Monday, September 18, 2023

Fall & Babies

Summer break is over and boys are back at school! I always miss them when they go back, but I think this last summer was the most challenging summer yet. Jax and Jonah are both in select soccer and while I love to watch them play, we still haven't quite found our balance. I've been feeling a lot of "divine discontent." I know we're doing a lot of right things, but also could do a lot better. I am trying to get back to a slower pace- like when the boys are little. I think I can find it if I prioritize thing better, but especially by being careful about how much I agree to do and how I spend my time. Motherhood is my most important calling and I want to be attentive and patient an loving and teach my kids things and genuinely enjoy every role I get to play in their lives. I love that I feel an internal discontentment when something is off-kilter and it has been lately. I spent this morning picking up the house and grocery shopping and lying with Rosie before her nap and reading my scriptures and I feel much better. I am amazed that even when I'm obviously struggling in the most important aspects of my life, I continue to receive blessings and impressions and even miracles, day after day. It reminds me that Heavenly Father will help me even in my imperfection (not that I'll ever be perfect), but He sees my effort and recognizes the long (long) way I have to go to get to where He needs me to be. I think one of the most profound truths I have learned in this season of motherhood is that He always meets me where I am. Which I am so grateful for and so amazed by. 

We are still working with Aimee to try for baby #5. We spent the summer getting her first appointment done and everything else in order. Last is the legal contract, so that is what we are working on now. I am hoping we get it done soon. I keep being surprised at how calm I feel. I don't feel flustered or nervous or overwhelmed at all. This is actually the simplest part of my life right now. It feels like such a natural way for me to get my babies. Sometimes I have moments where I want to pause time because I know the beauty that is coming. I am praying for not too many hard things, but there is even beauty in the hard. I still feel so lucky that I get to experience babies this way. I get the baby (hopefully) but also get to experience divine sisterhood in a way that so many don't. Also, bringing a baby into this world with so much reliance on the Holy Ghost. I know Rosie was meant to be mine because I was in all the details and it's such a sacred realm to be in. I can't wait to be there again. I am trying to remember not to be casual about it, and I know I won't if Aimee is pregnant. But for now, I'm appreciating the lightness I feel- the lack of a huge heavy stressful load. I know God is at the helm and I am so grateful He is. 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Surrogacy Journey #2

 Oh man! It's been too long since I've written on here. It's become such a safe space though when I do, because I know no one reads it. It's kind of like an online journal. I knew I wanted one more baby (and who knows, I still don't really like saying "one more"), but definitely another after Rosie. Our family isn't complete- I wasn't ready to be done with this season of life and Ro definitely needs a buddy to grow up with. I was going to start thinking about it when she was six months, but it didn't feel right yet and I wasn't ready. I guess I wanted to start that early because I knew how long it could take- but I have had a couple really distinct impressions that I could go about this as if I was getting pregnant myself. Meaning, I could start when I was ready to start and Heavenly Father would take care of the timing.

Over the past few years, my trust in Him has multiplied and continued multiplying. How grateful I am for a Father in Heaven who I can share my concerns with and trust to help me with every aspect of them. He cares that I feel like my baby-carrying season was cut so short, and He showed me another way. This time looking for a surrogate has felt different. I know what to do. I know what it looks like. Of course, I know this is a different surrogate and our journey will be special and unique in it's own ways- but I am comfortable having a baby this way. I am so grateful I can have a baby this way. There are special miracles that can only happen here. I know we have at least one more baby in our family. I feel really stretched sometimes with what I have- but also, feel space for one more. More than that, I know that God can help me expand and will grow my capacity to what it needs to be for my family. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Missing Mom

Rosie has been fussy at night lately and McKay and I have taken turns walking the kitchen with her. She's a much lighter sleeper than the boys, so she wakes up sometimes so tired, but needs to be walked to sleep. Usually McKay is home and he missed her, so he wants to walk with her- but tonight he's at the church. I got her to sleep around 7:30 and then helped the boys finish getting ready for bed, but they woke her up, so I got the boys settled and took Rosie downstairs with me. 

All day, she's wanted me to carry her around- which I don't mind, but I'm tired and hadn't eaten dinner (still haven't), so I wanted to see if I could get her to fall asleep on the couch so I could eat and wash my face really quick. I laid her on the couch and as soon as she realized she was put down, she cried hard. I started singing- Primary songs first, and then songs from Wicked. I'm not the best singer, but singing calms Rosie and after about 20 minutes of me singing, she fell asleep. I was looking at her face and trying to memorize it all. I remember catching my mom in moments like that with my siblings. I know lots of women who are good moms, but not any who soak their kids in like my mom always did. She memorized and knows everything about all of us. 

