Friday, November 6, 2015

Hitchhiker Adventures #5: I’m not sad that I won’t get to take this baby home, so stop being sad for me!

Here is the thing, I do not want a baby. I HAVE two awesome children whose stages of growing up I enjoy very much, even if it means my thirteen year old turns into a raging, disney princess on occasion. I have been blessed with them, and they are enough for me.
I have no wish to go back to diapers, bottles, attempting to breastfeed with my body that refuses to make enough milk, daycare drama and all that comes with having a baby. I am quite content to snuggle my large children and my extra large dog, I don’t need a sleeping baby on my chest (sleeping babies are ticking time bombs of mess, hunger and incoherent need). My children may be emotional time bombs, but at least when they explode, we can usually decipher the source of the problem and quiet it, relatively soon, and if we can’t, well we can always send them to their room. We can even leave the house, and leave them there to let everyone cool off for a bit, because they are old enough now to be left alone for a bit. I love parenting my kids, I am glad they are not infants anymore and I have no desire to parent an infant again. Why isn’t that okay?

The hardest work of this surrogacy process is behind us, and now it’s time to have some fun. No more shots, no more twice a week blood draws and weekly vaginal ultrasounds, hopefully, we just have easy OB appointments and a stretching waistline from her on out, well until delivery I guess. But while I am having fun watching my own older children freak out over heartbeats and baby movements, and telling people the baby is not my husbands, other people aren’t laughing along with me, they are giving me sad, sympathetic looks. Over and over again people say, “how are you going to give up that baby?” “How are you doing psychologically” and on and on and on. It’s as if they are just waiting for my to run off to a foreign country and refuse to hand the baby over to it’s parents. When I tell them I don’t want a baby, they just say, “but it’s a baby!” as if that is some magical creature you simply cannot live without and must form extreme attachments too. They keep trying to tell me I am sad, not accepting any of the reasons I offer for not being so. Seriously people you are killing the buzz from my hormonal high, stop giving me sad eyes, and let me enjoy gestating a baby I don’t have to raise!

Please don’t misunderstand me, I get that babies are important to people, I get that so much I am helping another couple have a baby by gestating it myself. I understand that having a baby can be very hard work for some, I just did that hard work. I understand too, that some will never get to have a baby, I grieve for them, but grieve for them not me. I enjoyed the experience of welcoming my children into the world, snuggling them close and nurturing their tiny little lives. I appreciated it, I treasured it, but I also stressed out through it because it was hard work, really hard work. Parenting at any age is hard work, but there is something about infancy, perhaps the lack of sleep, the cluelessness you feel in caring for someone with very limited capacity to communicate, the overwhelming feeling of facing down a lifetime of carrying for that tiny little person. I appreciate babies, but I had mine and I am done with that.

I have no desire to keep this baby. I care for this baby, I talk to it,I laugh when it I feel it’s alien movements inside me, but I have no desire to raise it. I am not giving it up, I am delivering it to it’s parents. Sure I will cry, my body will be a physical wreck with no baby bjorned infant to cover it, and hormones pouring out, you would cry too. The tears won’t be over a baby left. This is not my baby. I am not a birth mother. This baby has physical connections to it’s parents and not to me. I am a prenatal childcare provider. That reminds me, do people ask daycare workers how they “give up those babies” at the end of the day? It really is just a hitchhiker, one that I will bond with while we enjoy the ride together, one that I will try and keep in touch with, but one that I will be able to let go of.

I look at the letting go like this, every year I take students on trips to serve others, and these are incredibly powerful experiences that are hard to let go of when they end. I work for a year for a one to two week trip, trying to create a powerful experience for those being served and those serving. There is so much work and preparation with the team, so many meetings and appointments. The trip itself is intense; so many relationships are made and deepened. When the trip is over, it is hard for a bit. There is a loneliness and a let down, because the experience is over, and you won’t see those people anymore. There is a longing to see them again, and a fondness for all that happened, but there is also a satisfaction in the experience. The satisfaction and the memories are enough, and any contact you have in the future or opportunity to experience the adventure again is just the whip cream on top of an amazingly sweet experience. So will it be hard when this pregnancy is over, yes, but not hard because I will go home infantless. It will be hard because the adventure will be over. There will be loneliness because I will not have the same amount of contact with the family as I currently do. We will both be busy, we will check in, but not as often. I won’t have so many people acting as cheerleaders, and encouraging me with cards, emails and texts. There will be a bit of a let down, but that is okay, because the adventure will have been so amazing and the results so rewarding, it will be enough, and anything else that comes of it will just be extra awesomeness.
They aren’t cute all the time either, you want to cuddle this one? that’s me by that way

So please save the worry and the sadness for those that actually do have to give up their babies, and the families that adopt them, look for ways to support them, and just laugh with me. I am knocked up with someone else’s baby, a frozen science baby at that. Let’s enjoy the weirdness, the humor and the adventure of it all.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

I am not awesome, I am angry

My husband gave a speech today at Toastmasters. He talked about his wife convincing the family to do surrogacy, and how he was against it at first, but then he came around. He came around because my generosity inspired him, and his love for his kids challenged him to make that possible for someone else. He gave a speech today about how awesome this has been for our family, and how amazing I am.

Today, amazing me, worried and fretted, and pleaded with God and second guessed and basically just freaked out. Today generous me, wondered why the hell I decided to do this in the first place. Today I thought maybe God was punishing me.

I thought all those things as I waited for the blood to start flowing, like it did last Saturday, in a sudden, scary gush. It was nothing like the bleeding I experienced with both of my own children. That was alarming, this was terrifying. Thankfully within a couple of hours it stopped. Those hours were awful. When you call the reproductive specialists and report bleeding, they basically tell you to get off your feet and wait. You wait, and wait to see if this is just a something, or if this is the worst.

Wednesday we found out it was just a something, but a something that could turn into the worst. It’s a hemorrhage common with IVF, in fact as many as half of all IVF patients run into this complication to various degrees. They kind of gloss over these kinds of things when you sign on for this. “You could have complications as IVF has a higher complication rate, but everything looks really good on your end, so I don’t think we have anything to worry about” they say after physically evaluating you. With the first Hitchhiker, I had one of these hemorrhages, but it was small and resolved before it ever showed up anywhere but the ultrasound, it really was no big deal. This one though is big, bigger than the baby’s entire life containing sac, and it sits right next to him. It’s blood vessels trying to bring more blood to the uterus, but too much or it’s part of the lining tearing away. Whichever it is, it’s a growing clot of blood,and if it grows too much it will kill the baby. “It’s a pretty sizeable one” the doctor said in a sober voice. Then he went on to tell me not to have sex or exercise until we saw improvement, but “that’s really just so you don’t feel like you have caused anything bad to happen”. In reality, there is nothing I can do to stop it, or make it worse. Nothing.

