Healing My Mind, Healing My Kidneys: How I Overcame a Diagnosis

Four years ago this month, I was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). At the time, I had never even heard of Kidney Disease. Nothing could have prepared me for that moment. That was the moment I was told I could not carry a child. That was the moment my dreams were taken away from me. I was scared and devastated and I had no idea how this diagnosis was going to change my life.

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Christmas past and Christmas present

Five years ago today, I had a miscarriage.

Jeff and I had been trying to conceive for almost 1 year, so when we found out that we were expecting, we were thrilled, but remained cautiously optimistic. Although we told two friends that had also been trying to get pregnant, we decided not to share our news with anyone else until we had confirmation that things were progressing well with the pregnancy.  

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The State of Surrogacy

Last week I revealed that Jeff and I were off to meet our new surrogate, Britany, in person for the first time. It was a very successful visit and we all got the medical and psychological approvals we were hoping for in order to move forward!

After sharing this news so many people asked me if our “pea” was now in Britany’s “pod.” It struck me that I have never shared exactly how long of a process the surrogacy journey can be and how things are extra complicated because we live in New York. 

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Moving Forward After Pregnancy Loss

I have heard it said that the only thing stronger than fear is hope.

This saying really speaks to me, but it’s a very hard concept to hold when you are in the middle of a miscarriage and there is absolutely nothing that you can possibly do to stop it or change it. And it is near impossible to be pregnant after a loss and not be worried that it might happen again. You wait for every single milestone - starting with your first few pregnancy hormone levels, to the heartbeat, to graduating into the second trimester, and so on…

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by intendedmamma

Throughout the last 18 years, I have traveled I-95 up to Massachusetts to visit Stephanie countless times. Those 4 hour Peter Pan bus rides never got old, knowing that we were going to have a few days to catch up and spend time together. One time traveling up with the most inconvenient baby shower gift, (to this day I don’t know why I just had to bring a massive baby bathtub), making her father-in-law pick me up at the bus station 40 minutes away in Providence, and only to be back on the bus within a couple of hours.  But it was worth it.  Stephanie was pregnant with Ethan and it was the one and only time I was seeing her during her pregnancy.

Once she had Ethan and then when Ryan came along two years later, our visits were few and far between.  While she was making her own baby food, I was loving being a single 27-year-old in NYC.  She would share stories about how Ethan accidentally locked himself in the bathroom and said his first swear word when he did.  I would tell stories about how I locked myself in my bedroom when a date over-stayed his visit one night.  Yet, somehow, we maintained a connection.

Spending a few days with her last week, and seeing her interact with her family, while carrying our child, was incredible. I have always known and admired what a wonderful wife and mother Stephanie is.  I can only hope that she knows this and believes it about herself. She goes about every day as normal, working Monday through Friday as a teacher, and tending to all the duties of a full-time wife and mother on top of that.  Never once did she complain that her back was hurting her, although I know that it was or that she was tired because the boys still wake up at 6am every day. She makes it appear like nothing has changed in her life.

Meanwhile, our baby is in that belly and Jeffrey and I couldn’t wait to get our hands on her!  Baby G is quite active, it was incredible to see Jeffrey react as he felt our baby kick for the very first time…something I was hoping he would experience before heading back home.

We treated Stephanie (and myself) to a couple’s massage! The massage therapists did not know our story until afterwards when they congratulated Stephanie on the baby and she said “actually it’s hers!” I love surprising people with our news.

And of course hearing our baby’s heartbeat always brings me to tears.  I can listen to that sound everyday for the rest of my life.

The distance is part of what allows us to understand boundaries and maintain such a healthy relationship during the pregnancy. But, visits like these make me wish we lived closer.

The drives have always been long, and now they feel even longer! But I would drive 100 hours to spend time with Stephanie and 100 more to be close to our baby.