Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hope you had a great Holiday Season! Just wanted to share with you my End of the Year cards and some photos of all my surrogacy kiddos.

Here's Natasha and Anjali

My girlies at 4 celebrating the holidays.

Here's Gideon and Harper

Christmas 2012- my surro wonder twins

Christmas 2012- my surro wonder twins

Here's Baby Alexander

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Friends of the Engel Family Fund

My heart still aches for the victims of last weeks tragedy. When something like this happens, sometimes you feel a connection to the events. For me, it is because I'm a mother and more specifically, my youngest, Sawyer is six years old too. As the news spread and days went by, I found myself amazed at how small the world is . . . and how few degrees separate us all.

It has come to my attention that one of my blog followers and friend who also had her own journey trying to become a Gestational Surrogate (with Growing Generations) was not only the best friend (since childhood) of Shannon Engel but "J" was also her daughter's God Mother. On December 14th, 2012, Olivia Rose Engel lost her life in tragic the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

There is a Facebook page I wanted to share with you, The Friends of the Engel Family Fund

This page is a wonderful place to celebrate Olivia and help her family make it through this devastating time. Whether it is offering comfort or support, you are welcome there. On that page or directly through THIS LINK, you can donate money to a fund they set up to help the family cover Olivia's final expenses, as well as allow the family to take the time to grieve and love each other. They report that, 100% of all donations will go straight to the family to help them in their darkest hour.

I leave you with a description of Olivia from her page.

Olivia Rose Engel was a precocious and completely endearing six-year old. She loved school, and was very good at math and reading. She was creative and loved craft projects and art class, and loved participating in as many sports and activities as she could- from tennis to swimming, ballet to soccer, and Daisy Girl Scouts to musical theater and her church’s CCD program, nothing was off limits for little girl who loved pink and purple and her stuffed lamb. Olivia loved taking a spin on the lake and sound on her dad and grandpa’s Whaler. She was a patient and great big sister to three-year old Brayden, lead Grace each evening at the dinner table, and was a six-year old with a lot to look forward to, according to her dad Brian. Olivia was smart, bubbly, and unbelievably entertaining. Her physical loss will be felt every day by those who loved her most, but her sparkly spirit will live on.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Unimaginable Loss

My heart aches for the the lives lost Sandy Hook School. As much as I'd love to write a blog about various aspects of this tragedy and the publics reaction, I am not sure I can muster up enough energy. So instead, I will just share some of my own Facebook posts from the last few days, starting from the most recent.

Again, these statements come from a mother, a teacher, a free-thinker . . .

"One of the reasons I love Facebook and blogging is that if something were to ever happen to me, my children (and their children) could look back on it and see exactly who I was. My thoughts, my hopes, my dreams, who I loved, what was important to me, my sailor mouth, all of it. And above all else, they would see that I loved them dearly, tried to fix the world before they grew up and wanted to share their beauty and silliness with anyone who would listen/read. I see my Facebook account and all my blogs as a window into my soul and I would want them to have full access. (Which reminds me, Erin, I will need to give you my password so you can change my privacy settings for when the kids get older :)"

"It is difficult to see the faces and stories of the lives lost. I can't imagine the pain that is losing a child. As much as I don't want to sit here bawling at the TV, as a mother I feel the need to look at these precious photos and let their parents know that I saw them. That even though they are now gone, I know they were here, were loved, and existed. “There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.”

"Did you know that the children killed on Friday were from different religions and backgrounds? Jewish, Christian, Catholic, etc. So wondering again, whose God, whose Religion, whose ideas, whose traditions are you talking about bringing to schools? I am assuming your own."

"It is times like these where I feel the need to remind people of the EXTREMELY LOW statistics of free thinkers/atheists in jail. People always want to blame the lack of God for tragedies like this. Not sure if it is because it is too hard for them to ponder "why did my God allow this" or the other alternative they don't want to think about. Sometimes bad people do things to good people. Plain and simple."

"Seeing the images of parents being reunited with their children is just too much. My heart aches for those that lost their babies today. It makes me wonder what their last words were to them. I hope it was how much they loved them. *TEARS*"

"I can't even imagine."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday Natasha & Anjali!!!

Four years ago today, I gave birth to my first set of surrogate twins. I had hoped throughout that journey, that we'd all still be in each others lives as time went on. So far, so good!

The kids and I were able to drive over to visit my girlies and George, Menaka and Logi (Cousin/Grandma) both were at their birth . . . however, Sanj was being a Yoga Hottie in India, so I missed him this visit.

You can find some several pictures of the last five years, including pics from this weekend on my Facebook Album for my Surrogacy Journey #1 Here . . . . it is set to public, so everyone should be able to see it.

