Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Family!!!

Again, nothing to do with surrogacy, but I just really LOVE my little family =)  After the holidays, it really makes me know how blessed I really am.  We had a very interesting year to say the least.  I am just wondering what 2011 will bring us.  Maybe we will have a very relaxing one, but who knows?!?  We could be preparing for baby #3 or surrogate baby #4!!!  We will just have to see. 

I do have a couple HUGE projects up my sleeve that I can't wait to share with all of you... and yes, it has everything to do with surrogacy!!




Oh, and our Santa pics just keep getting more interesting every year!!
Max almost had a stroke when he saw Santa... this is the best we could do.
He had no idea Santa was behind him!!

And my BIG surprise was VERY big!!!  My husband gave me a brand new car!!
Wow!!!  This was one awesome gift =)






Monday, December 27, 2010

Breaking the Facebook Addiction

This post has nothing to do with surrogacy, but probably something we all can relate to someway or another.  No better way to vent than blog!!

Facebook

I have been an active member of Facebook for almost 2 years now.  I remember the days where MySpace was popular (whatever happened to that?) and my husband and I thought it was absolutely ridiculous!!  It appeared absolutely absurd to have your life broadcast online, showing the world every detail of your good and bad side.  Back in those days (which seems so long ago), if you were married, had kids, or over the age of 25, having MySpace was rather questionable.  But, now Facebook has become this HUGE phenomenon that every person seems to have; even my parents, aunts and uncles, and even grandparents!!

So, my husband and I decided to try it out and jump on this bandwagon.  We know any sort of extreme exposure of our lives may come at a cost, so we decided to make a joint profile page, "Ashley 'n' Cameron".  Ever since then we have continued adding "friends", daily status updates, and lots of photos.  Although I continued to take part of this virtual network, I have always been very skeptical about every aspect of it.
  

"Friends"

It is so absurd to me that some people have 500 + "friends" on Facebook.  Really??  Do you really associate with this many people on a daily or even weekly basis?  Yes, I had around 150 at some point, but even that seems like a lot to me.  What in the world do you need that many people to know about you?  For me, Facebook is about reconnecting and sharing your life with people you know or have shared a past together.  It isn't about, let's see how many "friends" I can get so it looks like I have some sort of high reputation I have to live up to.  Yes, there may be a few people that are involved in multiple school, church, or work groups that have collected many relationships over the years, but lets face it... people with 1,000 or even over 500 friends really need to get a life!!


Where did privacy go??

As unlikely as it appears, I am a somewhat private person.  But, somehow Facebook proved me differently.  I can remember those days where you would run into someone you have not seen for months or even years and that quick conversation of "What have you been up to?" seemed like it could go on forever.  It was nice running into someone and finding something out you didn't know, and going home to tell your family, "guess what so-and-so is up to these days?"  That is clearly not the case as 2011 approaches.  It can be very awkward having these run-ins these days.  Although you haven't seen someone in ages, you know absolutely everything about them!!  There are uncomfortable silences because there isn't much to talk about.  I really miss those days where life used to be a secret.  Now, we have hundreds of people involved with your every action and know where your life is going.


Child Exposure

I didn't think twice about putting my children up for the world to see until recently.  At first it was really fun posting pictures and incidents I had of my boys... I loved to share how cute and accomplished my family has become.  This sharing, or bragging, has really got me thinking.  I didn't notice its effect until I saw the exposure from other people's profile.  Without mentioning names, when people posted pictures or videos from their baby's ultrasound, delivery, first baths, or every little milestone, it really got me questioning if I was doing the right thing as a parent.  Yes, people can make their own decisions about how their child/children are exposed on the internet, but for me, it has got to stop.  Children do not have a voice and do not know the effects internet exposure can have.  They don't have any choice when it comes to their life being broadcast on the internet.  Basically, we are allowing our children to grow up in the public eye.  Every picture or memory that we as parents get to enjoy, so do hundreds of our "friends".  I don't think this is fair.  I am not sure how I would feel today if I knew that my every day life and childhood was detailed on the internet for so many people to see.  Some of you may think I am way over thinking this, but I guess that it is just me being a very protective and caring parent.  I don't want everyone to experience all of these precious moments of my children... they should be just for me and my husband.  And for those of you who do have hundreds or even thousands of friends, please be careful of what you do post.  You really want all of those people looking at little baby parts??  Hmmmm, out of all of those people, I am sure there is at least one who isn't as trustworthy as they may appear.  I may be a little extreme here, but I don't see it as being as safe as some of you may think.  I think you can never protect your kids enough these days.


Why don't I just limit it?

