It’s almost more than I can bare…

We had to say goodbye to another fur baby within 48 hours of my Luna pup.

Our house is super quiet. A maddening quiet. The silence is painful.

Rue came into our lives 6 years ago.

Let me back up.

Jesse, when he moved in with me, had an old lady pup named Shelby. She was the third dog in my family (in addition to my two weims). She was old and he had already been told by a vet before he moved back to OK that she was sick and she probably wouldn’t make it another year. But we were hopeful and while she laid around quite a bit, whenever table scraps were available she had no problems being the first to snag them.

But, the summer after Jesse moved in, Shelby really started to slow down. Then, Jesse took a weekend guys trip to the lake and his fur baby, Shelby, decided that it would be a good weekend to go. She stopped eating completely. She secluded herself outside and it took everything in me to coerce her back in and to hold off until he returned.

Jesse came back on Sunday and on Monday, after a long night of watching her struggle, I skipped school and went with him to the vet. It was time.

It was the first time I ever saw Jesse cry. And it was so hard. There is something about a strong man weeping that breaks me apart. He was almost inconsolable.

But time heals all wounds. He has a tattoo of her paw print over his heart. She was his first “ride or die” and while my two crazy ass dogs were around, they were just that. MY crazy ass dogs. HIS dog was gone and his heart hurt. (Blended families are tough y’all… even with Furry babies!)

We got Ellie 6 months or so later. She was supposed to be our dog together, but she is a total Daddy’s Girl (She allows me to pet her occasionally when he’s not around 🙄).

So, once again we were a 3 dog family. (our engagement photos on the front porch of our steps. Shiner, on the left, is less than thrilled to be posing. Luna’s ready for a nap. And Ellie’s just sitting there like a good girl- showing off.)

Then, a year after having to put Shelby down, he and his guy friends were at the lake again. He had taken Ellie with him because she would just whine and pout if she had to stay with me.

But, as the guys were hanging out at the lake, a red dog came sauntering up and just plopped down right next to Jesse like she belonged there all along and had finally found him. The personality and looks were strikingly similar to Shelby- so much so that Jesse was almost taken aback.

When he moved, she followed.

When he went inside, she laid down by the back door and waited for him to return.

There were 4 or 5 other guys there and she didn’t give two shits about any of them, she only had eyes for Jesse (you can imagine how put out Ellie must have felt 😂).

Speaking of Ellie. This random red dog taught our new pup how to swim and fetch and snip at heels (they are both Heelers)- outside of having to share Jesse, they got along really well.

Jesse and I chatted about how she might belong to someone nearby so he should just leave her out that night.

He did, but the next morning- there she was. Waiting for him.

And the next morning after that.

The day they left, Jesse texted: “I’m going to leave her. But I’m going to call back in two days- if she’s still here- I HAVE to come get her.”

I agreed but made him swear up and down that he couldn’t use the whole “we have 4 dogs- we don’t have room for babies” as an excuse. 😂😂

Two days later- we drove back out to the lake and snagged our Red girl. The 4th pup in our family.

We had just finished reading Hunger Games and our favorite character was Rue. It sounded enough like “red” that we figured whatever this lady’s name was previously she’d quickly adapt. And she did.

We had the vet check her out and got her current on shots. The vet guesstimated that she was 6-8 years old when we got her (no spring chicken, but man- fast as lightening chasing a tennis ball!).

Our fur family was complete.

Here’s a shitty picture of us at the dog park (pre kids). Anyone who has owned a weim knows that they’re crazy and you can see their crazy blurs here. We would take them nightly after being stuck inside all day while we both worked. They were our babies. Ellie and Rue (on the rock with me) loved to play hard but would also be calm occasionally.

Here’s one of just the girls on the deck we built at our old house in OK.

I think they are waiting for me to throw the ball.

In June of 2016 we lost Old Man Shiner. He was 13 years old.

Then, two days ago I lost my baby girl, Luna. My Luna-tic, my Silly Goose Goose.

And last night. After a year of nose bleeds and snoring, poor Rue started bleeding from her nose and mouth. We couldn’t get it to stop. She wouldn’t eat or drink for two days. I kept hoping it would slow and she’d be fine because losing another family member just wasn’t fathomable but it was time, again, so say goodbye to a dear, dear friend.

