Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Second Birthday tickers

Monday, June 10, 2013

Back and BETTER than ever

Hello Sweet blogosphere,

I hope this post (5 months in the making) finds you all very well.  I have decided to return to this page and pick up where I last left you.  Many times I have wanted to write.  Many, MANY times I have jumped for joy yet could bot put my fingers to the keyboard.  My mind, it would seem, needed a break.  A break from talking surrogacy...if only for a while.

Back in December (as you know) I gave birth (in a most spectacular manner) to two of the loveliest human beings.  I am  in SHOCK as I tell you they are 5 days shy of their half-birthday!!!  I am literally the HAPPIEST person alive in part because 3 parents, 5 grandparents and many cousins, aunts, godparents and friends are living in a brighter world.  I am happy to say my life is richer and my horizons are broader because of 2 remarkable families.  I am content to move on from this era of my life knowing I have fulfilled one of my callings, to help create a family (or 2) by way of surrogacy.  Though I may never again be pregnant, I will always know 4 sweet things are babbling, getting food on the carpet, potty training, saying mama and dada in part because my family and I said YES to these most amazing journeys.

ALSO, I would just like you to know that if I could I would post these babies MOST amazing, and handsome daddy...Some of the best shots are of the three of them.  Some things a girls just gets to keep to herself:-)

Here are some pics of the kiddos:
A table by the window

Waiting for Santa


Happy Valentines with Catchen C
Face to face

Grins all around

I'm guessing wrestling :-)

So serious
Happy Catchen

First solid foods :-)

Linnea and Marius on Constitution Day in Norway
Cannot believe these dearies are 2+ years old!

When I look back I can't believe this even happened.  It really feels more like a VERY good dream to me now.  The kids are not here (obviously) but I am reminded by sweet texts that they are here...and thriving.  Also my belly still has that dark brown line down the middle reminding me that not too long ago it was occupied.

A lot is going on with the Bowyers right now.  Have a look-

I've lost nearly 45 lbs since delivery, had my braces removed, finished another semester of school, started a job, and died my hair a flaming RED.  Also, I turned 32 in May.

Shane is continuing in his studies to earn his PhD in Psychology.  He's challenging me to get fit and stay fit!  He works very hard counselling women and children who have escaped (temporarily) from domestic violence situations.  He turned 35 in May.

Cake for breakfast!

 Brennan finished the 3rd grade, placed second in his school spelling bee, and got a Brohawk:-)

Hudson completed the first grade, made LOTS of new friends,and got a cool hair cut too!

My dearest Halle graduated from Pre-K (sniff, sniff).  Here she is with her two WONDERFUL teachers.  She won the "Fashion Forward" award :-)

Thanks for reading...for following along...for choosing surrogacy,equality, and love.  I'll post more pics as they come.  Much love-

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This is goodbye (for now)

Going to take a little break from this blog for a while.  Time to re-group and focus on some areas in my life that have been neglected...like exercising, my other blog and school (starts Tuesday).

While I have very much enjoyed living my life for the world to see, it is time (for a season) to live a bit more privately.  Hope to update with pictures of both sets of twins as they come!!

Much of what I have written has been transformative for me.  I have grown deeply, loved much and learned many lessons about life, love, friendship, beginnings and ends.  I hope one day to come back to this blog and compile it into a book or surrogacy memoir.  For now, I need time away in hopes that when I return to it, it will be vibrant and new.

Love to all who have read for the past 3 years-

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Seriously.  Not again...  The "Blues" are upon me.  Hormones are surging and plumitting...  I am an engine all revved up and then out of no where, stalled.

This is the side of surrogacy that is tricky.  To share or not to share?? That is the question.

I will share even though I am certain that those who have criticized my choice to carry children who are not mine may feel the need to shout "I told ya so".

Depressed??  NO.  Sad??  NO.  Angry, bitter, jealous???  NO!  So what the hell am I?  Exactly!

What am I?

For the last 3 years I have been a surrogate.  Now I must put "retired" as I no longer plan to carry again.  For 3 whole years I have been looking forward to meeting IP's, developing a relationship, med starts, transfers, blood work, ultrasounds, baby movements and delivery.  Now I have 2 SPECTACULAR journey's tucked under my belt...4 babies, 3 Intended Parents (whom I love), 2 deliveries and 2 tearful departures.

I am in that all to familiar and very uncomfortable, desert.  I see the future but feel alone.  I KNOW I am loved and cared for and appreciated and yet (because of those damn hormones) my feelings betray my knowledge.  It isn't the abrupt shift from pregnant to not that is so hard...I don't miss the pregnancy.  I am so enjoying the close hugs I can share with my husband and kids again.  It is the feeling of investing in a friendship and just as soon as it reaches a level of comfort and depth, it's gone.

