Things are progressing well with this surrogacy. I gained 4 pounds this past week but only an inch around my belly, so I think the weight change probably has more to do with Christmas treats than with growing baby. Miss Swann continues to keep to her “dancing” schedule: 1.5 hours after I wake up, right around noon and then full-on party mode after 9PM. And her movements are stronger every day.
The sugar-induced heartburn continues, so I keep Tums on me at all times; it’s hard to refrain from too many sugary treats this time of year, but I’m going to have to try harder if my weight gain is any indication.
At my last OB appointment I was cleared to travel over the holidays (and I received permission from the boys when they visited in October), so I flew to Indiana yesterday to spend time with “Brad” and his family. I’ve never flown while pregnant before; Miss Swann tends to move more when I’m sitting down anyway, but it seemed that almost every time I popped my ears with the pressure change, she moved around, too.
Overall I’m feeling great. As flip-flops are frowned upon in my office building, I’m having to get creative with how I put my shoes on each morning. God bless Em and her willingness to help push/pull/tug to get me dressed.
My next OB appointment is the day after I return from vacation and each subsequent appointment should be about every 2 weeks.
The last week or so has been full of ups and downs for me, the downs mostly coming from two states away.
I have the ability to get so completely focused on one thing that I don’t see other things around me. This ability allows me to accomplish more at my office than most because I’ll “tune out” and get a 3-day project done in 4 hours. But sometimes I focus on the wrong things.
To help me re-focus…
I have a beautiful daughter. From an early age she has been able to identify those who need the most help, need a kind touch or need justice. She is intelligent and eager to learn. She is athletic and hard-working. She is generous with her love and accepting of all people. Her giggle never fails to make me laugh along with her. She is independent and helpful. She is selfless and giving. I am so blessed to have her as my daughter. I am proud of who she is and her future.
I have a beautiful immediate family. My parents who live less than 5 miles from me and my sister and brother-in-law who live almost 2000 miles from me. My family is alwaysthere for me, no matter what. Whether it’s advice, hugs, laughter, mutual tears, babysitting services, transportation, food…I can always count on them. My mother who is my best friend, a second mom to my daughter and my toughest coach. My father who always has sage advice and new ways of thinking around problems. My sister who loves me no matter how much she might “hate” me at times. I am blessed to come from a wonderful family of lovers and givers.
I have a beautiful boyfriend. The never-ending patience he has while I slowly mend the hole in my heart never ceases to amaze me. His calm voice and gentle touch keep me grounded when I over-analyze things to the point of hysteria. His humor and laughter are just as contagious as my daughter’s. He is constantly reminding me that I am beautiful, loved and worth all the trouble I cause. He treats me as his equal in all aspects of his life, even though I feel like he is the better half of our relationship. I am blessed every day to have him in my world and in the future I imagine ahead of me.
I have a beautiful church family. Whether it’s people I see every Sunday, people I see once a month, or people I haven’t seen in years – the love and support I get from these people is overwhelming. I know that I can call on any one of these family members to help me see the other side of things, to stand beside me, to comfort me, to get me out of the house, to pray for me… What a remarkable blessing to have so many people ready and willing to help me in any way possible.
I have beautiful friends across the world. Some of these I’ve known practically all my life, some I’ve known for a little over a year and some I’ve never met and don’t even know their real names. These people have entered my life through school, family, work, the internet or happenstance. These people send me notes of encouragement and stand up for me. These people recognize the goodness in others before they recognize the goodness in themselves. People who believe strongly in the power of prayer and people in whom I see a bit of God even if they do not believe in the same God I do. People who know that I cry – a lot – and that it’s OK. All of these people touch my heart on a regular basis and I feel blessed that all of these friends accept me for who I am and continue to choose to be in my life.
I need to focus on that list. When it seems that my life is spiraling out of control, that I’m going to lose everything I have, that my whole world is going to turn upside down, THIS LIST will help me to remember that I am not alone no matter how many walls I put up between myself and others. THIS LIST needs to be my main focus.
I’m writing in the hopes that you will understand how important gymnastics is to Em. NOT to me, to our daughter.
Em has been taking gymnastics classes for a little over 1 year. It started out as a gift from my parents, a trial summer once-a-week-class to see if she enjoyed it. Em loved it SO much she dropped dance in favor of twice-weekly sessions. She learned quickly and worked extra on her own at home and at my parents’ house to improve her skills. This fall she was invited to compete in 3 competitions. At her current level, the gymnasts are awarded ribbons of color instead of the standard number score you see in televised meets. There were 5 different colored ribbons you could earn based on the individual’s performance and execution of the apparatus: rainbow ribbon was the best, pink 2nd, purple 3rd, blue 4th and green 5th. Out of three competitions with 4 apparatus at each, Em earned 6 purple ribbons, 4 pink ribbons and 2 rainbow ribbons! Her personal best was the rainbow ribbon she earned for her beam routine at her final competition which was an improvement from the purple she earned at the first competition! She was so excited and proud of herself for earning that ribbon!
I’ve attached videos of each of her apparatus, the best of all three competitions.
Em has been invited to move up to the next level, almost tripling the amount of time she currently spends in the gym and making her eligible for competitions with formal numbered scoring. Em knows how much time and work this will take, but she wants to do it. Please reconsider your request to have her with you all summer vacation. There are intensive gymnastics camps that are available during the summer that really help the gymnasts to grow and strengthen their skills. While attending both camps is not mandatory, attending at least one is recommended. If Em cannot attend an intensive camp, it can really set her back among her peers, increasing the amount of work she has to put in to catch up to their level and decreases the likelihood that she’ll be invited to more competitions.
I ask you to talk to Em about her gymnastics the next time you two speak on the phone. Listen to the excitement in her voice when she talks about what she’s learning. And if possible, ask her to show you IN PERSON what she can do when she visits this Christmas. Some of the things she can do, like back walkovers, she learned outside of the gym; many of her peers in her level cannot do that yet.
Em knows that I am sending you this email with the videos, so be sure to tell her if you enjoyed watching them.