Sunday, January 24, 2010

Not Homeschool Related, But...

This post is totally unrelated to homeschooling, but while we are being honest, I thought I'd share a piece of my life that so far I haven't shared with many of my readers. It's nothing to be ashamed of, but so far I've been reticent to share about this on my blog just because it is controversial to some people, and I know not everyone will understand or agree with it. BUT, it's a huge part of who I am, and how our family has operated over the last two years. So here it is: I'm a surrogate mom!

When Miss O was still a tiny baby, my dh and I were attending a couples Bible study and one of the couples shared with our group about their struggles with infertility. They had tried IVF several times, but couldn't get pregnant. We had known this couple for a long while, but because they didn't have kids, we weren't as close as we were to some of the other couples. We were just at different life stages.

I honestly felt they were selfish for being so persistant about the fertility treatments. I thought, "Why don't they JUST adopt!?". I'm ashamed now to think of my judgemental heart, but it came from never having struggled to have kids, from ignorance about the pain of infertility. Obviously there is nothing wrong with adoption at all, BUT it is a personal choice, and who am I to say whether it is right or not for any particular couple?? Thankfully, I kept my terrible thoughts to myself, so at least I didn't hurt them by saying something so awful to their faces. Needless to say, over a period of months, God broke my heart for this couple, and for their situation. I finally came to the conclusion that my fertility was a huge gift, that my kids themselves were a gift beyond comprehension, and if I could help this couple in any way, that I wanted to do that. I did some research on gestational surrogacy and spoke with my husband. Then I offered undergo in-vitro fertilization for the purpose of carrying their genetic child and handing it over upon its' birth; this is called gestational surrogacy.

Long story short, after spending about 9 months talking and preparing, we cycled once and it worked on the first try. I gave birth to their beautiful boy/girl twins in December of 2008, just before I started this blog! They are just over a year now, and a joy to behold! Through this amazing couple, I met yet another couple going through infertility issues, who now also go to our Bible study!

I never thought I'd do another surrogacy, but just 4 months after delivering the twins, I again felt the tug on my heart to work with this new couple. They already had two children from adoption, but desired a large family. Surrogacy was one way that they could do that. We cycled in August of 2009 and it failed. We cycled again in December of 2009 (yes, just last month!), and guess what?!? It worked! I am 8 weeks pregnant with one little baby!

Surrogacy is a huge part of my life, or at least it has been for the last two years. I know it's different, it's not "normal", and not everyone will understand or agree with it. But until you've given yourself a chance to understand and research it, please, don't pass a judgement. Only God can change a human heart, and I was once the one judging my friends, wondering why they didn't "just adopt" (FTR, I don't have ANY problem at all with adoption! Obviously adoption isn't a way that I can help an infertile couple though, is it?).

While I was pregnant with the twins, I got loads of questions, concerns and judgements from others. It was definitely an eye-opening experience for me, and I understand a little more now how alienated a couple can feel when others don't understand their struggle to start or grow a family. I can't thank God enough for opening my eyes to this, for helping me to see these people with a fresh outlook, for allowing me to be of some help to them. I'm not sharing this to give myself a big pat on the back, but because I am pregnant again, and hope and pray for your prayers and support through this next surrogate pregancy, for the continued health of the baby that I am carrying. Also, since it is a big part of my life, especially now, while I'm in the midst of another journey, I just felt it'd be easier to share with all of you what's going on with me! I am more than happy to answer any and all questions that you may have, but will delete any inappropriate comments.

I have never uploaded a video on my blog before, so I hope this works! This is a surrogacy video I made after I delivered the twins. It kind of answers some of the questions people were always asking me about concerning surrogacy. If you want to watch, fyi, there is sound, so feel free to take advantage of that! I hope you enjoy it! FYI, most of the pictures are of the parents holding their babies (don't think I look that great after having just delivered twins, lol. It's their mommy who is so pretty! ;) ). I'm the one with the glasses in a few of the pics. And, yes,you'll notice twin B was in the NICU in some of the pictures. She had complications due to the C-section, but is fine now. Twin A came out healthy as can be!



21 comments:

Annette said...

Jennifer...though I knew, tears came to my eyes as I watched the video. The music and verses you choose show it really is not about you...or even N and B but about God.

Thanks for sharing openly! Once again, congratulations! Just to clarify, is this also N and B's baby?

Anonymous said...

As someone who can't have bio children, I understand the heartache that they were probably going through. I think that what you did is amazing. You gave this wonderful gift to that couple. The look on their faces when they held their babies says it all.

T said...

Absolutely beautiful!

Sheena said...

Wow, that is amazing. The people you did this for, and are doing it for now, have a wonderful friend that would sacrifice so much so that they could have the greatest joy this life has to offer. Just curious, how do you explain what is happening to your children?

Mama to 3 Blessings said...

I enjoy your blog & your creativity so I am passing an award to you. I love your blog! :)
Nicole

Jennifer said...

