Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Very Thankful Year


      Before writing this entry I went through and read all the ones preceding it. It kind of took my breath away to see where God has taken us in such a relatively short amount of time. We are beyond thankful for everything this last year has brought us. We cannot even really begin to describe just how excited we are for this next year. We are finally REALLY excited.

I made this at a workshop last weekend. 

For those of you who are visiting our blog for the first time... there is actually something we need to let you in on.... We've hit a milestone. Having been together as long as we have... I feel like each section of our life has not just been a different "chapter." Each has been a full on novel in its own right. Having survived our awkward teenage years... aimlessly sprinted through our twenties... now in our thirties we are beginning to write a new book and introduce a new character.

This coming Sunday we will officially be 13 weeks pregnant, via gestational surrogacy. As unconventional as our means to get here may be... God has been there with us every step of the way; through the planning, the research, when telling family and friends about our plans... through the shots and the hormones, financially and emotionally, through the disappointments and those moments of anticipation, utter shock and joy, He has been there to see us through.


This time of year is of course known for the food and family gatherings. And I know it’s Erika’s favorite time of the year. I have slowly gotten around to being a bit more joyful and in the “spirit” of the season. I have in the past, thought that we should be like this year round and not just during these two months. It’s kind of how I feel about my birthday sometimes. It's just another day, nothing should be different. 

This thanksgiving however IS a little different. This year we have something that being thankful for is just not enough. Our journey to grow our family has included many people mentioned and not mentioned in this blog. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for all of those who have given life to our baby. There are many people in our fertility circle that have chosen a humble profession and dedicated their lives to help people like Erika and I. There are people like Tina and her family who have given their lives aiding in giving life to another. Then there are family and friends who have supported us with words of encouragement, love, and understanding. There are few moments in the year that we focus on thanking these people. So I’m happy there is a season to say in words, prayers, and thoughts how Thankful I am. If you're reading this, thank you and know that I love you. 

Here is a look at baby at 10 weeks. The size of a kumquat, I think.

Baby 10wks from Erika Perales on Vimeo.

Feel free to follow our blog to get updates on how our little Blueberry is doing. We love hearing from you guys in comments, calls, texts, or in person!

"We are thankful for your 10 little fingers and your 10 little toes, and your cute little chin.... that you are growing healthy and strong and are beginning to wiggle around. You are the biggest blessing we could have ever wished for and we grow more and more thankful each day." ---excerpt from a letter to our baby

Friday, November 20, 2015



So the last time we went in to see baby... there was a lot of head tilting. We were struggling to figure out which end was up.

Not this time. 

This time, even though only the size of a large blueberry, it looked like a baby! We could easily see its head, its belly, and tiny nubby arms and legs. We could even see its heart beating through its little chest and its brain through its little head.

To top it off... it mooooved. It wiggled its tiny shoulders and I could not believe it! It was DOING stuff! It was an adorable, tiny, little wiggly BABY!!! This was the first moment for me that I reeeally, deeply exhaled. It all became super real. I felt like baby was telling us, "It's ok! Don't worry anymore! Here I am!" I didn't want that moment to end. 

I think that day alone I must have watched the video, like, 100 times... and at least 100 more times since! 

In SUCH LOVE with this little wiggly baby. Our tiny dancer

8WksBabyP from Erika Perales on Vimeo.


Our last meeting gave us a small glance at our little one. The beat of a heart was an introduction to this brand new life Erika and I had made. As I stared at the, now familiar, monitor, we saw our little gummy bear floating around in the black space of fluid, swimming around in Tina’s belly. It looked so big on the monitor but in reality it was only about a half an inch big. 

Erika had shown me these baby growth videos earlier and looking at our child I could imagine all the changes going on inside. Cells going here for developing the skin others going somewhere else to build bones and muscles. We were also able to get a longer listen to our child’s heartbeat. As I heard the fast beat of the pulse on the monitor I felt in total awe. I knew each beat was providing nutrients and blood to this quickly growing baby.

