Following My LDS Surrogate Experience and More!


Following my LDS Surrogate Experience and More! I hope to share my experience and perspective with you. My adventures starts back in September of 2011, and I hope you can follow along and be a part of my journey! I follow one successful and one unsuccessful attempt at gestational surrogacy. Also, make sure to visit my Intended Mother's blogs (with a link to the right) The purpose of my blog is to educate people all over the world about gestational surrogacy and a little about the LDS Church's position regarding surrogacy. If you are somewhere in the process, whether you are an intended parent, a surrogate, or you plan to become one soon, I hope my blog can help put some perspective in your life. Please feel free to leave comments. I have the opportunity to be involved with such a unique and special experience. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I also plan to express my love for the Gospel throughout my scribblings. Thank You for visiting!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A little bit of EVERYTHING, with a special message at the end

I love my blog, and I love adding to it, but writing is seriously one of the hardest things for me to do. I’ve said that before. I think about all the different things I have to say on a daily basis, but putting my thoughts down in a coherent and flowing manner requires a babysitter and at least 5 hours of free time. Do such things even exist?

A lot has happened since we found out our wiggly little baby bump was a boy.

One of the most amazing experiences happened just a day or two later. Hope and I attended the Temple together. Her mom was able to come along also, and we all had such a wonderful time. Hope called it a “Spiritual Ultrasound.” I could not describe it any better myself. A Spiritual Ultrasound. I know that might be a little much to wrap your head around, but it was simply just being close to her baby boy in the most spiritual and holy place on earth. She couldn’t help but smile and peek down at my belly all throughout the endowment session. We visited quietly in the Celestial Room. About our friendship, and this sweet spirit on its way, and how thankful we all are for the miracles & blessings in our lives. I don’t know if there is another surrogacy relationship out there within the Church that has had a similar experience. It truly was once in a lifetime. I wish we had taken a picture outside the Temple that night, but it was dark and we had little ones to get home to.

We had several play dates while Hope was still in town for the Ultrasound. The girls all love to get together and play their hearts out. Hope took this cute picture during one of our play dates :) Her little girls thought it was so fun that my big tummy was their baby brother. I can’t wait til they get to meet their little brother for the very first time. 

Hope and I outside the Clinic

I mentioned to Hope that I didn’t feel like I could complain during this pregnancy. And when I say complain, I just mean the groans and grumbles of a pregnant woman. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the reasoning and emotion behind what I was trying to say, but I tried. At first it seemed like maybe it was just a matter of, “Well you brought this on yourself. You CHOSE to go through with this and be pregnant, so you have no room to complain about how hard it is sometimes.” But that didn’t seem to be the spirit of the matter. And if you think about it, I’ve been pregnant with my own children “by choice” and I’ve had no problem voicing my opinions about how miserable it was for me to be pregnant. And those were MY babies I was carrying. You would think that it would be easier to complain about a baby that isn’t mine. You’d think.

I had other thoughts on the subject. None of them ever seemed to fit. None of them made sense as to why I felt so positive despite how miserable I felt. I’m really not that good of a person. I do have negative thoughts. I’m working on that….

So I left it alone, but it still never sat well with me. Why did it seem so wrong to complain about the hard parts? Complaining just felt bitter in my mouth. I’ve never once felt negative about any of this. But it’s taken me to the 3rd trimester to finally put my finger on the emotions I’m failing to illustrate. I don’t know when the realization hit me, and please please, find it in yourself to try to understand that I am NOT patting myself on the back, but this is what I’ve come up with.

