Monthly Archives: February 2013

What I Need

It is no secret that I don’t like my ex-husband. It’s not uncommon to not like your ex-spouse, but “Jake” has managed to push my buttons over every conceivable method of modern communication since our separation 8 years ago. I complain about him to family, friends, here and on other channels of social media, but no matter how much he drives me crazy or angers me, I never speak ill of him in front of Em. I want her to have the best relationship possible with her father and I want it to be her decision to continue that relationship.

But as much as I don’t like my ex-husband, I have to give him some credit for helping to make me who I am today. The people I invite and keep close in my life must meet certain standards I have set. That might sound pretentious, but it works for me. Rather than become upset when someone close to me does something I cannot stand, I only remain close to people who fit these standards. Not to say I don’t have anyone in my life that doesn’t fit my “perfect model,” but I don’t invest my emotions in people that constantly disappoint or don’t grow as a person.

My list of standards/qualities I look for in any person I wish to be close to:

    • Loyalty – Do not question my motives behind my back to others I’m close to. If you think I’m going to do something stupid, talk to me about it. Stay true to me by helping me stay true to me. True friends are not afraid to say the truth when they see someone they love making bonehead decisions.
    • Educated – You don’t have to have an 8-year degree, but you need to be willing to learn about your world. Make educated decisions when it comes to major life milestones. Think for yourself. Listen to and accept others’ thoughts and opinions – it’s not impossible to agree to disagree.
    • Vision – Realize that your decisions today affect your life in the future. Unless you’re still a minor living as someone else’s dependent, only you are responsible for you. Be able to answer the questions “Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?” Have some sort of plan for yourself in mind, even if it’s just a rough draft. Figure out what you want, what is important to you, and then figure out how you’re going to obtain it. Know how to prioritize and know if/when you will waver from those priorities. Learn how to say “No” when you have to.
    • Thrift – Budget your assets. Save for the future. Spend your money on things that will give you more than instant gratification. Give to causes that are important to your beliefs. Spend your time wisely. Learn to recognize when it’s appropriate to work or to play.
    • Awareness – We are not alone in this world. Someone out there needs you. Be there for them when they ask for your assistance. Know on whom you can depend for help when you need it. Recognize the sacrifices others make on your behalf and verbally acknowledge them. If you say you’re going to do something – do it. Accept gifts with grace and use them wisely.
    • Communicate – Do not be afraid to speak up for yourself or for others. Speak the truth with kindness. Most people cannot read your mind or guess your thoughts – if something or someone bothers you, say something. If you want or need something, say something. If you make a mistake, own it and ask for forgiveness. If someone has wronged you and you forgive them, tell them. Silence is not always golden. If someone asks for you to listen to their problems, listen and then ask if they would like your feedback.

    I am not perfect – I’m still working on many of these qualities myself. How can I expect people in my life to have these qualities if I don’t have them? But these are things I need in my life, things I need from my loved ones.

    And I’m finally learning to recognize that.

    Forgiving Myself

    Guilt.

    Forgiveness.

    One of these I have. The other I need.

     

    I spoke carelessly. I didn’t realize at the time that I should have eluded the question, that the truth should have been kept a secret. My few words, spoken in a matter of seconds, caused us hours – days – of pain. Your immediate response of silence and ostracism tore a hole in my heart. When you finally came to talk to me, I snapped back in anger, this time purposely choosing words meant to hurt. It worked.

    The loneliness I felt, when it seemed you’d walked away, was nearly too much to bear. I’d never realized how lonely one could feel even when in a house full of the friendliest of people. I only wanted one person. You. And you denied me that.

    But I deserved it. I was selfish early on. You answered my questions with utmost honesty and I twisted your words to fit my needs. I didn’t truly listen to what you had to say.

    For a long time I wasn’t sure you’d forgiven my blunder. I was certain you were re-thinking everything about our friendship. We talked about the incident shortly after, but I still was unsure if we could get back to how we were before. But I know now that you have forgiven me. Your selflessness when I was in need has proven that.

    The tears I continue to shed are in response to my own stupidity. I am afraid I’ll make a similar mistake down the road because I’ve made worse mistakes in the past. This slip was made innocently, while a poor choice made over a decade ago was intentional. Strange that I feel more guilt over this one.

    I am so sorry. I know it’s in the past, that you’ve moved beyond it.

    But I have not. I still struggle to forgive myself. I feel I don’t deserve forgiveness.

