there… fast. I can’t imagine how Peter felt getting that call. Luckily, he was in the hallway and was by my side in minutes.

They placed an air mask on my face and I soon heard Peter’s voice reassuring me he was by my side. All I could think about was how Emma has said, “Don’t be scared, you have angels all around you.”

The nurses and doctors were doing all they could to stop the bleeding. I was so unaware of all the things they were asking me but I trusted them. They did a lot to me down below which ended up being the hardest to recover from. Labor was easy on me. This, this was hard. I had hands inside of me trying to make sure the placenta was cleared. They inserted a Bakri balloon into my stomach, which is filled with saline and puts pressure onto my uterine cavity to stop the bleeding. If this didn’t work the next option was emergency surgery.

This is exactly what happened to Laura on the operating table when she had a C-section delivering Noah, which led to her loosing her uterus in a hysterectomy.  They hadn’t attempted the Bakri balloon for her then but it ended up saving me from having to experience her entire story. The balloon saved my life and my uterus.  I empathized so much for the things Laura had experienced. There was the feeling of loss of control, awareness that your life is in others hands and frustration in not being strong enough to fix this yourself.

I glanced over at Laura and Jon. They were stark white. I know they were so worried for me but they were also reliving their last experience that was so traumatizing.

Again, I was not scared. I didn’t even know what was going on to be honest. I think this part of our story was scarier for everyone watching it then for me. Poor Laura and Jon. Poor Peter.

The staff saw Laura and Jon so worried and swopped them and Grace off to their own room. I was out of it but they had the bleeding under control and I remember asking if I could hold Grace. They handed her to me and I was able to see her face. I was shaking so much I quickly handed her back after kissing her cheeks. Laura and Jon kissed me and they were ushered off by the staff and asked to give the medical team room to work.

I lost 2 litters of blood, which is about 40% of my blood. They had my blood on hand and ready for a transfusion but luckily the balloon stopped the bleeding just in time. The balloon needed to stay inflated inside of me for 12-24 hours and I was unable to move, eat or drink anything during that time.

The only other room they had open was in the NICU, so that was where Grace was. I couldn’t move to see her. She couldn’t leave the NICU because of protocol and that was hard. I had peace that she was safe with her mommy and daddy where she belonged. I didn’t remember holding her though so in all the chaos it felt disconnected that I had just delivered a baby.

That night was the worse and hardest night.

I was woken up every hour for my pain meds to be given. I threw up from all of the blood loss. I was starving and thirsty but wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything.

I was so cold and couldn’t stop shaking so they brought in a heating blanket to calm my body down. Every time I would nod off to sleep a monitor would go off beeping, a baby would cry down the hall or someone would check my vitals. I would be woken up the minute I began to drift off and it felt like a form of torture.

I just wanted to eat something, drink water and take a shower. I wanted to see Grace to allow it to make sense to my body on what I was doing this for and then fall into a deep sleep but was told I couldn’t do any of that.

By the time to the nurse shift switched, my angel nurse Christina walked in with a smile on her face and I just broke into her arms.

-Prayers Felt

Our story has had so many people praying over us all. The prayers were felt after this horrific night.

Christina took over and made everything right again. She requested they check my body and slowly remove the Bakri balloon at 12 hours if my body was responding, which it was. The doctors agreed and the balloon was removed and I was closely monitored to make sure bleeding didn’t begin again.

At that point I was able to eat! I was so weak at this point Peter had to feed me. I drank so much water and felt slowly like myself again.

Christina came in and helped give me a sponge bath. I brushed my teeth and began to feel like new again.

-The Full Circle Moment

At this point, all I wanted was to see Grace. Nothing was going to make sense of what my body was experiencing until I saw her. Another closure to my heart was for my daughter to see her and hand her to Laura and Jon. I knew that closure was essential for her psychologically. We were told by the hospital that this wasn’t going to be able to happen because of the placement of our rooms. That was before Christina came on to her shift.

She called around and got it approved to wheelchair me down into Laura and Jon’s room in the back of the NICU. She also pulled strings to allow us to sneak Emma and Liam and Peter through the back door at the NICU to meet Grace.

I went first and when I saw Laura holding Grace… It all made sense to my body. It always made sense to my brain but my body needed to see the full circle. Jon welcomed me with a big hug and “thank you.” Laura handed me Grace and this is a part of the story that words do not do justice again.

Those are moments my heart will hold onto forever.

When I pulled her away from momma she winced and began to cry for her mommy. (This was a sweet connection for my brain to see.)

Her eyes were wide open and she looked at me like she might remember my voice. She sneezed and got the hiccups and my heart jumped at the memory of that happening INSIDE of me just the day before.

My kids were born with long black hair, grey eyes and tan skin. This little girl had Noah’s nose. She had short blonde hair, dark eyes and pure white skin. She was breathtaking and my body forgot that I had carried her. I felt as if I was a visiting friend in the hospital and holding my dear friends baby. Which in all reality, I was.

She began to nuzzle to look for milk and clearly wanted her mommy back. Jon spoke and this day old baby actually turned its weak little head towards her daddy’s voice!

She knew them. She craved them. They were her safety.

She was so strong! She was smart. She was worth every ounce of all I had just experienced.

The love I felt for her (and still do) is that of a level that doesn’t exists to most. I had thought it would feel as a nephew or niece but it’s more than that and more distant then that at the same time. I feel pride. I feel protective. I feel peace of where she is. I feel closure. I know she is so adored and my heart feels….satisfied.