Now I am under no illusion that these relationships were formed or would have been formed had I not offered my services, but no matter the origins, the feelings came and remain.  My love for E & S grew mostly after the delivery of Linnea and Marius...We spent 5 weeks growing to know and care for one another.  With T, the feelings grew steadily throughout the pregnancy and hit an all time high as I watched him cradle his children.

What happens after surrogacy is unique...that is to say every surrogate and IP has the right to experience this "end" in their own unique way.  Some surro's live in a state of euphoria  for weeks while some cry and grieve.  Some IP's feel the desire to communicate often and others cut off communication entirely.  There is no right or wrong way to be.  The point is, I am allowing myself to feel and I'm not beating myself up about it.  I feel distant.  I feel out of touch.  I feel like I am wanting affirmation.  I feel tears coming and then I choke them back quickly.  I feel like a shell, hollow.  These journey's were a very big part of my life and gave me such meaning and purpose and now, I am searching.  Not for meaning or purpose (that wakes me up with sticky hands and faces each day) but for what is next.  What is next?  What if's plague me.  What if I am never close to E & S or T?  What if I never find a way to give back to the world and be fulfilled?  What if this is the only thing I ever do that brings change to the world???

The flip side to this?  There are 6 1/2 days out of 7 that I feel none of these things...in fact, quite the opposite.  I feel loved, appreciated, needed, affirmed, intelligent, fulfilled and lately even, SEXY.  After 5 pregnancies, 2 sets of twins and A LOT of breastfeeding/pumping, I feel beautiful in my own skin.

The above paragraph is why I don't share my hormonal feelings.  The "blusey" days are truly scant in comparison to the joy I feel...They ARE real however and if ever healing is to be complete in me, sharing will facilitate it.

I am truly hopeful that in reading my words no one is offended or hurt or critical as these are not words of blame but just the spilling out of my heart.  I hope surrogacy continues to flourish and I want to be a resource  for surrogates everywhere...I want to offer a safe place where love is rich and no judgment is allowed.

Here is a pic of C & C---Aren't they lovely?

Happy 3 weeks to them!

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Oh what a night...

SO here it is..the BIG one.  This is the story of how two baby loves came storming into this world...literally.
It was a dark and stormy night..No really, it was.
T arrived into town around 11 am on the 14th.  We ran around, had some VERY spicy food, picked up my kids from school and then went to the park to play (and get this show on the road).  After an hour the darkest clouds rolled in..the sky turned a strange but beautiful hue of orange and hail began to fall with heavy rain.  We made it home just in time to avoid being pelted and I began to wonder if maybe just maybe all of this weather could bring on some labor...you know, like a full moon.

I was encouraged by my Dr. that these babies would be healthy and safe if delivered.  We had seen signs that were indicative of impending labor so we thought, "hey, let's do this".  The babies were measured via sonogram and it was estimated they both weighed approximately 6lbs a piece.  Though I wasn't feeling anxious or even uncomfortable, I was on board with delivering these sweeties.

T, myself and my family hopped in the car and headed to Target and the Mall in search of little Christmas outfits for the babies.  We were determined to wear me out so we walked and walked and walked...nothing.   We decided to go and relax over a nice steak dinner and wait for tomorrow to see if anything happened.  We laughed and joked with the kids and in my head I just kept thinking how lucky the babies inside of me are...I was sitting next to my most favorite man (Shane) but looking into the eyes of a man who had quickly climbed into a top 5 rank in my book.  This man is so amazing with my kids and he has no reason to be...I knew that night that though he may tire, he would live every day giving his best and all his love to his kids.

Okay. back to that night.  I said we were going to wait but then it's our prerogative to give it one more shot...of castor oil.  Excuse me while I gag just a little...T assured me that if I swallow this most viscous (and trusted labor kick-starter) that he would take some too...he lied :-)  I did find the most palatable way to get it down and then I thought "well, that's never worked before but we'll see".  T went to bed (he drove nearly 15 hours the day before) and Shane and I decided to do the same.  That was 11 pm.  I finally drifted off by 11:30 for what I assumed would be an uneventful evening.  WAS I EVER WRONG!!!!

12:47 am. I woke in the most excruciating pain.  I tried to roll out of bed but was unsuccessful.  I used a hand to stir Shane and at that time was crying out in pain.  We have NEVER been through this before...my labors are generally pain free until 8-10 centimeters...What in the world was happening?  I made it to the bathroom and sat down as Shane ran some bathwater.  At this point I wasn't sure if I should wake T or not. I was in so much pain I couldn't count my contractions.  I couldn't talk.  I couldn't get in or out of the bath (my desired spot for labor).  I realized my contractions were coming every 2 minutes and lasting around 1 1/2 minutes.  That gave me 30 seconds to throw up in between...Now I have just finished my Obstetric rotation and though I had been medicated and not experienced this personally, I knew exactly where I was...I was complete!  A 10!!!  At HOME!!!