No, I just have to wait. I have to wait for more bleeding. A) a sign that it is emptying out and shrinking B) a sign it’s gotten worse and my body wants to keep bleeding or C) the beginning of a miscarriage because the clot has gotten the best of the baby. That is crap. Such crap. The percentages are in our favor, but still, seriously, I am waiting to bleed and then waiting to see if the bleeding is too much.

Next week if the worst hasn’t happened I will walk into another ultrasound appointment, with two desperate parents by my side, and we will wait to see. Will there still be a heartbeat, or just one giant clot of blood?

Seeing the heartbeat this week was supposed to be a big sigh of relief, the numbers were stronger, the symptoms stronger this pregnancy. We weren’t going to have to say that dreadful word miscarriage. But here we are saying it again, and talking about blood and how much is too much.

And in the midst of this, photos are all over Facebook of a woman’s “beautiful" 8 week old miscarried fetus. Those pictures aren’t beautiful to me. They are my nightmare. After another 3 months of medications, my hips so swollen with injected oil they burn and are covered in stretch marks, after losing one hitchhiker, I don’t want to see a beautiful 8 week old fetus anywhere but on an ultrasound with a flashing heartbeat. Because damn it, I have worked hard for this.

And there you go, awesome, generous me, is worried about all the work I have put in, and I want the experience I signed my family up for.  I want to hand over a full term baby to a happy couple. I’m pretty selfish at this point and I am anything but awesome. I am frustrated, I am angry, I am a nervous wreck.

I know it could be worse, so much worse. Women far more awesome than me have experienced far worse. I have two amazing kids tucked into their beds right now, in my home, far from danger. My life is pretty great actually. Which makes this worry, and anger, and frustration so much harder to bare.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Not wanting to see God in times of darkness, and how bears are scarier than Goliaths

Two weeks ago, I gave this sermon at our church. I hadn’t posted it, because I already posted a lot of these sentiments on the blog already but I saw a video of  couple announcing their miscarriage on Youtube this morning, and it really struck a nerve with me. They had JUST experienced a miscarriage, and they were praising God and thanking him for the opportunity to  minister to others through the experience, and were happy that God would work through it. Now, I think that is awesome that they were able to do that, to so quickly find God and fid the good, but not all of us can, and I couldn’t. I was so mad at God in the immediate days following the  miscarriage, I didn’t want to think about my faith, I didn’t want to pray, I wanted nothing to do with it, as the immediate pain washed over me, and that is part of the message I gave two weeks ago, when I shared with the church the story that had been playing out in my life with the Hitchhiker’s death, and how far I felt from God. I learned a lot as I processed those things this summer and studied David’s life for VBS and Alaska. So I decided to share this message on the blog today, for those of us that aren’t ready to immediately thank God and praise him in the darkest of circumstances.

When we hear the names, David and Goliath a lot of images come to mind, possibly from a children’s story book when we were little, but pretty typical we see and underwhelming little guy going up against and overwhelming big guy. There is so much more here than meets the eye.

When we get to this point in David’s story, he has already been portrayed as the kid that no one thinks much of. Samuel the priest was told by God to go to David’s house, the house of his father, Jesse and anoint the new king. When Jesse presents his sons, no one even thinks to go get David. David is the scrawny little shepherd kid. The other sons are the big brawny guys that can get things done. God sees to the heart though, and he has Saul anoint David as the future king, much to his family’s surprise. You would think that this would set David up to get more credit at home. You would hope, but no, when we get to this story, he is once again, the scrawny kid of the fields. No one believes in him. That is a horrible place to be, to be discounted and disrespected and treated as if you aren’t capable. David though, doesn’t let it flap him. He comes right at them, and says God got me through the times I had to fight off lions and bears in the field so he will get me through this.

Lets think about that for a second, this scrawny shepherd boy wasn’t just watching sheep in a field, he was protecting sheep in a wilderness that included lions and bears. Not little ones either, big lions and bears, the bear in question isn’t a berry eating black bear, no it’s a grizzly kind of bear that roamed the wilderness in those days in that place. These were big scary animals, and David was literally getting between them and their food on a regular basis.

A few years ago in Alaska we were working near an area known for it’s grizzlies, so we went to the river early one morning to see them. Pretty quickly we found a large grizzly in the middle of the river on a higher portion eating a salmon. It was a good distance out, so we ventured out of the van and near the river, so we could get a better view, where some other people were watching the bears. After we had watched it for a bit, the bear sniffed the air and noticed all of us, and seemed to decide that it did not want us near it’s food, so it headed into the water and toward the river bank. We very quickly got back in the van, but one of the other bear watchers stayed on the bank. We watched as the bear got closer and I started to panic. I had a van full of youth group kids and my own children and I didn’t want them to witness a bear mauling, and I had no idea how we could stop said bear mauling. The guy stood there for a while, and finally the bear got pretty close and slammed the ground with it’s front paws, a few times, and finally the guy took the warning and left. The bear did not want that guy near his food, and it was scary watching him protect it.

I cannot imagine what David went through regularly with the lions and bears that wanted his sheep. I have so many questions about this, like why did his dad send him out there, as a scrawny kid to defend sheep against lions and bears? Did he still get scared when they approached? How many times did he miss one when he was using his sling to make them go away, and how close did they really get? Our friends in Alaska run into bears often. One man from the church in Skagway, walks the tracks everyday of the train, and checks them. He has had a lot of bear encounters, and I asked him, if they no longer intimidate him, since he has seen them so much, and by the way the ones he sees are not grizzlies, but the smaller, less aggressive black bears. He told me that of course they are still intimidating, they can still kill you quickly if they wanted to, and especially if you are between them and their babies, or them and their food. David was regularly fighting off lions and bears to defend his sheep with nothing but his sling and his bare hands.