****

I fear making my son’s lunch tonight because who will eat the crusts of his sandwich?

I fear waking up in the morning, who will race to the back door to be let out? Who will bark until I return with food for their bowl?

I fear making breakfast, who will eat the strawberry tops I cut off?

I fear going to bed, who will I trip on to get to my spot?

I fear blow drying my hair in the morning, who will sit between my legs enjoying the warm air?

I fear the silence.

I fear the emptiness.

This house is now three souls less than when we moved here.

My heart hurts.

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Welcome 2018

I was sitting around on a tame New Years Eve contemplating my last few months of 2017. I realize that a lot of my mental state has been pretty negative from my blog perspective but I refuse to let the really crappy finish of this year taint the whole thing. Some pretty amazing things happened.

  • We paid off $104,000 of school loans in one year and 9 months! In May we managed to become completely debt free! I don’t know many people that can say that!
  • We have managed to save 50% of our income every month which has put us into a safe place not many couples our age have the ability to be in.
  • I got my dream job again- AP Lit with Seniors. And get to teach my favorite stuff to really some really awesome students.
  • My son knows to ALWAYS ask “please” and say “thank you” and my daughter is well on her way to the same polite measures.
  • The end of diapers is so close! Tuck is completely finished (we’ve had 5 successful nights in a row) and Sage only sleeps in one (and will until she is done with her crib- which will be never if I have any say. She’s just going to stay my baby). This is a huge success for 2017 especially since cloth diapering! I welcome doing far less laundry in 2018 by subtracting diapers alone!
  • We have successfully left my kids at “cousin camp” and had my niece and nephew visit us- so summer week long date trips are looking to be something in our future (and my sister and brother-in-law’s)! That will be awesome!
  • We have some prospective family vacations in the works, something we haven’t done in quite some time. I’m very much looking forward to this!
  • We are one step away from pursuing our dream which is what set us on this path in TX and ultimately surrogacy. It’s a bit too detailed to list here, but I will post about it soon.
  • And two of my best dear friends from Oklahoma are visiting here in TX and that is bound to be good for my heart and soul.

There are many things to celebrate from 2017 and I refuse to let a rough finish overshadow all the success.

Welcome 2018! I’m ready for you!

Well damn.

We spoke to the IP’s this morning. They really are amazing people and I want nothing but the best for them, but I’m sad.

And the sadness is for a couple of reasons.

  1. I got dumped and that never feels good. AND I can totally see it from their perspective. If my doctor who has studied reproductive stuff for a career told me to switch surrogates I would follow their instruction. I mean, what they hell do I know?! This is what they do for a living.
  2. And I am pretty sure my journey as a surrogate just ended. THAT is what really makes me want to cry. Which I need to explain in more detail.

Jesse and I, back before we knew ALL the absolute shit that comes with surrogacy (I mean, let’s face it- this has been one shitty path- a great match, amazing IP’s, but the rest of it is just a totally fucking failure. I mean two failures really), thought that this would be over and done in about a year or a little over. We thought, ever so naively, that we’d get pregnant, have a breeze pregnancy, hand a precious gift to the new parents, and skip off into the sunset.

We “knew” that it could be hard and trying but, like so many other people at the start of a journey, thought that it would all work out and that it would all be fine. BUT it wasn’t.

Twice it wasn’t fine.

The hassle of finding childcare for a 3-4 day transfer trip- TWICE

The totally jacked up hormones (which were not too terrible really but now that I’ve regulated some, I know it was messing with my sex drive and that probably sucks for a husband [my keeper pregnancies had the opposite effect]) and shots in the ass- TWICE

Not to mention 2 weeks of no intercourse pre transfer and then 5 weeks of ZERO ORGASM also probably really absolutely sucked- TWICE

Then there’s the utter heartbreak and devastation and the aftermath of my total sadness that my husband had to deal with TWICE

AND the fact that ALL of that happened and now it’s over just fucking sucks ass. Fuck you end of 2017.

So, for the last year, this dream I’ve been fostering and building and cherishing and protecting and working to come to fruition has just ended. And I guess I’m just processing that.

I think a big part of me wants to try again. But is that the part of me that just doesn’t like failing? Is it really the responsible thing to do? For me? For my family? For our future?