Shane knocked on T's door (Halle's room, next to ours) and he was awake.  He heard the bath and his instinct had already kicked in.  My mom, who was staying nearby, made it in 5 minutes and by 1:15 we got into the car.  My water broke.  We are 28 minutes into this thing and I am certain these little ones will be born in my front seat.  I am doing everything possible to pant or breathe or whatever I can to keep from pushing though I knew that is what my body wanted me to do.  I called the ER and told them we were coming and as best I could what I was feeling...

We arrived at the door of the ER at 1:30am.  If you are counting that is 43 minutes from waking up with my first pain.  They promptly wheeled us upstairs, T following close behind, and attempted to get vital signs on me and monitors on the babies.  Again, I have never done this without drugs so the pain and urges were new to me.  I kept insisting that they check me to see my dilation and Shane kept saying, "my wife knows her body put your stuff down and check her".  (ps, I love him) The Charge nurse came into this tiny triage room, seeing my terror and hearing me scream that I wanted to push, she checked me..."You're complete.  10 centimeters ..I feel the baby and you CANNOT push."  That was the mantra for the next round of contractions.  "Breathe" "Relax" "You can do this" "The Dr. isn't here and we don't want to have these babies in here".  1:39am (roughly) I am breaking Shane's hand with every contraction and kicking T to the hall.  I love him but my body took over and I didn't want him seeing me so out of control.  1:41 am Shane and T are both in the hall and I am being wheeled to the OR because that is where all twin deliveries take place in my hospital.  The nurse tells the boys that as soon as they get me settled she will bring back some scrubs for them to change into...1:42am...My left leg and most of my right were transported to the OR table...my head is still on the other...1 push...1:43am... Catchen Courtney W. is born.  56 minutes after I woke up and now 13 minutes after my arrival to the ER "Baby A" is born. T and Shane heard the cry and thought there was no way it was me who had delivered.  They missed it :-(  So did the doctor!!  A sweet nurse, Andrea, caught "Catch".  How perfect is that?   Finally, relief.  I pushed and though it was a painful few seconds, she was out and I DID IT!!  Naturally!  I was thrilled.  I watched as they laid her on my belly.  She was little at 4 pounds 12 ounces, but feisty, pink and crying "I want my daddy".  The Dr. walked in around 1:50am and just laughed :-)  He broke my water and for a moment I was relaxed and pain free. I waited to feel the urge to push and within a few minutes it came.  Pushing seemed much harder this time and we realized this baby was facing up (normally they face down).  I gave 2 very painful pushes and at 1:57am Curtis Brooks W. was born.  T and Shane were both here this time and I watched as everyone marveled at what had just taken place.  Curtis was 5 pounds 15 ounces and was also pink, feisty and crying.  T walked over to show me the babies swaddled in his arms but I became distracted...I was hemorrhaging and fast.

I had no IV in place so no access for pain meds or emergency meds should I bottom out.  The anesthesiologist started an IV in one arm and the nurse started the second IV in the other arm.  I was quickly given injections to try to cause my uterus to firm up and stop bleeding.  My Dr. was very vigorously massaging my uterus from the outside and inside (ouch) but I just wouldn't firm up.  He kept looking at me saying, "Do you feel okay?  Dizzy?  Cold?"  I didn't.  I was still enjoying the elation of delivery and if he didn't mind, I'd like to get back to that instead.  He called for 2 units of blood and said I would need a curettage (scraping out of the uterus with surgical instruments) and would need to be sedated for a bit.  I woke up in recovery, blood infusing wondering what the heck had just happened to me.

I was weak but I just kept thinking of T and his sweet darlings.  I wanted to see them together.  I wanted to see if his face had changed now that he was a papa.  I slept most of the morning and afternoon and by the evening I was up and around.  T came to see me and updated me on the babies.  They both had a drop in their blood sugar so they were taken to the NICU....this was my biggest fear and yet here we were.  I went to visit over the next several days and saw these most spectacular creatures.  They were strong and healthy and never needed any medical assistance other that blue lights for jaundice.  I was so proud of what we had done.  T, Shane and I were a great team.

Yesterday, just 6 short days after birth, T packed up his "mannyvan" with C & C and headed home to LA.  I had such mixed emotions as I held Curtis and Catchen and as I hugged T goodbye.  I cannot call it sadness or grief...I don't know if there is a name for "I've come to think of you as family, I love you and now your babies too...my family loves you..."  This time last year we got a negative pregnancy test and yet here we are waving goodbye.  Of course I cried and I will certainly cry again but this morning gratitude and satisfaction is what I feel.  I was fortunate enough to be chosen by T to carry his most precious babies.  He came to my town and stayed in my home and made a gingerbread house with my kids...In return I nurtured and grew C & C the best I could.  I finished school.  I grew even closer to the man I love and came to appreciate my children in a way I hadn't before...This journey was beautiful.  The relationships formed ARE beautiful and C & C are worth it all!

