***UPDATE FROM SCHOOL*** ARC4-B…..Writing Assignment….98%
I’ve been working on various projects in the last few weeks. Trying to get them all finished is a different story as I’m a queen of procrastination. I had a dream a couple months ago, just shortly after my sister’s miscarriage and I wrote my dream down in my journal. I’ve decided to use it for my classes written exam. So this is the outcome of my slave labor. Wish me luck!
JANUARY 15TH, 2009
“I lost the baby.” Brianna cried into the phone.
“Are you serious? Oh my god. Brianna, I’m so sorry.” I tried to console her with my words. I wanted to reach through the phone and hug her, tell her ‘everything will be ok. Don’t worry,’ and squeeze out the pain. I felt trapped in California I couldn’t leave my family and my job to fly 2,228 miles across the country for a hug.
“I just wanted to a baby. Why can’t I be someone’s mommy? Why…me?” she continued to cry.
“It’ll happen sis, I promise. God won’t begrudge you this. What did the doctors say?” I asked trying to shift the mood.
“He said my chances of sustaining a viable pregnancy are slim to none. He said it has something to do with my hormones and my anatomy being at war with each other once I become pregnant.” She sobbed. “I won’t –ever bbbe aaa mom…” she continued to try and talk between tears.
“I’ll be your surrogate.” Dead silence hushed her tears.
“Are you serious? You’d do that for me –us I mean?” She managed to say coherently.
“Yes.” I answered.
“You didn’t hesitate.”
“Why would I need to hesitate? My parts function just fine. You two deserve to be parents. I’m just a vessel to parenthood. I’m just the minivan the baby gets to ride in for 9 months. You’d do it for me. Besides, I’m tired of hearing about how you sleep in until the butt crack of noon and still be tired. It’s time for you to be pooped on, spit-up on, and try to stumble through a work week with four hours of sleep. Heck ya! I’ll help in providing that.” I let her ponder the thoughts for a few minutes before I continued. “Let Jacob know and we will talk more about it later. Get yourself healed up, stop crying and focus on the here and right now…ok? I promise I won’t back out. I love you Bree.”
“I love you to Ava. Thank you.” She said still sniveling.
“Now, I’ll call you tomorrow. For heavens sake, go blow your nose.” I said with a light chuckle.
AUGUST 8TH, 2009
“My plane lands in Memphis at 8:15 PM.”
“Jacob and I will be there to pick you up.” I could hear the excitement in Brianna’s voice.
“Awesome! See you tomorrow night.” I said before hanging up. I relaxed back into the couch.
“Your certain it really took,” Mark said with reluctance dripping from his words. “I mean, this is the very first time.”
“I’m only as certain as my body is making me feel. My boobs are sore, I’ve been sick for the better part of three weeks now.” I answered firmly.
“I’m not trying to be a wet blanket. I’m just worried about letting Jacob and Bree down and it not showing up positive is all I’m saying.”
“Babe, please. It’s going to be fine. I know you’re worried and I know you reservations about this whole process but please try to stay open minded. It’s all going to work out just fine.” I said kissing his lips lightly.
The next afternoon I could barely contain myself. A three hour flight took a lifetime. The people standing in front of me trying to retrieve their luggage were taking too long. I squeezed beside them, took off down the corridor bolting around the corner. As if I were on a leash connected directly to my sister, I found Bree in just a few seconds. Brianna’s familiar perfume was caressing my nose like a little kid sniffing out candy.
After leaving the airport we decided to wait until after dinner to take the test. I wasn’t nervous until the last morsel of steak left my fork and all eyes were on me like I was the rude bastard that got caught red-handed eating the last piece of chocolate cake.
“You two ready to do this?” I asked with a sheepish grin.
“You didn’t cheat did you?” Brianna sighed.
“Of course not! I wouldn’t do that to you guys.”
Brianna and I went into the bathroom. She hugged me as she handed me the pregnancy test.
“No worries. Stop looking at me like that.” I exclaimed.
“I’m scared. What if –“
“You will be a great mom,” I said interrupting her fretting.
“I’ll wait outside with Jacob.” She left with a smile.
* * *
(2 minutes later)
I walked into the living room looking directly at the floor. I could feel their eyes boring into me like red-hot laser beams. I reached out and handed the pregnancy test to my sister and said, “Here you go momma.”
Her breath caught in her throat as she stared at the test strip with its double blue lines. She turned into Jacob, looked him in the eyes and began crying again, “You’re going to be a daddy,” she sobbed.
“And you’re going to be a mommy,” he soothed.
Over the next few months, we arranged Brianna’s place schedule with a travel agent. One weekend out of the month, she would fly to California. Jacob would accompany Bree when he could. I made sure to schedule all of our doctor appointments during the weekend Bree was here.
In between doctor appointments I received daily emails from Brianna. MP3 files of her reading various children’s books or just talking at random to the baby. I played the files on my MP3 player placing the headphones on my growing belly so that the baby could hear her voice and get use to it. In returned I recorded the baby’s heartbeat and emailed them my own MP3 file. In the coming months there were preparing the nursery. Black, red and white where the colors they chose because they read in a magazine that babies could see those colors easier.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the toll this was taking on my family. My children didn’t understand why Aunty couldn’t have her own baby or why her baby was growing in my belly. Mark didn’t like the idea of going through all the hard work and not bringing a baby home to goo-goo over, but he supported me as best as he could. He prepared all the healthiest foods for me and the baby. The kids rubbed my belly and nicknamed the baby Tigger. Over-all everyone embraced this little gift of life…literally.