My husband doesn’t think it is. At all. He didn’t even want to try again but was willing to from my insistence and with the qualification that it was only IF the IP’s wanted one more try. But they don’t.

And he has completely logical reasons to back up why he is done:

  • It’s a stress on our marriage (which is already tough with two kids)
  • It is an added stress on our sex life (again- TWO young kids)
  • It is restrictive (see above two and add on travel restrictions, food restrictions, exercise restrictions, and life restrictions- he’s tired of being so limited)
  • It’s dangerous (which is something we shrugged off going in to this, but the other day I passed some clots which were residual from the D&C and it scared the absolute shit out of us both. I think that was the final nail in the coffin for Jesse).
  • It’s not worth it financially, if something terrible were to go wrong (and apparently with my luck, that seems all the more likely)

There were more, but I stopped taking notes because, in true Jesse fashion, his logic trumps my emotional desire to be pregnant again so I have ZERO leverage.

So, there it is. As quickly as it started, it’s almost definitely over and I might just have to be okay with that.

But first, I want to cry about it.

Days after loss- A surrogate’s side

It’s been about 5 days.  The flowers the IP’s bought me are prettier than ever.  The blooms are amazing.

Most of the time, the distraction of my family helps keep my mind off the heartache… the guilt… the sense of failure I am feeling.

On Friday, the day after the D&C, my kids went to school as normal so I had the morning to myself.  Laying around didn’t seem like a great idea.  So I cleaned.  The house is practically spotless… as spotless as it can be when you have two kids and three dogs anyway.

I think, much like the first time, this will just linger.  The tear producing waves are much further apart than they were on day one and I assume they will gradually grow far enough apart that I will not cry at all, one day.

I was talking to another surrogate about the loss she and her IP’s experienced.  We’ve decided that this particular situation is VERY difficult.  I certainly do not want to say it is any worse than any other woman experiencing a miscarriage- that is not it at all.  There’s just a level of complication added to this that makes it so strange and hard to navigate.  If it were just miscarriage, sadly, I know many women that I can talk to about that; I have people I could commiserate with.  But the complication of losing someone else’s baby… there aren’t many women that can share that story.  There is no guide book.  There is no one to really provide any direction.

It’s also difficult for my husband.  He mentioned the toll it’s taking on him.  This is not our child, but, from what I have read, many men “recover” faster than the woman.  She was the one that experienced constant reminders of what amazing thing her body was doing (or supposed to be doing) and when the pregnancy ends, she’s the one that both physically and emotionally must recover- there are hormones that must be contended with, and emotional scars, and a feeling of failure.  I have all of those things, but I also have the concern and well-being of the IP’s that I must process.  How are they?  What can I do for them?  How might I show them that I am thinking of them without re-opening a wound they are trying to keep clean and covered?  What do I do in this terrible situation?  It’s constantly there in the back of mind, ALL of this.  And my husband just wants his happy wife and the mother of his children back.

He mentioned the other day that there have only been two times in our marriage that I have cried so hard he was worried about me.  And, both of those times were when the surrogacy pregnancies failed. I do not want to call this pain a burden, but I do think that my husband might view it that way.  And I do understand that- our family is complete, these worries amazingly didn’t plague our family… when we wanted kids, we luckily got them without ANY complications.  And now we are taking on someone else’s struggle- which we knew.  I, so naively, didn’t think any of this would happen.  I thought that I would have a transfer, get pregnant, have a pretty uneventful pregnancy, and give this family a baby.  I was so terribly, terribly, wrong.

I don’t know where this journey goes now.  And I don’t even know if I will have a part in it.  I deeply hope that I will. The desire to help a couple grow their family is still, very much, a part of my dream and my passion.  But it isn’t up to just me (there are the IP’s, my husband, my family that must also be considered).

The Appointment…

So the office at the monitoring clinic was PACKED!  We ended up having to wait a bit longer than normal which was agonizing.

But, once they took vitals and had me use the bathroom (empty bladder for vaginal ultrasound), it was all really quick!

It’s crazy how nervous I was getting!  Heart was racing, thoughts were swirling, and apparently it was obvious because my husband kept telling me to take deep breaths.