You don’t complain, you don’t grumble, and you’re not negative about serving others. If a friend needs your help, and you drop everything in the middle of the night to be by their side, you don’t complain. If the little old lady next door can’t bend over to weed her flowerbeds, you don’t leave with negative feelings thinking, “Well that’s a Saturday afternoon I’ll never get back,” or “my back sure hurts, wish she could have done that herself.” I don’t care if the little old lady gives you milk and cookies in an effort to compensate you for your time. If strangers are moving in next door, and they don’t have enough hands to help unload their moving truck, you jump right in and help, and you never grumble. True service won’t give you negative feelings anyway. It goes against nature. That’s not the way the Lord intended it. Knowing there is someone on the other end who is grateful makes it worth every minute. So without sounding like I’m saying, “Hey, I know I’m doing something nice, therefor I guess I can’t complain,” what I am really truly trying to say is that it’s perfectly normal for me to complain about how much pain I’m in, or how uncomfortable I am, but it never felt right or natural to be that way with any of this. So there it is. I finally made sense of what I was feeling. Why it was so easy to tell the world I hated being pregnant with my own kids, but why it didn’t feel right to even think those thoughts to myself about Hope’s baby.

Bizarre, random… round about way of trying to put my thoughts and feelings into words. I totally understand if you think I’m a lunatic. But for the record, it felt really good to finally make sense of my own emotions that I have been at war with all these months. I could never complain when it’s such an amazing thing to be the answer to another family’s prayers. The end.

Moving on…

So Monday I have another doctor’s appointment. This one is the glucose tolerance test and then I get my Rhogam shot. Glucose tolerance test = drinking a nasty liquid that is the equivalent of orange soda with no carbonation (just straight sugar syrup) and then having your blood drawn to make sure you don’t have gestational diabetes. Rhogam shot = one of those good old “peanut butter shots” in the behind given to women who have an Rh negative blood type. I couldn’t tell you how it all works, and when my mom asked me to explain it to her, well, I couldn’t. To dumb it down, I would try explaining it like this. If a pregnant woman is Rh negative, and the baby is Rh positive, then there can be problems. So around 28 weeks, I get a shot that is supposed to help, and then when I give birth, if the baby is Rh positive, there is another round of shots given to protect both me and the baby. At least I’m pretty sure that’s the gist of it. Fun stuff :) I’ve never actually been able to keep the glucose drink down long enough for them to draw my blood with my past pregnancies, so hopefully Monday will go okay.

At my last doctors appointment, I had gained more weight than I should have, by a little more than I care to admit. I’ve made changes in my own eating habits, mostly just a healthier lifestyle. Not as much sugar, and a biggie for me – portion control. It’s been interesting. The first 48 hours of having no sugar made me the spawn of Satan. It was best that mommy was just left alone. I had serious withdrawals. Ever since I gained the extra weight, and then made the dietary changes, my hormones have been completely out of whack. I’m still trying to get a handle on all the changes. My husband has been so absolutely patient and understanding, I am ever so grateful for him.

My friend made a really good point to me yesterday. We were talking about watching our weight and all that good stuff, and she mentioned how I will have just had a baby, and I will probably look like I just had a baby, (with the extra weight and the belly that doesn’t go away, and the not nursing to not help the situation…)  but I won’t be walking around with a brand new little one. So to other people it will look like I don’t have any excuse for looking that way. It was a lovely thought… should I wear a sign that says, “I just had a baby! I’m not always this chubby!”?

At my appointment I will also bring up an induction with my doctor. I know it’s still a bit early (since I’m due July 20th) but I’ve never managed to go into labor on my own with my first 3 pregnancies, and inductions have been the normal and predictable avenue. I realize it could be different this time around, but the best indicator if future behavior is past behavior. Just sayin’. I’ll believe things will be different when I see it. Until then, I’m just planning on this being pretty similar to all the other deliveries. Inductions are nice cuz you can plan. And in this particular situation, with everyone involved, planning is ideal. Hope should be coming up by train from Illinois around July 7th, and her hubby will be flying up around the 12th or 13th. Just to give them all a safe cushion if anything unexpected were to happen. It will be so fun to spend July with her.

