Monthly Archives: November 2012


It’s Not Just You




Anytime a woman considers pregnancy, whether she’s adding to her family or bringing a child into the world for another family, she has to consider what the pregnancy will do to her health. Most women carry a baby to full-term with no major issues. Some women experience minor troubles: swelling feet, back pain, nausea, heartburn…




One of the things I had to consider before taking on this surrogacy was what I’d experienced with my pregnancy with Em. I had a fairly easy pregnancy after the morning sickness went away, and even that was just a nuisance. I gained more than the recommended amount of weight, but I wasn’t working and not really paying attention to the scale. Even my labor was “easy:” 8 hours total, back labor that was worse than the contractions until the doctor gave me pain meds, the last 2 hours were painful enough I finally was ready for an epidural (didn’t get it after all), but I only had to push for 20 minutes. My pregnancy went as smoothly as one could hope for. Except for one thing…




I experienced some awkward discomfort the last couple of months with Em: I was sore and aroused “down there.” Basically it felt like my then-husband and I had a really fun night and I was paying the price. Except I was sore and aroused ALL. THE. TIME. Shopping at the mall, driving the car, sitting in the pew at church. It even woke me up from a dead sleep! But it wasn’t my brain that was telling me I was aroused, just my vagina. I would occasionally try to tell my body, “Not now, I’m tired!” There was nothing I could do to make the feeling go away (trust me: I tried, with my husband and by myself). While it’s normal for women to experience an increased sex drive during the first two trimesters, it didn’t seem normal to me to feel like I was always on the verge of orgasm without going over the edge.

When I talked to my OB about it, she looked at me like I was crazy to be complaining. She told me my brain was aroused, telling my “lady parts” (her words) that I needed sex and I just needed to satisfy my body’s request. She told me to have more sex.

Not exactly helpful advice, considering I had been trying to “satisfy” this feeling and it wouldn’t go away.


Going into this surrogacy, I thought about what I would do if this happened again, especially since when I started the paperwork I was single. I couldn’t just “have more sex.” Intercourse and masturbation didn’t help last time. Could I survive another round of this, especially now that I am working full-time and can’t just “take care of it” anytime I feel like I have to or I’m gonna die?

Eventually the chance of having this happen again was overpowered by my desire to help create a family.

And sure enough, I’m experiencing the same symptom: soreness and arousal. But this time I have a different obstetrician and here’s what she told me:

The baby can end up resting on certain blood vessels which causes increased pressure and makes the labia fill with more blood than normal, causing the swelling. Friction from undergarments causes the arousal and masturbation and/or intercourse will not make it go away (though it can temporarily reduce the feeling). Baby needs to be off those blood vessels to make the swelling stop.


Finally, an explanation for WHY I’m feeling like this. But how do I keep it from happening in the first place? My OB recommended I buy a maternity support belt to help hold baby up higher.

This is what I bought (sorry the picture isn’t any bigger):


It’s intended to help alleviate back strain during pregnancy, but it works WONDERS for my little problem. With the right amount of tension on the belt, baby is kept up higher and I haven’t had any swelling since I started wearing it.

I haven’t tried any other belts out there; I purchased this one based on the reviews I read online, the description and my price range. I think it was definitely worth the money for the peace of mind I have.

So if you have been suffering from swollen labia and irritation during your pregnancy, please PLEASE talk to your physician and consider wearing a maternity support belt.

It’s not just you.

The Beginning


Mark the date.

Saturday, November 24, 2012 was the beginning. The beginning of the end. A downward slide to the bottom of the hill where there lies nothing but debris and refuse, leftovers from broken dreams and shredded hearts.

And I am the only one to blame for this slide to oblivion.

Communication is our biggest challenge. We are both too afraid of hurting the other’s feelings so rather than say what we are thinking/feeling, we just act or behave differently, hoping the other will/will not notice depending on the intent.

And it all came to a head yesterday. Little things snowballed into big things which exploded into defense tactics and tears.

Six hours later he tried to reassure me that it’ll all be okay, that we’ll work it out. Six hours of being together but not. Six hours of standing within two feet of each other almost the entire time and not saying a word. Six hours of awkward “Oh, God, this is it, isn’t it?” running through my mind. Six hours that only included less than five minutes of hand holding. Six hours of both of us doing our best not to touch the other, even when sitting in a moving vehicle crammed full of people.

