Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Yesterday marked one year. A year since little girl and I were separated for the first time since conception. The day I let her out into the world; or better yet the day she made her way into the world kicking and screaming.
The day was slightly traumatic for me, so I apologize that this post is coming a day late, but I had so many emotions that ran rampant through my head thinking about how much this day means, and how proud I am of that sweet baby.
Except she isn't a baby anymore.. now is she?
She still looks a bit like a baby, but she's now considered a toddler. She has a mind, a will of her own, and I am so happy to be able to see her grow and develop.
I wasn't sure just how to put it into perspective, but her adoptive mom said it so well. I can't share her exact words with you, but through her words I wrote this short letter to my birth daughter on her birthday:
S, it's hard to look back at all you've accomplished this year and not be amazed by all you have accomplished. You are turning one, but your resiliency began long before your birth. From the challenges of being a embryo, created in a petri dish, and frozen for years just waiting for your chance, to the extreme challenge of surviving the thawing process and implantation, it is hard for anyone to doubt that you do not have an extraordinary will to live.
I still have a hard time coming to terms with the diagnoses that you have received. Some of these are so devastating in clinical presentation, and yet you seem to shine on regardless. You've baffled your doctors, and shown us all that medical diagnoses are not the end all-be all. Even with a brain deformity that carries something like an 85% death rate in early infancy, you are still here, and you are growing and learning more and more every day. You are a miracle baby, and I'll tell anyone who asks that I truly believe you will do more than anybody thinks you are capable of.
I am proud to have kept you safe for the time that you were entrusted to me. And yes, I still deal every day with the wish that I could have you by my side as you grow. I see such beauty and joy in your eyes, and I wish I could be a much bigger part of that than I am able to be. But I also know that you are absolutely in the best possible hands, and that you have a wonderful loving family that will give you everything you need and desire. I hope that everyone can see just a little bit of me in you.. but moreso I hope that you can show them all that just because your life isn't "normal" doesn't mean it isn't worth living.
I love you baby girl. Stay strong, and keep proving everyone wrong.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Accumulating money is slow. Bills pile up, the van needs repairs, and even clothing and food costs are outrageous. Despite all this I have managed to save almost $1500 in the last 2 months. Housing is expensive in this wonderful state though, and I'm looking at any and every place that I can find under $1200 a month.
Please, if you feel so inclined.. fill out the info and donate to our cause. We will be having other fundraisers soon, and stay posted for details on the new non-profit as well as other projects and things we will have going on.
For now.. may you all be blessed, enjoy the weather as it starts to warm up, and continue to hold Baby S in your thoughts and prayers. You are all in mine! <3 span="">3>
Friday, March 8, 2013
I don't really know how to start this post, but I feel I need to say something regarding all the critics who have been popping up, and the accusations that are being made.
I'm sure by now everyone reading this has seen the story on CNN or read something online about the story of Baby S. If you have looked at the comments, you've realized that opinions vary, and people can be downright nasty when they don't agree. I'm going to try to address the three comments I am seeing most frequently, as easily as I can in this format.
Religion- Many people have made the assumption that I am a die-hard Catholic and that my views on abortion are the result of religious brainwashing. I'm sorry to tell you that you are wrong.
That's right, I'm not Catholic. In fact, in not even Christian!
My pro-life standpoint comes from my own brain, my spiritual beliefs, and a great sense of respect for life. I am also against capital punishment, animal abuse and euthanization. I believe in karma and fate above all, and I am certain that ensuring Baby S. had a chance at both life and a happy home brings me good karma.
Money- This is where CNN got it wrong (although I'm sure many people won't believe me). When I began looking to work as a surrogate, money was not one of my main priorities. I had a job at that time, and I had a partner who made more than enough for us to live comfortably. Yes, after I was pregnant and lost my job; when my partner and I split up, money was a concern. I'm sure that is why I was offered money to abort, and yeah, I considered what amount would allow me to run far away and forget the whole situation, as explained in earlier posts. But in the end, no amount of money was worth taking a life, and I certainly didn't end up in a good financial position at any point in this journey. I received nothing from the IPs after Feb. 2012, and I did not get a dime from the adoptive family.
Hear that? NOT A DIME. I moved to Michigan with nothing. Some very supportive family and friends made that possible. The only assistance i received was medical, and I still have bills even with medicaid. I lived on next to nothing for 4 months while all this played out. I came back to CT to jobs that never panned out, and lived with my ex until Feb. 2013. We're now homeless. If I had money, don't you think I'd have a bit more than a $3000 hospital bill and a storage unit with all my belongings in it?
I don't tell this so you'll feel sorry for me, but to make a point. I didn't gain anything by fighting for Baby S's life. If anything, I lost a lot more. I lost friends, my security, resources, and more. I never did this for MY benefit. Say what you want.
Baby S's Welfare- So many people seem to think that Baby S is a vegetable. I wish you all could see how far from the truth that is! CNN didn't catch how she will stand on your lap and bounce; how she gets agitated when you stop. How she chews on her adoptive father's coffee cup or is going through a (very age appropriate) mommy stage. Sure, there are things she is behind on, but in so many ways she is just like any other baby! We don't know exactly how she is going to develop, but that alone shows me how much this little girl deserved a chance to live. She may not communicate like you and me, but trust me she will not be one to sit by and not make her opinions heard! When her cleft is repaired, everyone who knows her believes she will talk.