We make our big camping trip once every summer, and last night we were discussing where we’re gonna fit that it. My son comes to visit us during the summer, and he will be here July 9th until August 20th. We won’t go camping unless he’s here with us. So that leaves all of July (which would make me 9 months pregnant and camping) or August, after the baby is born and I’ve recovered. Even though we would just be camping 10 minutes up American Fork Canyon (a whopping 15 minutes from the nearest hospital) I still vote for August I guess. I am a die hard camper, (who doesn’t consider it camping if you’ve got toilets or running water nearby) and I’ve had the itch to sleep in my tent and cook over a campfire since January, so waiting til August will be torture. We also plan to move around the beginning of July, which will make it a busy month, and a hard move. Our lease is up though, and if everything works out, we are hoping to find a little house to rent. We shall see. It will be a summer to remember, that’s for sure :)

Two of my really good friends just had their babies this last week. It was the first baby for both of them, and it has been so fun to anticipate their new adventures right along with them! I was able to visit one of them in the hospital the evening she had her baby. It brought back all the memories of when my little Brynlee was born, and how I was able to share that experience with my husband. (My first two were with mistakes- which is another story for another blog for a soap opera for another day.) All I meant to point out was that when my Brynlee was born, the experience of having someone that I loved to share it with was incredibly special. All those memories came flooding back to me. And it really started to hit me how different this time around would be. Not that I wasn’t aware that it would be completely different, but it just got my wheels turnin’. You don’t dwell on the delivery, the recovery and what that all entails when you have your brand new baby. You aren’t even paying attention to the doctor delivering the placenta when you’re busy finding out how much the baby weighs, holding the baby for the first time, or seeing how much hair they have. You are so preoccupied with the baby that you don’t think twice about sitting on ice packs, or the epidural (which in my experience is totally worth getting – but SUCKS to actually get) or all the annoying checks from the nurses at random hours of the night. All of that just sweeps past you when you have the new baby. It just kind of hit me when I was visiting my friend that I’ll be doing all that fun stuff and won’t have my own baby to distract me. Not the end of the world, and not the hardest thing I’ve done by miles, but just something to ponder on. It really has been amazing at all the little things that have come up with this surrogacy that you would never ever think of unless you were actually in the situation. The emotions behind not anticipating a newborn in my home, the fact that I feel no attachment to the baby in any way, or how it will actually feel to go through the motions at the hospital without my own baby. That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited though to be able to experience this. I never would have learned these things and gained this experience if I had never gone through with it.

My husband and I took this year to have Hope’s baby, but we are planning to move right along with our own family. I certainly don’t want my kids back to back, but I also don’t want them 4 or 5 years apart. Some don’t agree with us, but we will do what is right for our family. As long as I am able to get pregnant, we won’t do anything to prevent it after this baby is born. Which could certainly turn into feeling like I’m going to be pregnant for a minimum of 18 months to have my own little one. A realization that makes me wanna cry. That’s just a lot of being pregnant for someone who does not enjoy it. My sweet husband actually said to me that he would be okay with waiting to have our own in order to give me a little time to have my body back. He knows first hand how hard this is on me. I was touched by his thoughts on the matter, but I’ll tell you what. I would much rather suck it up now and pump out my kids so that I can officially have my body back permanently. It’s stuff like how hard you work to get in decent shape, to just get pregnant again and lose all that progress. Over and over and over. Nope. What doesn’t kill me just makes me stronger. We will keep moving right along with our own family. I’ll survive :)

I have a few friends having babies right now, and ALL of them have had smooth sailing so far in their pregnancies. 8 weeks along, 16 weeks along, 20 weeks along, and almost no nausea, no feeling miserable at all. It kind of makes me sick and I’m rather jealous that they have it so easy. I even hear people say that they “love being pregnant.” I really just can’t wrap my mind around all that. It sure must be nice, that’s all I have to say.

Here have been my pregnancies – served on a silver platter in one semi-long paragraph.