Some of you may ask, why don't I just maintain a profile but limit my posts/pictures?  Well, that's like telling an alcoholic to just consume an ocassional drink and not get drunk.  Facebook has become a daily habit for me.  I am so used to sharing my crazy incidences or posting pictures of the past holiday or vacation we just had.  I have tried to cut it down some though.  I deleted about 30 of my "friends" and erased hundreds of photos that I had posted over the past couple years.  But, as time went on and I continued to get more friend requests and more pictures I was so tempted to post, FB still was there.  I guess it is about self control too.  There are many people out there who stay so busy with work or school who find little time to access the internet to download pics or what not.  But, being a stay-at-home mom really comes with a lot of down time.  What else am I going to do with my time when my boys sleep 15 out of 24 hours of the day??  There is only so much cleaning, laundry, ironing, and grocery shopping a mom can do!!  When I go onto the internet to check email or online shop, I always click on the Facebook link where that "What's on your mind" box just stares at me!! 

And I don't want to become one of those FB creepers.  That's what I call those people who have a profile page, hundreds of friends, that never have any FB activity but yet know every single aspect of your page!! It's like they want to look like they are too good for FB and have sooo much going on in their life to even have time for something as silly as this type of socialization, yet for some reason they are able to follow your everyday life without you knowing.  I hate that!!  So, no, I am not going to become a creeper and maintain a page and check out what everyone else is up to without sharing my life.  That just isn't going to work with me.


So, why not get rid of it now?

So, as of December 30th (just a few more days) I will delete (not just deactivate) our FB profile page.  Why not do it now you ask?  Well, it's kind of like starting that diet that always has to begin on a Monday.  When you are so accustomed to something, setting a date to stop or begin is always easier.  I know many of you would never admit it, but FB is addicting.  When something is apart of your everyday life no matter what it is, it can become an addiction.  Facebook will always be there and I will be tempted to go back on.  But, I know that I really don't want to and in order for me to follow through with my wishes, I need to be strong and avoid it.  I am not going to sit here and say that I will never rejoin.  I don't want to be slapped in the face with an "I told you so."  But, there may be a day in the future where I will be able to maintain less than 50 friends, more family than anything, and make my profile a super private page so I don't continuously get hundreds of friend requests, but I have no idea what I will decide.  Heck, I may even love my new private lifestyle sooo much that I may never want to come back.  Who really knows?!?

So, I will miss some of the contact I have with close friends of mine.  I did meet a lot of people that I hope to maintain relationships with the old fashion way (email that is).  I have had a lot of support with my surrogacy journey on Facebook, so that is going to be really hard to see gone. 

I will keep up this blog because I know I have helped a lot of people with my journey.  But, it is my goal not to share too much of the girls' lives on here because I know my IP's feel the same way I do about FB and don't want their girls growing up on the internet either. 

Here is to a new year, with new resolutions!!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and enjoys bringing in 2011.  I had an overwhelming awesome year, and it only will get better =)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Very Merry Visit!

If you live in Southern California you know how bad this weather has been this past week.  No, we aren't knee deep in snow or experiencing tornados or anything like that, but for us year round sunbathers, this rain is out of control!!! 

No matter the weather, it didn't stop me from visiting the girls so I could give them their Christmas gifts that I have been working on for forever!!

They have grown so much and continue to surprise me.  It had been a month since my last visit and they were completely different babies to me.  They are eating twice as much, growing out of newborn clothing, in size 2 diapers, making eye contact, pushing their heads up off of the floor, cooing, and lots of smiling!!  They are very healthy and happy girls =)


Lily, Eve, May

 
Wearing the outfits I got for them
My momma had these bows made for them... And I am loving Eve's grin here
 May was just so happy!!
 
Tummy time... LOVE baby booties!!

 Lily fell asleep in my arms ♥



 

So, I have been working on these photo books for the girls even before they were born.  There are over 40 pages detailing the pregnancy, delivery, and couple months after their birth.  I have so many photos of my growing belly and lots of memories of the pregnancy (all positive ones!!).  Of course I made one for each of them... and one for myself!!

The girls' parents were overwhelmed with joy when they received this gift.  Lots of tears of joy!!  It is something that we can all cherish forever.  I know I am going to be apart of their lives for a very long time, but it is just amazing for them to always have something to remember me by.  Merry Christmas, girls!!


Well, it is almost Christmas and my boys couldn't be more excited.  Holidays are really starting to get fun with them... they are impatiently anticipating Santa's arrival and they were so interested in our rituals as we celebrated Hanukkah.  Yes, we celebrate Christmakkah!!  We have yet to go visit Santa.  I'm not sure why parents subject their children to this torture.  Last years visit was hysterical...

 I'm thinking this year they will be better... can't get much worse than this!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.  I hear I am getting something pretty BIG, so I can't wait to see what my husband has done this time... he's the best =)  



Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Tree Memories...