If we really look at this story, this whole Goliath thing from David’s perspective, wasn’t that big of a deal. In his Ted Talk, journalist and author, Malcom Gladwell really breaks down this story in detail and shows that with the cultural and historical context of war fare and the health and skills of these two warriors, it was really Goliath that was at the disadvantage hear, not the scrawny little shepherd. David couldn’t be an infantry soldier, as Goliath was, he couldn’t wear armor, he wasn’t big enough. He was a sling fighter, something they actually had for armies then. He would have been in the sling fighting company once he reached age to be an official part of the army. This battle between the Israelites and the Philistines was at a stand still, so the Philistines sent their biggest infantry soldier for combat, expecting that the isrealites would send someone similar in. David was not what they were expecting. Goliath himself, appeared huge and indefeatable, but if you look closely at the scripture Gladwell says, there are some pretty big indicators that he probably suffered from the same disease that many people of unusually large size do, making their vision very poor and making them vulnerable because of weaknesses in their brain structure and their arteries. So David was incredibly gifted with this sling, this sling that could turn rocks into bullets basically, from a distance and he was not going to be close, like hand to hand combat close to Goliath, making David’s skills even more powerful, and Goliath was vulnerable to this kind of attack. Really David had the advantage in this particular situation. He had the upper hand.

It wasn’t a huge miracle that day, it was something God had set up for years, every time David encountered a challenge with a lion and a bear, and some brothers that didn’t care. It was something that was born out of a lot of struggles that he had already, that made him ready for this giant one. I wonder though which was harder for David to get through, that encounter with Goliath or all of those other challenges before?

With Goliath, David knew exactly what he was getting into, he wasn’t going to be surprised like he was by the animals. He knew right where Goliath was and he was choosing to face him. As he made that choice he could reflect on all that God had brought him through and have confidence. I think the harder challenge is getting through the day to day struggles and those curve balls that come at us. It’s hard in those moments sometimes to see God and know that he is with us. It’s hard to have the faith that tells us though something isn’t easy, it is possible.

Recently I faced off with my own Goliath. I struggle with how much to share with you about it, but I stood in front of the congregation in December and told you about this challenge in December, and since then I haven’t really shared with you publicly what happened, I haven’t told you all the rest of the story.

We underwent the process for me to be a gestational carrier, to carry a baby that was not mine for a couple that couldn’t. It was a huge thing, but I felt confident that God had prepared me with so many other things in life to do this. I had that same attitude as David. God brought me through that other hard stuff, we got this, he will get me through.  It was a big adventure in loving my neighbor and following Jesus example to lay our life down for others. It was hard, there were lots of hoops and lots of medications, and injections, but it was all good, because Jesus had my back on this one, and all the evaluators agreed I had a good support system and was very physically and emotionally capable.  I had a few responses similar to David’s family and Saul when as we told people what we were doing, people doubted me, or doubted the sanity of doing such a thing, but it didn’t stop me. We transferred an embryo in January.  A few weeks and many positive pregnancy blood tests later, we got to see this baby, we had worked so hard for, and I watched as his parents were filled with joy to see his little tiny, still had a yolk attached self on the ultrasound machine. Three weeks later we went in for the second ultrasound, this time the baby was bigger, and there was no yolk sac, but there was no heartbeat either. He had stopped developing and died.

I wish I could say that in that moment I looked up to the heavens and said “The Lord gives and he takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” I didn’t, I couldn’t. I couldn’t wrap my head around this happening. I wish I could tell you I had faith in that moment that everything was going to be fine, but it wasn’t.  I didn’t have miscarriages, my body was super well prepared for this, my uterus was beautiful. I was following God’s call to serve others. This was not part of that, this couldn’t be part of that. I didn’t want to talk to God. I didn’t want to read scripture. I had the presence of mind to ask for prayer, because I knew we needed prayer for our two families at the time, but I couldn’t do it myself. I was hurt and confused and so horribly sad. As a youth leader I was living out one of my biggest nightmares, a child under my care had died. I love all my youth group kids as my own, but I am always very mindful that someone loves them and worries for them far more than I can, and here I was carrying someone else’s baby and it had died under my watch.  Why would God let this happen? I didn’t want to know, I didn’t want to know what positive things might come out of this in the future. At the hospital a week later as I was waiting to have the surgery to remove the baby, the chaplain came in, and wanted to help us remember and recognize the life of this baby, as if we could forget him. As I was laying there in nothing but a paper surgery gown she described tombstones, that we could have his name carved into, but he wasn’t ours to name. She went on and on, but I wasn’t even wearing underwear, I couldn’t process how to memorialize a baby that was currently dead inside of me, but wasn’t mine, without underwear on. It was cruel in that moment to even ask such a thing of me. Then she asked if she could pray with me, and I was so hurt I said no. Why would God send his representative in at a time like that with words like that for me? If God knew me and loved me, he would know

Thankfully even if we don’t want God, God still wants us. God pursued David, at times in his life when David was ignoring God. We can see in the Bible that God rescued David, even when David ran away. God came to David even when David rejected Gods ways. David amassed tons of wives, but he still had to have Bathsheba, another man’s wife, something that was definitely not okay with God. David had the Ten Commandments, he knew that was wrong, but he let his own desires take over his desire for God.  Even then God still pursued him, even then God loved him, even then God helped him get through. Yes there were still consequences to his actions, but God did not abandon him, even in David abandoned his desire to follow God. There is so much more to David’s story than the battle with Goliath. He is called the man after God’s own heart, yet he is far from perfect. He didn’t have to be perfect, because he served a perfect God, whose love was so perfect

Life was hard for David, the everyday things seemed to get in his way a lot, not just the big tragedies. The power of being a king would get to be too much for him. His own lust would prove to be too much for him. Parenting proved way too much for him, if you want to read some messed up Bible stories just take a look at the ones about David’s kids. At times he was confident, but we can see in the Psalms that he wrote, other times when he was afraid and felt that God had left him alone and helpless.  We can see by looking at his story though, that God never left him, we can see from his Psalms that though he had times of fear and doubt, David was always reminded again of God’s love, mercy and protection. God brought him through it all and wrote a story of his love through David’s life, but it wasn’t easy, Goliath, was the easiest part of the story it seems.

God is so willing to stand by us, like he stood by David, that even if we reject him, he is willing to continue pursuing us. Jesus sacrificed himself, so that we could be made right with God no matter what we do, we can be forgiven, no matter what we do, we can be friends with God. No matter what when we choose to follow God, he is with us.

I forget sometimes like David did, that God is with me. I forget that even when bad things are happening, he is in my corner, working things out in ways I might never see. I forget that he has worked some pretty big things out for me, and instead like David did, I hide in a cave of fear and doubt and depression. That is what I was doing after the baby died. Maybe you do that too. Maybe sometimes things overwhelm you and cause you to turn away from your faith and miss out on seeing the amazing, protecting and providing presence of God in your life. Thankfully though, God is willing to help pull us out of that, and he has also surrounded us in the church with people that are willing to be with us through hard times as a physical representation of God’s love.