I thought about the things my mom would probably notice and love about Rosie. I know it would be everything. I thought about how much I wanted to call my mom and talk to her about my day and the kids. I would tell her all the funny and cute things they have done and said lately. I would tell her I was tired and she would tell us all to come over and she'd make dinner. I think back to last year and now I can see how sick she was. How much there was she didn't do that I know she wanted to. Two years ago, we were all stuck inside. We couldn't trick or treat because of Covid. In just an hour, my mom threw together the best Halloween party for my kids. I miss her being here. I miss her here healthy. 

I think my life has been compensated in ways I need it to be- friends to talk to, words of encouragement I get from random people or strangers or friends of my mom (some of them word things like she would and I am so grateful for that), but there is still such a void. Sometimes I feel it more than other times, but lately I've just felt it big. I just miss her. I want to see her with Rosie. I want to see her with my boys. I want to go there for dinner and just sit on her couch and know she understands everything about me but we don't have to talk about it. I miss my mom. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Hi, Mom!

I hadn't been to the cemetery since mom's burial. Not really for any particular reason- I just didn't feel drawn to it. I didn't think it would feel significant to me. I know mom isn't in her body, in fact, I think she's around me and her children and grandchildren a lot. Also, I think she's teaching others on the other side. I thought the cemetery would just feel empty. We were sealed to Rosie last Friday and in the days leading up to it, I thought about going to the cemetery. I wanted to invite mom to come. I'm not sure if that sounds silly, but I thought if I were there and she knew I was, she would know I was just there for her and that it was important. I had a lot to do that day and was still deciding if I wanted to, but that Thursday morning I was craving a good breakfast and Rosie and I ended up right by the cemetery (I never go to that part of town), so I felt like things were falling into place and I should go.

It took me a long time to find the headstone. I must have driven around the whole cemetery at least twice. I knew the general area, but ended up going to the office where they gave me a map. As soon as I was sure I was in the right place, I knew without reading the names which was mom's. The brightest and most beautiful in the most perfect spot. Right near a tree that changes with the seasons and kind of in it's own space (also some hydrangeas that Ron had left were still there). I made Rosie a bottle and grabbed a blanket and decided I would stay as long as it took me to feed her the bottle. I wanted my mom that weekend so bad. We had struggled to know who to bring to the temple. I wanted it to be just the six of us, but we needed an escort couple for the kids and nothing felt quite right. I just wanted mom to be there. I told her that I wished it could just be her with us and that I wanted her to come, and to also help me to know she was there. I was surprised bu how much I loved being at the cemetery. It was warm (but not just from the weather), and peaceful and calm and safe. It felt so similar to the temple to me. Maybe my mom made it that way because she knew we would visit her there- or maybe she was just nearby. I thought to myself while I was there that I wanted to be there more because I loved how it felt. I talked to my mom and cried and kissed Rosie and snuggled her close. I looked out at all the graves and felt like the place was full of spirits. That what I was seeing was a big empty lot of headstones but what I felt there was so much more. So many lives lived, so much love, so many legacies, and so many spirits who had graduated to the next life. I know there were more people there than what I could see. It felt full, just like mom's hospital room. But also quiet and peaceful and sacred. It made me feel like the things I sometimes worry about are so insignificant. So small. All that matters is that we make and keep our temple covenants and that we get to be with our families forever. I miss my mom. 


Monday, August 8, 2022

Dream Girl

 Oh my Ro girl. I haven't been the best at writing, but I decided today (again) that I am going to try to be better. Truth is, life feels like it's going at rapid speed. The days seem so busy, although I wonder what we're so busy with. I know I need to slow down but then I wake up and the day begins and it mostly feels impossible. What I do know, is that Rosie has changed me. She has filled something inside me that so desperately needed her. It sounds silly to say, considering I've had her in my arms for over two months now, but she still seems too good to be true. Maybe she will seem like that forever to me. I wish I could could come up with a way to describe it that doesn't sound so cliche. I probably could, but she's lying next to me wanting to be held so I need to make this quick. 

Tonight McKay took the boys to the church to play basketball. As much as I love the boys, I have wanted some time where it's quiet in our home and it's just me and Rosie. Still sometimes I am wanting for something to go wrong. I'm not sure if I can totally let myself believe this is my life yet. 