     

    But I’m working on it.

    39 Week Update

     

    Want to stay updated on all the latest Miss Swann news? Make sure to “Like” my Facebook page!

    I’ve pretty much reached that stage of pregnancy where I’m “done.” Just a few hours into each day I’m tired, my back aches and I’m MORE than ready for labor to start. Of course, Miss Swann really should hang in there until 40 weeks; it’s the best for her development. And, yet, I’m not ready to NOT be pregnant. I’ve enjoyed this pregnancy, this surrogacy, this whole journey. My job as gestational surrogate is almost over and then it’s up to the boys to raise Miss Swann, to love her, to teach her, to nurture her. I’ve fulfilled my part of the bargain: provide a safe place for this little baby to grow for 9 (10) months so she can be raised by two people who love her so much they’ve been planning to have her in their life for a long time.

    Pregnancy agrees with me: I had a relatively easy pregnancy with Em and this one seems to have been just as easy. Sure, I’ve whined about heartburn, not being able to put on my own shoes without assistance, swelling, the lack of sushi… But those all fade away and I can focus on the lack of morning sickness, being able to teach my daughter about love and babies, the support my family, boyfriend, church, friends and coworkers have given me, the opportunity to teach people in my life about surrogacy and of course the wonderful relationship I’ve developed with Miss Swann’s daddies.

    In regards to the pregnancy, this week was less eventful than the last. I have only had intermittent Braxton Hicks contractions that are eased by rest and water. I lost part of my mucus plug Friday. I experienced one moment of seemingly random and sudden vomiting Sunday afternoon, but was able to eat lunch right after and have only felt some mild nausea on and off since. My lower back started to hurt Monday afternoon but that also went away once I was in my recliner with my feet up. Miss Swann’s movements have been less frequent but with the same intensity that she’s had all along. Her favorite spot is about 2 inches below my belly button, causing discomfort that is VERY similar to cramps/contractions, so every time she stretches I go on full alert! I woke up Tuesday with my lovely swelling, so I put on my maternity support belt, took some Tylenol and drove to the office with an ice pack; by lunch I could actually sit comfortably. The support belt is a bit uncomfortable now that I’m bigger, but it’s better than staying home JUST BECAUSE I cannot be in any position other than lying down on my side.

    In regards to the surrogacy, this past week has been amazing! The boys joined us at church Sunday morning, had a wonderful NOH8 photography session with Em and me Sunday afternoon and had dinner with my family Sunday night. The relationship between us all is just beautiful, like long-lost friends reconnecting after years of separation. Our conversations are a mix of love, laughter, and language lessons: we keep discovering phrases that don’t really translate well or even exist. We are also learning about some cultural expectations that are complete opposites of what we are each used to. The boys were quite shocked to learn that their daughter will only stay in the hospital for 2 days before they take her home, which is MUCH different from the ONE WEEK babies usually stay in the hospital back home!

    The deadline for my mom to be my birth coach is slowly closing in as she leaves this Sunday to be with my sister; of course my friend Mary is ready and excited at the prospect of being there for me.

    Em and I both have bags packed, ready for the big day: mine for my hospital stay, hers in case my labor starts at night so neither she nor I have to pack her “tomorrow” clothes while she’s sleepy and I’m breathing through contractions.

    Brad is still unsure about where he will be when I’m in labor. In the beginning I told him his only job was to make sure I had sushi ready for me in my recovery room. But as this pregnancy has progressed, so has our relationship. He’s very important to me and I feel like I need him with me during this. But this is not his baby, so it’s not like he HAS to be there. Only he can decide what is right for himself and I’ll support that decision no matter what.

    “Stats” from today’s appointment:

    Station: -2
    Dilation: 2 cm
    Effacement: 70%

    My weight gain in the last week is a bit surprising to me, though it could just be water/fluid retention. As of the writing of this post, my ankles are still swollen, even first thing in the morning. My waist gain, however, doesn’t surprise me. Miss Swann has moved around a bit and isn’t quite as up-and-down as she usually is.

    My blood pressure was 136/78 and I had a small amount of protein in my urine. Doctor sent me over to Quest for blood work. IF my labs are abnormal, I’ll be sent to labor & delivery today; if they’re normal, I have a 7:30 AM induction scheduled for tomorrow! So I may not get to go out with Brad for Valentine’s Day, but… WORTH IT!!

    Of course, I’ll update more as I find out more!