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!