Six hours later he tried to tell me that it’ll all be okay.

I held his hand yesterday about three hours into the awkwardness. It lasted about five minutes when the space we were in didn’t accommodate hand holding. When it was possible again, he didn’t try. And he was always behind me; wherever we walked or stood, he was behind me. He was “there” but not. I’m sure he was angry, mad at me, but his presence, his choosing to stay made me think perhaps he was working it out. But it’s been seven days since we kissed. At least four days since either of us told the other “good night.” Last night’s sleepover might as well have been like a distant cousin crashing at my place to avoid driving while exhausted. A total of maybe three sentences have been exchanged between the two of us in the past hour.

This is it. The beginning. The beginning of the end. And I am positive that tears, groveling, apologies and begging will only make the end approach faster. Like, “Oh, God. Is she crying again?!?” My attempts to make peace with food, to show him that I am sorry and want to be “us” again have been met with no response, nothing, like it was expected of me anyway and gratitude would be frivolous.

My heart is screaming, my soul is ripping to shreds and my whole body hurts. He won’t talk to me. He won’t touch me. IF I see him again after he leaves today, it won’t be until next weekend. A whole week of 140-characters-or-less conversations that make it easy to ignore someone, to tell them passive-aggressively that you’re done.

I am at a loss for words. I don’t know how to tell him what I’m feeling. THIS is the cause of our troubles, my not being able to communicate. We will not be alone to really talk for another four hours, IF he sticks around that long. But I need that alone time with him. We can’t fix this with my daughter around. She doesn’t need to see the end, if it comes to that, and he and I need to feel like we can say what we want without having to censor ourselves for her sake.

I don’t know what to do. I can see the end, the darkness at the end of the tunnel. I am being shoved toward it, and no amount of digging my fingernails into the walls, screaming and throwing a tantrum will make this momentum stop and change direction.

They’re laughing together. She’s watching cartoons and he’s hanging out with her. She’s going to be heartbroken when this ends.

Maybe I’m over-thinking it all. Perhaps this isn’t the end.

But how am I to know that? How am I to know what he’s feeling and thinking if he won’t stay in the same room as me, look me in the eye, touch me, talk to me? He’ll talk to and laugh with my daughter because she didn’t cause this, but he won’t talk with me? He won’t give us the time to figure this out? He won’t show me that it’s really okay? Every minute of silence from him convinces me further that this is it.

He left earlier than he usually does. He’s not feeling well. He left without really talking to me. It was a bit less awkward the last couple of hours, but I wasn’t ready for him to leave. We need to talk about this. Just saying things will work out doesn’t fix it. We need to discuss how we’re going to avoid this in the future. We need to talk about the things that led to this, we need to have a real talk. We need time alone, just the two of us. Just time to talk. And now we won’t get that. Our next time together, IF we get together, will be for a holiday party. NOT time alone.

I don’t know if I can move on with this week and push the last 24 hours to a remote corner of my mind.

Real Tears about Real Thoughts about Imaginary Scenarios

I have to keep reminding myself that things are different this time.

That I am pregnant and subject to big mood swings that I don’t recognize as mood swings until later, sometimes days later.

That Brad has never said an unkind word to or about me.

That Brad doesn’t play head games to get what he wants.

That everything Brad says and does is intentional and uplifting.

That any frustration I feel about things Brad does or doesn’t do is a byproduct of my divorce from Jake, not Brad purposefully pissing me off.

That Brad is not Jake

Somehow in the process of “growing up” I picked up a horrible habit of equating love with physical touch. “He hasn’t kissed me in (insert stupidly small amount of time here), I must have done something wrong/he doesn’t love me anymore.” And I learned how to play head games with myself, psyching myself out about something because he crossed an invisible line I’d drawn. “If he doesn’t do this, then I won’t do that. If he can’t figure out that something is wrong (or WHAT is wrong), then I’m not going to cheat and TELL him what it is.”

