Friday, December 3, 2010

Surrogacy Blues (aka My Longest.Post.Ever)

I swear I haven't been avoiding this topic this time. I just knew I'd really need to think about what I wanted to post and discuss it in a serious manner . . . Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm usually sitting here drunk at my keyboard, half-assing my other posts, I just need this post to be as accurate as possible. You see, this is one of the subjects you won't hear too many Surrogates discuss, well, this and money. In retrospect, I think last time, I was too embarrassed to blog about it. I didn't realize at the time that what I was feeling was perfectly normal.

First of all, "The Blues" that sometimes follows your Surrogacy birth is hard enough to talk about with other Surrogates (if you even know any) . . . let alone trying to explain it to Non-Surrogates who won't get it. When I had Natasha and Anjali, I didn't know any other Surrogates. I didn't meet Stacie (online or otherwise) until after I gave birth. So when I went through it the first time, I was alone. From then on, I've tried to make it my job to seek out other Surrogates and introduce them to each other or at least Follow their blogs publicly and make supportive comments, so they knew they were not alone. It really makes a difference during your journey to have someone who knows what you're going through (for the most part). Yes, each journey is different, but there are several things that are very similar, if not identical, for us all.

After I gave birth to Natasha and Anjali, I came home feeling great about what I accomplished. I went through all my pictures (there were tons) and revisited my blog to remind myself what happened . . . Later, I would do this whenever I felt down. I think the first few days back after my second surro-birth were a little tougher. Out of respect for Gid and Harper's Parents, I didn't take any of my own photos. So when I got home, I had nothing to look at except for the special blog I created just for them. I was so thankful when hours after I left the hospital (a day after they left) they texted me pictures of the babies. A few days later they emailed me tons of pictures from our time in the hospital . . . it was exactly what I needed. Pictures of me with them, of them with their babies, of my kids with their babies, everything I needed to remind myself of the beautiful outcome to our journey.

Pictures or not, the first week or two are the toughest. I am a crier. I cry at cheesy movies and Oreo commercials. So, imagine a woman who has all these hormones from being pregnant, who just gave birth, who doesn't know what to do with herself and who has time to sit around and think of it all. For me, I would be fine, then I'd just start crying . . . for no reason and I couldn't control it. At first it was several times a day. Then after a week or two passed, a few times a day. Then a few weeks later, maybe once a day. Anything and everything could trigger it, like I said, I couldn't control myself. Then eventually, for me about 5 weeks, you notice you went an entire day without crying.


And here's where it is easier to talk to other Surrogates . . . most people, including my friends and strangers would see me crying and might think I missed the babies. Not so. What I THOUGHT it was, was me missing the contact with the IPs, but that wasn't it either. Both times after the birth the Parents would email, text and call me on a weekly basis. So in my head, I thought I was being abandoned, but I wasn't, NOT AT ALL . . again, no control over the feelings . . . even those that are totally unfounded or flat out wrong. I remember thinking the first few weeks, that they were ignoring me . . . but if I would rationally think about it, they had sent me flowers, cards and emailed me new pictures, called me to tell me about how the babies were doing. Heck, we'd even make plans to have them visit me or have me fly down and visit them. Is that being abandoned? NO! And even though I could rationally think of all of that and how it didn't add up to the way I was feeling, my behavior wouldn't change. Having no control of my feelings was tough, especially when you're a woman who is usually in control of everything.

I emailed some of my Surrogate friends 3 days after I got home from the hospital (6 days past Birth) when I finally figured it out. Here's an excerpt from that email. . . .

"In the past I've compared it to planning a wedding . . . how you spend almost a year planning for your wedding, this one day and in a matter of hours it's over. Yes, you're happy but later you're left with a "now what do I do" since you spent so much time on the planning . . it's like you feel empty in a way. But I finally realized what it's really like for me. . . it's like I got fired from a job I loved. My job was over and the company needed to downsize. I had done my job well but there isn't really anything else left for me to do . . . I don't like (feeling this way) this stage and I'm glad it doesn't last long."

Then about a week later . . .