Then the Doc came in and raised the chair to a ridiculous height (I felt soooo exposed)! Wand was inserted and immediately I could see what wasn’t there last time!  RELIEF!

There was a little black circle in a haze of gray there on the screen and, as the doctor got the wand focused in, you could see a little blob inside that circle.

There’s a yoke sake…

There’s a bit more than a fetal pole…

There was this beautiful pulsing, flashing, heart…

We are ALL thrilled!

The doc said that little baby is measuring a bit ahead of schedule 6 weeks 5 days (we are only 6 weeks and 2 days).  And while he is not THE doctor, it was nice to hear that “all looks well in there.”

He was awesome to let us video and facetime, he printed pictures, and he allowed us to record the sound of the tiny, 120-beats-per-minute heartbeat.  After a bit of conversation with my ever so smart husband, we’ve decided that I shouldn’t post any of the pictures or videos since this is not our little guy in here… but just know that it is a beautiful sound.

Whew!  What a load off.  Hopefully later today I will hear from the CA Doc and get the “offical word” and be released to… ahem… enjoy… um… some of the things I’ve been missing (PS- I am NOT referring to alcohol! And, strangely, don’t really miss it that much). 

Thanks for the positive thoughts and vibes sent our way!  We, as I mentioned, are all THRILLED!
PS- as of 5:30, I’ve been officially released from all super careful precautions and am allowed to act like a normal pregnant lady (no straining, ridiculous lifting, moderate exercise, low impact, careful with abdominal stuff, etc). And, cleared to resume normal marital relations 😉😉!

🎃 Halloween 🎃 

Tucker was a bat: 


And Sage was a lady bug:


We had other outfits planned and purchased, but then the weather promptly decided it should act more like fall and be in the 50’s and rainy. 

So the short-sleeved, tutu, ladybug outfit for Sage morphed into a sweater ladybug outfit that had a hood attached. She still had to be tucked under a blanket to stay warm enough. And Tucker’s outfit morphed into the bat costume that went over long pants and long sleeves- layers! Yay! 

Tucker rode his bike and did an amazing job this year. 

Last year was his first time to trick or treat and we made it to about 5 houses before bedtime hit. I have to give two year old Tucker credit though, all the houses in this neighborhood are on acre lots so there was quite a few tiny steps to get to each of the doors. And he was enthralled with each item going into his bag which caused even more distraction and delay. 

This year though- a champ! We got half the circle block covered! He sang songs for the lady that would only give out her treat if they performed a trick. He was unfazed by the zombies that stood in the way of the candy at one house. Was THRILLED by the chainsaw that scared the living shit it of me (and might give me nightmares)! Rang all the doorbells, said “thank you,” and listened carefully when we were on the street! It’s these moments that I am reassured that we are doing our job as parents properly. 

Sage also did a good job, but she’s still shy and too bashful to sing. She needed me to hold her near the zombies (to be honest, I used her tiny red polka dotted body as my shield 😬). And she was not a fan of the chainsaw- I totally understand. She also stopped getting out of the stroller once we let her eat the Cheetos she earned at the previous house- which made things go quite a bit faster. 

Once home, the sugar rush and the tiredness kicked in and wrangling kids into PJ’s tested my parenting patience. But they are tucked in tight dreaming of all the candy they will beg us for all day tomorrow! 

Anyway- it was a great Halloween and though I’m exhausted, I’m ready for tomorrow. Last blood draw 💉 and then ultrasound on Friday. Crossing my fingers for amazing news for IP’s!!

Here’s a photo dump of my pumpkins with their pumpkins:

Travel- round 2.

We drove to OK yesterday to get the kids settled in with Aunt Mack and Uncle J. Tucker was a bit rotten in the morning, mostly, I think, because he was very excited to get to see his cousins and all the eating breakfast, getting dressed, and packing were holding things up. 🙄

And man, it is sooo fun to watch them play together. And they actually do. It isn’t just playing around each other any more, they are actually interacting.  And I can tell that Tucker is no longer the “tag along,” but instead actually able to keep up with his cousins that are a tad older. And sweet Sage is the baby and Mack’s kids are so gentle and accommodating to her. It just makes my heart happy. There will be many more “cousin camps” in our future! 

