Monday, January 10, 2011

Surrogacy Part 2 (a note from my sister-in-law after having the twins)

This is a note I received today from my sister-in-law after having the twins...thought you might like to hear directly from her (this is posted with her permission...and everyone's names were removed by me for their protection). Also as a side sister-in-law lost a lot of blood and her body went into shock twice after the c-section. She came close to dying. She is presently working hard at getting her hemoglobin's back up so that she does not have to have a blood transfusion.

Baby #1 was 4lbs 8oz, still in NICU on a round of antibiotics but doing great and breastfeeding well. Should be out in a couple of days.
Baby #2 was 6lbs 5oz, no worries with her.
Born at 37wks, 3 days by c-section. Baby #1 was a footling breech, Baby #2 was also breech and stuck up in my ribs ( it feels so nice to breathe again).

My sister in law blogged about this so I got inspired to write (thanks Tama). This really was an amazing experience and as much as it was very simple to give the babies back to their parents, I fell absolutely in love with them over the last few days. The last 8 mths too of course but seeing them and being able to even help do some nursing really shifted it for me (no, this didn't make me bond with the girls - just love them more). It's certainly more of a reality seeing their cute little faces. They are WAY too cute! Perfect really. My kids looked like little aliens who were squished the wrong way coming out - and then they wouldn't come out! There aren't very many babies born this cute to be honest. So... the whole family is doing great and will stay with my mum and step dad until they go back home. They are well loved and we are sure to be in their lives forever. Their mom gave me an engraved bracelet "Forever Grateful, Forever Friends". I cried.

Many people have asked: How was it giving the babies away? How are you doing? Would you do it again? Didn't you bond with them at all??? The easy answer is I gave the girls BACK to their parents. I started out knowing that I would do that and it was as simple as that in the end. I'm doing great and am happy to be able to pump for them and even was privileged to be able to nurse baby #1 in NICU and get some colostrum in her.Their mom got very sick with a fever and just needed help. I felt very honoured.
Would I do it again... probably not. Even though it was a 10 yr wait for them to adopt in the country that this family lives in, and the legalities of surrogacy there make it next to impossible, there were many things that I grapple with - especially international parents tapping into our medical system... Countries are closing their doors b/c we keep sending back kids that aren't perfect enough for us. They'd rather have them in orphanages than mess with the North Americans these days. My biggest dilemma is overpopulation of our planet. I'm contributing to it. Thankfully my husband doesn't want kids so between me having 2 with my ex and this surrogacy, we have just replaced ourselves on the planet. If I did it again, I'll be contributing to overpopulation. I don't think my body could handle this again anyway. 40 is getting OLD!!!
I loved being a surrogate. I would have to say I didn't have a heart if I didn't bond on some level. But these girls were as planned as any pregnancy could be. They will be loved beyond belief. I am sure of that. Are there people in the world that need to reconcile their inability to have kids and move on as a childless couple? For sure. Is this only for the rich or at least privileged? Yes. It costs more money than most people have in the bank. But does that mean it should be illegal? It won't stop people from doing it - they'll just go to India. Better to monitor than control I say.
