Category Archives: Family

Walk to End Alzheimer’s 2013

If you’ve been a reader of mine for at least 9 months, or if you’ve known me personally for a long time, you know that both of my paternal grandparents were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. And earlier this year, my grandfather passed away from complications associated with Alzheimer’s.

3280_1587265359_customAlzheimer’s sucks. My daughter has grown up knowing that even though two of her grandparents loved her very much, they didn’t really know who she was – half the time they thought she was me. The hugs and the kisses were still doled out lavishly, but she couldn’t share with them her triumphs or her life experiences because she’d have to tell them all over again the next time she saw them – or in the next few minutes.

Alzheimer’s sucks. I couldn’t share with my grandparents the joy I’d found when I was dating Brad or explain to them that my pregnancy was not my own – because they wouldn’t remember. I learned that it was better for all involved if little white lies were told instead of telling the truth and either seeing confusion or heartache.

Alzheimer’s sucks. While I have a housemate who is the same age as my grandparents and I see her enjoying a life rich with friends and alumni associations and family, my grandmother is disappearing, robbed of her memories and personality.

On Saturday, November 16, my parents, my daughter, and I are participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s event at Anaheim Stadium. The walk is raising money to fund research for treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s and to raise money for care education support and resources for more than 5 million people who are currently suffering from Alzheimer’s. I would love to receive your donation in support of my walk, in support of research and in support of finding a cure.

Because Alzheimer’s sucks.

You can donate money to my walk here.
You can donate money to my daughter’s walk here.
You can join my team and walk with me here.

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I’m fine, really

This post exists because people have been asking how I’m doing now that I’m no longer pregnant and the boys and Chloé have left.

 

It’s been an interesting 6 weeks off. The first 4 days were spent in the hospital (I promise, that story is coming!) and the remainder has been a whirlwind of feelings. Giving birth alone wreaks havoc with your hormones and emotions and many moms, new or again, go through the ups and downs of tears and joy as their bodies get back to normal. And while I did not have the demands of a newborn wailing at me through a baby monitor, I still suffered from exhaustion and random bouts of crying.

I got to see baby Chloé multiple times a week and the boys brought her to church a few times. The family feeling I felt with the boys before Chloé was born intensified as we all spent time together with the three of them. This little family I helped create is just a beautiful as Chloé is. The love these dads have for their daughter is just overwhelming.

 

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The boys and Chloé left for home a week ago and I cried. I cried hard. But I didn’t cry because Chloé left. I didn’t cry because I gave birth and didn’t have a baby to take home with me. I miss Chloé, yes, but it’s more than that. I miss the boys, I miss Chloé and I miss this wonderful family that has etched themselves onto my heart. Knowing that I may not seem them again for a very long time hurts.

Many of my friends have been asking how I’m doing, am I really ok now that Chloé is gone? Isn’t it hard giving her up? Won’t I miss having her around? One of the reasons less than 10% of applicants become surrogates is because we are carefully screened medically and mentally. We know that the baby we give birth to is not ours. This was not my baby, ever. I chose to grow someone else’s child because they could not. There was no attachment to the growing baby because she had loving parents waiting for her. It’s like giving someone a present for their birthday: you give it to them from the love in your heart; you do not regret giving to them instead of keeping it for yourself. If I wanted a baby of my own, I’d have one of my own. Chloé was never mine. Surrogacy has been described as extreme babysitting: you take care of the child for the parents for 9 months and then you give it back.

I’m fine. Really.

And thank you for asking. I really do appreciate you all checking in on me. This particular chapter has ended, but I’ve got a whole lot of story left to read.

 

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This Is My (Grand)Father’s House

Spiritual moments are few and far between for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a skeptic or because I’ve learned to carefully guard my heart. But when something does sneak in, it renders me a liquid puddle of goo. I had such a moment today.

I’ve been living in my grandparents’ house for a little over a year-and-a-half. My daughter and I share living space with a housemate and our combined rent helps to pay for my grandparents’ care. Well, now it helps to pay for my grandmother’s care: my grandfather passed away January 29th. This has been their house for 50+ years, so this was my home-away-from-home. I love living here because every wall, every cabinet, every floorboard is filled with memories. Shortly after moving in I was cleaning the top of the bathroom medicine cabinet and was showered with baby powder; Grandma’s baby powder always coated the counter-tops of the bathroom.

Today I was brought to tears by a mystery smell. I don’t know what it was or why I smelled it today after so long. But it was Grandpa.

I had been changing my clothes and was about to close the closet door when I was almost knocked over by the smell of Grandpa. I couldn’t locate the source, it just hovered inside the closet – so much so that the shirt I’m currently wearing STILL smells like him! I was fixed to the spot I was standing on for a good 5 minutes, just soaking up and enjoying the smell of Grandpa.

I can’t really describe the feeling of warmth and love I got when I smelled Grandpa, but it’s something I will cling to with every fiber of my being. I was truly touched by Grandpa today.

This is my grandfather’s house. I can only hope I can continue to live here for as long as possible so it will ALWAYS be his house.