A new feeling of security rather than anxiety filled me up. We had passed the “hold our breath” moments of a pregnancy and moved into “what size fruit are you?" I could now look at the screen and not be on edge. Everything out of the nurse's mouth was positive. Knowing this brings me peace. 
...Something that we may not have much of in a few months. Ha.

"The awe and wonder we feel each time we get to see you on the screen, grows more with each visit. One of your tias said that this sense of awe will last forever. With every new thing you do and each moment we witness... that feeling will never ever go away."
---excerpt from a letter to our baby

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tiny & Strong


          Going through this surrogacy process and going in for appointments with our fertility clinic has given us a perspective on life and the whole babyhood process that we may not have been super aware of, otherwise. Even before transfer I used an IVF website that helped calculate and project a potential due date and it gave me all of the teeny tiny little milestones our little Baby Blast would be experiencing. 
      At the time of our Beta test, Baby was only 4 weeks old (poppyseed status). But even just 1 week later, the heart was going to begin contracting! It was 4 days after our positive test, well into week 5, and the heart was set to start doing its thing on October 3rd, (according to my calculator #nerd). Coincidence or not, we were out celebrating my brother's birthday that day, and I found this in my drink. <<<
      Our next appointment at week 6 was going to be a big one. This was going to be our first time hearing the heartbeat, hopefully, if detectable. Walking in there I was scared... nervous... had no idea what to expect. Keep in mind, up to this point I was still kind of everywhere with my emotions and was praying so hard that I be able to handle the day well. I was telling myself... well, it's still early, so maybe the heart won't be loud enough... we probably won't be able to see anything.... Totally psyching myself out. We met up with Tina and we were all hugs and nervous smiles. And then we went in. 

Super teeny tiny, like a lentil, it's hard to even see. We were actually twisting our heads a lot at this appointment 
trying to figure out the difference between sack and baby.
Sack is to the right. Baby is to the left... looks like a little snowman.

But then we heard it. Faint at first... then booming. At 6wks 4 days, heartbeat was at 124. "Perfect," according  to the nurse. People ask what my reaction was... and honestly I think it was PURE SHOCK. 
Jaw on the floor silence and then some nervous giggles (listen for Luis).... 
Like... Holy crap... that's our baby.... It's a little life. With a little heart. And I could hear it! Something that had seemed so far away and unattainable... was coming in loud and clear. In the video you hear it loud only for like a second, 
but I mean... just... Wow.....

Baby 6wks from Erika Perales on Vimeo.

Probably the MOST surreal moment of my life. I needed someone to slap me! ...still do!

Even earlier than this, Tina told us that she had started feeling nauseous, exhausted, and she was having a hard time cooking meat. All great symptoms for pregnancy, but we wanted to help her out in any way we could. We got her a goodie bag filled with things she'd said helped her during her other pregnancies and a few extras.

We also got her a book to read to her kids about surrogacy called, "Sophia's Broken Crayons." It is such a sweet book, that explains surrogacy from the perspective of a child and was written by a surrogate. It's beautifully written and gives lots of great information about the whole process.


In a traditional pregnancy you would have the opportunity to surprise or find a unique way of telling your parents that they are becoming grandparents. My mother has been waiting for a long time to be a grandma. A long time. Within the first year of being married she even had a dream playset built in their backyard (Erika calls it the Field of Dreams move). 

Over the years, she has adopted many of my friends children as her own and I guess I really did not understand her excitement to have a grandchild. Now as we get the gift of a heartbeat it sinks in for me that this cycle of life and death is something that happens to all of us as we mature. We spend so much time, patience, energy, love in raising our own children that the idea of that child that we raised doing the same to another life is a completion of a cycle. There was no big surprise or no crazy elaborate trickery in telling my parents. The sole beat of a heart was enough. And according to the strength of that beat my mother is certain it will be a "baron" aka boy.  

As much happiness as I have in soon becoming a parent, it brings me even more joy to know our child is going to have a family surrounding them that has been through many rough times, celebrations, and growth. More importantly it has a heart ready to be filled with love. 


For the record, I think the heartbeat would be just as strong, girl or boy.

"It's crazy that someone so tiny can have a heartbeat so strong.... Hearing your heart has made ours full." 
---excerpt from a letter to our baby