Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good blog post about parenting little bitty ones

http://dougandbill.blogspot.com/2011/12/11-lessons-for-those-thinking-about.html

Monday, December 26, 2011

5 years ago today

The day after Christmas. Five years ago today we had five kids living at home. The three older kids had gotten money for Christmas from several people and it was burning a hole in their pockets. We took them to the mall and they shopped. I sat a lot because I was 8.5 months pregnant with twins. No contractions at all though. The Columbia Mall had massage chairs at that time and I can remember Sarah and I sitting in the chairs getting a massage and it felt wonderful on my poor back. After the mall we came home and got Hardees. I ate a huge hot ham and cheese and curly fries. Not twelve seconds after I took the last bite my water broke. Not a single contraction....just bam. I went to the bathroom and there was blood. A lot of blood. We called a babysitter and then went down the street to the hospital. I was supposed to deliver in the next town but was nervous about the blood. That turned out to be a good decision. When I got to the OB Triage, I was dilated to an 8 but had complete placenta previa (how, exactly, did my OB miss that one?). I had an immediate emergency c-section and thankfully the babies and I were all fine.

Five years has passed since that day. Dylan and Ella are now in pre-K and getting ready for kindergarten. Their dad continues to send me pictures and their grandparents send me an e-mail once a year, on their birthday, thanking me for their grandchildren. Surrogacy is about creating families and I'm so thankful that these wonderful people allow me a glimpse into their family.

Life around here has changed a lot in the last five years. My role in the surrogacy world has changed from a "grower" to a mentor. I am in the background now. I do a few interviews a year and write an article or two here or there. Some people say that you are always a surrogate but I don't think I agree with that. I was a surrogate. Now I'm a mom and a friend.

Our kids, who were 8,8,13,13, and 15 have grown another five years. We have gone from having them wake us at the crack of dawn to open presents on Christmas day to us actually having to wake them up yesterday morning so they could open presents. We have gone from two in grade school, two in middle school, and one in high school to two in college, one in the workforce, and two in middle school.

Five years ago I was working a crappy factory job. I now work in a professional lab and have had two papers published about my research.

Life is so different now and yet very much the same. My time is taken up with kids, work, and my husband. I have little free time and little time to myself but I can see that changing as the kids get older. I'm not one of those that wishes the years away. I can see that we only have five years left until the younger ones are 18 and it is exciting for them and a bit sad for me. They are growing so fast and time seems to be speeding up rather than slowing down. Joe and I both try to embrace and enjoy every minute with them because time seems to be slipping away faster and faster.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Put in my place by a 3 year old

So I'm in the store, waiting in a ridiculously long line, and the kid in front of me is not waiting patiently. His mom has two other youngsters and has her hands full. So I kneel down in front of the kid and we start rifling though my purse together trying to find something entertaining.

Note to self: get a discreet container for instead cups and pads if you're going to share your purse with an unknown kidlet.

So he finds my pictures and he's going through. There are pictures of all five kids, the grandbaby, some family shots, etc. There's also pictures of all five surrobubs. Think explaining surrogacy is hard with adults...try it with a three year old.

Conversation went like this:

Who they?
Those are some friends' babies.
Where they live?
Boston and Sweden.
Huh?
Boston and Sweden.
Why you have their pictures with pictures of your kids?
They are very close friends' babies.
Why?
We like them a lot.
Why?
Because they are special.
Why? (man I don't miss 3 year olds one tiny bit)
Because they are family too.
How?
Because I grew them.
These pictures are old?
No.
(Look of total confusion while he rifles through for the grandbaby picture and then compares it to the newest surrobaby picture)
How can you grow babies and be a grandma? Nah...you're too old for that.

Out of the mouth of babes as they say.

So to answer the question of how do you know when you should retire from surrogacy: when random three year olds tell you to. The end.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's strange

Many moons ago, when all five kids were still at home, parenting didn't seem like a full time job. Yes, it consumed my time as did work. However, I felt as if I still had time for myself. What's weird is that now, with only two kids at home, I feel like between my job and the kids I have two full time jobs. I think it's because with only two at home we have time to be so much more involved in their lives. Add to that the fact that one of them is so INVOLVED in everything. And I do mean everything. It just seems like every spare moment that I don't spend at work, I spend either taxiing kids, helping with homework, cooking (egads the cooking to be done for two teenage boys) talking, listening...just parenting in general.

And today it struck me....what in the hell will I do with my time when these kids are gone? I will still work from 6:45 until 4:30. But then what? I can actually have time to work out every night. I can cook (but honestly after so many years of cooking for so many, I fully intend to go on a cooking strike for several years after the kids are gone). That still will leave me with hours of....wait for it. Free time. I'm not so sure that that's a good thing. Free time is for the birds. I guess I could be one of those poor pitiful souls that still attends high school basketball games after she doesn't have a kid on the team any longer. NOT. I will have to find a hobby. How weird. I can't tell you the last time I got to sit around and ask myself what I actually want to do with my time. It is still five years away but this all feels so uncomfortable.