So, yes, my husband was my rock through this all and I literally could not have done it without him. It would have bankrupt the parents that I was a surrogate for. Child care, respite, housekeeping - that would have cost more than topping up my wages onbedrest. So, yes, they took care of me as per our contract. But that's all that's allowed in my country. If you're doing it for the money, it's about 2.75 an hour that I made but it wasn't for the money. It was for the love of the people, for the experience. My mum asked me how I was ever going to top this. I said I didn't do it to top something - I did it for them. I would do it all again. I loved being pregnant. Twins? Not so much fun but boy are they CUTE!!! No, they don't look anything like each other.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Surrogacy as defined by Wikipedia is an arrangement where a woman agrees to become pregnant and deliver a child for another couple or person. She may be the child's genetic mother (the more traditional form of surrogacy), or she may carry the pregnancy to delivery after having been implanted with an embryo with another female's genetics.
Today my sister-in-law is going to the hospital today to have a give birth to twins...that she will give away to their parents. She is in no way related to them genetically. She was just the womb and housed them as they grew...or at least that is the prevailing thought.
I must say that when they came to us and told us what they were doing I really struggled with it. I mean I believe that life is a gift and that only God opens and closes the womb...right? Or do I really? Shaun reminded me that we had used birth control and he had a really we were tampering just as much.
Anyway, we grappled...I grappled a lot. I mean she was doing it for the money right? Except that the amount she gets paid in really a pittance compared to the toll that it has taken on her physically. And then a c-section? Anyway the whole thing is looking more and more altruistic to me as I watch and learn.
I guess one has to go back to motive. I mean that's the real problem right. When we look at surrogacy we take it to the extreme...which is necessary in the world we live in. There are people who would use surrogacy to grow parts for people etc. That is our ultimate concern...the cheapening of human life. Or that as this article says “Surrogacy views women as disposable uteruses, merely containers or public utilities for someone else’s babies. This dismantling of motherhood says there is no essential bond between a woman and the baby she carries under her heart for nine months.” There are, as I said, many legitimate concerns. There are many more arguments against adoption? Why not adopt. There are so many children who need a loving family. But some people simply cannot wrap their mind around that. They want their own flesh and blood. I can understand that.
But as I've watched my sister-in-law carry these two precious babies I have had to rethink many the end I believe it comes down to motive. In this case the motive is to give a family the ultimate gift of a child (or in this case children). All of you mothers know what a gift and what a sacrifice this is. Those of you who want desperately to be mothers...well you know the crushing pain of not having that gift and what it would be to have the opportunity to have that.
I respect my sister-in-law for her choice. I see the value in it. I see the joy she is bringing to others. I asked her if she would do this again. She said she would...I asked her how she would be when she actually had to hand these 2 over to their parents and say goodbye? She said she figures she'll be fine as she set out to do that from the get-go.
It's definitely a new thought. One that takes some time to come to terms with, at least for me. It is because it's new and I take awhile to adjust? Or is it because of the can of worms that it has the potential to open? Maybe both. I have, however, enjoyed the process of watching this particular surrogacy develop from a thought to a reality. I have enjoyed watching my brother-in-law fill in the gaps my sister-in-law was not able to fill due to bed-rest. They have been a great team.
And now tomorrow I get to go meet those two girls. I have some more grappling to do...I am their surrogate auntie...but I will not know the joy of that position. But then again it was never about "my position" was it.