God pulled me out of that darkness, very gently through the people he has placed in my life. He surrounded me with a family that loved me through it, and let me rest and heal. He surrounded me with friends that told me it was okay to be sad for a baby that wasn’t mine, and gave me permission to worry more about my feelings for a while than the baby’s parents’ feelings. He surrounded me with friends that reminded me that God mourned with me, and didn’t try and get me to put a positive spiritual spin on it as it was all so fresh and raw. He gave me two great friends in our pastor in Alaska and a local youth pastor, that gently reminded me that God was with me, but didn’t try and make me talk to him. He surrounded us with friends who quite literally fed us through that time, dropping food off at our door without even asking. When I felt so empty and do worthless, God literally wrapped me in love, through the presence of our giant great dane, who everyday would wrap his giant body around me on the couch for a while. The death of the baby was an unexpected bear attack and I panicked for a bit, but I wasn’t alone, God got me through, and slowly I was able to see that, and slowly make my way back to understanding his presence. What has he gotten you through? Or are you having trouble finding him at all?

A few months ago, we got the all clear to try again, and I along with the family of the baby were very excited and hopeful. Until I got the dates for the medications to start and the transfer itself. I had to start meds the week of Vacation Bible School and increase the doseages over the course of the Alaska Mission. I immediately started to panic. Originally with the first transfer I was supposed to be in that sweet spot of pregnancy where normally you had a lot of energy and felt pretty good considering you were growing a human. I was supposed to have a big baby belly to take pictures with in front of the Welcome to Alaska sign and put in a book of our adventures with the baby.  I wasn’t supposed to have an empty belly and be on meds that made me overly tired, cranky and nauseous.  So I prayed a lot, I would exhale prayers of Jesus help me, I prayed so much I probably more than made up for the days I didn’t want to talk to God, although I am pretty sure God doesn’t keep track of those things so it doesn’t really matter. I had to rely on God for everything, for the strength to get out of bed some mornings to the strength to stay awake long enough at night.

God came through. We had one of the most successful weeks of Vacation Bible School ever, thanks in very large part to the many incredible volunteers. I am still hearing from parents about the impact it has had on their kids, even their little kids, and the conversations that are now taking place around their homes about Jesus. I was weak, but he was strong and he provided so many willing volunteers who were much stronger than I.

Then Alaska rolled around a few days later, and I was really nervous about how I would be able to lead the team well. Again God provided. We had a drama free team of students, that all meshed well together despite being from two different churches. They worked hard and they really reached out to the community of Skagway.  We had a dream team of leaders with us that helped to make sure everything ran and were proactive in jumping in and getting things done. These things equipped me for the battle of a youth mission trip.

We were absolutely welcomed back to Alaska with open arms, and even so much sunshine we got sun burnt. Everywhere we went on our first full day there, we heard, “Portland is back! Welcome back Portland” and we were greeted with lots of hugs, smiling faces and excited anticipation for the week ahead. I saw one of our old Kayak guides, who had taken us kayaking on the lake and even he recognized us, and was glad we were back to work with the kids of Skagway. It was so encouraging to see that God had made our presence known in such a good way in that town, and that by doing so he was making himself known. Our faithfulness in going back, showed his faithfulness, our joy brought his joy, and our love showed his love. That is such a powerful thing. Every night people of the town made sure we had dinner, and it was always amazing. They even opened their businesses to us once again, and gave us free rides on the train, free kayaking and a free zip lining tour. We poured out God’s love and they flooded us right back with it. That was incredibly empowering and energizing to me.

Our programs were flooded with kids again. We had lots of little ones in Vacation Bible School so many that we had to add a third group the schedule. We had kids were at the age that they could come to both VBS and youth group at night, and they eagerly came. At youth group we saw all the old familiar face and were blasted with a bunch of new ones and new names to learn and it was fantastic.

One of the things that we had planned to do this year, that we had never done before, was have a lock in, which is our term for an overnight event at the church, only there are no locks on that church, so we just called it an overnight event. We wanted the students from Portland and Skagway to have more time together before we left, to form deeper relationships and share more experiences, because we really feel that it’s through those things that Jesus love is communicated the best. Several people told me this was a crazy idea, that we would already be exhausted and then to throw this in at the end of the week would be the end of us. We did it anyway, and it was amazing. This picture was taken that night,and my heart just bursts when I see how many kids were there, and all the old faces and the new ones, and all three groups of kids having so much fun together that you don’t know which one is from which group.

That night I had to take an extra injection of meds, because the doseages were increasing. I worried that it would tire me out, and I wouldn’t be able to make it through the night. There was a pause in the action, where the kids were entertaining themselves, so I decided to go in and take my meds, and when I came out, a mom from Skagway that had been helping with youth group all week was waiting for me. She had seen me getting all my supplies, and heard me talking to Spencer, so she asked if I was going through the invitro fertilization process. When I told her yes, she proceeded to tell me her story of invitro and multiple miscarriages, and I knew the ending to this story, because her twin daughters are two huge parts of our youth group up in Skagway and I absolutely adore them. I can’t tell you how encouraging that was, to hear her story, and to see those girls there having a blast with their Portland friends. It gave me the boost I needed to finish out an exhausting week. God provided, as I saw his faithfulnees to that mom, and how he helped her overcome the lion of infertility.  

Now I am staring down another bear. On Wednesday I go in for another embryo transfer. Last time it was so exciting. This time it’s not. I didn’t slay the giant last time, I didn’t make it to the end of a healthy pregnancy and hand over a healthy baby. The giant of this whole thing is looming over me and it looks bigger than ever. So I have to draw on all those bears God helped me slay in the past. I have to see that God got me through those so he will get me through this.  I have to look at this photo of us on the mission trip, in front of the Alaska sign. We didn’t stop on the way in to Alaska this year as we normally do, instead we stopped on the way out. Which was a huge blessing to me personally to not be confronted with that sign and the lack of a baby belly with which to take a picture. Instead we took this as we were leaving after a great week of seeing God work through us and through the people of Skagway, and I was able to stand there with a smile on my face.

What bears has God brought you through? What giants is he having you face down now? Are you able to see him at work in your life, or are you missing out because you are stuck in fear and doubt, or even shame about who you are or the circumstances of your life. God is there for you, God is supporting you, God is helping you slay those bears, you just have to look around and see him. You just have to choose to want to see him, and allow him to lead you. And if you feel like you can’t see him, like he isn’t there, or you don’t want him there, that is ok too, God won’t leave you, and someday, he will gently remind you of his love and his presence, and hopefully in the mean time you can be encouraged by the people around you, who are able to see God but mourn with you too. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It still sucks...