Week 8 (you could clock it) the nausea hits. It goes strong for months, and then around the end of the second trimester, it’s only half as bad. Meaning I only need a Zofran every other day instead of twice a day. I still lose my breakfast at least twice a week, and I pee my pants every time I get sick. Debilitating migraines -daily. Luckily those only lasted two months. Severe Acid Reflux. I can’t think of anything more miserable than constant burning in your throat. It makes me sicker, and it never goes away. Not even at night when I sleep. THANKFULLY I have discovered Prilosec OTC and my acid reflux has been eliminated. But I went my entire pregnancy with Brynlee and the first half of this one without the Prilosec, and I truly suffer from acid reflux. If I forget to take a pill, it’s less than 8 hours before the burning comes back. I cannot even wrap my mind around how bad that is. Restless Legs. If you have never experienced restless legs, then I have no way of describing to you how miserable it really is. I have it so bad that I am not only affected when I sleep at night, but it will act up when I drive, or when I’m just sitting at the dinner table. My legs jerk and twitch. It’s involuntary, and painful. It affects my lower back. Then add the pinched sciatic nerve. The pregnancy back pain, the restless legs and the sciatic nerve all adding to my lower back and leg pain simultaneously. Then you’ve got a wiggly baby that makes your upset tummy uneasy, wiggles when you are just settling in, and likes to find extra leg room in your rib cage. You don’t sleep at night, because of all the above mentioned reasons, not to mention your huge tummy is just uncomfortable and impossible to sleep with anyway. Your boobs hurt. Every so often you get so constipated that it might or might not create a hemorrhoid issue. It hurts so bad to bend over to pick up anything, put on socks or shoes, change a diaper, shave your legs, paint your toes, and so on. Every once in a while you get crampy and have random Braxton Hicks contractions for no reason. Your tummy gets hard and it’s painful. The baby sit’s low and it feels like it’s going to slip out when you walk. Sitting hurts, walking pinches. All this time the nausea never lets up. Oh my goodness, and the worst part is that you have all these symptoms simultaneously for months.

Please understand that this is ALWAYS how my pregnancies are, and I am not referring to this one alone. I will honestly tell anyone without any hesitation that I hate being pregnant. Period. With any baby, even my own. That’s why it meant so much to me when Clark said he would be okay if I wanted to wait, so that I could have my body back for a little while.

I say this because like I said before, I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that there are lots of you who have easy pregnancies. It doesn’t seem fair that you don’t even experience morning sickness. Good heavens, it’s like I get every symptom in the book. Now I realize I don’t have pregnancies like Hope, with a feeding tube being the least of her worries. And I don’t have gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, which is why I felt like if I could have a healthy baby for a family, and only sign away 9 months (with the added injections) but certainly not the rest of my life. So I don’t think it was an unthinkable decision to go ahead and have a baby for another family.  Anyway, if you have easy pregnancies, then I hope you realize how lucky you have it.

That was my plug for where I’m at physically I guess. I didn’t intend to be negative, I only intended to be perfectly honest about what pregnancy is for me. I do not regret ever going through with this, just as I do not regret ever having my own children. There is no greater miracle. 

Clark texted me one day at work and told me that Mitt Romney had two more grandchildren born via gestational surrogate. It was fun news considering it was a high profile surrogacy for an LDS family. I told Hope as soon as I found out :) Here’s the link.


Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. I received an incredibly special Mother’s Day present from Hope yesterday. Her sister knocked on my door and caught me completely by surprise. I couldn’t wait until Sunday to open it. I will probably never be able to put into words how much I loved her gift. I have to assume she knew this about me to some small extent, but whether she based her gift getting decision solely on this, I don’t know.
I LOVE the Willow’s Collection. The beautiful wooden figures you see in Hallmark. But even more than I love the collection, I love the ones I’ve collected over the years. Each one represents a significant time in my life, and they are some of my most precious possessions. 

I posted this to my facebook a while back.

My Husband and my Children are what I treasure the most in my life, and my Willows tell my story.

My first Willow was given to me by my son’s dad, many years ago. It represents me with my sweet baby boy. I was a child myself, but Taylor was the one constant, real thing in my life.

My second Willow was given to me for Mother’s day by some of my very best friends, Nick and Jasmine. They were there for me when I needed it the most, when Brionna was born, and Taylor was taken from me. The Willow represents me and my new baby Brionna. It was just the two of us. She was the only thing that kept me going when I lost my son.

