Monday, March 10, 2014

The Children, They Know...


“There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.” 

To my son, I hope that your are, indeed, resting in that place...

that place before the street begins, that place where the grass grows soft and white, that place where the suns burns crimson bright, that place where the moon -bird rests from his flight. ..to cool in the peppermint wind. 



To my daughter, I thank you for always "knowing" that place, for marking those chalk-white arrows as clear as can be, particularly on my foggiest of days, for reminding me of its existence, and taking my hand, to guide me away from the street...to "that place"... that place that the "children" know... that place where the sidewalk ends. 

 


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I Never Got to Meet My Surrogate

... but it will be ok.

It will be ok because when I arrived in India 10 days after my children were born and asked to meet my surrogate, I was told she was still in recovery.

It will be ok because when I asked again during the following week, I was told she had gone back to her village.

In other words, I asked not once but twice to meet my surrogate. And as a parent, that was all I could do.

Yes, I was disappointed and angry and, truthfully, kind of jealous of those couples that had been given the opportunity... and maybe the Princess will be too when I tell her.

But I knew to choose my battles, and given our unique situation, the war plan was already full.

And perhaps there is a bigger lesson here to be shared with the Princess. I am her mother. But I am human. And no matter how hard I try and wish and dream and hope for certain things for her, there will always be those that are beyond my control. 

Meeting her surrogate was one of them. 

And while I had to accept that I would not  have an ongoing relationship with her surrogate, I worked hard to foster other friendships that would allow the Princess to stay connected to India... which, fortunately, through Skype and and snail mail photos and the generosity of our online community, I have been able to maintain, in a similar, but different, sort of way.

To all those polishing their inner lights this week, Happy Diwali from our family to yours! Below, a few pics of the Princess celebrating:


Sometimes I smile so hard, my face gets all scrunched up and I give a little snort. 

Hey mom, this is what I would look like eating tikka masala in England. (She still thinks she's British.)

The last of the Indian market outfits. Thinking it's time I have a baby clothes quilt made for the Princess. It sure would be sparkly!



Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Holiday


The Princess and her Bestie.
Omg those girls in the window are SO cute!
Child labor.
Anybody else want to take a turn?



Sleepy ladybug.
Doing my best to capture the ever present light of my Princess and Superhero.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Decisions on Embryo Storage After Losing a Child to a Rare Syndrome

There used to be an online international surrogacy forum with an aptly named discussion board "Things We Don't Like to Talk About."

Transferring to multiple surrogates, selective reduction, embryo storage-- you know, all those sensitive, controversial and ultimately isolating topics that often pit one's ethics against one's wallet, that draw infertility patients to the internet in the first place.

And though we may have hated to talk about these issues, we, naturally, loved to read about them... because peeking at what someone else decided when faced with the same monumental decision sure can be of comfort.

This month I wrote a post for Fertility Authority-- Decisions on Embryo Storage After Losing a Child to a Rare Syndrome-- that would've fit nicely in that forum. Though the specifics of my situation are unique, I think it's less about my ultimate decision than it is about how I came to reach it. As the discussion board no longer exists, I've posted it here. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I Don't Cry Often


.. but it was just so perfect

After MC passed, we, like other parents in our shoes, had to decide what to do with our son's belongings. 



As MC was a man of few possessions, finding a place for his pillow/mobile/stuffed animal collection was fairly easy.

Never well enough to come home to his room, his waiting crib made the perfect memorial. 

After placing the letters on the wall, I had decided that MC would prefer a window spot if  he ever came home. As a result, "his" crib stood under the Princess' name, and the Princess has always slept in the crib under his name...
... which has always made me happy because I like to think that he watches over her. (If you look closely you can spot her.)
Because he was a man of such high fashion, however, deciding what to do with his wardrobe was a far more difficult decision.


About a month after MC passed, I received a flyer in the mail that the church down the street was having a British Garden Party. The Princess, still convinced that she is British, insisted on going, in part because she was so anxious to try out the gorgeous frock her Aunt Avey had recently brought over from London.


We decided to go, and as we walked towards the church that morning, Duane and I remarked that we could feel MC walking "with" us.

When we arrived, we were excited to see that there was a silent auction and even more excited to see that one of the items up for bid was a handmade quilt in honor of a deceased loved one, with the quilt made from the loved one's clothing. 

Deciding that this was the perfect way to simultaneously preserve MC's dapper wardrobe and honor his spirit, Duane placed a bid (hoping, of course, that this was not too popular of an item).

After bidding, however, we noticed a sign that had been hidden under one of the bidding sheets.

ALL SILENT AUCTION PROCEEDS GO TO DR. BOB'S PEDIATRIC HOSPICE.

Unbelievable. Dr. Bob's a/k/a MC's Home. No question about it, our boy was with us. 

As it turns out, we won, the proceeds went to MC's Home, and the result was stunning. Gretchen Parry (410-566-3206) did a phenomenal job of capturing our MC perfectly, incorporating those special "MC" details that I will now be able to cherish (and hold) forever.
The front.

The back. 

All his favorite onesies and blankets.




He's even wearing his shoes!
I don't cry often, but it was just so perfect.




Friday, June 28, 2013

Going Places

Look out, the Princess is now going everywhere!

And as of last week, she is on longer bound by her own two feet. Proud owner of a new 5 year passport, the girl is officially free to travel the world.

Why a new one? Well if you remember, or not, I sort of glossed over the whole citizenship process as I navigated it in India this time last year mainly because like many of my negotiations, the conversation began with the words "we can do it" and ended with the words "but don't tell anyone!"

So if you want to know how I managed to skirt the process and get the required DNA testing and citizenship requirements complete with both babies in the NICU and Duane in America, I'm afraid I just can't tell you!

But what I can tell you is that I used Poonam Jain (poonam@pagl.in) as a liaison, and I am not the only one to be granted such exceptions.

And as the Princess and MC's tale pretty much became the token "when things go awry in Delhi story," I have since been contacted by other similarly situated IPs and have come to the following conclusion:

Preemie baby with a few week stay and a disgruntled parent with Delhi Belly does not warrant special treatment. Critically ill child who needs to be returned to America ASAP does. The latter will be assessed carefully so as not to inundate the system with mass "emergency" cases that are in reality more the former. 

And while more than a year has passed since her very first photo session amid tubes and tape and wires that were carefully cropped and photo shopped out to reveal this:



The Princess' reaction to Passport Number 2 (required as the initial book had a one year shelf life)


was more or less the same:

Checking for accuracy of her royal title.



Assessing its edibility.




Pleased with the results, the Princess decided she'd take it for a spin this week on a fifth anniversary trip with her royal caretakers.

A shore side Itsy Bitsy Spider performance.
With love from Aruba, 
One World Traveling Princess

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Dad

and his daughter...



OMG, he's so embarassing!
Catch me if you can!
I have no idea what he's doing.
Just kidding! Go Os!
 and his family...
 and his kids...
Ending the day with his first trip back to MC's House.
A Dad.