I feel like I started this blog to tell and honest story, of life and not sugar coat things, to start conversations about stuff others want to leave unsaid. I started posting about surrogacy for the same reasons. Infertility is a huge thing with very little discussion. So I wanted to pull back the curtains on our experience and let people into a small part of that world. I haven’t posted for a few months, because I was embarrassed and hurt and I just couldn’t hit publish. I didn’t want to expose more of my feelings and more of my failures. I didn’t want people to think I was trying to garner sympathy or bemoaning a my life, that really is pretty good. I think though, I wasn’t doing this blog, or it’s origination justice. Here is the thing, five months ago a baby died when it was growing inside of me, and it still hurts. It still sucks. The pain is a little duller, mornings are a little easier to get through, but it still hurts and I think that needs to be said.

It’s not just that punch to the gut pain of grief that hurts either, it’s the sting of shame and embarrassment. Surrogacy is embarrassing in the best of circumstances. I have to explain why and see the immediate judgement in people’s eyes, when they hear that I have made this choice. Repeating the process though, man, that’s rough. Now I have to explain that I failed at it once. I mean I know that everyone says it wasn’t my fault, but again I go back to the language, miscarriage and lost. I question whether the doctors and the parents think my body is capable. As the clinic assures us that only the best embryos are implanted, it just makes me question, if it was the best embryo, then the problem may have been that it wasn’t the best uterus. Surrogate or not, having a pregnancy end like this is embarrassing, and implies failure even if that isn’t true.

There is a new pain with new shots. I wanted so badly to have another opportunity to get pregnant for this family, now that it’s here, I hate it. Last time the excitement of the adventure made the shots less painful. This time every shot hurts with a new sting of defeat. I wasn’t supposed to have to do this again. And what if this doesn’t take, can i really handle a third attempt?

All of it too calls into question the whole decision to do this in the first place. Is it worth putting my family in emotional harm’s way again? Is it worth putting my body through this again. Am I crazy for trying this? Is God even calling me to do this?

This is beyond hormones too. Yes the chemical equations of my body are out of whack, but this can’t be excused away with that. Those may magnify it, but the emotions are real. There was trauma here.

So yeah, I am functional, I am moving forward. I do find happiness in everyday, and I am excited about life still, but in the background is this massive sea of grief, shame and doubt. Sometimes the waves roll in and they are just tiny, and you can almost ignore them, but sometimes, they are huge, and briefly crippling, as they knock me down and disorient me.

Again, I don’t post this for sympathy, it’s not a cry for help. I just want to be a voice, for all those moms out there, surrogate, birth, adoptive or whatever, that have loved and had to say goodbye to their babies. It’s okay that you are still sad, days, weeks, or years later, and it’s ok to share that. if there is anything I find positive about this experience, it is that so many women have had the opportunity to tell me their story and to have their feelings acknowledged.

Monday, March 23, 2015


I really don’t like #blessed. I think it’s used all wrong, for things that aren’t truly blessings. I also wonder if it touches, for some, on the Old Testament concept of your are blessed if things go right, and if they go wrong you are out of favor with God, like because I have this I am blessed, but if I don’t or you don’t, you aren’t. I think the better hashtag, is I Realize I'm Blessed. That is probably the sentiment behind #blessed, but I think it says it better. It’s like, I finally get it, in this moment, I understand I am blessed. We forget in the everyday mundane and in the bigger struggles, how blessed we are. We forget that just the adventure of life and the people on that adventure with us are a huge blessing.

I have learned that lesson over and over again, and yet still sometimes I forget. Thankfully I have been reminded. I have been reminded through this latest struggle that no matter what I may lose, I have so very much. I have incredible friends. I have amazing parents, and even though they live far away, they cannot wait to hug me and love me and care for me and my family tomorrow. I have a husband who struggles with so much but is still able to be strong enough to support me. I realize that no matter what I go through I am blessed.

I get these words of Jesus so much more now, the Beatitudes.

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble. Matthew 5:3-12 (MSG)

I have had so many adventures, more than I ever thought possible and I have been and continue to be grateful for them. It was out of that and out of my desire to follow Jesus, that I wanted to be a part of other people’s adventures. I wanted to make the dreams of others come true. I wanted my family and another family to experience big dream coming true things. So I was so “care-full”, with everything I could give to the experience of surrogacy. And it may have come crashing down, but in that crash I understood, how cared for I was and am. So many people cared for me during this past few weeks, and I am so incredibly grateful. While I felt a great deal of despair, now I am feeling a lot of joy. It still hurts, when I see a pregnant person, and stings, when a surrogacy storyline comes up in something I am watching, but I am reveling in the understanding of the love and care I am surrounded with. 

I  want to be clear, I don’t see God as the architect of this miscarriage, but I see him as the amazing restoration company transforming this disaster and making my life livable and better than ever. I don’t think he made this baby die to teach me or anyone else something. That little life was precious to him too. I do think though that he is helping me to see how blessed I have always been. He is opening my eyes to a whole new world and letting me walk for a bit in the shoes of others. I have walked through a piece of infertility. I have walked through grief and loss. I have walked through the depression that my husband and so many others suffer with, and even if it’s only for a little bit, I will be able to connect with others to walk with them in their pain a little bit better now. This has been a huge mess, but God is helping me clean it up and things are looking better than they did before. There are still some dust bunnies lurking in the corners, a ring that won’t come off the bathtub, dried on paint in the sink, but I can look at it all and see it as more beautiful than before. 

I’m coming to terms with the idea that we may not get to try again. This tragic pregnancy may be my last, this dream may not come true, this adventure halted. At least I tried. I gave it my all. I lived life to the fullest. I loved my neighbor as fully as I could, and it may not ended the way we wanted, but there was love. It may not have gone the way we wanted it to, but at least I did it, and in doing so, I received so much more than I gave. We lost someone so dear and I have been embraced by the one who is most dear. Friends have quite literally fed me with their love. He is putting my world right and I can see that so clearly now. I was at the end of my rope, I may be at the end of this adventure, but God is here with me. 

