Filling in the Past Two Weeks

I am a high school English teacher.  This year I am teaching seniors AP Literature and Composition.  That second word there… lord help me.  They write.  All. The. Time.  They have to.  It’s part of the class title.  PLUS, they need all the friggin’ practice they can get.

Some of you may not realize this, but most teachers who have a full work load teach any where from 5-7 classes with 25-30 kids in each one.  I have 6 classes.  Which means that I have 175 students.  That means, that on essay day, I have 175 essays to grade.  Early on in the year, I spend about 5 minutes per essay.  I don’t do math, but my handy dandy calculator tells me that is approximately 14 and a half hours of grading for ONE essay.  Call me a glutton for punishment, but I make my students write at least 2 analysis papers (these are completed in class and are graded like a rough draft) and then one polished paper where they get to spend time on them and edit them (even though many of them choose not to *eyeroll*) every 6 weeks.  Again, I am no mathematician, but that’s 525 papers to grade IN ADDITION to all the practice stuff we do in class or the other assignments I dole out.  That’s about 44 hours of grading EVERY SIX WEEKS.

Man- I think I was better off not know that.  Yuck. 

So- the last couple of weeks that’s what I spend my free time (if it can really be called that) doing.  And, as mentioned in a previous post, I don’t really have all that much free time to begin with.  I have to use my planning period and often my lunch in addition to the time at home carefully to get these damn things graded, with feedback, and handed back to the kids in a timely fashion.  I also try desperately not to let it hinder my family time too much.  But inevitably it does occasionally.

ALL THAT to say that finding the extra time to blog has been a challenge.

But, for any one out there interested, or any future surrogate/IP, I figure I should share some of the challenges we’ve faced so that you can be “fully informed” of potential issues that could arise on your journey.

For instance, now that we are finally pregnant (YAY!!!), we are officially in uncharted territory.  My husband and I have never done this before and must rely on the wording in the contract on how to proceed.

The contract, of course, dictates what I can and can not eat (no alcohol, no deli meat unless heated, etc.) which is all normal pregnancy stuff and is NOT a problem for me.

It also states that I shouldn’t carry or lift anything over 15-20 lbs.  THAT is tough because my daughter (who is not quite 2) weighs over 25 lbs (SHE’S HUGE Y’all!) and my son is almost 4 so he’s well over that restriction.  NOT holding my kids is tough. Really tough.  I love them and the time of being able to toss them in the air and give them piggy back rides, or just scoop them up and squeeze them is nearing an end.  It’s precious time that I am losing and that makes me want to tear up a little just writing (perhaps I am having symptoms of pregnancy after all???).

Another thing that recently occurred that was a bit tough for me is the travel restrictions.  Our contract states that after a certain week (somewhere around 25 weeks or 28… I can’t recall specifically right this second) we will not be allowed to leave TX.  That of course is much later in pregnancy.  EARLY pregnancy it just states that, once there is a confirmation of heartbeat, we must ask for approval to leave the state from the IP’s, the RE’s office, and the agency.  When we first went over the contract, that didn’t seem that daunting, in fact, I was thankful my husband re-read the contract or I would have completely forgotten.

So, Thanksgiving is next week.  Also, my husband had a work opportunity in FL and we thought it would be nice to drop the kids off with Grandma, hop a plane, and then enjoy a weekend kid free!  Then, return to Oklahoma and spend the rest of the break with family there, eating all the turkey.

So we had a plan.  We contacted the IP’s first (I mean, they are the most important ones!) and let them know what we were thinking.  IM’s most immediate concern was ZIKA but we had done our research and WOULD have NEVER even risked it if that was a threat (even a small one). So she and her husband gave their nod of approval.  That was a Friday.

Then, the following Monday, I sent the email that stated our plans for travel seeking approval from the agency and the CA RE’s Clinic.  I copied the mom on the email just so everyone was in the loop.  Agency said OKAY! with the stipulation that the clinic had to give the nod before we should officially buy tickets, rent car, etc.

About an hour later, the clinic also gave the go ahead!  Yipee!!!  A weekend getaway!  I was getting excited.

Monday night we booked everything.

Then, Tuesday morning, a string of messages flooded our phones.  The IM had asked around and had done some reading and since I had miscarried the previous embryo what she was reading made her nervous.  UGH… I was deflated.  And frankly a bit angry.  I wanted the get away.  I wanted that trip and now it wasn’t going to happen.

I was also afraid that it would prevent ALL our travel for the Holiday and missing Jesse’s mom’s turkey and table settings and family visiting was enough to make me start crying in rage.

Jesse, my loving, gentle, respectful husband, promptly responded to her concerned messages with grace and ease.  He would cancel everything (EVEN though we had all the approval we needed) and didn’t want them to worry.  He handled it like a pro.  I sure do love him.

I, however, needed a bit more time.  Which, again, he tactfully understood.  He let me vent for a bit and then, when he felt the time was right, helped me put things into perspective.

These people are putting ALL their trust in us.
These people have NO real control of what we do with their baby.
These people rely on us to prevent any threat (real or perceived) to their child.
These people have spent a lot of money to make sure this happens, and heaven forbid something go wrong… we would feel terrible!

Ultimately, he’s right and I kind of hate him for it.  But, if the tables were turned, and someone was carrying my child for me, I would hope that they would listen and respect my wishes and politely do as I ask them/her to.

So, all’s well that ends well.  I am over it and, frankly, feel childish and selfish for ever even being upset about it.  I am reminded again of the awesomeness that is this pregnancy, the trust these people are forced to have in me/us, and the amazing people my IP’s are.  I can respect their wishes and do as they ask me to.

I contemplated not even posting this little hiccup, but feel it’s important to be fully honest about the struggles for other’s who may be going through something similar… OR those individuals in the future who are contemplating being a surrogate or potential IP’s  who require surrogates.