Maybe I can convince the boys to live at home forever? Yeah....I don't think they'd go for that. One talks of taking the NBA by storm. The other wants to work for a computer design company and according to his math teacher, who I ran into at a dinner party the other day (hold the phone....I went to a dinner party? Yep, sure did. With the mayor and the police chief, and several others who either are or think they are movers and shakers in this town. And I mingled (gasp). And I wore a dress (double gasp). And I wore high heels (triple gasp). And I wasn't out of place (holy bacon))

I digress. Anywho, his math teacher, who I ran into at a dinner party the other day, says he has the brains and the gumption to make all his dreams come true. Yay. Good job boy #3. Love hearing good things about the kids.

It's weird to think that in five or six years we might be empty nesters. I don't feel old enough to be a grandmother, yet I am. I don't feel old enough to have a son-in-law, yet I do. I don't feel old enough to have all my kids in their teens or older. Yet I do. This whole aging thing is really happening. The kids really are growing up. I am so proud of all five of them and I can't imagine what the future holds, so I guess I will just hold on for the ride like I have learned to do since that fateful day when I was 17 and met a guy that called me beautiful and proposed marriage. It's been an amazing ride for the last 22 years and I wouldn't change a single thing. Life is good.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Jealous

Ok, I admit it. I read a lot of other surrogate blogs. And surrogacy in India blogs. And surrogacy after infertility blogs. And IP and IF and IM blogs. I am a bit blog obsessed, truth be told.

Many, many, many of those blogs are currently sharing about being pregnant, cycling, delivery, or being immediately post-partum. And as crazy as it sounds (or frankly as crazy as it is), I am so jealous I could spit green monsters. I am incredibly happy for all those surrogates and parents and don't want to take their journey's away from them, I just wish I had another journey of my own. Wow, does that make me a bad person, or what? I mean, I have had three wonderful journey's. I have grown five happy, healthy, well-cared for and very loved children. I have helped create two families. I have helped make three men into daddies and innumerable people into grandparents. Wouldn't you think that would be enough? It scares me to think that this desire to carry again and be in the thick of the surrogacy action will never go away. I was sure that if I just waited long enough, the desire would go away. It's like an itch that I can't, or more precisely won't, scratch. I was sure that one full year of normal life would dampen the cravings but there they still are.

I think I need something of my own to invest myself in. I mean I have my family and my work but I think I need some sort of physical pursuit. Maybe a karate class or a new class at the YMCA? I don't know. But I need to explore something because while I'm incredibly satisfied with my family and my work. there's still something incomplete feeling in my life. I would love to fill that with another surrogacy but since that does not seem to be the right choice, I guess I'll go and look at some other options. Hey, maybe a year from now you'll see me on the obscure sports network breaking boards in a tae-kwon-do competition. Ya never know, right?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Egg donor is chosen

The guys have picked a known donor with a proven history. Yay. They are still unsure on the surrogate front. I have recommended a couple friends who I think will work well for them. Is it weird that I don't even care if they chose someone else...as long as they pick someone who will be a good match for them?

Sent the parcel to Sweden for Xmas. Did I mention that Aurora was 1 on Friday? Where does the time go? I still need to send a parcel to Boston for the twins' birthday there...they will be 5 on Dec 26. Seriously, WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?

Still fighting this damn cold here. It is in my lungs now and I spend the first hour of each morning and the final hour of each evening coughing and choking, trying to rid my lungs of crustry green snot. Appetizing, huh? I love that I rarely get sick but hate that when I do get sick it lingers for weeks. Urgh.

Went Xmas shopping yesterday and got everything we needed. Thankfully that chore is done. Our list is really long this year since there are now two sons-in-law and two grandkids. So we marked several people off the list. You can only do so much and since Joe has now been laid off almost continuously since May, it will be a very slim Christmas around here. We all know that time with kids is more important than things though and since Joe has been off he has been able to spend a ton of time with the kids. Yay for that.

That's about it. Taking my yearly test at work tomorrow and boy #2 is studying for finals week at his school. Of course the crappy public schools here don't do finals weeks in middle school so boy #3 is off the hook.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Errr...or not

Good news here today. The doc that read the x-ray last night saw a line and called it a fracture. Today, on further analysis by the radiologist, they have decided that that is not a fracture after all but merely his growth plate. So yay, he's not broken (well his nose is but his pelvis isn't). Thank heavens. As soon as he feels up to it he can resume normal activities. They said he will be super sore for a long time because he got a deep bone bruise but that is so much better than a fracture.

Basketball is over

The boy was badly injured last night. The refs were not calling the other team on their "physical" play and so they just kept getting worse. 5 min into the first quarter they took the boy down. Concussion, broken nose, hairline fracture of the hip. They did call a foul on the other kid but they did not eject him from the game like they should have. We are not sure if the boy will ever play again but he certainly won't play this season. Right now he can't walk. I have no words, at least no polite words, for the other team right now.