Completely satisfied.

I began to hear the chirping of my kid’s voices running down the hall. In came my babies. I hadn’t seen them since I had last tucked them into their beds Friday night.
Emma matter-of-factly said, “Oh there’s the baby. Did you give it to Laura and Jon?”

Laim had no idea what was going on. He simply touched the baby’s head and was more interested in the wheelchair.

Emma had the moment Laura and I had eagerly anticipated. She held Grace. She handed Grace to Laura and said, “Here you go. Here is your baby.”

The world held still.

Laura and I shared a look, a moment and that was all we had needed. Peter held Grace quickly and she looked up at him in a way that felt like a “Thank you,”.

We packed our little family up and left their family…. that we had all worked so hard to create. 

-The God moments

As we got settled into my new room that I would be monitored in for the next 24 hours, outside of our window was the most beautiful rainbow. It took my breath away.

I felt as if God was saying, “Well done. You did it. I am proud of you.”

Laura’s mom and sister came to visit me. The love and gratitude I felt from them is too much to try to describe as well. I will never in my life have been more honored to do something like this for another person/family.

I was soon released home the next day. My body is healing faster than I had anticipated. I am living on a high from all that we experienced. I often feel great and then suddenly have down fall of energy and need to sleep and feel depleted. Uterus contractions are more painful then I had remembered.

I anxiously await my milk to come in and hope to not get sick from that.  My love, Peter, is able to stay home and care for me and our friends have overwhelmed us with support in meals and encouragement.

I have been waking up from nightmares of when the delivery went astray. I wake up in a sweat and panicked. I know that will pass and my finally heart understands the trauma Laura had described when she had recounted experiencing the same things with her delivery with Noah. I share a bond with Laura that no one will ever be able to come near. She is more then a friend to me. She is a person God had picked out for me to share this story with.

When I returned home yesterday, I tucked Emma into bed. She said how glad she was that I was home from the hospital. She said, ‘Mommy, aren’t the angels beautiful?” I said, “Yes, thank you for sending them with me.” She said, “Oh you’re welcome. They sure do have big wings…”

This, my friends….. Is….

The End

 (Pictures from the delivery will be included in the next blog soon….)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

peering over the edge...

 Click. Click. Click.

I can feel this roller coaster I have embarked on slowly creak over the edge of the highest peak that's been so long anticipated for.

Click. Click. Click.

The wait is daunting and although I stay confident, that this ride will be well worth it, there are butterflies filling my stomach and I can't foresee the end to this drop.

Click. Click. Click.

When you're on a roller closer you can begin to feel dizzy at the thought of what's to come and begin to frantically cling to anything stable you can hold onto.

Click. Click. Click.

Your palms can begin to sweat and your focus becomes blurred. You feel as if you may throw up and everything inside of you wants to run but you’re strapped in.

Click. Click. Click.

I knew when I began this surrogacy journey that I could handle it. 

Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually I was fully prepared.

I had done my research and had an army of cheerleaders rooting for me from the start. My husband has held my hand and willingly taken the seat right next to me on this ride.

 The thrill of the unknown has been something that has made me feel more alive then I've ever felt before.  I am privileged to own this 'calling' as part of MY life story but it doesn't make it any less terrifying.

As delivery quickly approaches, any day, I can not put into words the feelings I feel. I can only describe the feeling of a roller coaster as it tips you over the edge into an unknown tunnel. Gravity takes over. Your breath is taken from you. You want to laugh, cry and scream all at once. There is fear mixed with euphoric happiness as you topple over that first drop.

 This placenta lake still holds a lot of concerns as we attempt to vaginally deliver baby Small at full term. The pressure placed on an already 'weak' placenta adds a list of heightened risks to this delivery. (Baby distress, placenta abruption, emergency c-section, hysterectomy, blood transfusions)

I wish my fears were the normal fears of labor pains and labor recovery but my fears fall into a deeper, intimate place of the panicked need to return home to MY family. I have two little humans that need their mommy still... BUT I have a race to finish... And I plan to finish strong

 I try remind myself to not to sit in the 'what if's'.

If you ride a roller coaster and focus on all the mechanics that could potential break you would miss the ride or never get on it in the first place.

Click. Click. Click.

This beautiful roller coaster I am currently on is almost over. It's the last roller coaster I will ride like this and with it will bring a beautiful human being into this world that the world desperately needed.

A ridiculously talented photographer (and now dear friend of mine), Veronica Gillas, captured pictures that helped me refocus into my initial dream that had made me originally want to become a surrogate.


This is beautiful.
This is my life.

This is me fulfilling my purpose in this world.
This is me stepping into a dark place for friends and showing them God's beautiful plan for them.

This is trust.
This is being vulnerable.
It's scary.

It's real.
It's faith.

It's breath taking.


Looking at these pictures I remember the truths that brought me to this season of life. I hold those truths close to my heart.

Click. Click. Click.

As gravity takes over as you go over that edge, the rest of the ride and the clinking of that metal become completely silent...



I will stop thinking and FEEL the air in my face.
 I will BREATHE in the stand-still moments my heart will cling onto to remember. 
I will put my arms up and scream bloody murder and laugh until I cry.... 
Because this is what living is all about.

This majestic ride.

Just enjoy it because anything else is doing a disservice to what God knew you were fully capable of.