Inside the Revolution by Joel Rosenberg

I just finished reading Joel Rosenberg's book Inside The Revolution. There are 3 sections to this book. The first section is just plain freaky. The things that are going on in our world...yep freaky. The middle section is explanatory and the third section is what captivated me the most. I highly recommend this book. Mr. Rosenberg is a very well informed man. He is not guessing at any of this. Go to his website to see about him. I read his book Epicenter and am now looking forward to reading his booklet Inside the Revival which goes more into detail about the 3rd section of Inside the Revolution.
Interestingly enough, he has written novels as well. I have not read any of his novels but after he released each of them the story lines happened in our world. The title of his novels are as follows: The Last Jihad, The Last Days, The Ezekiel Option, The Copper Scroll, Dead Heat, and his newest The Twelfth Imam. I plan on reading at least the last 3.

Goodbye 2010! Hello 2011!!!!!

It really has been quite a year hasn't it! I mostly updated you on our lives in the Oct. 2010 Update. In the family, travel, daily living aspect life was exhausting but good. In the business and work aspect it was a steep incline of learning.
Life is so unexpected at points. I got a note from a family member just on Monday that her sister had passed away in her sleep...a young woman, mother of 2, wife of one...completely unexpected and with a reason to still be found. Grief and shock hit me for a person I had met twice but who meant the world to her children, husband, and family. The same day that I received that profoundly sad note the little IGA in our village burned to the ground. That building was built in the 1920's. I loved walking on the old hardwood floors. It whispered of a time past and I found comfort in that. And now it is no more. A building that is no more versus a person who has gone on to eternity with Him. That is something to find comfort in...true comfort. We will all see her again.
Tuesday my mom called me to tell me of her test results on bone density. She has been diagnosed with osteoporosis. She had this test because over Christmas she was skiing and went under a rope to get out of a line to the chair and fractured 3 ribs. She bent over and fractured 3 ribs? That's not she had to leave our house earlier than she was supposed too to drive home for the test. The doctor told her no more skiing etc. It's an interesting thing in that my mom is probably the healthiest person I know in fitness and food choice...for her whole life...she has always been extremely active and high energy. I always have said that although she is 30 years older than me she has more energy than I do. The doctors are a bit baffled as well. My dad also called and told me that his heart valve has deteriorated more and so he will be going into surgery to have that replaced this month. That involves opening up his chest and going in. The laproscopic version is not reliable enough as of yet.
I got calls over Christmas from family with varying news of distress and sadness pretty much all around. So while we had an excellent Christmas my side of the family especially had a tough one. And that affects. It's interesting how one person's actions affect SO many people...even those they don't realize that it affects.
We also thought we were going to be moving as my in-laws sat us down and told us that they would need to sell the house. At first I was understanding and then I was just plain mad...not at them having to sell the house but at us having just lived through that renovation etc. that sucked any extra reserve we had right out. It was extremely taxing on us and the girls. It cost us our summer and we are still recovering in many ways. I do not say all that to point a finger at them...they were having to sell it not wanting too. There is a vast difference. They were not being mean or vindictive. In the end they have worked out a way to not sell the house and they have been very gracious to us. I have to say that I am very thankful not to be moving right now. It would be another massive cost on us financially, emotionally and physically...something I am not sure we are up for right at the moment.
We have the privilege of having Vern join us in our home. He is a thoughtful and ever cheerful man whom we are thankful to have.
Today my sister-in-law goes in for a c-section to give birth to twins...not hers. She is a surrogate for another family. Through this whole pregnancy I have really grappled with this whole new world of surrogacy. But I will leave that for another post. In the end I am excited for the family and amazed by my sister-in-law's willingness to do something like that. For although it is not completely altruistic...the amount she gets paid is a pittance to the toll. She has been on bed rest since sixteen weeks. You could not pay me enough to do it. And yet I see the joy given. It has been amazing watching my brother-in-law work very hard at taking up the slack that bed rest has caused. It has also been amazing watching them convey this to their two children and watching the kids take it and run with it and be captivated by being apart of giving this gift.
On the business end of things we took on a new partner :). Shaun's brother came on board with us in the middle of October. He is excellent at business management and he seems to have a special gift to make businesses thrive. He has thrown himself in 100% and given so much already. Shaun and Jim have opposite complementing skills that has turned them into a well rounded whole for a business. We are very excited about what is already coming down the pipe as a result of this partnership.
Our friendships this God has answered our years long prayers and we have been given the massive gift of amazing, laughter filled, refreshing, and reviving friendship. I am in awe of the people that He has placed in our lives...each one a jewel beyond price. In fact this New Year we laughed ourselves silly for 2 days straight with one of those couples. The children were telling us to be quieter...there's a switch.
Our darling daughters bring us so much joy throughout every day. We have come to an age where they are not little anymore...Portia has a bit more time in the "little" capacity but not much. They are both independent, fascinating, thoughtful, joyful, laughter-filled girls. They love each other so much and they are a joy to watch playing together. We are in our second year of homeschooling. It is going very well. We all like it immensely. It is so fun to teach one's own children. I fascinated by the process of explaining something to them and then watching the light go on and then watching them run with the idea. It's an addicting feeling.
My husband...the one who is my heart. We are knit together and there is not undoing it. I love watching his every single day bring shouts of laughter and giggles to our girls and to me. I don't know how he does it but it's a special gift he has. I love watching his depth of character and the grace with which he faces life and the love that he bestows generously on me.

What have I learned this year? I suppose many things. One of the things that I have recently concluded is that in the midst of a process I will no longer let my emotions rule the day. Emotions are good and all but they are not supposed to be the engine but the caboose. I cause myself much unneeded stress by diving deeply into the emotion of the moment instead of letting the situation sort itself out and then addressing emotions.

What am I most thankful for this year? This year I was given back the gift of my side of the family. I love each one. It is a rooting feeling to get to know more from were I come. It was something missing for me.

So as you can see 2010 was filled with precious gifts and opportunity for growth. And in the end I am again able to say with complete joy and confidence...I AM BLESSED.

I know that was long and rambling on many topics...but Happy New Year! And in this next span may you see God's hand upon your life as you navigate this journey.