T- There are no words to express to you just how much love we feel for you!  You have been the most amazing IF and friend and we are grateful to know you.  Watching you be a daddy this week makes me forget any pain or trial my family went through as we defended surrogacy.  You are proof that love abounds in many different forms and fashions.  There is no "right or wrong" way to make a family, LOVE makes a family!  Thank you for choosing me to carry for you.  For enriching my life.  I am forever grateful for this experience and hope that we remain lifelong friends.

C & C- You are as precious as I knew you would be.  You made this pregnancy SO easy on me.  Thanks for your sweet kicks and hiccups; your squirms and stretches and for growing big and strong for your daddy.  I will remember your tiny faces and all the love that surrounded you this week forever.  You are the last babies I will ever deliver and you are so special to me.

Shane- You are my ROCK.  My everything!  Surrogacy is do-able but you made it wonderful!  Thank you for your most tender words when I was weak.  For foot rubs and back rubs and just holding me when I was exhausted.  Thank you for taking the lead with the kids and not complaining.  You sacrificed so much...things that people will never know, so I could fulfill this dream of mine.  You are a gift that I cannot repay and you show love in it's most perfect form.  I cannot wait for the rest of our lives.

Thank you all for reading and following.  Thank you for your words of support and encouragement.  Thank you to my fellow surro-sisters who compel me to grow and change.  Love to you all!
36 Weeks

Delivery Day


Daddy's chin :-)

Sweet Catchen

Catchen 1 day old

"Uncle Shane"

2 days old


5 days 

T kept telling us how to feed :-)  So cute!

4 days PP, new hair cut

little man

can't stop smiling at that chin

saying goodbye

saying goodbye

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Still Pregnant just less busy...finally!

Hi to all out there in the blogisphere...I hope you haven't given up on me.  Remember my last post I said I was beginning to feel flutters??  That was then...This is now.  Here is a look at the last 24 weeks--

Today 34 weeks and 4 days

Other than my ever expanding belly much has taken place this surrogacy.  I cannot believe how perfect a journey this has been.  No really!  Other than a little morning sickness early on, this has been an uneventful pregnancy.  I have been in school full time since the summer.  I've managed 3 nursing classes.  2 clinical rotations. 6 big exams and a family.  I was very afraid my grades would suffer and I would potentially go into pre-term labor due to the physical and mental stress.  Instead I maintained my 4.0 AND (the best part) I'm still pregnant.

T was able to come and visit around 20 weeks and we found out that he is expecting a boy and a girl!!  I loved meeting his mom and introducing them to my family and close friends.  We have had great communication throughout this journey and for that I am so thankful.  This past weekend, 34 weeks, T came out again and stayed with Shane and I in our home.  He was able to see who we are and how we live our lives.  We were able to watch him with our kids and see just how much of a natural father he is.  We spent the weekend just talking and doing skits (with the kids) and eating and wondering just when these babies will make their grand appearance.  It was a memorable weekend that none of us will soon forget.

Right now:

Babies are 5-5.5lbs
Me: I'm not telling:-)
 Little girl (baby A) is head down and moving all the time.  She gets the hiccups the most and loves to poke me in the hips and kick me in the ribs...She is gentle and I'll bet she is a delicate little cherub,

Little boy (baby B) is also head down and moving all the time.  He is the roller and pusher.  He pushes his knees into my sternum letting me know he'd like a little more room:-)  He is always poking his sister in the belly/face on our ultrasounds.

I am LOVING seeing my belly stick out...I love how they kick and squirm.  It's like having a house guest (or 2) all the time.

I am 34 weeks and 4 days and treading lightly...Linnea and Marius decided to some out on this very day...I am thankful they did so well but I am also nervous as I do not want to deliver so prematurely and see these babies go to the NICU.  So I am planning to take it easy (VERY easy), drink lots of water and try not to think about anything but the holidays, my kids and hubby and all the joy that surrounds me this season.

I am THE happiest I have ever been.  The most grateful surrogate because I have had two incredible (and different) experiences with the most deserving families on earth.  I feel so calm and settled compared to two years ago.  I feel prepared to bring this part of my life to an end and I am eager to see what is in store.  Thank you all for your support and kind words to me and my family.  It is my hope that maybe just 1 other woman will be moved by my two stories and decide to give the gift of surrogacy.

Here is to the next big milestone 36 weeks...I'll keep you posted (at least I hope to)...