MicroblogMondays: Four Months

The babies are four months old today.  They are so much more interactive with us and with each other these days.  They hold hands frequently when we place them next to each other.  Lately this is seen quite often:

Chinese kung fu, anyone?

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MicroblogMondays: Choked Up

This Christmas was obviously different from the many Christmases in the past now that our twins are here with us.  We had a low key Christmas still.  One manmade but fully decorated Christmas tree, four stockings, and one present from us for the babies (and other presents from friends and family).  Regardless of how low key it was, I felt tremendously blessed that the babies have helped make this season extra special.  Christmas day was not unlike other days.  Other than opening presents in the morning, we had the same routines as usual.  Well, except for one moment when I was particularly reminded of the blessings that our life has become.  While feeding Bunny, there was a sweet moment that I noticed.  She was quietly eating while holding my fingers.  I was choking up a little while enjoying this tender moment with my daughter knowing that it took such a long time and tremendous effort to get to this point.  Once again, I am reminded to not take these little precious moments in life for granted.

MicroblogMondays: Never

I had a burst of energy the other day so I decided to clean the drawers of our bathroom.  It must have been a very long time since I emptied out the drawers.  Buried deep inside of one of them were these:

I remember my emotions when I purchased these tests.  Some were purchased during my first IVF cycle, and some other ones were for the joy of seeing two pink lines and the word “pregnant” after my first donor egg transfer.  I remember being so hopeful and so certain that my own pee would produce the magic word on the Clear Blue digital test or the beautiful pink lines on the First Response test.  The expiration dates came and went, and the me in my present day would never use any of these tests or any newly purchased ones on myself.  Although I have crying babies outside to prove that one doesn’t need to be pregnant in order to build a family, my thoughts and feelings at that moment were still a tremendous sense of loss of the ability to grow a baby inside of me.  I thought I had worked through my feelings about that.  I guess grief hits you whenever, especially at unexpected moments.  This is a reminder that I will never be pregnant or feel a life grow in my uterus.  That feeling sucks.

Needless to say, these tests or their new versions no longer belong to my bathroom drawers.

First Solo Tar.get Trip

I had my first solo Tar.get trip since the babies came home.  Our new mini-van is super spacious for all the stuff that I had to buy, but it felt kind of funny to be driving it around without the babies behind me.


I am going to try the store brand diapers.  If they are good, maybe we can save on that category.

The first trip away from the babies was good for me.  I am so grateful for my parents who are there to watch the babies.

MicroblogMondays: Feeling Silenced

My guy best friend is currently in town from out of state. Whenever he’s around, we always get together.  This time he came one week before his wife did so he could visit his parents with his 7-year-old daughter.  When we were making plans for dinner, my friend alerted me that I’d have to be prepared to explain to his little girl why I had babies coming without having a big belly.  Apparently he hadn’t told her our news yet.  I said I’d be ready to explain. And then he told me that he hadn’t had the talk with little girl about human reproduction yet.  When she asked questions about how babies came about, he told her to ask her teachers.  I guess he was uncomfortable talking about it and really didn’t want to do it at this point.  I told him that 7-year-old is not too early to learn about where babies come from.  He said he’d think about how to talk to her.

Fast forward a week later.  In the afternoon right before our dinner date, my friend called to finalize the details.  Then he asked, “Is it okay if we don’t talk about the babies tonight?”  Honestly I was taken aback by this request.  He went on to explain that he still hadn’t told his daughter about our situation, and he still didn’t know how to explain human sexuality to her.  So he thought that it would be better for us to simply not to talk about our pregnancy or anything that had to do with our preparation.