The ends don’t justify the means of this experience, but they make it more livable and they help me realize again that I am blessed. 
just two of my many many undeserved blessings

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Hitchhiker Adventures #4: Saying Goodbye

I noticed something today, something I would have thought would make me happy, but instead it brought me to tears. I noticed that the swell of my belly was gone. There is still that pooch of excess skin from two other child bearing swells, but the extra from this one is gone. It wasn’t a big swell, as we were still in the first trimester, but it was there. It took a notch from my belt and made my pants a bit tighter. It was partially from weight gained from hormone injections, although most of that is on my hips, but it was also from a growing, swollen, baby carrying uterus. Early as it might have been, just like with my own two children, my stomach had grown. But that ballooned belly has popped. It’s like my body is starting to forget all about the Hitchhiker.

My body may be erasing the signs of him, but my brain is holding on for dear life, even though it knows that life is gone. I want to move past grief and sorrow but I don’t want to forget his little life. He and I were going to have such grand adventures in the months we had together. I knew our time was going to be short, just 37 weeks but I had planned to make the most of them. We were going to take pictures together in front of the grand canyon, my belly bump and I. Then we would take pictures in front of the Welcome to Alaska sign.  We were going to listen to all kinds of music together and read all kinds of stories. That kid was going to know the Bible backwards and forwards from the craziest stories to the weirdest, most amazing things Jesus said. Like anything I do with my youth group kids, our time together wasn’t just going to be time together, it was going to be an experience. We would create a whole book full of adventures together, that I would happily give to his parents, when I handed him over. He would have a record of the places he went to, the noises he heard, the people who surrounded him. He was going to know, even if it was only in his uterine subconscious, and a photobook of memories that he was loved by me, by my community and by an amazing God. We didn’t get thirty seven weeks though, we only got five and a half (he was three weeks before they put him in, because science pregnancy is crazy like that). I guess we got seven and a half technically, but thankfully only one of us was truly there for those last awful two.

We had some moments together the two of us. We had a couple of days of bedrest while he nestled into my womb. I hope he knew he was loved as he was thawed out and given a home. We had some trips to the zoo and gardens, and he sloshed around my belly for walks and youth groups and church. We had a moment of pure joy together with his parents, as we saw his heartbeat on the monitors and heard it’s own amazing music. We had lots of blood tests and pee tests and tests of patience with one another as we experienced nausea. We ate lots of bagels together, because that’s the only thing we could stomach for a while. We snuggled the big black dog a lot. In fact that is one of the few physical things I have left of this whole experience is the smell of the big black dog, that is still all over me, because he refuses to let me feel alone, after the Hitchhiker is gone; that dog continues to drape his big drapey self all over my empty self. I got two more weeks with the Hitchhiker, then he did with me. Mercifully he was absent when we saw his lifeless body on the screen. He had his back turned to us, like he had already said goodbye. He missed the tears, the physical pain, the huge weight of carrying death, he was already gone. We had thirty seven weeks of memories planned but got just a few instead, the Hitchhiker and I.

He is gone, but he will always be with me. I may not be able to name him, or bury him, I certainly wasn’t going to raise him, but he is still a part of me. Whether I was going to raise him or not, he was always going to be with me, just like all of the youth group kids I have cared for over the years, only a bit different, as I carried him with me quite literally. I didn’t just make space in my life for him, but in my body itself. For a while my own son would not drink anything or eat anything that someone else’s mouth had touched. He said he could smell their breath, he and I share a very keen sense of smell. My son decided though that he could eat or drink something my lips had touched, since he had been inside me and shared my breath once. I couldn’t believe the wisdom and depth of that statement uttered when he was only six. You share so much with the child that you carry, even if you don’t share DNA. The Hitchhiker and I didn’t have much time together but in what little time we had, we already shared so much.

This is where tattoos are truly a blessing. They allow you to carry someone with you physically for all of your days. They give an illustration to the story, that is hard to tell, but you don’t want to hide. I will get to have him with me. I will get to tell his story, when people ask what is the symbolism of that tattoo. I will get to share the story of the kid I had for a bit, of the hope that he was filled with, the dreams, the two families that were connected by the hope of him. I will get to remember him verbally in my own way, even if I am not his mother. That, for me, is more meaningful than any tombstone or memorial service. I won’t have to wonder when people ask how many kids I have if I should tell or not, and then feel guilty that I don’t and his story never gets told. I will be able to tell his story and that right now is what I need to keep breathing. I need to know that though my body may move on, he will not be forgotten. If tattoos are defiant, I am defying my body itself, by refusing to let him be erased. I am rebelling not against society, but nature when I allow a friend to draw more ink into my skin. I am rebelling against the stigma, that this life was too short to matter, or this story is too sad to tell. It was a life, it is our story and it matters, the Hitchhiker, he matters. He was loved so much, he was longed for, he was worked for, he was significant and he will be represented on my skin for as long as it lasts. Longer than my belly, longer than my hormones, longer than the tears. He may not have been mine to raise but he was mine to grow and to love first so intimately close, then from afar.
(Once again I am so thankful to the amazing friends I have, and to our incredible artist friend, all of our friends amaze me with the way they can take my broken heart and make it feel a little more whole. The bird is like the ones I have for my other kids, and a kid we lost long ago in a different sort of way. The anchor, is a symbol of hope, which is what this adventure was all about, and my grandpa has a Navy tattoo on his forearm that always fascinated me growing up, so it’s something I have wanted for a while. )

Monday, March 9, 2015

Elephant Gestation a Big Black Dog and the Stifling Grief of Getting Back to Normal

Today I am supposed to be getting back to normal. I am still supposed to watch my activity level and check in with the still rawness of a freshly scraped womb, but I am supposed to start getting back to normal. I was for a while. I tried to start yesterday, I dressed up and held my head high as I walked into church and went back to work. I tried last night as I led a meeting for our Alaska team. I tried to talk even when the pain of being on my feet for a long time and playing youth group games took some of my breath away. I tried as I realized that I would no longer be carrying a big baby filled belly to Alaska with me. I tried this morning as I tackled the laundry that has piled up in the last couple of weeks. But I soon found myself on the couch covered in my dog and my tears, like some awful country song. It’s probably the hormone fluctuations but I think there is more too it than that. Instead of normal, today I found grief and defeat as I am sure that those who have walked through miscarriage, fertility treatments, and so many other losses have before me. 

I wanted so desperately to bring more of God’s joy and love and redemption into the lives around me. This adventure with surrogacy was supposed to do that. I knew it would be taxing and stressful, but it was the kind of stress that came with promise and hope, instead of more bills and more heartbreak. We had enough of those icky kinds of stress. Little thing after little thing with some pretty big things sprinkled in one after another for years, made me long for something different, something new. I thought we had found some of that in surrogacy. It was something cool we could do to help others, to bring life and beauty to the world, and even if pain came with it, at least it would end with joy overflowing and not a debt of yuck. It seemed to do that for a while, it brought excitement, encouragement and hope to a lot of people around us and to our two families. 