"Can someone remind me how long "the blues" lasts? I can't remember . . . I'm over this not being in control of my tears. Went grocery shopping (for the first time since bed rest) and lost it in the store. LAME"

Here's that story- I knew I was still crying over whatever but needed groceries. I figured, it would be good to get back to normal, so I took off. About 15 minutes into my trip, with my cart half-way filled, I had a woman in her early sixties approach me. She said she had seen the article of me in Star Magazine and wanted to Thank me. She then told me her older brother was Gay and that when she told him about me, he started to cry. Well, that was all I needed to start bawling inside Safeway! I couldn't stop. I told her I was sorry. I thought about leaving my groceries and getting the hell out of there but my kids needed food. So I took several deep breaths and continued. A few aisles later, I ran into a friend who could tell I had just been crying. She made the mistake of asking me what was wrong . . . TEARS! I kept apologizing and telling her I couldn't control myself and that unlike my appearance, I was in fact okay. (I don't think she believed me). I don't think anyone would believe you in that situation . . . but that's how it would always play out. Whether it was Safeway or my dining room table, when I'd start to cry (for no reason) I'd start apologizing to whoever I was with and tell them I was okay. It was almost like an out of body experience. I was looking at myself thinking, "Jesus Kelly, pull it together" but just couldn't.

I think having a c-section doesn't help you get over the blues any quicker because as much as you try to get things back to normal, you can't. You are physically not capable of doing so. Hell, I had Sawyer (MY last baby) on Saturday morning and walked Ruby and Preston to school on Monday. This doesn't happen with a c-section. I am also well known for pushing my limits (Hello! Disneyland at 29 weeks pregnant with twins) so I have to make sure I take it easy. This means no going to the gym to get your mind off of it.

Lastly, one of my surrogate friends told me that she finally felt back to normal when she went back to work because for her, her job is her life. I think that's a great point but for me, I think I've made Surrogacy my life, part of my identity. It's what I do. It's who I am. It's what I blog about. It's how I spend my free time (following other blogs). It is something I can't get away from . . . and why would I want to? The Blues pass, but I will be me forever.

My Name is Kelly and I'm a Surrogate Mother.



********UPDATE***********
For other Surrogates who read this, when you get to this part of your journey . . . if you need someone to talk to, you know where to find me. I am here.

20 comments:

JewelieP said...

Kelly, thank you for your honest portrayal. You talk about things that most people won't. I appreciate you. Hopefully, someday, I will get to experience what you have and when I do, I know I can count on nyou for advice and support. You are an amazing woman and I feel blessed to know you. You are a surrogacy saint! I admire you more than anyone I know!

SurroMom said...

Kelly, yes, thank you for what you just posted. I think its great that your IPs were so wonderful with you and did keep in contact, send pictures, etc. I can only imagine how much worse those normal feelings, hormones would be without any contact from your IPs at all.
I know who to contact when my turn comes around, so thank you!

momof4 said...

Thank you for that post. It is great to hear someone talk about the post-baby part. I am still in the process of starting my first journey into surrogacy and I enjoy reading your blog sooo much. When i see you've posted something new i can't read it fast enough and then i read it again. You are amazing and what you do to help other surrogates is great!
So again, thank you:)
Amy

Dana said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I just finished my 1st surro-journey about 5 weeks ago and can so relate to all of this. It's good to hear I'm not the only one who feels this way!

Mommy with Many Gifts said...

GREAT post!!! You are one awesome woman!! And thank you so much for reaching out to me and introducing me to other surrogates. It really did help the whole journey knowing there were others out there to whom I could speak to and asks questions. Surrogacy is a very hard thing to do, and you have done an amazing job with both journeys. Ready for round 3?!? LOL =)

AnGèLe said...

Once again, exactly!! Here is a quote from my PP blog post after I had my surrobaby!

"I think about the journey and labor a lot, and every time I do, my eyes tear up and I get that thing in my throat. I cry because I cant believe it is done! This has consumed my life for a whole year, my purpose was to make sure I grow a healthy baby and delivery her safely into her daddys arms! Mission accomplished... now what? What is my purpose? I feel like I am lost! I am not quite back to myself again since I am still healing and I cant resume my regular activity level yet, so I dont quite fit back into my family at the moment either (in my mind anyways)... Its like Im in limbo... Im no longer a surrogate, but not back to full force mommy-wife mode either! So where does that leave me? On this damn rollercoaster I am begging to get off!!!"

We are strong women! xo

Stacy said...

Just curious if there was an easier way to contact you other than commenting on your posts (which by the way. . .I LOVE!!!). I came across your blog through the GG website months ago and I read every new post. I am beginning a second journey with a new set of IP's after a first attempt with the first IP's resulted in a miscarriage. I find your blog somewhat therapeutic and am curious to hear other's stories of success and disappointment. My friends and family are wonderful but sometimes it's just different to hear things from those that actually experience it first hand.

Kelly & Her Uterus said...

Thanks everyone!

@Stacy- you can email at klrummelhart@yahoo.com or I'm also on Facebook under Kelly Rummelhart. There are several of us on Facebook from GG.

Kelly

Susy Pennington said...

