For all intents and purposes it is much easier for me to refer to the parents as F & N. Our trips to Toronto have been long and tedious. Since October we have spent 5 hours on the road every few weeks. It was time away from my kids that my amazing husband picked up the slack. Even though the drive was exhausting some days, it was also the time spent getting to know each other on a deeper level. We would laugh and share secrets. We would discuss parenting ups and downs and the challenges they were about to face. I got to help F pick out the wedding invitation and the photographer for their upcoming marriage in the summer of 2013. Our long travels would sometimes have us staying in hotels, eating junk food, watching ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, and meeting some of F & N’s amazing friends and family. Leaving behind these trips is bittersweet for me. It was easy time to catch up on what was new in our lives, discover new hopes and dreams and get to know more about the two people I am helping become parents. But let’s face it – the driving was so long and exhausting too! So our last trip brought mixed feelings, but very new adventures… It had been a few weeks since our ‘Kangaroo Pouch’ story. We had the children’s permission to go ahead, but we hadn’t progressed further. Our last trip to Toronto was our opportunity to really show Madelyn the baby Mommy was going to carry. So we travelled to Toronto on Sunday afternoon and F & N booked two rooms for us at the Days Inn. We went to the Rainforest Café at Yorkdale Mall, which was an experience all on its own. That night after getting our Pajamas on, we went to say goodnight to F & N. Our short goodnight turned into a 1.5 hour lesson in how perceptive children are. I told Madelyn the next day we would be seeing the baby inside Mommy’s tummy and F & N went ahead to ask Madelyn for some advice about raising a baby. I saw in her heart a real tenderness for the two people who she has grown to adore. I saw the goodness and beauty in her heart as she took N’s arms and shared how to properly cradle and rock a baby when it cried. She explained that when a baby pooped they had to change its diaper. Very important purchases were baby toys, blankets, and a crib. She told them all about feeding a baby milk from a bottle, because when a baby cries it is usually hungry. Sincere advice from a four-year-old came freely. I sat back on the couch and watched my first-born proudly, knowing I did just fine teaching her all the important things in life. While snuggling in bed that night, she and I talked more about her understanding this isn’t Mommy’s baby and it wasn’t coming home with us. She asked me if we could have more babies and I told her how happy I was with the four beautiful children I had now and that I wanted to spend all my time loving them completely and didn’t need anymore babies. She asked me some intelligent questions that surprised me, and some funny questions that shocked me, but at the end of the night I curled up with her feeling that I had made the right decision to bring her along. The next morning we were off to the Fertility Clinic to have our last visit. The big finale was about to come. As I rested on the bed, the technician brought in F & N and Madelyn to see the baby on the screen. Even I was shocked, never having had early ultrasounds for my own pregnancies, seeing how baby-like a 9 cm being could look. I couldn’t believe how much that tiny baby could wiggle around in front of our eyes. You could see its tiny toes and even its Daddy’s nose in the making! It was incredible! But even more incredible was how excited my three audience members were. Madelyn was watching intently and loving her first-hand view, while there were smiles on everyone’s faces in the rooms. The technician was amazing and printed off lots of pictures to take home, including two for Madelyn to show her siblings. Our meeting with the doctor confirmed I could go off all meds within a week and our very complicated journey to get baby to 12 weeks was now turning into the normal, healthy pregnancy we all dreamed of. With lots of hugs goodbye to the amazing doctor and nurses, we were out the door and the first part of our journey came to an end. F wanted to stop and see his Mom to show her the ultrasound picture. I had met the grandma-to-be once before, but this second meeting was different. Her English isn’t superb so we have yet to exchange much discussion personally. Translated talk is never the same, but I could tell she didn’t feel comfortable trying her English out on me. After introducing her to Madelyn, having a quick hello, getting a bag of food to go (always mandatory for this exceptional cook) she began talking with her son. I didn’t know what they were saying, but after a minute she turned to me and simply said, “Thank you.” F turned to me and said, “She wanted me to thank you for doing this. I told her to say it in her own words.” His Mom smiled at me and I felt the power of those two words. It was thank you for giving us our first grandchild. It was thank you for putting yourself through this for us. It was thank you for helping make my son’s dreams come true. It was thank you, but so much more… And the impact of what I was doing suddenly felt deeper. It wasn’t just about making two people parents. It was about creating a life that wouldn’t have been. It was about bringing the first grandchild, a niece or nephew into two amazing families. It was about something bigger than I could have imagined. And stealing the words of the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes that day. The last part of our trip took us to the Yorkdale Mall for some shopping. Of course we had to get Madelyn’s siblings a little something from our trip. Not so surprisingly I had started to already feel uncomfortable in my regular clothes and needed some maternity pants. After some fun shopping in Thyme Maternity I came out wearing a much cozier pair of pants, a few shopping bags, and a relieved smile on my face. Since our trip, Madelyn has explained to the twins all about the baby in my tummy and showed them the pictures of the baby from the ultrasound. When I ask who’s baby it is, they always respond, “F & N’s baby!” She continues to ask me every day how big the baby is getting and how long it will take for her to be able to feel the baby moving. It will be a fun journey with my whole family now as my belly grows, the relationship with F & N grows, and my appreciation grows for the long and aching process infertile couples go through to have a baby – a family. So at 12 weeks pregnant, I can safely say we have gone the distance and now can finally start breathing again that all of this is now taking shape. And so the hardest part of the journey is over… the rest should be smooth sailing for this pro!

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