Friday, July 15, 2022

Rosie's Birth Story

Rosie was due on May 26th, 2022. Months before she was born, Camille went back and forth, trying to decide if she wanted to be induced or not. Ultimately, she decided to be induced. She and Dr. Barrett decided on May 20th (which was a Friday) for her induction date. I could hardly wait and at the same time, felt like nothing was ready. We were in the middle of house renovations and I so badly wanted everything to be just perfect when we brought Rosie home. The months before she was born were spent gutting closets and ordering things for the nursery and my very favorite- folding Rosie’s tiny clothes. We lived with grandma and grandpa for a few weeks while things on our house were completed and grandma and I planned out all Rosie’s outfits for Portland. We even made sure her headbands and swaddles matched her pajamas. Everyone was beside themselves with excitement.

I very often felt a feeling like I didn’t want it to happen yet- not because I didn’t want to hold Rosie in my arms (which I wanted more than anything) but just because I could sense that it was going to be one of the most sacred and special experiences of me entire life and I didn’t want it to be over. I wanted to just stay in the excited anticipation I was feeling to hold my little girl- but I also knew that nothing would be better than actually holding her.

McKay and I decided to leave for Portland on a Wednesday. We left the boys with grandma and grandpa for the school week and then Friday night, Papa John picked them up and had them until Saturday when we got back home. As McKay and I left Seattle, we stopped at Molly Moon’s and I got a hot fudge brownie sundae. I sat there just thinking how wonderful life was. I was eating my favorite treat and I was about to meet my baby girl. We got to Portland and met Camille and Bryce for dinner. We talked about how we wanted things to go at the hospital, but all I remember is just feeling so much love for Camille. I just so badly wanted everything to go exactly as she wanted it. I never worried one second that her desires would be contrary to what I would want for our baby. I just knew our baby girl was in the very best hands. Looking back, that is one of the greatest blessings of our whole experience. I never ever worried about my baby. I trusted Camille almost more than I trust myself, and I am so grateful Heavenly Father brought us together. There are so many qualities Camille has that were (and are) such a blessing to me.


Although the induction date was set for Friday, we found out that Dr. Barrett was thinking of having Camille check in Thursday night and begin a low dose of pitocin. McKay and I spend all of Thursday getting ready. For some reason, it felt like I had forgotten one million things- so we went out to breakfast and then drove around doing random errands to grab things I had forgotten (like a duffel bag for the hospital!) Originally, I wanted to go to the temple the day before Rosie was born. I knew going there would help me be in the mindset I wanted to be in, but honestly I was so excited and unable to be still, we just kept busy instead. Camille and Bryce were checking in that night, so we met them at the hospital and I went inside with them when they checked into their room. 

I was trying really hard to decipher what Camille needed from me. I wanted her to feel absolutely supported but I also didn’t want to be in the way. I knew if I were in her shoes, I would probably just want to relax- so we all decided I would go in to the hospital, meet her nurse, and then leave. At that point, we were sure who could be in the delivery room. Bryce was the first priority so he could be there supporting Camille. I felt like they would let me, but we still weren’t sure about McKay. I went in to the hospital with them and met the nurse. It all felt so surreal- checking in at the bottom floor- then checking in on the floor she would deliver on. It felt like a dream. I couldn’t quite grasp it because it all felt too good to be true. I couldn’t believe it was happening. We got to the room and Camille got in bed. Bryce and I sat on the couch and the nurse handed us pamphlets with information. I was happy she had some for me- as I wasn’t sure how involved I got to be. The packet had birth certificate information and baby safety hand-outs and I just felt so much gratitude that I was actually on that couch, in that hospital about to have my own baby. 

I wanted to give Camille some space so I left the room for a moment to walk into our room next door. They had a room set up for us right next to Camille’s- Room 317. There was a bed and a bassinet and everything there would be as if I was delivering in that room. I set my water and packet on the table next to the bed and walked over to the bassinet. I carefully touched it and looked at the tiny hat. Every second felt like the best dream I still couldn’t quite grasp. 

Camille kept us updated constantly. The plan was for her water to be broken early the next morning, so McKay and I got up early, packed, and made sure we were ready to go. Camille and Bryce were great at keeping in contact with us. As the morning went on, I learned that there were quite a few times Camille was in a lot of pain. She would text me whenever she could and then other times, Bryce would text us. She had tested positive for Group B Strep, so she needed an antibiotic for about four hours before delivering. Because the nurse didn’t give it to her in time, the doctor couldn’t break her water early as planned. That meant Camille had to endure labor for longer. McKay and I wanted to be near, but give her space- so we got a smoothie near the hospital. It was important to Camille that she had space while she was laboring so she didn’t have to worry about McKay and I seeing her uncomfortable (and there was nothing that I wanted except for her to have everything exactly how she wanted it). For a while, we assured her that we were not at the hospital- but then she started to get worried that she would have the baby without us there, so she wanted us close. We ended up just parking in the hospital parking garage, so we were right there when she wanted us to come up.