I don’t want to be that person. I don’t remember when I started thinking that way, but it’s likely it started after I separated from Jake and finally got that helpful yet annoying hindsight. Little signs and clues as to what might have caused the end of my marriage have seeped into my subconscious and now I’m looking for them in Brad. If Brad does something that isn’t what I had in mind (or doesn’t do something I wanted to have happen) I start to freak out and look into the past to see if Jake did (or didn’t do) that to me, trying to figure out Brad’s “motive.” Eventually I realize that the only thing Brad and Jake have in common is a Y chromosome. It’s not fair to Brad to keep comparing him to Jake, even if the comparison only ever happens in my head.

It’s keeping me from letting go, relaxing around Brad and allowing our relationship to go where it’s supposed to. It’s holding me back in this infantile stage where it’s all about us being us when we’re together. For the day or two that I get to see Brad each week, in my head it’s “all Brad, all the time” and I try to cram as much “us” time in as possible. I get upset when we don’t have a lot of time for just the two of us. I get upset if I start to think I’m not enough to hold his attention, that it’s only been a few hours and he’s already tired of me.

We’re still so new in our relationship that other than holding hands, any other physical touch is a cue that something more is to come. There aren’t random kisses “just because.” There aren’t back or neck rubs or cuddling just because. These last three months, cuddles and touch have always led to something more, so I freak out when we don’t touch because I know that nothing will be happening and then I wonder why nothing will be happening. Jake withheld affection as a way of getting what he wanted. Since I don’t get any physical affection during the week while Brad and I are in our separate worlds, in my head I try to make up for the lack when we are together; when nothing happens, I immediately wonder what I did wrong. When it gets really bad in my head, I swear I can tell that he’s re-thinking “us” and trying to figure out how to tell me. Because, in my head, I was the reason Jake didn’t tell me he wanted a divorce until we’d moved out of state, because something is wrong with me that makes it difficult for men to tell me the truth. Sometimes that’s the “logic” in my head, and if that’s how it was with Jake, that must be how Brad’s doing it. Illogical and stupid. I know. But that’s my brain. Or, at least, that’s my brain now.

God, how did I allow myself to get so messed up by Jake??!!??

The strong single mom I show to the world is constantly second guessing herself when it comes to love. Because I can’t rely on what I feel. What I feel is only half of the relationship. I’m always second guessing Brad’s love and affection for me, not because he says or does something wrong, but because I just know that one day he’ll decide he’s done with me and it’ll just take him a while to tell me. So when I’m doubting things, when I’m scared that this is it, I wonder how long he’s been trying to let me down gently and I try to find the clues and signs I didn’t see before with Jake.

I didn’t cry when Jake told me he wanted a divorce. Not right away. I couldn’t; I had to plan how I was going to get home. Aside from the tears of frustration that came with realizing that I was going to be a single parent, I don’t remember crying over the end of my marriage. I was angry, sure, but I knew Jake enough to know that he meant it, that he wasn’t just manipulating me to get something. I didn’t cry over the loss of Jake. I cried over the loss of my life as I knew it and I cried in the shadow of the giant mountain that loomed ahead that I’d be forever climbing. Alone.

Whenever I think of losing Brad, whether by his choice or by chance, I am instantly in tears. My heart breaks at the thought of not having him in my life anymore, and yet I can “see” it happening. It wouldn’t happen in at his house because then I’d have to drive home in a bad state of mind; he’s too considerate to let that happen. It wouldn’t happen in my house because who wants to drive that far just to break up with someone? It wouldn’t be in a public setting because I’ll cry; not to make a scene but because I’m a crier. I’m crying right now and I’m dealing in irrational hypotheticals. It would likely happen over the internet, just like the rest of our relationship has. It doesn’t take 140 characters to break up with someone. And really, it’d be easy for him. He could unfriend me on Facebook, block me on Twitter and other than a few friends at my church we have in common, he could easily never have a reason to come down here and we’d never see each other again. And he knows that I can’t just drop everything to drive up to see him and persuade him to change his mind. It’d be so easy.

This is my brain. I just spent 195 words and two Kleenex tissues on a breakup that hasn’t happened, and that likely won’t happen. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t creep into my head at least once a week.

I am insecure.

I am fragile.

I am in love and I am scared