Yet here we are in the yuck. I thought once the surgery was over, and my body took a few days off to recover, my mind would be in a better place. It was for a bit, maybe just distracted with trying to will my body to strength and my life to normal. Now though, as I try to get back to routine, the grief of it all is hitting full force. The loss of that little life, the end of the adventure. Returning to normal means it really is over.

We knew this was a possibility, but it was tucked way back in our brains. It had to be, for us to try this really. We all were prepared for the embryo not to implant. I think if at the six week ultrasound we had seen no heartbeat, we would have been disappointed, but not surprised, and we would have been able to move on sooner. This though, was much harder to take, much more complicated to deal with, and delays the whole process a lot more. It wasn’t something we really took into account, and I am sure that is for the best.

Many have asked if and when we will try again, this is perhaps one of the most painful parts of the infertility process. That is out of our hands at this point. We could decide not to, but none of us want to do that. To proceed, though, my body has to be evaluated again. The parents have to be willing to wait for me to recover, everything has to sit on hold for months as we wait on my body. Suddenly the adventure that began last winter, may not end until next winter. Now it seems as if we are on an elephants gestational time table. If we do try again my body will be riding hormonal waves for a very long time to come.

Sometimes it’s easier for me to turn to music, than scripture. I know as someone who works in ministry, I am not supposed to admit that, but it’s true. Often thankfully scripture is woven into and inspires the music that makes it so much easier to digest the messages of God’s love, hope and joy in the midst of defeat. So I am clinging to this Rend Collective song today as I cling to the huge black dog that sits with me in grief. He and I take a break from getting back to normal and just sit for a bit. He puts his head up close to mine, when he sees the tears pooling in the corners of my eyes, and he helps me to find some joy, he reminds me of the message of this song, the message of Jesus, that there is redemption, that life can spring from death.

I will wait for that light of my soul to warm up this cold shadow of grief. I have been so blessed over the last two weeks to have my family and my friends remind me of those things too. Through meals and cookies, calls, texts, messages and prayers, there have been little bursts of light, there have been moments of joy and for that I will always be grateful. If we do go through with this elephant pregnancy, it’s those things that will give me the courage to continue and to embrace the rest of this adventure. So I will try to choose celebration. I will work on celebrating the amazing family and friends I have, instead of grieving so much for the little life, and opportunity we lost. I will sit in the arms of this crazy dog and try to understand that I am in the arms of Jesus himself.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Adding injury to the insult of carrying or “miss”carrying death

I share so you will get a glimpse, you will hear a note, maybe you will understand a fraction of how cruel fetal demise, miscarriage and what follows it are, because carrying death is awful. I know my story is a little bit different. I didn’t carry this baby as long as some have. I didn’t have to scoop it’s remains out of a toilet, as some have. I didn’t have to give birth, knowing after all the work there would be no reward of cries, or breath in it’s lungs. I didn’t have to decide whether or not to terminate the terminal. Women have had to do some absolutely horrible things in the wake of their baby’s death. In many ways I am lucky in other ways though, my story is the same as the women who have bravely walked this road before me. It’s filled with a pain and vulnerability all of it’s own.

The chaplain of the Catholic hospital intruded on the morning that I was trying to face without grief. I had sat with death for a week and a day, and I just wanted it to be over and it would be, at least in part, the big part. It would conclude with a Dilation and Curettage, the same procedure used for abortion. My body held on to that lifeless baby for two weeks, thankfully I was only aware of the one. My body still nauseous and tender and tired, didn’t realize that the life it was making itself sick to support was gone. My brain did though, and it was freaked out. I spent the whole week trying not to think about it, but it would always creep in, and the tears were never far behind. I was carrying death. Once it was a sweet little life, so full or promise and redemption, but now that life was gone and it was sitting in my gut like a stone. Yesterday though, I didn’t want to dwell on it, I didn’t want to cry that morning. I didn’t want to get in touch with my emotions, a room full of people were about to get in touch with my private parts.  I just wanted to suffer through the indignities of the hospital,the indignities of this procedure and go home.

But there I was laying on the stretcher with only a paper gown, some socks and a hairnet talking about baby memorial services, and carving the baby’s name on a special tombstone. Once again in this process, I was nearly naked in front of strangers, discussing a baby that wasn’t mine. I just wanted to shout at the chaplain, “What name could I give him, I’m not his freaking mother!”. But I didn’t I was polite and courteous, and just tried to get the conversation over with as fast as possible. I was offered a small blanket, which I rejected. I didn’t want to talk about the baby. I didn’t want to think about the family whose job it was to name this baby, and whose grief I was carrying too. I didn’t want to explain why I was crazy enough to try and do this for a stranger, I didn’t want to deal with the assumptions, the presumption of judgement, the embarrassment. Maybe if he was mine, I would feel different, but I doubt it. In that moment, he was in my body and he was lifeless, and I didn’t need a tombstone or a memorial service to tell me he was significant or valued, or God’s child. I knew those things all too well, but I couldn’t talk about them in hospital socks and a paper gown. I needed to at least be wearing underwear to talk about them, to think about them. I needed to at least have him physically not with me anymore before I could process him being gone.

She kept talking of the necessity of sharing your feelings, and talking to someone, but again, in that moment, I was sharing more than I cared too. My height, my weight, my medical history, my vagina were all on display or would be shortly. In that moment I just needed to focus on getting through, because truth be told I was scared and miserable, and so very naked. I was scared of anesthesia, my hand hurt from the IV. I had to stumble through the hallway to get to the bathroom in that stupid paper gown while managing an IV. I was about to literally have my insides scooped out with the surgical equivalent of a spoon and a vacuum!!! I didn’t want to cry, I didn’t want to grieve in that moment I just wanted it to be over, and she was dragging it out. She offered to pray, but even that I couldn’t take. I did not know her, she didn’t know me, it felt intrusive. I know she was there to offer comfort, but she only brought grief and the ugly feelings of vulnerability that played a part in this whole surrogate process. It brought out the indignity of it all, it made me feel like I did “lose” the baby, like I did “miscarry” it, because this all seemed like a horrible punishment.