Can't wait for the next several years!

A reminder of their birth story can be found here:

Birth Story Part 1

Birth Story Part 2

My Kids visit

And when the Girls Went Home

They are sooooo very smart and beautiful and a joy to be around. George and Sanj have done such a wonderful job raising these two and I know they will continue to be stellar parents.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Personal Update . . . Happiness!

I have been a horrible blogger the last few months. My focus for the last year was to love on my kids as much as possible, to deliver a healthy baby for my M and S and to find myself . . . all while learning what my new normal looked like.

The first few months were shaky but the last several have been amazing. In June, I moved cities and soon after gave birth. Since then my children started a new school, I was able to teach a class this semester and have found my non-pregnancy groove. I have been able to spend more time with local friends, become closer to some and meet new people too.

I had been blogging about Surrogacy for The Next Family for about two years and since my journey, moved to blogging about Divorce and the new direction my life has taken.

The link to all my Surrogacy blogs at TNF can be found HERE. *at the bottom of page it will say NEXT PAGE, for previous posts too . . .

To receive the link to my other blogs, please message me on Facebook under Kelly Tharp or email me.

After the baby was born, I continued to love on my kiddos and spend as much time with them as possible. I also started to focus on trying to find a Full time job since I lose my Health and Dental Insurance January 1st. I have not had good luck but I am on schedule to have three classes at the college next semester. I won't have insurance and won't make a lot of money but I will be able to teach, make a little something and still take my kids to school, pick them up and help transport them on the days that aren't mine. I am going to try to find other part time opportunities, teaching or otherwise, to try to supplement my income, so wish me luck.

The other thing I have been focusing on is love. Learning to love myself and I also accidentally fell in love with someone. I will talk more about both of these things but for now will just drop the bomb and then come back later to discuss it all . . . when? where? what? how? seriously? all of it. I promise. For now, you just need to know that I am the happiest I have ever been. After December, I decided it was time to be myself, to go for what my heart desires. Life is too short to waste any more years trying to make someone else's definition of love try to work. I am tired of pushing down thoughts, feelings, desires, things that come so naturally but that I was never brave enough to go for.

I first came out to myself, then a few close friends and some family.

When I saw the picture below, I knew I could do it-

Next, I came out to my children, my ex, his family, more friends and family and finally Facebook. I forgot to tell you all and I'm sorry about that. I meant to on National Coming Out Day . . . but then I forgot . . . I seem to forget a lot lately, love does that, you know.

And here are a few pics of my girlfriend Erin and I . . .

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Surro-girlies . . . almost 4!

At the end of next month, my surro-girlies turn 4. Yes! FOUR YEARS OLD!!! I can't believe how time has flown by. They are sooo beautiful and so much fun to be around. George, Sanj and I are trying to figure out when/how to get together soon. My life has been a bit crazy and sadly, I haven't been able to see them as much as usual. But after seeing this picture, it lit a fire under me. I MUST visit soon.

Friday, October 12, 2012

You say it's your birthday . . . .

HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY!!!!!

Two years ago today, I gave birth to Gideon and Harper. I can't believe it's already been two years- AMAZING.

I do have new pictures but none that I can share (unless you see me in person), when I do- I will post here, I promise! :)

Here's a clip from the Oprah episode they did a few months back-

Thursday, October 11, 2012

An update . . .

Sorry I've been so busy lately. I have lots to fill you in on but have not done well making the time to write it all. I need to tell you all about my trip to Australia, where I spoke to members of parliament about legalizing Ethical Surrogacy, appeared on a tv show like Good Morning America and got to visit my surrobabe. I also need to tell you about a few amazing thing that have happened to me that aren't surro related, but figured you may like to know. For now- here's just a quick pick of my little surro man at 14 weeks old. GOSH I want to eat him up!!!
I love it when the parents dress up my surro babes in clothes I've sent . . . here's Alexander in a Super Suit I sent for the shower. (Gideon has this too) Photobucket and here he is taking flight! Photobucket

Friday, August 10, 2012

Made in America

Well, my scheduled c-section was supposed to be Monday the 6th of August. Instead today was my 6 week check-up. Crazy how things work out, eh? Well above is my cute surro babe Alexander, now weighing in at over 9 pounds! He is doing well. I can't wait to see him in person- only another month until I fly over to Australia to speak to members of parliament about Surrogacy. After three days of working, I'll visit my Australian Surro-family. I'm soooooo excited.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Milk Lady

My surro baby, Alexander, made it out of the NICU July 8th and then headed back to his home July 13th. He is doing so well and is even up to six and a half pounds! One of the issues with international surrogacy is that you can't ship breast milk (it would melt and go bad during shipping/in customs). However, I was able to pump for Alexander for the first two weeks.

