Back From the Road

Somehow it has been a full two weeks since my last post. In that time a lot has happened: we traveled through parts of Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island, drove through the mountains along the Cabot Trail, ran into a moose and her two babies while taking an afternoon hike, had our second ultrasound, and reached the 8 & 9 week marks in the pregnancy.

A few photos from our trip:

Kyle and I with Paddington in Ingonish, Nova Scotia on Baby’s 8-week milestone.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Woods Island Lighthouse on Prince Edward Island
Cheticamp on Cape Breton Island
Chéticamp on Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Gulf of St. Lawrence via the Skyline Trail
The moose we saw while hiking in Highlands National Park
Overlooking the Atlantic

I have seen many beautiful places so far in my life, but Cape Breton Island is absolutely stunning. We had talked about visiting this area for years, and it was great to take some time to travel before our lives change drastically in the next few months with the start of grad school and (hopefully) having a baby. But, being even further away from where our little one is growing and developing was difficult for me. For as much as I love to travel (and it is truly one of my favorite things in the whole world), throughout our trip my heart was beating two time zones away and my mind was preoccupied with the health, safety, and progress of both Elle and the baby.

Learning how to manage the surrogacy and long distance parts of this pregnancy– whether at home or while traveling– has been challenging for me at times. I am so grateful to be able to say that I trust Elle completely. I have no doubt in my mind that she is doing everything in her power to give our child a great start in life. But there are very few times when I am not reminded that this is an abnormal situation.

Each week as we reach another small milestone in the pregnancy, I research the ways our baby will be developing in the coming days, look up photos of what he/she might look like, and read about how Elle’s body is starting to change. Every single website and book is directed at mothers-to-be who are carrying their own babies. Absolutely no one takes into consideration that you may be starting a family in any way other than what is traditional. And it sucks. I know we are part of such a tiny fraction of pregnancies, but as someone who has spent so much time feeling isolated and devalued with regard to fertility, I had hoped to feel a little more included. Clearly I don’t fit in here. Usually I don’t even feel like I belong.

A few times on our travels it came up that we are expecting, and of course, every single person assumed that I was the one carrying the child. Not one of them could look at my body and tell that it is a dangerous place for a baby. They had no idea what we had to sacrifice to get here. And to be honest, I loved every minute of it. I loved being able to pretend– for just a little while– that we are normal young couple, pregnant naturally like everyone else. But just like the end of the trip, that had to come to an end. We are home again now and I am back to being the woman you know who couldn’t carry her own child.

Thankfully, this past Friday we were given good news at our second ultrasound. Our baby has grown noticeably since the first scan and we saw some easily recognizable features this time. It is incredible to know that all of the major organs will have already developed, even though the baby is still only measuring about 2cm long. In just two weeks “Sweet Pea” (the name Elle & I have been using for the baby) has more than tripled in size and will continue to grow rapidly. We were also able to hear the heartbeat again, which has climbed up to 170bpm. Best of all, almost as soon as we were able to see the screen, the baby gave us a little wave followed by a jump later on in the appointment. It is in those moments that there is no pain over the road we had to walk. It may not be normal, it definitely isn’t traditional, but nothing matters more to me than having that baby in my arms someday.

I won’t be adding ultrasound photos to my posts out of respect for those who may be reading this and struggling, but if you would like to see the 8-week pictures you can visit the designated page via the blog menu or click here:


12 thoughts on “Back From the Road

  1. Aww, that sounds fantastic! Love the photos – it looks like such a lovely place. And so nice for you to spend some quality couple time together! We have a long weekend coming up and I’m really looking forward to it!

    I really feel for you about that just wanting to be normal comment… I think that’s how many of us feel after the years and years of struggling with infertility. Even though I am (for now, fingers crossed) carrying a baby, I still feel resentful that I can’t just relax and enjoy the pregnancy and feel optimistic, because I’m so scared everything is going to go wrong and we’ll be back at the starting point. I feel like everyone else just does it easily and doesn’t have to think about it. That must be so difficult for you.