My Christmas tree is full of ornaments, all with special meanings.  We are not the type to put up tons of bows and bulbs, so our tree may look bare to some people.  But, as our family and children grow, we will gradually add more ornaments.  We have cute ones hanging; a preggo girl with "2007" on the belly from when I was pregnant with Jackson during that Christmas, framed photos of the boys' first Christmas, a wedding cake with our date on it, family group with our names on hats for every year that our family grew, a school boy for Jack's first year of school, etc.  This year I added a very special one... 3 peas in a pod for my surro girls!!  They will always be apart of our family and they get to have their own special ornament on our tree every year =)


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dairy Fairy!!

Yes, I am still pumping!!

The girls are 3 1/2 months old now and still enjoying every drop I can supply.  I never thought I could continue this long, but I guess I have just become accustomed to it.  Not every surrogate donates their milk to their IP's and I think more often then not, the intended parents are not interested.  I think it is a very interesting subject.  Some people look at breast milk as the ultimate nourishment that is necessary for their baby/babies no matter where it comes from.  And then there are other people who find it absolutely appalling to give their newborn another woman's breast milk.  I'm not sure how I would feel if I was in this predicament.  Yes, the nutrients you get in breast milk is so important for growth and development, but, at the same time, I think I would feel an extreme sense of jealousy.  It would be a very hard reality to face and I think that is why many couples refuse the donation. But, that just makes those couples that do appreciate the milk that much stronger and at peace with their infertility or inability to naturally conceive.

People keep telling me how amazing I am for my dedication.  Don't get me wrong; sometimes it isn't so easy.  I try my best not to let this "job" of mine get in the way of my day.  I am able to find time to pump 3-4 times a day, but it is definitely a hassle when I am away from home for long periods of time.  Most of the time I can handle those days where I am away from home up to 5 hours or so.  I try to ignore that painful "letdown" women get when it is time!!  What does this "letdown" feel like?  Well, to put it as best I can- imagine a million needles stabbing your boobs all at once while your nipples freeze up making any sort of movement feel like they are going to rip off.  Painful?  Yes, but it doesn't last too long.  And then there are the noises that makes it all worse... from babies crying to dogs barking, any loud sudden noises just kills me!!!  I can't believe how mother nature works.  Boobies have a mind of their own and prepare for nursing all on their own.

But, when nature calls and I have no choice but to pump, I do the best I can.  I was in shock when I found that Disneyland had a pumping room for women!!!  My husband and I took the boys last week and I really wanted to stay longer than we usually do.  Our trips to places are usually cut short because of me needing to empty myself, so I didn't want this to be the case this time around.  I brought a manual pump and planned to sit somewhere, or anywhere, with a little bit of privacy.  Much to my surprise, inside of the Mother's Room, there is not only a nursing room but a pumping area as well!!  What will they think of next??  I'm glad the fortune I spend each time I go is being put to something that is useful to me!!

There isn't much privacy in my house anymore, now that my tatas are out all day long!!  In the beginning, I was really worried what my boys would think.  Jackson was too young to remember when I nursed Max and neither of them have seen a woman breast feed a baby.  As funny as it sounds, they were fascinated!!  They did have this look like, "What in the world are you doing??", but I explained it to them as best as I could.  Now, they have become just as accustomed to it as I have and they really don't notice it much more.  However, they have yet to catch on that this is personal business!!  Jackson loves to just randomly bring up to perfect strangers that I have milk in my boobs!!  It can be quite embarrassing to say the least =)

So, is my breast milk making an impact?  Well, see for yourself!!  These girls are growing so fast and are becoming quite the chunky monkeys.  I am officially convinced that I have an abnormal percentage of fat in my breast milk.  The girls are growing at the same rate as my boys did when they were breast fed.  My stuff is potent!!

 Lily, May, and Eve


How much longer am I going to pump for?  Well, my goal in the beginning was to give them milk until they were 6 months old.  I am pretty sure I will reach that goal.  There is a possibility I may go longer, but there are no guarantees.  As for my IP's, they will take it for as long as I will give.

I will have another big update soon... I get to visit the girls again on Sunday and I have something really special for them!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just Some Pics...

Wow, ever since I gave birth to the girls I feel like my life is overloaded!!!  Mixing moving, holidays, and having a 3 and a 2 year old really is challenging.  But it is nothing I can't handle =)  I have so many things on my mind to blog about, from my "beautiful" body to the joys of pumping (yes, still) to the identity of my IP's, but I will get around to it someday, promise!! 

In the meantime, I am leaving you with some photos.  Let me just tell you how much they are growing.  Well, see for yourself!!!  They just turned 3 months old just a few days ago.  I'm not sure exactly how much they weigh but I am pretty sure Lily (in pink) is around 11 1/2 pounds.  And Eve (in purple) is trailing right behind her.  May (in white), who was the smallest of the 3, is around 10 pounds!!  It's so funny because once I report on how much they weigh, the next time I hear from the IP's I learn they have grown another pound or 2!!  I think I have the worlds fattiest breast milk, which I will address on one of my next posts!!


Lily, May, and Eve


 Identicals: May and Eve

 Lily