Not long after, we got a text From Bryce telling us that Camille was ready for us to go to our room! We walked in the hospital and went straight there. A nurse came in and explained how things would go after our baby was born. She asked if I would like to do skin-to-skin in our room, or Camille’s room. I knew I wanted to be there for Camille, but I also wanted alone time with my baby. We decided that I would stay in the room with Camille for a few minutes and then go to our room next door. Camille wanted the same thing! The nurses were so great at feeling us out and helping us have the experience that both of us needed and wanted. It also helped and Camille and I have so much love for eachother. I know we both wanted the other to be happy and comfortable just as much (or more) as we wanted it for ourselves.

Once the nurse left, I sat in the bed and McKay sat on the couch. I don’t remember talking much- just being so nervous and so excited. One feeling I felt that I didn’t expect was concern for the baby’s hea;th and safety. It had nothing to do with Camille- just that I felt so far from her. It surprised me because feeling like that hasn’t been on my radar. I just so wanted to be with my baby and feel her move and hear her heartbeat and know she was okay. At this point, we were updating friends and family. 

Within just a short time, Bryce sent us a text and told us that it was time to come in the room. McKay and I were both able to be in there, which was such a blessing. We walked over to the left side of the bed. Camille was following the doctors pushing instructions and was doing so amazing. I will never forget Bryce standing next to her, rubbing her head and holding her hand and gently encouraging her. One of the most sacred things I witnessed was his love for her. Camille was pushing and McKay was staying by her head. I was trying to, but I couldn’t help peeking at Rosie coming out. I could see all her hair and she was still in her little sac. As Camille pushed again, Rosie’s head came out and I could see her sweet face. She looked like she was sleeping and I immediately started crying. She was so perfect and she was here. I think McKay was right behind me. All I could do was stare at her and pray that she was safe and okay and would cry. They slit the sac and Camille kept pushing until her shoulders were out. Because they did delayed cord clamping, they didn’t cut the cord right away, so they put Rosie right on Camille’s tummy. Rosie immediately started crying. Camille and I both had our hands on her. I rubbed Rosie’s back and just kept looking at her and Camille. We were all crying. I am not sure I have ever felt the amount of gratitude I did in that moment for Camille. The doctor let me cut the cord and then the nurse said “Okay mama, take your baby.” Even typing that makes me teary. I had been waiting to hear those words for so long. I picked up Rosie and walked over to the rocker next to Camille’s bed and just held her and cried. All the prayers, all the crying and hoping and fasting and begging…she was in my arms. Still when I hold her, I can’t wrap my mind around it. I think because she is such a miracle, she will always be a little out of reach for me, because of what a sacred and incredible and miraculous gift she is. She feels too good to even be true and I think she always will.

I sat and held Rosie in the room, and while I was doing that, the doctor was tending to Camille. Camille and I looked at eachother and I mouthed to her and asked if she wanted me to go into the next room, and she smiled and nodded. I wanted to be with her as long as she wanted, but she had also told me that she wanted privacy until she was cleaned up, which I completely understood. We went back to our room and I just climbed into the bed with my baby and cuddled her! We did skin to skin. The nurse brought in a bottle of breast milk (which I had chosen when given the option between that and formula). She helped me feed her the first time and then I was fine doing it myself. For hours and hours I just cuddled my baby, and looked at her, and took pictures, and cuddled some more- and offered silent prayers of gratitude to Heavenly Father. We were also texting Camille and Bryce and checking on Camille constantly. 

Around five, they moved us down the hall to new rooms. They were smaller, but still next to each other. We didn’t see each other until we were after we were in our new rooms, and Camille had had the chance to shower. McKay got pizza, so Camille came over and ate pizza and held Rosie! Bryce had gone home to check on the kids, so he got to our room a little after. Seeing Camille hold Rosie brought me so much joy. Camille will eternally be a part of our lives. Bringing her to earth is significant and sacred and I know this has always been the plan. The love I feel for Camille is heavenly and really impossible to describe. And that makes sense, because this plan was so divinely orchestrated. This experience was not of this world. so of course I don’t have the words. Camille and Bryce both held Rosie and we all just talked and ate and loved on Rosie. Then they went back to their room, and McKay and I cuddled our girl for the rest of the night. 

Rosie (whose name was “Roa” in the hospital) was a great eater! She usually ate twice as much as what the nurses would bring her. I called them often to bring more breastmilk (which is what she ate the whole time we were in the hospital). I cuddled her all night and then in the morning, McKay went to get breakfast sandwiches. I brought half of mine to Camille and not long after that, Camille and Bryce got to go home. We were at the hospital until the afternoon so Rosie could get all the test she needed. I just held her and stared at her and kissed her and then kissed her some more! 

