Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Baby S!!

Happy Birthday Baby S!!

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.

Your Momma.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

As the clock chimes..

Times, they are a-changing! 

It's been a little while since I last posted, and so things have changed as the time has gone on. Thanks to everyone who is and has been reading this blog.. but things are about to change quite a bit around here. 

First of all, Baby S is doing fine. I just want to assure you all of that. She is getting so big, and I am so so so proud of her and everything that she is accomplishing. She will be a year old soon, and after that date comes, I don't know that there will be much on this blog about her anymore. 

My family and I are moving forward. I have found some new direction, and will be launching my brand new non-profit business soon. More on that in a few: 

But most of all, we are ready to move forward in our life and get ourselves back to independent living. I am thankful for my kids' dad who has been footing the bill for the hotel where we have been staying for the last 3 months, but I simply cannot stand living in a hotel anymore. It's freaking embarrassing to say I work full time and I live in a hotel with my 2 kids and our dog. Not to mention not being able to cook, clean properly, and having other people have access to my stuff while I"m away (although I haven't suspected anyone of going into our room while we're gone.. still it *could* happen).

My oldest daughter is turning 5 this year. She is amazing and bright and wonderful. In just over a month she will have her birthday, and I already know what she wants. She has told me that she wants her bed back, with all her Tinkerbell sheets and pillows, and her toys. It make me want to cry that I can't give her these things.

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. 

Here is where things get funny. I reluctantly asked the internet world for help back when I was dealing with the immediate effects of being asked to terminate the pregnancy, and my subsequent relocation. I received a LOT of backlash from that request. But.. I also met a fantastic community of wonderful people who were able and willing to help me and my family with the resources I needed. Thanks to them my time in Michigan was spent focusing on doing the best I could for Baby S and my other children, and not on financial trouble or worry. I tell everyone that I was just the vessel, and that my success in bringing Baby S to the world is really thanks to all the amazing people I had supporting me. 

So.. based upon previous experience.. and based upon letters and emails I have received.. I am repeating my request. I never thought that almost a year after birthing that beautiful girl I would still be in the difficult position that I have been in. I know that there are people who will be appalled that I'm asking anyone to help me. I know there are plenty of people who will tell me to go to charities.. which I've already tried. But I'm so close to being able to gain back my independence.. and I think my girls deserve to have a place to call home. 

A friend of mine introduced me to Continue to Give back after Baby S was born. At the time I was using GiveForward, so I never tried to use the site, but I've checked it out now and I really like it :) 

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="">

Friday, March 8, 2013

Say what you will.

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

I hate Valentine's Day.. recount of Feb. 12, years gone by.

Valentine's Day at one point was one of my favorite holidays. I was a high school student, and later I was a daycare teacher. Teaching 'my kids' about the power of love, and celebrating love itself was one of my favorite things. I dreamed of the day when I would experience true love and be able to really teach the meaning of love to my own children.

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

But I still hate Valentine's Day..