My third Willow was given to me by my Mom and Dad. It was a gift for my 20th birthday, and represents me with Taylor and little Brionna.

My fourth Willow was also given to me by my Mom and Dad for my 20th birthday. My Son and I.

My fifth Willow was the cake topper for our Wedding Cake. I wanted a Willow topper more than anything. It represents Clark coming into my life, our wedding day, and the love that we have for one another.

My sixth Willow was given to me by our dear friend Chelsea. It represents Clark, Brynlee and I. I finally got things right. I had a sweet baby with someone that I love, someone who truly loves me.

My Willows tell my story. When I look at them I remember where I came from, and what I’ve been through. Those things have made me who I am.

With that being said, Hope was sweet enough to add a very special piece to my collection for Mother’s Day. This Willow represents this special time in my life. How appropriate! How very appropriate, I can’t even tell you how much I love it. Hope, I hope you know you didn’t have to get me ANYTHING, but since I know how much you’ll listen to my insisting, please know that I love your gift and I will cherish it just as I do my others. Thank you <3

I keep hearing that Hope and her husband are dueling it out over baby boy names. My vote didn’t make the cut, which is fine because I love it so much that I might just use it if we ever have a little boy :)

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there. It’s hard work (even though Obama doesn’t seem to think so;)

I Love You Mom. I think about you always. Make sure Kimmy and AJ do your dishes tomorrow! The kids want you to know how much they love and miss their Grandma.

I Love you Debbie, thank you for bringing my incredible husband into the world, and raising him to be a wonderful father & a worthy Priesthood holder. Thank you for being such an awesome Grandma to our kids

I Love you Hope. I’ve said this before, but you are the most patient and gentle mother I’ve ever met. I am so glad to have you as a friend, and to be able to give you one more reason to celebrate on Mother’s Day :)

Happy Mother’s Day to Brittany, my son’s step mom. I appreciate the effort you put into taking care of Taylor. I love him and miss him every day.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my friends & family. To all you brand new mommies out there, and to all you mothers who follow my blog.

Last, I want to send a special message out to those of you who are here because you are struggling with having children of your own. Never forget the Sanctity of Womanhood. You are Daughters of God, and he knows your heart. You are not alone. This talk was given by Linda Longhurst, and can be found on…