I don’t know.  I was sitting there with my phone in my hand feeling a little disappointed and sad.  I know that he wasn’t ashamed of our situation.  I know that he does want to celebrate our babies with us.  I know that it was solely his problem of having a hard time with this talk with his daughter.  It is simply his choice of parenting and it is a decision that has nothing to do with me.  But why did I feel that I was less than those who could achieve a pregnancy and proudly present their bumps?  Why did I still experience sadness and disappointment that my best friend could not rise above this situation and use this opportunity to educate his young child about unique ways of building a family?  If I were pregnant with a big bump, this wouldn’t have been an issue for him because then he wouldn’t have to explain how our embryos got transferred into the surrogate.  I know that I am not less than others who physically carry and give birth to their children, but my heart still ached that I could not just proudly talk about our excitement and our future.

Dinner was weird.  Bob and I sat there and talked about everything but our babies and surrogate.  Our life recently has been so engrossed by the preparation for the upcoming birth of our babies that I felt choked by this enforced avoidance of the topic.  It felt so unnatural and tiring to have to consciously watch our words.  When I handed my friend a thank you card for his gift, his little girl asked what it was.  Bob was so smart that he quickly changed the topic to distract the little girl.  And my friend finally asked how we were doing with everything, but it was done in our native language so his daughter couldn’t understand it.

It just made me sad that our joy and pride had become so hush-hush that night.

When we said our good-byes in front of the restaurant, I asked my friend how he was going to explain the sudden appearance of two babies in our life.  He said he’d wait to see if school would teach about human sexuality and go from there.  I know that his choice does not mean that he isn’t happy for us, but it just left a bad taste in my mouth for a few days because we could not openly celebrate this newest chapter of our lives with one of my best friends.

Chinese Parents’ Reactions

We are 27 weeks today.  Woohoo!

In order to best prepare for my maternity leave, I have started to tell the parents of the kiddos that I work with about the gestational surrogacy and the twins’ scheduled arrival in September.  Majority of the kids on my caseload are Chinese, so majority of the parents with whom I share the news are Chinese.   The dads are more practical.  Most of them didn’t say congratulations and just took whatever I said as facts.  They were more concerned about the schedules in my absence and whether their kiddos can be seen by me again when I return from maternity leave.  One of the dads has boy/girl twins.  With a nervous smile on his face (I don’t know why), he just said, “You will be super busy”.  I just have to take his word for it because he is the one with the experience of twins (and one with disability).  Most Chinese moms were more typical.  They were a little surprised at first, and they usually congratulated me, especially after I confirmed that we are indeed expecting a boy and a girl.  They all said, “You are so lucky!”  I get bugged at times by this reaction.  To me, a person who has been longing for a baby, I would feel blessed if God gives me a boy, a girl, two boys, or two girls.  I just want a baby.  It really doesn’t matter to me if it’s a boy or a girl.  But I can understand why many people feel that this is a lucky thing because I will have an “instant” family in one shot.

And then there were these two Chinese moms.  Chinese Mom Number One’s reaction was the most peculiar.  This is how it went down:

Me: [My blurb about having a surrogate carrying twins for us]

Mom: Have you given birth before?

Me: No.  These are going to be my first children.

Mom: Beware of breast cancer.

Me: ……

Who in the world would respond to another person sharing baby news by warning that person of the risks of breast cancer??!?

She went on and on about her sister who had never given birth and got breast cancer.  She truly believes that her sister’s sickness was due to never having given birth.  I mean, I had heard that before, and it could be true(??), but this is not a normal reaction to another person announcing baby news.  What about a simple congratulations?  And how can someone be “careful” about getting breast cancer?  Regardless of me telling her about my annual checkup and mammogram, this mom still insisted that my chances are higher as her sister also did annual check up and still got it.  And if I said that I don’t have family history, she responded by saying you don’t have to have family history to get breast cancer.  At that point, I gave up.

Chinese Mom Number Two was a bit more normal.  After I told her the news, she congratulated me.  However, as we discussed the schedule, she blurted out, “How nice for you that you don’t have to carry the babies!”  Wow.  Just wow.  I was speechless for a few seconds.  Who in the right mind would say such a thing?  How could she not think even for one second the reason why we needed to pursue surrogacy for a baby?  Who would go to this extreme measure to have a baby just so that she doesn’t have to carry the babies?  She didn’t consider for one second that I would feel that it’s my loss not to be able to carry my own children.  It just blows my mind.  I simply answered, “If I could carry, I would, but since I can’t, this is the path we have taken” and left it at that.

