So at almost 19 weeks pregnant, little bambino is starting to make his or herself known. Little kicks and pokes low in my tummy remind me of how big Frank and Norm’s baby must be getting. And the kids are having a blast asking me constantly “Is it this big?” And at almost half way, we are preparing for a big milestone of the pregnancy – finding out if this baby is a boy or girl. I remember when I talked with the guys long ago before we got pregnant, about how much the gender surprise at the birth was the best ever! But they weren’t convinced and after I got pregnant I slowly changed my mind. Picture the idea of being an auntie and getting so excited about shopping, but you don’t know what to buy yet. My pregnancies were different for me. I didn’t want to know. But this isn’t my baby and it isn’t my decision, and at the end of the day I actually wanted to know! I wanted something to get excited about half way through, and I wanted to be able to see their faces and know that the next day Frank was going to be out shopping for girl or boy stuff! The thought made me smile. And so I convinced them to let me keep it a secret from them until my big birthday party on May 25th. But the deal breaker was that I couldn’t know either! So on May 23 I am going for an ultrasound and hopefully baby cooperates and spreads the legs so the technician can send a report to the OB, who will then send it to a friend of mine, who will then arrange to fill a huge refrigerator box full of pink or blue helium balloons! It is all hush, hush from us involved. And so while planning all this, I was humbled with the people who stepped forward to offer help in any way they could to make the day special. I had good friend Stacey Haggerty lend me her tent for the food. I had a local photographer Renee Laurin offer to come take pictures of the gender reveal – free of cost. Friend and local cake maker extraordinaire Chris McAdams is making a birthday cake for me, a birthday cake for Madelyn (my daughter who turns 5 on May 24th) and a special cake for the parents to be. Her talent will be on display, but the fact that her and her family will be celebrating with us makes it even more amazing. I had friends and family offer to bring food, wanting to bring gifts for the parents to be, and the list goes on. The people who adorn the guest list are the ones who I love and the ones who have supported me in this decision. The list also includes friends and family of Frank and Norm’s and I am thrilled that they are coming to share in the day with us. It reminds me again of how loved this baby will always be when it is welcomed into the world. I also want to take this time to appreciate the other surrogates I have come to know and respect, who are also coming to celebrate and support us. And for the ones who can’t make it but have always been there to listen. Jennifer Dietrich is one such woman who I have met and grown close with over the past 8 months and I can honestly say I know we’ll be friends for life. She was with me the first time I had to give myself an injection, she was at my 24 hour beck and call if I ever needed her for worries or questions about anything. She has truly been my rock during all of this, because she has been through it and understands. Sally Heinrich runs Surrogacy in Canada Online and was the reason I found Frank and Norm in the first place. She is an amazing woman who constantly gives of herself for all the surrogates and intended parents in her program. I could never thank her enough for making my decision to be a surrogate so easy. Another friend for life. And so as the party draws nearer, I am getting nervous and running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I want everything to be perfect! The day marks my birthday but it also marks the 20th week of our journey in bringing this sweet baby into the world. I will have friends and family here to celebrate that and I couldn’t ask for anything more. So if there are still weeds in the flowerbeds and the citronella candles don’t deter the mosquitoes from nibbling, or the pig farm happens to be smelling like a pig farm that day, I apologize, but have another beer, eat some more food and bask in the glory that makes miracles. For those coming from near and far – thank you with all my heart!