Thank you for posting about the surrogacy blues! You had me in tears! I am 32 weeks pregnant with twins and I am getting nervous about the birth because of the not knowing how I will be after the birth. I am trying to prepare myself by reading other surro-blogs about the "after birth" but I really wont know until I go through it myself.
It is so good to know that every surrogate goes through it, so at least I know I wont be alone.

Patty said...

Kelly, well said. I went through the exact same thing. After being in the surrogacy process for almost 2 years with all delays and then after the babies were born, well I was lost. I did talk to you about it, but it became worse. 6 months later I am much better, but surrogacy was me for along time and now I miss being pregnant. The hormones are 10x worse than carrying a singleton. I am not sure if I can do it again. I would love to.

Renee said...

Kelly thank you so much for sharing. I am a 1st tme surro. Getting close to the end of my journey. Last week I went to a x-mass party. Some of the ladies were talking about the college classes they are taking. I decided I am going back to college and get an AA degree in Business. I am hoping jumping into full time college student will help me after giving birth. To B & D baby boy Lucas. I have also spent most of my pregnancy on modified bed rest. I will also be having a c-section due to fibroids. I will contact you if I need to talk. Thanks for offering. Renee

Mamablogarama said...

First I just want to say how incredible it is that there are people like you out there and you are amazing for all that you do. I know I won't be the first to tell you this, but I am also sure that you deserve to hear it more often.
Now, I'd like to say I'm very glad I've found this blog. I've only just had my first child, but I'm all ready considering becoming a surrogate in the future. I'll be making my way through your past blog post, but I wonder if you have any specific post or other reading material besides your blog that you would recommend for someone like me who is considering surrogacy.

Missy Bowyer said...

Kelly,
There are so many parts of my journey that have come as quite a surprise to me. I have feelings of blues already just anticipating the "end" of this defining chapter. Thanks for being there for us all.

McMama said...

Thank you for this! I have been expecting this feeling - I had it even with my OWN kids (you spend so much time being the center of attention, then you are forgotten when there's your cute baby to coo over) - but it's great to hear I'm not the only one, and that it gets better (relatively) quickly.

I wish I had an IRL surro-friend. I belong to a message board, but I haven't really felt comfortable there in a long time. I'm glad that at least online there are a few people like you who I can trust to understand what I'm going through (and going to go through). Thanks again!

Ryley @ That's My Family! said...

Hey Kelly!
I just found your blog through BBC! I am JUST starting on my surro journey. I am told I should have a family match in about a month.
THIS part is the only thing that scares me, but your anaolgy of the wedding hit it right on the head. I SO felt that way after my wedding and I assume I'll feel that way after the delivery. Thank you for giving me somewhere to come for support!
(p.s. not sure where is Sacto you are but I grew up in North Highlands.. I may need to start emailing you for support!)
~Ryley

Elise said...

This is exactly where I am in my journey. This is my least favorite part so far. I love my IPs and I'm so glad my surro-son is where he's supposed to be and that I helped bring him home but then ... Why do I feel so irrationally sad sometimes??

Making A Modern Family said...

Reading this again and it really resonates with me now. I look through the pictures and videos often, as well as read emails and texts. It makes me happy and tearful at the same time - damn hormones. I know it'll get better though so I'm just hanging on for the ride.

Amandab said...

I'm a surrogate currently half way through journey No 5. Every time I give birth the blues hit me and its not something I've ever got used to, nor do I think I will ever.

I so wish I had read your frank, honest and enlightening blog before now.

October will come and bring the blues with it. This time I will visit your blog to remnind myself that I am not alone... and it will pass. Both these points are really easy to forget when you're crying frequently for no explicable reason.

Thank you so very much. Your words of wisdom are so very welcome.


Amanda

Christina said...

Loved the post! I hope someday to get to this part. I've been "trying" to get pregnant for two different sets of IP's now for nearly 4 years and it's been disappointment followed by disappointment. Shots and pills, more shots and pills, changes in my cycle changes in egg donors, changes in intended fathers, surgery to remove a fallopian tube and in the end I'm still sitting here with an empty womb. I've posted that I feel like I'm failing because I see surrogates all around me getting pregnant time and time again. This too has been my job for so long that I couldn't imagine one moment without being a surrogate but I really wish I could just get to that point of the big belly, to be able to hand over a baby to someone that wants one more than I could possibly imagine. Thanks so much for sharing.

Nuttymonkeymama said...

Thank you for this post. I delivered my first surro-baby 10 weeks ago, and it's wonderful (and relieving) to know that I'm not the only one who cries.

Kim