Almost a Surrogate

children

This post was written almost one year ago and simply sat in my drafts. I’m not sure if it was because I wasn’t ready to discuss it just yet or if it was because of how exposed it made me feel. Flash forward one year from when it was written and three years after the surrogacy and now I’m finally ready, I think.

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I actually contemplated such a personal post. My sister said that it may be positive to share my experience and vent. So here goes.

It’s been almost two years since I was a surrogate for a couple that I had met through a law office that specialized in this service for couples and surrogates. I was referred by a friend who had already signed up with this law office and decided to give it a try. The screening process was somewhat lengthy and involved many blood tests, psychological tests, interviews and questions galore. After the screening was completed and I was officially deemed not crazy (true story), we continued onto the next steps. After a few months and once test results came back normal I was matched with a couple. Everything seemed too good to be true when it came to how normal and loving they seemed.  The couple had been unsuccessful due to their own personal issues and I felt more than willing to provide them with a baby of their own. They seemed so genuine and we simply clicked as if we had known each other for years.

Shortly after contracts were signed, medications began and two months later the embryo transfer took place. All seemed to be successful, so we thought.  I was what you called a gestational surrogate, where the sperm and embryo from the parents was transferred. A few ultrasounds later and almost halfway through the pregnancy, some complications arose. Not only was there a problem with the umbilical artery in which there was only one versus two present, but genetic tests revealed an missing chromosome which would result in a rare genetic condition. Close to the halfway point and already feeling the baby moving, the couple was faced with a serious decision. Needless to say, the pregnancy was terminated and the act itself left me changed forever. When I signed the contract, I understood the possibility of it coming to this, however I never truly envisioned that it would become a reality. Previously I loved hearing the happy stories of surrogates and even know a few that had a wonderful experience. I was even willing to try a second time with the surroparents, however, I was informed by the law office handling the case that they would not be moving forward with me because it was too difficult of a reminder of what happened. This experience left me discouraged and especially disappointed.  That too-good-to-be-true relationship turned cold and seemed more like a transaction gone awry versus the loss of a life. Tears were shed on both sides, but it left me feeling empty and tossed aside after no longer being needed.

Long story short, it was a life lesson. In trying to give someone the gift of life I was then faced with having to end one, I believe that a part of myself died that day.

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What became of the surrogates? They were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. I have been fortunate to be able to move on from this life changing event and it opened my eyes to more than I had expected. Not everyone has the same values in life and now I realize my naivety in thinking that. Sometimes things are not meant to be and this was one of them.

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From One’s Perspective…

photo(11)
Exclusive phone cradle that doubles as a purple duck plushie bed, inspired by Katarina.

Others See: A Duck on a Phone

I See: Limitless Creativity

Photo Journal of a Temporarily Childless Mom

Since my children were away, the amount of free time I had was a ridiculous eye opener to how much time and energy those munchkins consume. While I love them dearly, mommy time was much needed, much appreciated and long over due. My adventures (if you could call them that) sans babies/toddlers.

20130821-003641.jpgFine Dining With the Eldest. 

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1st Kickboxing Class, ever. 

20130821-003657.jpgLazy Days at the Beach.

20130821-003714.jpgNo Sharing of My Sushi.

20130821-003758.jpgAdmiring (or maybe questioning) Unnatural Colored Orchids. 

The Calm Down Box

Calm Down Box

A Calm Down box for my little ones.

After a conference for my two year old (who is now three), I picked up an awesome idea that I had never heard of before. His school explained to me how they have a “Calm Down Box” they use when the little ones need to focus their energy elsewhere. They are given a box full of miscellaneous sensory items that assist in calming their emotions. Whether frustration, anger or sadness, this box allows them to re-focus their energy on one of the random items contained in this box.

At that very moment, it clicked in my mind how great of an idea this was and how beneficial it could be in my household. Children and their behavioral needs seem to vary depending on the child, so while my eldest was always calm and rarely had mood swings the others are not quite the same. My youngest children have the tendency to be more emotional and once they pass a certain threshold, there is no turning back. No amount of hugs or gentle words will reel them back and personal space seems to be the only option for them. Being able to provide them with a box of safe and calming items to assist them in self-soothing seemed perfect.

A few weeks passed and I decided to create my own calm down box. Very soon after, the opportunity to use it presented itself. My four year old was Ms. Cranky in the morning and after getting her dressed her clothes magically were removed minutes later. I was then greeted with screams of tiredness and unwillingness to get ready. Morning routines are  best disrupted by tired and cranky kids with the added pressure to make it out of the house before everyone ends up late. Knowing this, I calmly walked downstairs and grabbed the box. She looked confused when I opened it put bubble wrap in her hand. She then began to quietly pop the bubble wrap and I went about my morning routine. I checked in with her a couple minutes later. At this time she was shaking the water bottle that had food coloring and glitter (that was safely secured with super glue) and I asked her if she was done and she quietly shook her head no. Another two minutes later, she was back to popping the bubble wrap and the next time I checked on her she was ready to get dressed without any objections.

Success.

I decided to add more items to the box in order to provide a variety of sensory objects to. The items that other parents include will obviously vary based on the child. I am a strong believer in calming colors, so I steered clear of a box that had any red on it. I opted against the rainbow box simply because of the red stripe. The items inside were selected based on the variety of stimulation they provided from squishy play-doh, to furry characters to musical items such as maracas and a recorder. I chose items that I knew my children would enjoy, but made sure not to select things that could possibly injure them if they were upset. Scissors, pencils, or sharp objects should NOT be included and my calm down box is meant for three years of age and up.

This small but meaningful project reminded me that there are more ways than one to accomplish something. Open-mindedness (for me) is key to growing as a parent (and a person).