    But… I would try and think of it as something special and different that you’re doing. Like the kangaroo with the heartbeat on your previous post – that’s amazing. Elle sounds like she is really sharing the experience with you, and that is amazing. I can’t imagine what it feels like to have a gestational carrier but I was the result of adoption – another “different” way to make a family, and last weekend when I was with my parents we were talking about when they got me. And I could really sense the excitement and understand a little bit what an experience it was – I was their first. So I hope you don’t feel like your experience is the lesser because of how you are having your Sweet Pea. It’s just a different and special experience that not that many people get to have! And it is only going to get more special and wonderful!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know exactly how you feel; it is hard for me not to feel resentful that others seem to have such carefree pregnancies when I am feeling as though the rug will be ripped out from under my feet at any given moment. Especially since this will likely be the only pregnancy we get to experience, I want to just be able to enjoy it! Also, it is just too hard to explain to people who don’t understand, so I am still feeling so isolated. I knew it would be like this somewhat, but I didn’t know it would be to this extent.

      Thank you for everything you said in your comment. Elle is truly amazing and she has been so good about sharing– it is always “WE are 9 weeks” and never “I”… in fact, at one point the sonographer was talking to us during the ultrasound and said something like “SHE was still early last time” and it kind of caught me off guard because that is just not how we talk about the pregnancy together. I feel very lucky to be going through this with someone so thoughtful. 🙂 Unfortunately, I do feel like some people view it as a “lesser” way to have a child, but I just have to remind myself that that says more about them than it does about me.

      I hope you guys enjoy your long weekend!! You have certainly been working hard enough for it– you deserve some real time off!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah Go sweetpea! What a great 8wk picture you got, s/he looks baby-like! (I think it’s a boy btw! I’m staking my bet early!)
    It is so hard to feel outside of the ‘norm’. At ten weeks ahead of you I am still struggling with this but I am getting there slowly. I am finding it easier now to look at this whole journey as a privilege that not many people get to experience, it might be harder to be unusual but in so many ways it is so much more beautiful 🙂 There is extra love in our stories because if Elle and SSIL didn’t have so much love to give our babies wouldn’t be growing right now, that in itself is truly incredible!
    I am so happy for you xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Arwen, you always know the right thing to say. You are so right and I really do feel privileged– not just for myself that someone is willing to do this for me, but also for the baby who is going to have this special story to tell and a unique relationship with Elle that most people will never have. It is painful and hard at times, but I truly hope that I never take for granted how incredible it is that Elle has given us this amazing gift. It does seem like it has gotten easier for you as the pregnancy has gone on… do you feel that way? Do you think that it was knowing the gender that helped you feel more connected to the baby or feeling her move? I can’t wait to have those experiences and feel more connected to our little one. This part has been harder than I thought it would be, but I am hoping that the pain starts to ease as it begins feels more “real” to us. 🙂 Thanks, Love! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s so hard at times. I found it really hard in the first trimester but the further we get along the easier I do think it is getting.
        My recommendation is to get as many scans as you can persuade Elle and your hubs to have! Also finding out the sex really really helped me bond. It felt different and that seems rough but before I knew “who” was growing in there it was much harder to attach.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh, and I have noted your bet! So far I think most people are guessing girl at this point because my sister just had a boy and my sister-in-law is pregnant with a boy, but we will see. I will be SO happy either way. We’ve got a little more than 2 months to go and are planning to be there in person for that scan so I really cannot wait!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m basing my guess purely on the study I read that said ~75% of higher quality embryos (AA/AB/BA) embryos are boys and ~70% of lower quality (BB/BC/CB/CC) embryos are girls! Yours was AB? Stevie was BC!

        Liked by 1 person

    3. I don’t know where in the thread this will end up as there is no “reply” button next to the specific comment I want to reply but– that it amazing!! I had never heard of that study, but yes we were AB so I will be really interested to see how it turns out! Good to know 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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