Friday, July 27, 2012

Photo Catch-Up

It's been a busy summer, and it's not slowing down yet!  I'll use that as an excuse for doing a mishmash of pictures rather than a proper post.
(Photo credits go to Judy Shiffler for the fourth and fifth row.)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Jennykins Comes to Town

First things first:  thank you all for the love and support and kindness you've shown with my last post's news.  I had no idea people would be so positive!  It really makes a huge difference to me to know that my loved ones like what I'm doing.  I just really appreciate it.  So thanks.  :)

Speaking of loved ones, my sister Jenny came to visit!  She was here just for a quick six days, and we took advantage of the opportunity to show her the beach!  Myrtle Beach, that is.  My favorite thing we did was visiting Huntington Beach State Park, where I got to face my longstanding fear of alligators.  ALLIGATORS.  They are monsters.  I actually did really surprisingly well in their presence.  Let me reiterate: these are actual wild vicious alligators in their natural habitat, swimming frighteningly and sneakily through a lake just a few feet away from innocent humans.  I did not panic or scream or run away.  But I did have nightmares that night, so I guess I can't claim to have conquered my fear.  Anyway, here are the demons themselves:


Moving on, here are some photos of us all frolicking on and around the beach.  We are SO much easier on the eyes than nasty alligators.



 And a new favorite family photo, taken by Jenny:

 And a few more photos.  Jude, Atalaya, Sudden Belly.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I am a Gestational Surrogate

Some of you may already know this, but now that we've hit the second trimester I decided to make it officially public news:  I am a surrogate.  More specifically, I'm a gestational carrier.  I'm carrying twins for a wonderful, loving, enthusiastic French couple whom I adore.  If the idea of surrogacy is new to you, you might want to check out the wikipedia page for a quick catch-up.  The babies are due in November; being twins, they'll probably come earlier.  I'm hoping for full-term October babies.

Here are some pretty typical questions I hear when I tell people I'm a surrogate, along with my responses:

What made you decide to do this?
I am blessed with a body that seems intended to bear children.  I have easy pregnancies and births, but I don't particularly want a large family for myself.  Soon after Isobel was born, I remember thinking to myself- "All that pregnancy and birth business was a piece of cake compared to life with a newborn.  I could do pregnancy/labor/delivery a hundred times if I didn't have to have a newborn afterwards."  (Hyperbole!  I don't actually want to do this a hundred times.) 
Surrogacy is meaningful, even fulfilling:  I feel honored to be involved in helping a couple start a family. 

Won't it be hard to give up the babies?
The line most surroMoms use here is "I'm not giving them up, I'm giving them back."  These babies are not genetically related to me and I haven't thought of them as mine ever.  My focus is very much on the Intended Parents: my relationship with them, their relationship with the babies.  Obviously I care about these babies and want what's best for them (if not, I wouldn't be a very good surrogate) but I don't LOVE them or feel attached to them.  It's nothing like the feelings I had with my own pregnancies.
If I wanted a baby of my own, I'd be having a baby of my own.  I have absolutely zero desire to keep these babies.  The culmination of this journey will be the beautiful moment when I get to see them in the arms of their parents for the first time- I love to imagine that moment.

Do you know the babies' parents?
I was matched with this couple last fall through an agency (Circle Surrogacy) and didn't know them prior to the matching process.  Since then we have gotten quite close and I count them among my most treasured friends. 

How does Brooke feel about this?  And the kids?
Brooke took some convincing in the beginning, but now he is 100% on board.  He's proud of what I'm doing and loves the Intended Parents just as much as I do. 
Jude, of course, is really too little to be tuned in to what's going on.  Isobel, on the other hand, gets it.  I prepped her with a children's book about surrogacy called The Kangaroo Pouch.  So when I told her that I have twins in my womb that I'm carrying for another family, she seemed a little surprised but not really thrown.  Now it's just a normal part of her world.  She likes to talk about the babies and their parents and meeting them next month when they come to town for an ultrasound and hospital tour.  She knows that as my belly gets bigger it will be full of babies, but their not OUR babies, not her brothers or sisters.

Hm... I'm sure there were other things I was going to mention, but now I can't remember what they were.  If you have questions, please feel free to ask me!  This is a pretty huge and exciting part of our life right now and I love to talk about it.  It has actually been hard to keep it a secret this long, and I'm happy to finally be going public!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Isobel's new down duvet and the removal of her toddler bed rail!  Very exciting for her.
 Oh boy!  Why do I go so long without posting?  Blogger has mixed it up on me and now I'm not sure what I'm doing with formatting. So that's one reason (other than laziness) that I haven't updated y'all for, like, a month. 

Fancy!  Nicole took this one

Last month we went to Pennsylvania and then left the kids with some WONDERFUL friends while Brooke and I attended his cousin's gorgeous wedding on the eastern shore of Maryland.  Here are some photos, mostly taken by Nicole:
Lots of cousins!  Look how attractive everyone is!
New favorite photo of Brooke's family
Alas, I don't have photos of the happy couple, nor the incredible setting.  You'll just have to take my word for it: everything was beautiful.

Speaking of beautiful... STRAWBERRIES.  We picked some.  They are delicious.  This year we went with our friends the Lufts, and that made the experience all the more enjoyable!

Stay tuned tomorrow for a pretty major family announcement!  I didn't want to bury it down here at the bottom of all the photos, so I'm just going to do a separate post.  Trust me, you won't want to miss it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Colorado Trip

Guess who forgot the camera, as usual? Never fear, Instagram to the rescue! We had a great trip.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012