The parents’ reactions have been my entertainment/drama for the past few days.  I haven’t told all the parents yet, so we will see what else I will be told.  But I guess I won’t be surprised by what anyone says anymore.  Who can top these two Chinese moms, right?

MicroblogMonday: Back to Just the Two of Us

Microblog_Mondays

My in-laws have come and left.  These 7 1/2 weeks have gone by quickly.

Bob took a day off the day before my in-law left so that we could all spend time together out of the house.  His parents were originally reluctant to go out as my father-in-law just wanted to finish packing and my mother-in-law just wanted to finish cooking all the food in the fridge.  Somehow my in-laws refused to go anywhere touristy this time.  They did all of that seven years ago.  This time they just wanted to visit places like Tar.get, Ik.ea, and dollar stores.  I literally had to force them out of the house with us.  And I am glad I did.  My MIL is very into flowers, trees, and plants.  So we took them to the Botanical Garden at Golden Gate Park.  It was delightful to see her eyes light up as we walked by all these fragrant flowers.  Just happened that there was also a walking tour at the time we arrived, so we followed a docent, learned a few things about plants, and smelled/tasted some flowers and plants during that one-hour tour.  Afterwards, my in-laws enjoyed a cup of mocha t Starb.ucks.  It was an extremely pleasant way to conclude their trip.

Bob originally joked that he would need a vacation from his parents’ visit.  We even looked into staying at a bed and breakfast and going to the train museum in the Sacramento area.  However, we decided that getting the house back in order was more important and would make my life easier when I have to pick up cooking again this week.  We saw our in-laws off at the airport, went grocery shopping, and purchased three huge utility plastic boxes at Tar.get.  I was already very tired when we got home, but house cleaning was calling my name.  After not having full control of my own kitchen for almost two months, the urge to put everything back in order was very strong.  When my in-laws first arrived with their four suitcases, we had to move stuff around and out of the cabinets in order to accommodate their spices, containers, and utensils.  For the whole afternoon on Saturday, I washed all the stainless steel utensils and containers and placed them all in the huge utility boxes we got.  I wiped every single inch of the kitchen counter including places that I usually don’t touch.  Thankfully, my MIL cleaned the stove right before she left, so I didn’t have to attend to that.  I cleaned the drawers in the fridge before the groceries went in.  I planned all the meals and already marinated a pork tenderloin for dinner for tonight.  I rearranged the pantry and put away the flour, the dal, and the rice that my MIL used frequently for cooking.  The kitchen floor was wiped clean.  Finally, Bob wiped down the whole range hood as grease from Indian cooking was covering it for the last two months.

The kitchen has not been so spotless in a very long time.

And it does feel good to have my kitchen back.  Yes, the house is feeling a bit too quiet and I miss having meals, tea, and coffee magically provided daily.  But I also cherish just being by ourselves and really truly having down time when I come home.  This past week I sat here at the kitchen counter and typed up notes while my mother-in-law showed me how to make a few dishes.  I am confident that I’d be able to replicate some of them successfully.  I learned how to make madras coffee and made it successfully yesterday.  It took quite some time to make the decoction of the coffee. It makes me appreciate my mother-in-law even more as I think about how she labored in the kitchen for two months for us providing coffee, tea, lunch, and dinner.  Right before she entered into the security area at the airport, she told me that next year she’d return for our baby.  I told her that I’d try my best to bring to this world a baby.  She placed her hand on my head, said a word of blessings, and told me that she’d pray to her gods.  I know that her gods are different from my God, but I am still touched the way she shows her love to me.

I truly hope that next year they will have to ponder about coming to visit because of a new addition to our family.