Here was my final gift of breast milk before they left

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And here is the last time I got to feed him

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Now, anyone who has ever breastfed knows how much it sucks when you stop. Your boobs get rock hard and hurt so bad! This time I decided instead of "cold turkey" I'd slowly start pumping less and less and then finally end it. Since my own surro babe has left the country, I asked my surro group if any of them needed my extra milk.

Tomorrow, after eleven more days of pumping, I'll be sending over 3500mL to a precious baby girl who was born to two marvelous dads several weeks ago. She will be heading back to her home (also International) in about a week but not before I get to supplement what her own marvelous surrogate has been giving them since her birth.

Here she is with her Dads'

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I started to get it all packaged up to ship

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After this, I have eleven more days of my breast pump rental. I am down to pumping only 2-3 times a day now and by the first week of August should be completely finished. I do have plans for any milked pumped during the final days, a friend of mine is going back to work and is a little worried about her own pumping, so I'm planning on giving the milk to her and her wife to help supplement. Just call me The Milk Lady.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pictures

Original Post from July 5th . . . I went into the hospital on Friday June 29th and was discharged Monday July 2nd. Alexander is still in the NICU but looks as if he'll be discharged in the next few days (if you can believe it!)

Here are some other pictures from his 2nd and 3rd day on earth, including a video or two . . .

Alexander's sign

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In his isolette

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Close-up

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My first bout at breast pumping, a few hours after c-section

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Getting Checked out

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Feeding Alexander breast milk

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One of my favorite photos

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Alexander

So the morning of Friday June 29th, Stacie and I walked into Labor and Delivery to get my "leaking" checked

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About 8 hours later we headed to the Operating Room. Having my best friend with me was an amazing experience. We were only 3 days apart in our journeys so wanted to document the bellies one last time together before mine turned into a baby

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The delivery team got me all set up and then Stacie joined us with multiple cameras and phones in her possession. Since my IPs were not able to be at the birth of their first child, we wanted to make sure it was well documented for them and she did an amazing job!

Here I am prepped for surgery and ready to have Alexander make his exit

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The doctors got down to business and at 6:29pm on 6/29/12, Alexander takes his first breath

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Here is the actual birth video

Alexander could breath on his own

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but they did give him a little bubble assistance

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Stacie joined Alexander to take pictures while I was taken to recovery.

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About an hour later, they wheeled me in to visit Alexander

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The entire time Stacie and I were texting and emailing pictures to the Dads, who were stuck in Australia until the next day.

More to come . . . .

Friday, June 29, 2012

I am a HOUSE episode

Tomorrow is 34 weeks, no problem, right? WELL . . . . . . this morning when I woke up I thought I may be leaking fluid so I called the Dr. and they had me come in. By the time I got there I had changed underwear twice, and filled up two Poise Pads. It seemed pretty obvious that I did in fact have ruptured membranes. I was just hoping that I could hang out for a few days/weeks until it repaired itself or until Little Man stayed in a little longer. They tested the fluid and it came back positive for amniotic fluid and the nurse, Andrea, witnessed first hand my leakage. She left and came back in saying we were doing a c-section in 30 minutes. WAIT! WHAT?! I told her that I wanted to speak to the OB and be seen before they rushed me back. I was fine, the baby was fine, they hadn't even checked my cervix, etc. About an forty-five minutes later the OB came over and did a quick vaginal exam. It showed no progression of my cervix and when he had me cough, no fluid was coming out (even though earlier a good joke would have me seeping some fluid). He ran another test which came back inconclusive. He decided to send me up to get an ultrasound, it came back with satisfactory fluid levels. Later, they came and ran the same test again . . . to the nurses surprise, it came back negative. The joke is now that I'm like an episode of HOUSE. Nurses are saying they would bet their licenses on the fact that my membranes ruptured because they have seen firsthand what is going on, my story is conclusive and a test came back positive . . . but then the other test came back negative. They couldn't believe it. So now, I'm waiting for the OB to come over and re-do the test again, do another vaginal exam and make a decision if we proceed with the c-section or if they decide to observe me for longer. We shall see. Now about my IPs . . . I finally reached them. They are in another part of Australia at a conference and the soonest they could fly home and and then fly here would be about 36 hours. I am hoping to have information for them ASAP so they can make a good decision. As of yesterday, they were do to arrive July 25th for an August 6th c-section (if I actually made it to 39 weeks . .. never have). I have been very lucky today in the fact that Stacie has been with me for most of the day. She went home to get changed, eat and will return later. She is going to be my OR/C-section buddy. I will keep you posted. Looks like instead of the Baby Shower on July 7th, they may get a baby instead!

