Monday, 26 September 2011

The value of being attacked

I'm OK now - partly thanks to those two lovely messages. And actually what has happened does have its value. I remember that something like this happened to me once before in relation to my writing. A really horrible woman said to me. 'You have to realise that this is just a business, that's all it is. And you just have to write the book that the market requires. And nobody cares less about your creativity or what you want to write etc etc.' I was just so upset. But then after a while I felt really good because I realised how totally and completely I disagreed with her. So the fact that she said all of that actually confirmed and strengthened my position. After that I felt strong and sure of myself and my work in a way I never had done before. And it is a bit like that this time. This woman's unkindness has made me think, 'Actually I've spent far too much time worrying if what I'm doing upsets or offends some other person. And now I need to stop thinking about that.' And what I'm seeing now is our family - the four of us - and we're really together and strong and happy and no one can touch us. And I'm thinking, 'Actually this is our moment of happiness and, my God, we've waited a long time for it. But now it's here I'm going to take it and enjoy every moment of it.' And if there is anyone who doesn't want to share then they can pack their bags and go ..... Because I know that there are plenty of kind people - on the internet and in the wider world - who are prepared to share it and they are proper friends.

Saturday, 24 September 2011


I've been doing really well. It's hard but I've been managing. Until today. The story goes like this. A few months ago I was asked by someone in the local area if I could offer support to a woman who has recently lost a baby. Of course, I said yes. So I spent two or three evenings with this woman and her husband. For the sake of argument, let's call her Sarah and the lost baby (her fourth) Katie. During those evenings I didn't say anything much about myself. Instead I just let her talk. I think I was helpful to her. I certainly tried to be. I didn't tell her about the surrogacy because we weren't telling anyone at that time. But recently I decided I ought to let her know as I didn't want her to find out from someone else. So I sent a card telling her that I had some pregnancy related news and saying - if you don't want to know, that's absolutely fine. But she said she did want to know. So I sent a mail telling her as tactfully as possible. But then today I received a mail from her. She's accused me of not being direct with her, of failing to reply to her texts and e-mails (although she didn't send any). The mail finishes, 'Why isn't Katie interesting enough for you?' No mention of Laura, of course. I'm just so, so upset. It's so clear that this woman has never even seen me. I obviously simply don't exist for her. Of course, she is mad, mad with grief. But I've been mad with grief. We've many of us been mad with grief. And really it is no excuse. How much would it have cost her just to send a cheerful e-mail saying 'congratulations?' Even if she was just pretending. Couldn't she have just looked at my husband and me and thought, 'Those people deserve their baby, they deserve a little bit of luck?' So many other people have been really supportive. But there was always going to be one ...... But I find it particularly hurtful that it should be a bereaved Mum. And did she have to do this when I'm effectively eight months pregnant? I know I just have to lay it aside. It is her stuff not mine. I offered her something beautiful and she took it but afterwards she spat on me. It happens. But nevertheless I am devastated. It's horrible, really horrible.

Saturday, 17 September 2011


We fly to the States on 7 October. Hope will be induced on 9 October if she hasn't arrived before. I have our bags packed - or nearly packed - in the hall. I'm wandering around the place feeling panicky, tearful and excited. I wish I could enjoy all this more. Everyone keeps saying to me, 'Isn't this so exciting?' But I just can't enter into the whole thing as I should. I suppose the truth is that this is a pregnancy which follows a stillbirth and so excitement and joy perhaps just aren't really possible. I'm scared. I'm really scared. But we're getting through the days. Last night Thomas and I started making a big album of photographs and messages which is for our amazing surrogate Mum. We're decorating it with pretty papers and stickers and flowers. I'm pretty pleased with the way that it looks. Although in reality, I think that this whole album / scrap book business is really more for the under tens, right now it is the level of activity that my brain can manage.