Brianna started becoming envious and irritable with her own body not being able to carry her baby. She wanted to feel him kick and watch her grow to cradle him inside of her. We spent many hours on the phone discussing why her body couldn’t be pregnant. We never came to any conclusions that really made her feel any better but at least she wasn’t crying much anymore.
Once we hit our third trimester, Brianna came out every other week. This really seemed to help her pregnancy suffering. Jacob accompanied us on the weekend of the sonogram. That was also the day they shared the name they picked out for the baby once the doctor told us it was a boy. Brian Mason…Baby Mason, until he grew into his name. It was in the sonogram office that they shared a statistic with me.
“A scheduled C-section will allow us to be there without missing anything or rushing to find a flight at the last minute, and…” they glanced at each other as they hesitated to continued, “well emotionally its proven that a birth mother is more likely to struggle less with giving up her baby then a mother who has given birth vaginally. “There’s less emotional trauma because you won’t be going through the bonding process of laboring for hours.”
Afer a long pause, I responded carefully. “I know you’re worried that I will have a hard time giving up your baby. I’ve had 8-1/2 months to get to know my nephew…and well, with his DNA being ½ yours and ½ Brianna’s he just want to be with is mommy and daddy and to visit his favorite Aunty often.”
Their shoulders relaxed and just as they were about to say something else, I added, “The C-section sounds more convenient anyway. Now can we go get some ice cream? Baby Mason needs chocolate stat!”
At Brianna’s baby shower, I could tell from the pictures that she was happy and excited and loving every minute of the attention. Jacob and Bree received so much stuff for Baby Mason. I couldn’t be there as the doctor put me on bed rest and having the shower in California didn’t make much sense. We would have to ship every thing back to Tennessee. Brianna called me that night and went over every thing in detail, so I didn’t miss much.
MAY 5th, 2010
“Are you ready?” the nurse asked.
“I’ve been ready for that last year.” I answered. The nurse started wheeling the bed into the hallway down to the operating room.
“Where is my family?” I nervously asked.
“They’re scrubbing up. They’ll join you ounce your epidural is in place.”
The operating room was sterile and smelled like, well a hospital. The masked staff transferred me onto a bed as big as a gymnastics balance beam. They draped a blue curtain above me, strapped down my stretched out arms like Jesus on the cross. I heard the door open and Brianna’s hand was on my cheek.
“Where here?” Brianna said in my ear.
“Why are you sitting down?” I asked. “What took so long?”
“You know how I am about doctors and hospitals.”
“Did you pass out?”
“No, but they gave me a wheel chair anyway.” She said chuckling.
“Let’s get this party started then.” I said with a smile.
I closed my eyes as Brianna rubbed my cheek and Jacob recorded everything. I felt tugging and pulling almost to the point of throwing up. Just when I couldn’t take it anymore, we heard the gentle crying of the baby and the chime of a nursery song playing on the intercom above us signaling to the hospital that a baby was just born. The nurse came around the curtain and handed my sister a bundle of blankets stuffed with their baby somewhere inside. He looked right into her eyes as she touched his round soft cheeks. “Happy Birthday Baby Mason,” she swooned as a tear fell down her cheek.
At the same time, Brianna and I looked up at Jacob as a snorted cry came from his direction. He was trying to hide behind the camera.
“What?” he managed to snivel out.
“You want to hold your son?” Brianna asked.
“Yes.” He answered setting the camera down on the floor.
A lifetime later, handing Baby Mason back to Bree who remained in her wheel chair, the nurse interrupted, “We need to take the baby up to the nursery for evaluation.”
“Why, is he ok?” Bree asked with panic in her voice.
“Yes, it’s just a routine procedure with C-section deliveries.”
Brianna leaned forward and let me kiss Baby Mason on his cheek before they headed out the door.
“See ya in a few sis.” Kissing my forehead Jacob turned her around and made their way to the nursery.
* * *
“How are you feeling?” Brianna asked me.
“I should be asking you the same thing. I’m just a bit tired, a little sore and I just want to hold him.”
They gave me a startled looked.
“No worries.” I confirmed. “So who does he look more like?”
“He has my nose and lips but he has Jacob’s behavior.”
“Jacob’s behavior?” I questioned with a puzzled look on my face.
“He farts louder than any other baby in the nursery.”
We laughed just as the door opened. “Delivery,” said the doctor. “He passed the entire tests with flying colors. You got your selves one healthy, but sturdy baby boy. I’ll check on you two tomorrow.”
My sister picked up Baby Mason who was content in sucking on his pacifier in his baby crib and placed him in my arms.
“Hello little stranger, nice to meet you finally. How’s life been treating you?” He answered with a tiny toothless smile as the sounds of his diaper being filled blurted out.
“All yours sis.” I said handing him back to Brianna.
“You’re the best sister in the world Ava. I can’t thank you enough.” Brianna exclaimed.
I sat in my bed watching Jacob and Brianna change Baby Mason’s diaper together, as a feeling of completion washed over me.