Not Just Another Birth Story: A Letter to Abigail

Had our IVF worked with our surrogate Michelle, I would have gotten to be in the delivery room to see our babies be born. But that was never my path to experience. I sincerely thought the only births I would ever see would be the ones in that terrible 5th grade sex education class we all had to take and the sensationalized ones shown on television and in the movies. So, when my oldest friend, my true witness of 30 years, asked me to be one of her delivery coaches when she delivered her first baby I cried with tears of honor and joy.

My friend who has seen me through my darkest of times and literally helped me through life in a body cast when we were much to young to handle such difficulties.

My friend who also knows the pain and losses of infertility.

My chosen family who I love so dearly.

Last week my friend gave birth to her daughter and I had the honor in helping her through her difficult delivery and being a witness as their family grew by one beautiful baby girl.

It is with much excitement and love that I (and her parents of course) welcome Abigail to the world! And with a full heart, I write her these words to hopefully last her a lifetime.

Dear Abigail,

Your mom and I have been through 30 years of friendship. We have been through things that really no two friends should ever have to see within a friendship. Your mom helped me through some of the hardest times of my life. I am sure we will one day share with you the stories of how she used to care for me as my nurse as I suffered through two back surgeries and lived in a body cast. She loves telling the stories of her helping me go to the bathroom, as I will admit they are pretty hysterical.

And on the day you blessed us all by coming into this world, I helped your mom through your very difficult and scary delivery. So, I now have my own stories to tell of things I simply can never unsee.

And yet, it was one of the most magical days of my life, as I know it was for your mom and dad.

Abbie, your mom and dad fought so hard to bring you here. Through three years they fought through frustrations, waiting games, anxieties, medical procedures, terrible side effects, misunderstanding from loved ones and the public and, especially, their fears; all to find you.

Your mom and dad continued this amazing fight through their difficult pregnancy and on the day of your mom's labor and delivery, their fight only continued.

Scared of my own limitations, fears and queasiness I pushed through to allow my anxiousness to become excitement and I fought alongside your mom and dad. I fought for them and I fought for you.

I was so proud and honored to be there supporting, helping and distracting them throughout your mom's labor.

But mostly, I was so proud and honored to simply witness them in their fight. Your mom's diligence in containing her anxiety and fears for your safety. Your dad's advocacy for you and your mom's care and safety. And, especially their ownership in how you came to be whenever any doctor or nurse asked about you.

Simply, profoundly and wholeheartedly, I am just so proud of them.

 
 

We all worked together as a team to bring you into this world, your mom definitely doing the hardest work of all. And at 4:40 pm you finally graced your mom and dad with the joy they've been fighting and hoping for for three long years; your peaceful and perfect face, your dark hair and your healthy cry brought tears of joy to all of us.

Throughout your mom's labor, of almost two full days, your mom and dad lied to me about your name, even though I asked them a million times (as you will get to know I never give up easily). Finally, the morning after your birth, when your mom was feeling better, they gave me the best surprise of my life, your name. I was truly surprised and completely honored to learn your name was Abigail Justine.

It is with a heart full of love and honor that these are my promises to you, Abigail Justine, my namesake:

I promise to always do my very best to be that person your parents believed in and loved enough to name you after.

I promise to always be here for your mom and dad, for whatever they may need.

I promise to always be here for you, no matter what.

I promise to always be your soft landing spot but to also always guide and push you when needed.

I promise to love all of you, always accepting you and honoring you; with me you will always be seen, known and loved.

Because being there with your parents throughout their journey to conceive you and being able to be present for your entrance into this world is my ultimate enough moment.

Because you, Abigail Justine, are my ultimate ever upward.

With much love,

Your Aunt Justine

 
 

*This post linked to Amateur Nester's Tuesday Link Up.

Never a Consolation Prize: My First Piano Recital

After our second failed round of IVF with a gestational surrogate and losing three babies, I had a friend say something to me that will always and forever stay with me. She said if she was honest with herself, she has more impact and influence on the lives of her godchildren, nieces and nephews than her own children. She said that Chad and I will get a lifetime of this but that it isn’t a consolation prize. And she’s right. I will never get the joy of motherhood or that role with a child but I will spend the rest of my life making sure the kids in my life know I love them and that I am here for them. I will also make sure their parents know I always want to at least have the option to be included and invited to the birthday parties, the games and concerts. This weekend I attended my very first piano recital. Our friends’ son Noah had his first piano recital, and Chad and I had the honor of being in the audience. And I loved every second; the nervous excitement coming from all of the kids, the super serious looks of concentration while they played and every single perfectly imperfect note they played. But the best was the proud smirk of accomplishment on Noah’s face when he finished. It is a moment I will never forget.

The night was capped off with a rather chaotic (three young boys will do that) and of course fun dinner with their family, and it included us. Being included in their family, is something words will never be enough to describe or even thank them for. Nothing makes me happier than hearing Noah’s animated storytelling, seeing the sparkle in Lane’s eyes when he asks me question after question or laughing at Evan’s pure loving joy. As I hugged our friends goodbye I thanked them for including us, and frankly, thank you simply is not enough.

Every family looks different. Sadly, my family will never include my own children, only my three furry ones. But my family also includes my friends and their children. I will forever be grateful for this role, and I will always make sure to make it much more than a consolation prize, always working to make it my ever upward.