Finally, it was time to leave the hospital. SinceI hadn’t just given birth, I was able to walk out. I held her close and felt like the luckiest person who had ever lived. When we walked out of the doors, it was beautiful and sunny and it hit me again that I finally finally had my baby girl. I just cried as we walked to the car. 

Some of my very favorite moments in the hospital-

Handing her to McKay for the first time. He told me to take all the time I needed, but I LOVE handing my babies to their daddy. He was instantly in love. I could see it all over his face. Just totally smitten with his little girl.

Having matching jammies with Camille and having her get in bed with me so we could snuggle Rosie!

Relaxing with my baby girl on my chest and reminding myself over and over that this was actually real

Calling the boys and showing them their new little sister

Texting my family the first picture of her- just a shot of all her hair!

Watching Bryce with Camille

When the nurse said “Okay mama, take your baby.”

Walking to my own room carrying my brand new baby girl

Putting the tiny clothes on Rosie that we had brought for her 

Brushing her hair! 

Starting at her non-stop

*And after we left the hospital, we were talking about how we couldn't quite call her “Roa.” We loved the name but it just didn’t feel right. Rosie came into my head. I said it a couple times out loud and we both knew it instantly- she was our Rosie girl. 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

He Lives

I love sharing my testimony on Easter Sunday. This is probably the first time in a long time I've written something privately. Okay, this isn't totally private- but feels private to me. I just don't have the desire to today. Everything feels sacred and quiet and inside me and heavy. It feels like every single one of my spiritual senses is heightened. I am feeling for my mom and I am waiting for my baby. I feel anxiety in the waiting. Hoping everything will go okay and absolutely waiting for the ball to drop at any second. I so desperately want everything to feel light and perfect and happy- and it sometimes does. But also this feels like potentially the best upcoming month of my life and I am so hesitant to be all in. I hate being hesitant. 

Cash slept on his neck weird last night and had a sore neck all day. I was feeling it and felt a knot and knots to me feel like lumps. I am not sure where my logic has gone, but it's gone. My heart is so full and excited and insanely sensitive right now. McKay waited downstairs for an hour for me to cut his head while I sat upstairs next to sleeping Cash, crying and googling pediatric sarcoma. I am just so sure Heavenly Father has another huge trial for me. Since Camille has been pregnant, I have had the impression several times to enjoy this. To know that things are taken care of, my baby girl will be healthy and okay and that I can relinquish all my fears. I have been worried about several things lately- not concerning the baby but with me and then Cash. Not very logical things, just worries. We aren't living at home right now and I have missed praying in my closet. Yesterday, I had to run home alone to grab something and as I was leaving, I had the thought to go up to my closet to pray. I felt a little angry. I asked why my life has to be full of constant worrying. I told Heavenly Father that I have been so willing to be patient, to accept what has come my way. But this time, I would just like an answer. I would like to know if I needed to worry or not. I felt a peaceful feeling come over me and words come to my mind, "But I already have done that," and I felt the responsibility I put on Him shift to me- and I knew that really what I needed to do was trust Him. 

I love the Savior and my relationship with Him has become so personal the last several years. I have always known deep in my soul that I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who knows and loves me. I have never questioned that. But honestly I wondered where the Savior fit into my story. It seems silly to question that now, as He is in every part. And leading up to this Easter (and all of today) the word that has been on my mind the most is "impossible," because wow have so many things felt impossible to me. First of all, healing- in every way. My body, my MIND, my HEART, my ability to mother my children with the instincts and confidence I used to. Also it feels impossible that I have to go through this life without my mom. I am not sure I can grasp that yet. Knowing how to explain the world we live in to my children seems impossible. Raising my kids in a ward with barely any children seems impossible. Us belonging here seems impossible (okay, not impossible, but hard). My cancer staying away feels impossible at times- so does walking through life without worry and fear. So many things feel impossible to me, and I think they are, without the Savior. But because of the Savior, all those things are possible. All of them. And so much more. I know it because I have felt it. I have experienced it. I have felt impossible things be possible and present in my life.

I love knowing that the Savior knows everything I feel. Nothing is new to Him. Nothing is a surprise. He has a plan for everything- a salve for everything. He always knows what to say even when no one else does. He knows how to make me feel before I even know what I need. He knows where to tell me to look when I don't even know what I'm looking for. I never have to be without hope. I never have to feel like anything is broken, or lost, or ruined. Absolutely everything is possible. The greatest happiness and peace and calm I have ever felt, is possible- even when it's not. It is, because of Him.

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