The chaplain had offered to come after the surgery, but that seemed worse, and I am so glad she didn’t. After I was wearing underwear, someone else put on me while I was asleep. After I found sensors on different parts of my body, that I didn’t place there. After people were talking more to my husband than to me, because presumably I wasn’t coherent enough to take it all in. The surgery was described to him, the instructions given to him. Yet again in this surrogacy process, I felt like my body was not my own, like someone else was in control, like other’s were discussing me as if I wasn’t even there. After I was tired, after I was empty, after I was supposed to move forward.

It’s hard to move forward, to grieve for a baby that wasn’t mine to name, or to bury. How could I hold onto a blanket for a baby that I would only have held briefly? It just seems wrong. Not only was I carrying death, I was carrying the weight of knowing another family is grieving, another family is carrying this as well, and that breaks me. I can only imagine how hard it is to grieve for your own child. For some I am sure the blanket is comforting but to me it just added to the shame I had already piled up on myself for putting everyone through this ordeal. Even if it was not my fault, it felt like it. I imagine there are similar feelings for anyone going through this, surrogate or not. How do you grieve for someone you hoped and dreamed about but never got to know?

Being wheeled out of the hospital with a new baby is such a great high worth of commercials and movie scenes,but being wheeled out with empty arms and a womb freshly scraped is it’s own cruel torture. I just wanted to get back to life as normal to move forward, but I am not allowed. I have to sit and rest. I can’t distract myself with work or routine, because even changing clothes causes pain and makes me break out in a sweat. I was warned that even if I start feeling okay in these immediate days following the surgery, the pain will rebound in bigger ways if I try to go about my normal day. I may not be carrying death anymore but my body still carries the lingering effects of having carried a life and then having that life removed. There is still so much left to feel, even if the process is over, and perhaps that is the worst part. It’s cruel how our bodies betray our wishes to put everything behind us and move forward. It adds injury to the insult of it all.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hitchhiker Adventures #3: The words "Miscarriage" and "Lost the baby" are not okay

I have felt this way for a long time, but I couldn't speak out, I wasn't part of the club. Well, I got my card yesterday, and this sucks, so I am saying something. It's time for a language change, an attitude change a change at how we look at fetal death. You really want to convince a woman it isn't her fault that a baby died, don't call it these things, because nothing says you did this, like verbs that imply miss doing something or losing something. I didn't lose this baby, I know exactly where it is, in fact my body is holding on so strong it's going to take anesthesia and a team of people in an operating room to get it out. I didn't miss carry anything. I carried it well, I did everything I was supposed to, I took shots, I ate well, I made sure I was active, I sat when I wanted to work, I slept when I wanted to stay up. I didn't misplace or mishandle this baby.

Then there is the stigma that I should have kept this a secret, so we wouldn't have to tell people that the baby died. Screw that, that is messed up too. Yes it sucks that so many people were excited and joyful and now gloom has fallen upon them as they grieve this loss too, but it would suck more if we were trying to hide it and keep silent. That is messed up. I shouldn't just now be finding out so many people have also had miscarriages. Why did they feel they had to keep that silent? Because of this stupid stigma.

There is an idea too, that it's so early, it's not really a life, or a big deal. Whatever. I have been working on this baby for close to a year now. It's been an idea, a dream, and physical work for months. Even if it wasn't a long project, it's still a big deal. There was a life and now there isn't. There were hopes and dreams and now they are gone. There was relief and excitement and a heartbeat and it stopped. There were plans, and schedules and all kinds of things in motion, now they have stopped. We are back at square one, actually we have a few months to go before we get back to square one. So we are at like negative ten right now.

I guess you could say, it's not my baby too, so it shouldn't be that hard. Maybe you are right, but it was excruciating to see that there was no heartbeat, and wait for the doctor to say it outloud and look at this woman who has gone through so much, who trusted me with her baby, and know that the lifetime she had already started planning for was over. It hurt that I was the one crying and she was strong and trying to comfort me. Our family had dreams too, we had plans of giving them this baby. I had hopes of being done with this and getting my body back by the holidays. I was almost done with the injections. It feels like I not only let down myself, and my own family but a whole other family as well.

The language is horrible and the feeling of failure is overwhelming. Maybe I have proved all the "I told you so's" right.  Maybe this wasn't a good idea. I brought misery to my house, I have put my husband's mental health in danger. I risked it all, and literally according to medical terminology lost it. Lost it like I lost my phone, or gambled it away and lost it, either way that is a horrible way to phrase it. I chose to do this, I chose to take on this risk of loss, and here we are. Add another nail to the failure coffin. So if you are in this camp, steer clear, I already see your face of disapproval in the mirror.

Now we are back to unknown. I am wondering again if I am worthy. Before we can try again, I have to get through surgery. I have to have more anatomy examinations. The doctor and the family have to discuss whether they want to move forward with me. They have to decide if I am worthy. So you can say it's not my fault, you can say I "just miscarried", but the louder message, the one screaming in my head is "maybe, you can't do this". I imagine for those that "lost" their own babies, the feeling is pretty similar.

The doctor told me I didn't have to try this again. Even though we committed, I can still say no. Honestly though, I think being told I can't try again will be devastating. As much as I don't want to be working toward pregnancy and pregnant for the next year, as much as I don't want three more months of shots procedures and blood tests, of waiting to find out if it worked, the alternative is so much worse. Going through all that I have since the evaluations started to what is coming next Tuesday in the operating room, and not having a baby for that family would feel like the ultimate failure, it would feel like a waste. Yes we have had an adventure, made new friends, learned about a whole new part of life, learned more about each other, strengthened our bond as a family etc. But right now, I can't be grateful for that. Right now, it sucks, the possibility that this is it, burns worse than the pockets of oil I injected into my hips. I am sure I will get back to a sense of gratefulness, but I am not there yet. Let me get this out of my body first.

I can't even go to the God side of things right now either. I just can't start thinking and questioning. I am so glad that at youth group this week, we have a lot of work to do practicing for a lip sync contest of all things, because I really, literally "just can't". I am glad this week is full of busy work, not big theological questions, silliness and not sermons. I don't have to explain this week, why God let's really yucky things happen when people are trying to do something good. I don't have to go there, this week.

I just wish there was a different terminology, a different way to tell a woman what happened, to label this whole thing besides misscarriage and lost. Those words don't help with any of these feelings at all, they add to them. This is death, not a mistake, not a misplacement. There is great loss, but let's not use that as a verb. If it's not my fault, if it's because something was wrong with the baby, then why did I miscarry, why will that be what they say? The surrogate miscarried, she lost the baby. That says it all. No matter what tone it is said in, or what intentions are behind it, can you see, how much blame that statement can carry?