Plus, of course, it helps me relax knowing they’re safe and sound. Outside of Jesse and me of course, this is the absolute best place for them! They are loved and parented and cuddled but also held to a standard concerning manners and politeness. I’m ever so grateful that the only thing I have to worry about concerning dropping the babies off is that I KNOW it’s adding to my sister’s stress level- though she will pull it off flawlessly in her rock star Mom way. 

Speaking of worries- guys, I slept like absolute shit. I was comfy, cozy, snuggled in the couch but I could NOT sleep! My mind was going all different directions. I hate that I’m so nervous this go round. And I 100% know that I did everything right last time and will continue to do so this go round, but Lordy! I don’t think I can shake this feeling. 

Last transferi was anxious about getting the the clinic and nervous about making sure my bladder was full and stressed about maps and stupid stuff. But I just “knew” that once that little embryo was in there we’d all be fine. And then I got the positive tests and I was so confident. This time, I KNOW about all the stupid stuff but I think this feeling of anxiety will linger until we hear that familiar sound of horses galloping that is a baby heartbeat and perhaps even until we make it to the release to normal OB at 10-12 weeks. I just want so badly to deliver a healthy baby back into the arms of the IP’s and do NOT want to be a source of more pain or frustration. I can’t stand that idea. 

So- I’m on the plane and need to power down next stop CA! Send me some calming vibes!!!

Lining check round 2

I am excited to be moving forward and one step closer to another transfer. 

Distracting from all the excitement, however, is the planning and coordination involved this go round. It was summer last time and much easier to maneuver. This time there are kids to be dressed, breakfasts to be made, kids to be dropped off at school, and work (for me) that I’d rather not be late to! 

My appointment is at 8, but I’m going to get there early and hope it goes quickly so I don’t miss my first period class. 

My husband is doing breakfast with kids and carline at school for me so I can get to the appointment on time. 

We have chatted with the IP’s and this time, instead of the last girl embryo, they are going to go with the highest quality one. It’s a boy. This takes some of the pressure off, though I’m still a bit more nervous this go round. 

I know my angst won’t do anyone any favors, but I just hope things go smoothly. I want so badly to give these parents a healthy baby and I know they are getting anxious about timing. We all are. 
Will update later with results of scan! 

Life as we know it

Mom coffee

Any other mom’s out there feel this way?  No?  Just me??!

I swear I look around me and the other mom’s out there just seem to have their shit together all the time.  I understand that it is just a glimpse, a snapshot, of their day, but I feel so frazzled all the time! And I swear you can see it on my physical being, you know?!  Like when you decide not to put your face on for a day and people are all, “are you not feeling well?”  And you’re all, “Well, I was feeling fine, but now I feel a little shitty, but thanks.”  Except instead of sick I just look frazzled- I feel as though people look at me and think, “Man, she needs a break… or a shot… or a massage… something!”

Here’s my week day dash:

  • 5:20- alarm wakes me up… kinda (SNOOZE)
  • 5:30- for real, get your ass up alarm.
  • 5:35-6:35- YOGA (I love this part of my day, the quiet, the dark, the focus on JUST ME)
  • 6:35-7:10- Shower and dress myself.  Husband wakes up and starts breakfast.
  • 7:00-7:20- Dress kids and get them to the breakfast table.
  • 7:20-7:45- eat breakfast, pack up lunches, get Tucker to pee before getting in the car, change Sage’s diaper for school, get in the car.
  • 7:50- Drive to kid’s school
  • 8:00-8:15- hang out in the pick-up line.  We usually sing songs or watch half and episode of Daniel Tiger.
  • 8:15-8:30- BUST MY ASS TO GET TO MY JOB WHERE I WAS SUPPOSED TO REPORT BY 8… Heaven forbid there be traffic because I might ram someone.
  • 8:30-8:40- get myself organized and caffeinated before the kids pour into my classroom.
  • 8:40-12:50- TEACH all the kids all the things all without food or water because when the hell do I have time to get to the bathroom?!?
  • 12:50-1:40- LUNCH (and usually some kid making up an assignment or just hanging out in my room because I am not mean enough to tell them to GTFO)
  • 1:45-3:10- Teaching again
  • 3:10-4:00- Getting everything ready for class the next day (Copies, grading, teacher meetings, etc)
  • 4:00-4:20- Drive home
  • 4:20-5:20- unpack lunches and school bags, clean coffee pot, straighten up kitchen, take care of diapers (we do cloth, yes, I realize I could simplify things by going to disposable but Climate Change), get bags ready for next day, help get kids to clean up some toys (or not, because “I’m still playing!!!”), snuggle kids, wipe runny noses, you know… mom stuff.  SOMETIMES we do a family walk during this time (but that is not nearly as picturesque or calming as it sounds, I promise).
  • 5:20-5:45- Prep dinner while kids scream, yell, bother each other until someone is crying and I’m about to go bat-shit crazy (or, I turn on a show… whew, quiet).
  • 5:45-6:30ish- eat dinner and clean up dinner (husband and I take turns with meals and clean up)
  • 6:30-7:00- Bathe kids and get them in PJ’s (Other parent finishes cleaning kitchen or house and toys that kids didn’t put up)
  • 7:15- Story for Tucker then kisses and lights out. (Sage gets to run around like an only child for an additional 45 minutes since she naps and I put lunches together)
  • 8:00- Sage goes to bed.
  • 8:00-9:00— adult time… which is usually spent doing laundry or some other chore that we haven’t finished.  Also, since I have 170 students and it’s English, I usually have some sort of grading to do… but I try DESPERATELY to get this done during my work day because it isn’t fair to my family otherwise. There is usually one day a week that I will have to grade for a few hours and that is always after kids are in bed.
  • 9:15- lock down house, get ready for bed (shots and pills for surrogacy)
  • 9:30- my head hits the pillow and I’m usually asleep not long after (unless I am not done grading!)

It’s exhausting.

Someone tell me it gets easier?  And if not, how the hell did I not know this is what my death would look like????

Transferring plans 2nd go round

For our first transfer my sister (early childhood educator) was on summer break as was I. There weren’t nearly as many moving parts to orchestrate as there will be this time. 

First, a recap: 

  • Kids aren’t allowed (rest and relaxation are key and most clinics don’t want kids around)
  • I have to have a travel companion and my husband prefers that it is him (😍❤️). I believe this is due to the Valium they prescribe even though I didn’t take it last time. Hell- I can’t have wine but I can Valium?! Tell me the sense in that. 
  • We have to travel to CA, obviously, as that is where the embryos and clinic are. We have to get there the day before the transfer and aren’t supposed to travel for 24 hours post procedure. So 3 days minimum. 

Now, we would normally ask my MIL to come and watch the kids since she takes a monthly trip to visit anyway, but for both transfers she has had some stuff going on at work and hasn’t been able to get away to help. We prefer this method as we don’t have to disrupt the kids too much- no packing, no forgetting things, no prep for them at all really. The childcare comes to us. But, again, not happening. 

In comes the best sister that has ever graced the face of the planet! She rescued us last time and has stepped up again!!! 

She has two kids of her own and is a professional kid wrangler (early childhood guru) and works with pre-k kids all day every day for a living. She reinforces good behavior (“please” and “thank you”) and has identical parenting procedures since I totoally model my parenting from watching her do such a beautiful job with her two. 

But, in order for her to help, she has to take off work. Plus her two still have to maintain their normal schedules (school, soccer, dance, etc.) so she has an additional two car seats to mess with.  Then, she will have twice as many kids- more breakfasts, lunches, and dinners- more teeth to brush- more kids to get ready (luckily her two are pretty independent as far as that goes)- more bumps, bangs, bruises that will need kissing- more mess to clean up at night- THE LIST GOES ON! It’s quite a feat. She amazes me with the grace and ease with which she performs these tasks. 

And her willingness to help us out so we can do this. 

I love her. ALL the ❤️❤️❤️.

So- we have to pack for ourselves (super easy- carry on only) as well as the kids (who need things like the pack-n-play and night time soothers and okay to wake clocks 🙄). We also have to drive to OK first and drop them off and then fly out of OKC. Then fly back, pack up, pick up, drive back to TX, and unpack and get ready for work/school etc. Its a pretty grueling trip all in all, but knowing my kids are well cared for and loved on while we are gone makes it a much easier task. 

I can totally see why the agency seeks people with strong family support. We certainly need it and couldn’t do it without them. 

I love you seestar!!!! ❤️😘