So, to sum it up, I think it’s important to have a good, trusting, respectful relationship with your IP’s (or if the tables are turned and you are an IP- pick someone you trust and respect). It’s that relationship that you are developing and working on and it is so crucial to a healthy end goal!

PS- we are still driving to OK to spend the holiday with family- it was just the flying that made IM nervous. So bring on the Turkey!

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Scared and Nervous

Sitting in the waiting room is like torture. 

Sitting still is hard. 

I’m thankful I went to school this morning as my students provided a much needed distraction from fears and anxiousness. 

I really really really hope to give the IP’s good news today! Please let it be good news. 

Please

Please

PLEASE!

TRANSFER DAY round 2 part I

So, yesterday morning I was a bit of a mess. Nervous to say the least. I never sleep well the night before travel, the “what ifs” get to me (what if I forget this, what if I don’t hear my alarm, what if I misplace my ID, etc.). But Saturday night there were a lot more what ifs to keep my poor tired mind racing. 

Anyway- as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I slept like shit. So, first, I was tired. 

On the first leg of the trip I figured I might help myself get my mind off the hamster wheel if I read. And it worked. No more “what ifs” bouncing around in the ole cranium and I was able to dive into teacher mode. I decided to teach my AP seniors Cather In the Rye this year but I needed to brush up since it’s been over a decade since I had read it last. 

After the first flight I was halfway and my funk had morphed from anxiousness to straight up sadness. Poor Holden. 😢

But, I appreciated the change. I can handle sad. Anxiousness over a bunch of shit I am literally in no control over is stupid.  So I could say I felt better. I talked to Jesse (since he’s also read it) as we walked through the airport and it was nice to be focusing our conversation on something besides surrogacy for a bit. 

But then, on the second flight, I finished the book. And good heavens the sadness was overwhelming. I did not remember it being such a heavy story when I read it back in the day. I mean I knew it approached some tough subjects, but I just forgot how some of those subjects manifested themselves in the storyline. Anyway, I figured it was best not to break down sobbing sandwiched inbetween my husband and a complete stranger because the cry I felt boiling up was NOT going to be a pretty one. 

I held myself together mostly well. I had one stray tear I was not able to blink away but covered it up with a yawn- important to note, I needed to NOT alert my ever so observant husband because one look of concern, or one squeeze, or one “are you okay?” would have unleashed all the stress, anxiousness, and sadness that was damed up behind the wall I had carefully constructed to protect the stranger lady sitting far to close to my left on the damn plane. 

Instead, mentally, I needed to change the subject. So I grabbed the only other reading material on the plane and started reading whatever the Southwest plane magazine is titled. Guys. I didn’t see it coming! 

That fucking magazine. 

Inside, after you get past the 549 ads, but before you get to the articles (which were happy dog stories BTW), they have a bunch of customer satisfaction blurbs. Always positive stories about how someone was just “so pleased” with Southwest’s service or flight attendants, etc. I just got blind sided. 

The first blurb was about a guy who was moving his elderly mother to come live with him. She had dementia and when it came time to deplane, she had an episode and couldn’t figure out what to do. The guy panicked but this male flight attendant stepped right up and asked the mother is she would like to dance. From there he was able to get her out of her seat, down the aisle, and into the jetway where he waltzed her up the gate. 😢 so beautiful and sweet and friggin sad. So one of those pesky tears started creeping back up and I quickly wiped it away before my eagle eyed husband saw me. 

I kept reading. 

The next story was about a lady who’s daughter had married a marine but he was out of the country serving so the mom was “her person” when it came time for the delivery of the baby. The daughter went into early labor so this first time grandma was rushing to make it there in time. A flight attendant had heard her story so when they landed, she made an announcement and requested all the passenengers stay seated so this lady could rush off the plane and make it to her grand baby’s birth.  Everyone accommodated and as this soon-to-be grandmother rushed off, she was applauded. 

Yep- THAT’s the story that did me in. First one tear- again quickly wiped away. But then another stared falling from the other eye. Again, I quickly wiped it away too but now I was running the risk of alerting my husband who would inevitably ask me that stupid question that WILL break the damn and I’ll be a sniveling idiot who will probably somehow slobber on the poor lady next to me and then Southwest will have to deal with her complaint instead of her “I love this airline” story. 

As I sat trying to mentally get control, the tears- one by one kept welling up. All the pressure behind the dam was too much and finally saw a chance for escape. And as I kept trying to nonchalantly wipe those little fuckers away, my husband turned. Damn it. 

His forehead wrinkled, the look of concern grew stronger, and then he did it. He put his arm around my shoulder and drew me in for a hug all while asking me if I was okay. 

No. No im not okay. I just read a really sad book about teenage trials and then read the sappiest of stories, AND I’M TRYING TO HELP A FAMILY HAVE A BABY AND I SCREWED IT UP LAST TIME AND IM WORRIED I’LL DO IT AGAIN AND THE PRESSURE OF ALL THAT POTENTIAL DISAPOINTMENT IS RUINING MY MENTAL STRENGTH. 

But instead, I melted into my husband and tried to stifle the sobs into his shoulder so the lady next to me wouldn’t be as startled by the craziness she accidentally sat next to. 

Eventually the sobs eased and I sat back (with my now mascara stained face) and shrugged to my completely understanding husband, who, thankfully, knows that sometimes I just need to let it out. I always feel better afterwards. There’s no need to talk about anything and nothing is technically wrong… I just needed to cry. 

I did warn you guys about that a few days ago… I knew it was coming! 

We deplaned in CA, hopped in the rental, and had a beautifully relaxing afternoon following ZERO schedule and soaking up the ever so rare ability to be spontaneous.