My Search for Motherhood
I may never have children of my own in this lifetime, but Heavenly Father has not left me childless.
During sacrament meeting on any given Sunday, I sit in the middle spot on a middle bench in the middle of our chapel.
Except on Mother’s Day.
On Mother’s Day, I choose an aisle seat in the back near the door.
Mother’s Day can be an emotionally trying day for any woman; feelings of inadequacy, disappointment, loss, or a variety of other circumstances may contribute to this. As an unmarried woman in my 40s with a medical condition that often causes infertility, I probably will never be a mother to children of my own in this lifetime. This heartbreak can sometimes make sacrament meeting on Mother’s Day more than I can bear. In my ward all the women are invited to stand and receive a Mother’s Day gift, maybe a flower or a chocolate bar. Despite the good intentions behind this ward tradition, I usually feel undeserving of and disheartened by a gift that I have little hope of earning in the typical way.
For weeks before Mother’s Day I begin preparing myself emotionally: reminding myself that “we are all mothers”1; thinking of women I should remember rather than dwelling on my own disappointments; acknowledging that even women who do have children may find Mother’s Day uncomfortable; telling myself that I am a good aunt, teacher, and friend to other people’s children; and trying to think of Mother’s Day as just another Sunday. I am never quite sure how well these tactics will work, so I sit near the door of the chapel, poised to exit if my heartbreak becomes too apparent.
Blessed by the Scott Family
One year I found Mother’s Day to be particularly difficult. I was just coming to accept that I might not have children in this life and was grieving that loss as well as battling challenges with my medical condition. But not wanting to be defeated, I forced myself out of bed, got dressed, and drove to church, determined to obediently attend my meetings. Despite my best efforts, though, I was in tears before pulling out of the driveway and for most of the 25-minute drive. In the parking lot of the meetinghouse, I somehow suppressed the lump in my throat, forced back the tears, went in, and took my position on the aisle seat of an empty pew toward the back of the chapel.
And then a blessing named the Scott family arrived. Having gone through a period of infertility themselves, they must have realized that Mother’s Day might be difficult for me. Sister Scott brought her three children and sat by me on the pew. With a family next to me, I didn’t feel quite so single and childless.
Brother Scott, a counselor in our bishopric, was the first speaker. He commented that speaking on Mother’s Day was a challenge because of the feelings that it can evoke for many, if not all, members of the congregation. His thoughtful words spoke to my heart as well as to my situation. My emotions got the best of me, and I knew that to avoid embarrassment, I had better leave before the Primary children sang their musical number.
I went to my car where I sat reading my scriptures, crying over my heartbreak, and feeling ashamed of myself for not having the spiritual strength to stay in the meeting. I waited until I was sure that sacrament meeting was over and that the Mother’s Day gift—it was a rose that year—had been handed out, and then I returned for Sunday School and Relief Society. I had convinced myself that no one had noticed my exit and that my face showed no evidence of crying, so I didn’t think much of Brother Scott’s request when he asked to see me in the bishop’s office after church.
I was completely caught off guard when I walked in to discover that he had not only noticed my exit from sacrament meeting but had also saved a rose for me. I could not hold back the tears as he told me that I deserved it as much as anyone and gave specific examples of my positive influence as a woman and member of our ward. Although I was embarrassed by my tears and unsure that I wanted the gift, I was touched and grateful that someone was aware of my pain and conscious of my influence as a woman. Later that day I knelt in prayer to thank my Heavenly Father for sending this sweet family to comfort me.
Seeking Opportunities for Motherhood
After that Mother’s Day, I became more diligent in my search for what I call “alternative opportunities for motherhood.” The more I sought for and opened myself to these opportunities, the more I found them. I discovered that I could be an example of righteous womanhood for children and youth in my family, ward, and community. I served as a trusted adult in teenagers’ lives, confirming the truths their parents were teaching them. I volunteered to babysit so couples in the ward could attend the temple or take care of pressing family issues. I held a baby or followed a curious toddler in the hallway at church so the mother could listen to the lesson or attend to her calling. In sacrament meeting, I sat with families whose fathers were unable to sit with them and helped manage the children. I supported young people by making an effort to attend special events such as courts of honor, school plays and concerts, seminary graduations, and Primary talks. I took more interest in the lives of the children I worked with in my career as a speech-language pathologist and offered more encouragement to their parents as they coped with the many challenges of having a child with a disability. I invited children from the ward or neighborhood to my home to decorate Christmas cookies, watch a movie, or play in my yard. I helped a busy mother by giving her children rides to youth activities or running errands. I tried to fill a few of the voids created by the absence of deployed military parents in our community.
On one occasion, Jonah, whose father was deployed, suffered a severely broken arm. I was able to drive Jonah and his mother to the hospital and then care for his three siblings overnight so their mother could stay with Jonah.
When I talked to Jonah’s mother later, she expressed concern about having “imposed” on me. I could only thank her for giving me an alternative opportunity for motherhood.
While some women live in homes where opportunities for motherhood abound and even overwhelm, I live a life where opportunities for motherhood must be sought. My motherhood is found in serving others. Of course I still am disappointed that I haven’t had the opportunity to raise children of my own, but Heavenly Father has not left me childless. My children are all around me, providing me with precious, though less typical, opportunities for motherhood.


  1. What a sweet post! Loved it, and it totally made me cry my eyes out. Happy Mother's Day!

  2. With your glucose test, have you asked your dr about jelly beans? My friend said she could take around 7-10 Jelly Belly brand jelly beans or like 25 regular jelly beans. It has the same sugar content or else produces the same results as the drink. Call your dr before your test tomorrow. There may be other options that are easier for you to keep down.

  3. I love that message. It is exactly the reason I want so desperately to be a surrogate!