Annette--No, the one I am carrying now is for a different couple who I met through N and B. :)

Sheena--At the time of the first journey, the kids were so young that they had no pre-conceived notion of how baby making works or how families are formed. I simply told them that N wasn't able to carry a baby and so I was going to do it for her because I knew that would make her happy. They seemed to readily accept that. They see my surro-twins all the time and it hasn't seemed to confuse them at all. Also, since they are only 15 months apart, Little Bean doesn't remember me ever being pregnant with Miss O, so it has never occurred to him that generally you get to keep the babies that come from your own pregnancies.

Berry Patch said...

What a blessing you are to these families.

Cindy said...

You are truly amazing. I have thought about being a surrogate before and thought it would be something I would like to do. I never met a couple that needed me though. Now sadly I am getting too old. The world is a better place because of you.

Beth said...

I will pray for your continued health as well as the baby that you are carrying. What a true gift you have given these families! God is working through you and it is amazing!!

Blessings

Michelle said...

Beautiful story, Jennifer! You are AMAZING! Bless you for being willing to give of yourself for someone else. Just curious, are you planning to have more children yourself?

The Mom I Want To Be said...

Thanks for sharing! Now I think you're even more amazing than I thought before!! I've thought about being a surrogate since I love being pregnant and giving birth but I'm sure our family is complete. Best wishes for a happy and healthy pregnancy.

Jennifer said...

Michelle--I won't say for sure we are done (anything can happen, I suppose), but most likely we are. We want to live and work overseas in China, and feel 2 would be more than enough children to handle while also dealing with life in another culture. Plus, we had our two very close together and are kind of out of the baby stage now. So, we are probably done. I won't lie, there is always the chance that I could lose my fertility from being a surrogate, but given that we've been blessed with two beautiful children already, it's something I am willing to risk at this point in my life. Thanks for asking!

Susana said...

You are truly amazing, selfless and a wonderful person!

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and your blog in general.

I have an award for you!

Lori said...

Wow...thanks for sharing your amazing journey. I sit here in tears at the love and God's love that you have shown. What you have done is amazing. My heart wonders if I could do the same...

Could I please ask that you share the name of the song?

May God bless you during your pregnancy and the family that you are blesssing. It is a journey that has such a different ending than most are used too!

Jennifer said...

Lori, the song is called "I Will Not Forget You" and it's by a band called 100 Portraits, on their album Enter the Worship Circle. I LOVE that album, and all the songs on it!

konnapoo said...

Jennifer, I almost cried at what you are doing. you are so beautiful. I just want give my hugs to you. Good Luck for next 30 weeks

Sridhar

Anonymous said...

Thank you for what you did and for sharing your story. I only just found your blog this evening.

I went through 10 years of infertility and finally was blessed with twins. It can be a long and heart-breaking journey. It is so good to know there are people like you out there. We didn't have to use a surrogate, but we did the full IVF route. You are so true. You never know the journey another person is on and why they are making the decisions they are.

I hope and pray the rest of this pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible for you. Again, thank you not only for what you did, but for being strong enough to share your story. Maybe it will help another person decide to help someone in need or maybe even something more basic...like being open-minded, caring and loving towards other people and the choices they make in their lives.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I have never thought of surrogacy as part of your "living sacrifice." Thanks for opening my eyes!

Anonymous said...

Jennifer-I found your blog by happen-so. I googled JXG, because my daughter is a sufferer,and your blog came up. When I saw this post about your surrogacy,I wanted to tell you that I so relate to it being'odd' to others, or not 'normal'. We have two biological children (11 and 9), and an almost-two-year-old son whom we adopted in an open adoption from a teenage girl who attends our church (my husband is a minister). To say that most people did not understand it at first is an understatement. They could not understand how we could adopt him and then have her see him regularly ("don't you think she'll change her mind and want him back if she sees him?"). I think it has been a great learning experience for everyone to see just how well it has worked. Our little man fit right into our family from the start, and his birth mother gets to see that he is loved and well cared for, and still says she knows she did the right thing by giving him the stable family life that she could not. Kudos to you for giving of yourself in this way and helping others to build their families!

Sheri said...

Hi Jennifer-that is amazing and I wish the best for this pregnancy too. What a blessing you are to that family and this little one's too.

As for your TOS ??-I answered it on my blog-but basically, I have only spoken with one vendor and that was during a training session, and have only spoken via email with the 75+ vendors I have dealt with so far these past 2 years. HTH

KJ said...

Wow. I am just getting a chance to read this. What an amazing story you have. I cried during your video, so sweet. We have dear friends who weren't able to conceive. They went the adoption route to get their daughter. I've often thought that I wouldn't mind doing that for someone, especially someone that I'm close to. My fear has always been that I would become attached to the baby and grieve afterwards. How awesome that you get to be around them so much, I guess that makes it easier. I guess if it were really easy, it wouldn't be considered a sacrafice, huh?

Prayers to you & this pregnancy.

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