Monday, May 26, 2014

All Things Change; The Bittersweet Goodbye

I originally titled this post, "All Good Things Come to An End." I realized quite quickly that the title would be misleading and changed it. Here's why.

The Team, One Last Time. 
This journey has been a beautiful thing. Good is an understatement. It's been one step above anything I could have hoped for. Truly. I've made great friends with the dads and many members of their families and extended friend networks. We've all cross networked Facebook friends. We have loose plans to see each other in the future. While many surrogates wind up enjoying a close relationship with the families they help, I feel like our friendship is honestly something unique and very special.

Some might say that with the guys boarding a plane home tomorrow, our journey together has reached its end. But here's the thing... when you form a true friendship and a deep bond, as I believe we have, things don't really end. As with everything in life, they simply change. 

All The Gals
Yes, the leg of Ellie's life where I carried her and grew her is over. But now comes the leg where I get to watch her grow on Facebook. The leg where my family and her family meet in the middle for mini vacays.Perhaps even the leg where my bio-girls and my surro-girl become friends and long distance pen pals. This story is far from over. It's just this chapter that has ended. And as with all new chapters, there is a great fear of the unknown. Hence the tears.

All that said, perhaps for my own benefit more than your own, here's how today's goodbye went.
Surrogacy; This is what it's about
I cried a few times yesterday knowing that after today's lunch, I would not hold baby E again as a baby. I may never get to physically embrace (hug) her again. Best laid plans can change. Life can get in the way. It's a hard reality for an infant I've come to love and two friends I have come to love. Truth is, these were the same tears I shed for the Cherolis family (my best friends and God-children) when we moved from Ohio to Washington. The tears had nothing to do with the fact that this bond was formed through surrogacy or that I was saying goodbye to a child I carried. The tears were because I was saying goodbye to three dear friends with unclear plans for future visits.

So as we headed over the 520 Bridge into Seattle today I was doing the best I could not to cry. I didn't want to ruin my make up and arrive with red puffy eyes. So superficial, I know. But I did pretty well, actually.

T made a great lunch for us. Of which my girls ate none. So embarrassing. Sorry, T. Emmy also had a typical 2 year old tantrum melt down. So embarrassing. Sorry E, I know you were trying to nap. Oops. I ate plenty though, and it was delicious. Something that surprises no one who knows T, I am sure. Then I ruin their healthy diet with a cake baked fresh by Fred Meyer. Mmmm....
Surrogacy; This is what it's about

After lunch I nursed E for the last time. Gosh, she was hungry! It was possibly our best nursing ever, she latched on tight and nursed from both sides long and hard. I am so proud of her and will never forget this amazing gift. Even if it weirds her out as a teenager to know she once sucked on a foreigner's breast. Sorry, E, but you did. And you liked it. :)

I also gave the E her final gift from me. I had my labor gown torn apart and turned into two pairs of stuffed kangaroos (One for her, one for me) and a lap blanket. (Other surros, if you're interested in doing this please email me. I'm happy to pass along the info of the great gal who did this for me. Such a quick turn around, too!) I will keep one of these kangaroos forever as such a special memento of this phase of my life, and of E's. :)

After lunch we went for a walk along the downtown waterfront. Then it was time to go. That's it. Hugs, love and well wishes. We'll meet briefly tomorrow for one more milk hand off, but really it's done.

Remember This Gown? 
It's Been Repurposed
Bon Voyage, Ellie! 
Bittersweet, such an understatement. Bitter because I'd love to keep her close and cuddle her. And laugh with the dads. Sweet because once they're gone I can go back to being just Mommy Mandy to Didi and Emmy. Bitter because I've defined myself as a surrogate for over a year, and that phase is over for the moment. Sweet because I did it. I made a beautiful family. Bitter because this moment hurts. It sucks, to be honest. Sweet because I know it's not over for us, no matter what the future holds.

I think I'll take some time to digest, and then post a "view from 30,000 feet" type of post. I also have plans for a FAQ post in the future. So if you've got some Q's for me- send them here.

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