Friday, June 15, 2012

32 weeks

32 weeks and counting . . . . Next friday I'll be going in for a 4D ultrasound that will live stream to my IPs and their family in Australia (Saturday morning to them). It's my Fathers' Day gift to them. Can't wait to share some amazing photos and videos of Little Man with you all!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

29.5 Weeks

Just cut off the long sleeves of my favorite maternity shirt so I can wear it!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

FILLED with Pride 2012

Stacie and I will be WWWAAAAAYYYYY to pregnant too head to SF Pride this year so we decided to give Long Beach a try and we had a great time. First of all, our friend Heather, who joined us the last two years, couldn't make it this year because she was almost due with her own child (as opposed to the 3 surro babies she has carried in the last few years). Well, it's a good thing she didn't come because she went into labor this weekend! We got a voicemail while walking around the festival Saturday that she was in labor and when we woke up Sunday morning for the parade, she had given birth to a beautiful baby girl.

Now, before I proceed . . . a reminder of the last few years:

2011- Allie the Ally's 2011 Pride Adventure

San Francisco PRIDE 2010-Surro friends weekend!

Also a quick Shout Out to Stacie's husband Paul who always does a great job taking my ideas and making them into shirts for us . . . and he doesn't charge me ;)

If you'd like to purchase the shirts seen in our picture- CLICK HERE

Now back to our adventure . . . since we were able to celebrate near LA a few other Surrogates came along for the ride. Andrea who is preggo and Laura who is preggo, both for Gay dads joined us. Also, Amy, a Surrogate friend who flew all the way from Minnesota joined us too! She gave birth to 8 pound twins (yes 8 pounds each) for two dads about six months ago. She was in town re-screening for Growing Generations for her second journey that will start in the next few months. Talk about great timing!

We all had a wonderful time and Stacie and I were even able to stop by and hang out with Gideon and Harper for a few hours on Sunday before we flew back. They are getting sooo big and are just a load of fun! Wish I could share a picture, but you know the drill.

We all discussed Chicago Pride for 2013 but after the Parade, Vegas may be a contender as well. You'll just have to wait and see!

Forgot to share this picture . . . sent it to M & S (Intended Parents) to show them how much fun their fetus was having at the festival Photobucket And here's a photo of me, Amy and Stacie Photobucket

28 Weeks

This picture is pretty dark, but it will do as long as you can see the belly, right?

26.5 Weeks

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

25.5 weeks!

We're 25 and a half weeks along, doing great. People are still telling me how small I look. I think they forget the last two times I was carrying twins. I also lost some weight at the beginning of the pregnancy, so that's probably it too.

Sooooooooooo . . . . I decided to find an angle where I look VERY pregnant. Of course, the facial expression helps in this photo too but I think we can all agree I look VERY pregnant here LOL Photobucket

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

23.5 Weeks




Feeling good and doing well. Little Man is moving around a lot and even has had hiccups a few times. Even after being pregnant so many times, it's funny when they get hiccups.

It looks as if I'm going to change my OB and delivery hospital. I think I mentioned earlier that my OB's wife is sick, so he's leaving the practice and moving away. Paradise is a far drive and even farther for all my friends in Sacramento, so I think I'll be changing to Sutter Roseville. I'm still waiting to see if the OB I chose can take me on, but I'm hoping for the best. Will keep you all posted of course.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Someone is getter bigger!


Here are some photos from the 20 week ultrasound. The Tech said everything looks great and he's measuring on target for his gestation . . . except that he has long legs. Apparently his femur measured 35 weeks! How tall was that egg donor? :) Oh and yes, there was a penis confirmation- BOY it is. :)

In this video, the tech was getting his lips (top center) and trying to make it look like he was squishing them on a glass mirror!

video

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tomorrow is 19 weeks!


So I'm feeling good and Little man is doing great. Had an OB appointment Monday and it went well. He's growing right on target and heartbeat sounded great.

Last night, while I was hanging out and watching TV with my friend, I felt him move. I kept feeling him over and over again. It's always so great for peace of mind when you feel them move. I also bought a Doppler from a Surrogacy friend who just delivered so I can keep tabs in between appointments and let the IPs hear them when we Skype.

We have the big ultrasound scan set for 2 weeks from now, so I should have lots of great pictures.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

These are Awesome!




A special shout out to my friend Mandie McGlynn. She started this Hey Girl tumblr page on Surrogacy and it is soooooooo perfect and awesome and did I use totally awesome yet? More to come I'm sure.

CHECK THEM ALL OUT HERE!