So I guess the short lesson of this fairly long post is please, stop assuming you have all knowledge about me, Baby S, or any of this just because you heard a short segment on CNN. I know it is human nature to judge, but until you live my life and you see the world through my eyes, let's remember that first and foremost I am a person, just like you. Baby S. is a person too, and we both deserve respect, even if you are not in agreement.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
In 2001, I was in college in Kentucky. I had told no one, but I was pregnant. And at 19 weeks, two days before Valentine's Day, in a campus clinic, I gave birth to a little girl that nobody could save. I named her Miranda, and Valentine's Day changed forever.
I never found out what caused Miranda's death. But every year I would spend the days leading up to 'the day of love' curled up on my bed, remembering the horrific experience of giving birth to a child who was too small to live, alone in a facility that was in no way equipped to handle what was happening to me. Coupled with failed relationships and men who took advantage of my feelings for them, and I grew to hate Valentine's Day more and more every year.
A year ago, I was in a very different place. Faced with the torment of making a decision about the life of another little baby, my experience with Miranda played a profound part in my life. The timing of the events could not have been a coincidence. Right around the time when I normally would have curled up in a ball and spent days grieving over the baby that I was never able to have, I was presented with the opportunity to save another little baby from a similar, and yet so very different, fate. In the turmoil, I actually failed to realize the date of her death. A couple days later, I was consumed with the need to save the baby that lived inside my womb, for the sake of her sister-in-pregnancy. I could not bear to think that I would voluntarily repeat my experience with Miranda. The thought of having two children to mourn in February; well to be honest I was pretty sure it would kill me. I like to think that Miranda was watching over Baby S for those days.
And here we are a year later. Baby S is a lively, thriving little girl. She is so much more than anybody expected her to be. When I look into her pretty blue(ish) eyes, I can see that sparkle that makes me know that I did the right thing by standing up for her. She'll probably never know what I did for her; who knows what her mental capacity will be, but I have faith that a little bit of that baby that I never got to watch grow up, the child I wished for so much who wasn't meant to be here with me now, is living on in that sweet baby that I saved from the same fate.
I love you Baby S... and I love you Miranda
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
It's been three weeks since the day Baby S had surgery, and I'm still processing exactly what happened that day and how I feel about it. There were a few moments that still threaten to make me break down, no matter how hard I try to shove them into the back corner of my head and not let them bother me.
The first was the way everyone looked at me. The doctors know her adoptive parents well. They have seen them every week, or every other week, for the last 5 months, and their relationship is solid and unchanging. I'm the stranger. I don't like feeling like the outcast in an already tense and uncomfortable situation, like my beautiful baby having to have open heart surgery. I hate the way they look at me; I can just see the questions on their face "who is this girl and what is she doing here?"
But mostly, there's the things that people say. The little things, things that wouldn't bother any other parent, but that bother me because I"m not the same. I'm not the mom who didn't give up her baby because of a medical defect. I'm the mom who gave her baby to someone else to raise so that she could move past this pregnancy like I was supposed to from the beginning.
When I was sitting in the waiting room, while R and T were in the room with Baby S right after surgery, there were two other women there. Now, it was a small room, so there was no way to not hear what they were saying. I came to understand that each of them had a baby that was in the hospital, and had been for a while. One was a little baby girl, maybe about 3-4 weeks old, the other an older infant. The two women had obviously seen each other in the unit before, because they talked easily, they knew who each other were. This I expected; families with children that are having long-term stays in ICU usually bond with each other. What I didn't expect was to hear part of a conversation that would crush my heart and bring back all the guilt and indecision of the last few days before Baby S's adoption went through.
"Our doctors strongly encouraged us to terminate" out of the mouth of one mother.
"So did ours" from the other.
"How could I give up on my baby?"
"I don't understand how anybody could say they would do anything other than have and take care of their child".
And there I am, the mother who 'gave up' my baby. The one who fought past the talk of termination just to give her to another family to raise.. because she was too complicated and too difficult to do it myself.
I know, I know, how were they to know? They didn't know Who I am, why I was sitting there waiting for someone to tell me I could go see my Baby S. But there they were.. and how those words really really hurt. They're right. How could I? How could I give up on her and give her away so easily?
That conversation still haunts me. I see those women in my dreams, I hear their voices in my head all the time. And no matter how many times I justify to others, and to myself, that I did the right thing.. this thought of 'how could I?' still hangs over my head.
I know logically I did what was right.. and I know that nobody in the world would dare think that I gave up on Baby S after all all the fighting I did for her, but the battle in my head is bigger and stronger than I really know how to handle. I feel myself slipping down that slippery slope, and I am fighting so hard to stay afloat. I just hope I find a foothold soon.
Yes, several of these apply to me, but they also apply to people I know personally. How do they get a win? Cuz goodwill only goes so far.. Online community is great. It connects people, and it helps things to happen that would never have had a chance without it. I know that personally. But it also isolates us, leaves us without that personal connection to our neighbors and our community. So before you send off money to a family you barely know; or don't know at all, think about your neighbors and your friends who could use some help too. Let's bring the 'win's' to everyone this holiday season. You never know who's life you'll change.