Monday, 12 September 2011

A map of Minnesota

A couple of weeks ago I was in my Mum's tiny local town (Upton on Severn, Worcestershire) and it happens that there is a specialist map shop there. And you can go into that map shop and they will give you a map of anywhere in the world. And so I went in and asked for a map of Minnesota - which is where Hope will be born. I don't know why I've never done that before. I did once look at a map of Minnesota on line but I couldn't find Marshall - where Hope is - on the map. That made me feel a little panicky but it was also typical of this whole process. I didn't look any further in case it turned out that Marshall didn't exist. But now I've got a proper map and I managed to find Marshall. It certainly does look like an out of the way kind of place. While I was looking at the map Thomas was sitting on the sofa nearby and then my Mum came into the room. 'What is Mummy doing?' she said. 'She's looking for our baby,' Thomas said, without raising his eyes from his book. But then he came to kneel by me and looked at the map as well. It turns out that Marshall is near a place called Springfield. Thomas was thrilled by that. I don't watch the Simpsons but he does. 'Oh no,' he said. 'Oh no. My sister is going to be small and yellow and she's going to have a thing on her head which looks like a star or maybe like a rubber glove.' Well, surrogacy does have its lighter moments.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

All the same story

For a while I have felt uncomfortable with this blog. I felt that it was a blog about Laura and about miscarriages and that, therefore, I didn't want to write about our new baby on it. I felt that there should be a cut off point, a new beginning. A moment when I said, 'All that difficult stuff in the past is done with now and I'm moving on.' But I didn't want to move on. I didn't want to leave Laura behind. And so I hesitated, uncertain what to do. But now I've realised that I don't need to do anything really. I don't need to start again by setting up a new blog. So all I've done is to updated the heading and the summary. There really is no big new beginning, just a seamless shift. Laura and Hope can exist together. I can feel sad about Laura and happy about Hope. Family and friends are beginning to ask for news of the surrogacy so I might even tell them about this blog. It's never been a secret, I just never told them before as I didn't think they would be interested. Now they might look at the blog and be shocked by some of the stuff I wrote in the past. But actually that's fine because if they want to understand what we are doing now, then they need to know what happened before. It's all the same story.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Death of Honey

Our friend Honey died at around 4.30 on Tuesday. Apparently she was with three friends and was, briefly, conscious. One of the friends was remembering something in the past, telling a story, and everyone laughed, including Honey. Then she just took three short breaths and died. That seems about as good a way to go as any. She had seen the children recently and they have had much good support from bereavement counsellors at the hospice. Her ex-husband's sister has courageously agreed to make the two older children her own. She already has two older children so I'm sure she'll be an amazing Mum to Honey's two. Joslin's younger child is being cared for with great tenderness by Mr Man and his friend. Everyone involved agrees that many opportunties must be created for the three children to be together. I don't know what else to say. She was an extra-ordinary person. I will miss her always - but I will also always be encouraged and inspired by her, as will everyone who knew her.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Honey's Grandmother

I think that Honey will die soon now. A friend saw her yesterday and she was in a very profound sleep. I could go to the hospice to see her but I've decided against it. I may go tomorrow. I don't feel great and I'm not sure I want to see her lying motionless on a bed - that isn't how she is to me and so I don't think it would help me to see that. Also I don't think I can help her. I realise that I've felt for a long time that everything is resolved between her and me. She knows how completely I love her and how much she means to me. The rest doesn't matter. But over the last couple of weeks a strange thing has been happening. Many people involved in this situation have thought a lot of Honey's grandmother. She died quite a while ago so we none of us knew her. But we all know how much Honey loved her. In particular, for me, I always picture Honey in a certain coat she wears - black velvet, embossed with faded coloured flowers and with a fur collar - and I know that that coat belonged to her grandmother. And now I find myself imagining this unknown grandmother vividly. Others have also felt her presence or dreamed of her. And Honey herself had seen her several times - but has been confused as to whether her grandmother was telling her to stay or to go. And now particularly today I'm imagining Joslin's grandmother on the shore, close to the waves as they come up the beach. And she's holding Laura in her arms and she's waving to Joslin and then Joslin walks up the beach towards her ...... I know that this is really all sentimental rubbish but right now it is helpful sentimental rubbish. I don't know. I know that there is really no reason to beleive in the after life but, actually, illogically, I do. Mainly because I just think that if someone burns so brightly in this life then they can't be totally extinguished. Some how I feel sure of that.