Every little girl has a dream…
For many it is growing up, finding true love, getting married, and having kids.
I had the same dream. From a very young age I so wanted to be a mommy. I had a love for babies and had that natural nurturing compassionate side with kids (as much a young kid could stand of a baby anyways ha). I had many baby dolls and loved playing house all the time… I was always the mommy.
Me at age 2 holding a baby doll.
I loved holding and helping with my little cousins every time I saw them. Loved feeling like a little mommy and making them smile. I felt like a big girl helping out. I loved just holding them too (as long as they were not crying).
Me helping out withe my little cousins (On left, me at age 6 feeding my little cousin S. On right, me at age 9 holding my little cousin A)
At age 8 I wanted one of those real life like baby dolls… you know, the expensive collector ones. My parents were not so sure about it, but gave in. I got my 2nd real life collector one at age 10. They both were so life like in weight and from far away or wrapped up. I took them everywhere when I was in “mommy mode” and they got some stares like “who lets a kid hold a baby” stares. Haha. My parents even bought me a double stroller (for dolls but was big), diapers, newborn clothes…I had it. I still have these dolls by the way and they are in great shape! I was SO careful with them and rarely let others handle them. I knew in my heart I was going to be a mom one day.
My mom worried if I would ever be able to carry a baby (get pregnant) because of my heart condition (single ventricle heart/half a heart), so she would tell me from a young age all about adoption and surrogacy. She wanted me to know that even if my heart never allows me to carry a baby in my belly that I could still be a mommy if that was still my dream. She did not want my heart from stopping me from being a mom.
My mom, and I when I was 10.
At age 11, I got the BEST hands on training to be a mom ever! My mom gave birth to my little brother, Aaron. I was the youngest child for 11 years before Aaron came (I have one older brother, Ryan). I always wanted a little brother or sister… I use to ask Santa and God for one. I had given up asking for a little sibling around age 8… so it was a big surprise to get one at age 11. I was and always have been like a 2nd mom to my little brother, Aaron. Aaron and I have had a very tight bond from the very beginning. I helped with changing diapers, feeding him, putting him down for naps, changing his clothes, playing with him, watching him if my mom needed a shower, and so on… my parents knew I was a very responsible and gentle kid, so had no issues with me helping out taking care of him when I wanted to. My mom has always told me I would make a wonderful mom…. I hope she is right!
Pictures of my little brother, Aaron, and I over the years.
As I got into my teen years and knew more about the seriousness of my heart condition I worried that I may not find anyone that would want to marry me…Who would want to deal with an unknown future with my heart knowing my medical bills will be high…the worry I would put on them and everything. I felt maybe it would be unfair to do that to someone. Yet, my parents said that if someone really loves me, for me (heart condition and all), then they will not care about my heart condition, yet embrace it as part of me. I knew my parents were right, but I had doubts.
Pictures of me with my parents (Both taken in summer 2008)
At age 21 I met Chris (my now husband). I knew from the start that Chris was different then any other guy I had met or dated. Before even meeting me in person… before even talking to me he knew I had a heart condition… so I knew that was a plus as he still wanted to get to know me. Before even meeting me in person he looked up my heart condition to better learn about it! First guy to ever do that!! I knew in my heart he may be the one!
Pictures of Chris & I during our first year of dating in 2009
(An aside: You maybe wondering how Chris knew me before even ever talking to me? I know some are! So here is a quick summary. My parents divorced when I was 17. A year or so after divorcing, my dad started dating Chris’s aunt. Chris and I never met or talked until 3 years into them dating as we always missed each other at family events… plus my dad never mentioned he had a daughter directly to him until Thanksgiving 2008. My dad brought me up and how I needed help in math… come to find out we both went to the same college. I was at my mom’s side of the family that Thanksgiving, so I was not surprised to get a phone call from my dad to see how my Thanksgiving was going… what was a BIG surprise was him handing the phone to Chris…. a total stranger to me. So, yeah, my dad hooked me up! HA)
On left, Chris carrying me down stairs the day after my heart catherization in March 2013. On right, Chris and I this past October 2013 (we were taking Christmas pictures).
Chris has always accepted me for me! He is a very sweet and caring man who takes very good care of me. He has taken me around the US to the top doctors to find the best heart care for me. He has made sure I have good health insurance and that I am happy. He is ok with being the sole provider and knew from the start that I could only work part time because of my heart. He just wants me to doing things that make me happy! I could not ask for a better man to be my husband. Part of my little girl’s dream came true the day he came into my life even though at the time I had no idea that 3 years after meeting him that we would be married in a quick courthouse ceremony and days later moving across the country for his new job… a new adventure for us. Chris is the biggest blessing in my life! He is the love of my life and soulmate. I love him to pieces!! My mom was right about me finding someone who will accept all of me unconditionally. It has been a dream come true since the day I met Chris. We celebrated 2 wonderful years of marriage this past December 2013.
To have the rest of my dream fulfilled, I just need a baby. I am patiently waiting.. I know my time will come to be a mom. Chris and I have talked many many times about which path we will eventually take in starting a family. We decided on gestational surrogacy, which means someone will carry our biological child. For a woman with half a functioning heart, it is very risky and dangerous to carry a baby myself… most with the heart condition I have either decide not to have kids, adopt, or do surrogacy. There have been a few with my heart condition who have been able to carry, but most results are not great… the few that are do give me a small bit of hope that *maybe* I could carry, but research says that our heart will overall be slightly weakened which means years later we could run into issues from having carried… it is a VERY VERY tough and personal decision. A part of me wants that “normal” to be able to carry a baby in my belly, but in the end I want to ensure I am around for as long as possible for my future child(ren). With my heart condition and all the lifelong challenges we face already, we have a higher risk of passing away young anyways… so to put that risk even higher by carrying is something I am not sure I could do. So, for right now we decided to do gestational surrogacy. We need to pay off our college loans and be bit more stable in order to start the journey officially, but we are in the process of researching and learning all we can. The most important part is we are trying to make friendships hoping that one will turn into an offer to carry (a woman to offer to be our surrogant/carry our biological child). Maybe a family member will decide to offer instead, but maybe not. Either way, we are searching, hoping, and praying for the right person to be that very special person that will forever hold a special place in our heart… as they will be giving me the last piece to that little girl’s dream that I have wanted so badly from the time I was young…. a miracle baby.
Till that day I become a mommy, I will keep living my life to the fullest. I already have SO much to be thankful for and live a pretty happy life right now. I also have many other dreams to fulfill or in the process of. But my little girl’s dream of a being married and having kids is only half fulfilled…. so to be continued. 🙂