By: Kerrie Olejarz
Cailyn was now 11 weeks old and started to laugh, a real hearty melt-my-heart-kind of laugh! Every new parent looks forward to the firsts, and the first laugh was just so enjoyable for Mark and me. The days started to become challenging as Miss Cailyn decided she was a girl who did not need naps. Some days I wished she would nap for at least an hour so I could either nap with her or get some things done around the house. No such luck with our busy and growing girl, she never napped yet continued to sleep through the night, so how could I complain! We finally purchased the new vehicle which would accommodate the car seat and all our baby gear with comfort -unlike my original car. Every day we tried to work on tummy time which was always fun for us and sometimes frustrating for Cailyn. She was magically able to throw her legs in the air at this age and roll over. We were noticing that she seemed quite long in length and that the typical 3-6 month sized jammies were a bit snug in length. At around week 13 Cailyn discovered television and this became her new obsession; if the tv was on she would contort herself in whatever way needed to look at it. Our new parent insecurities kicked in worrying about too much television and the effects on children, then, we decided to not worry about this and that in some way it provided visual and audio stimulation for her. It is so easy to get caught up in the must and must not do’s of parenting, and I think the best approach is to do what feels right in the moment, or figure out what works for you and your new baby and just go with it. We continued to be bombarded with unwanted advice but had gotten much better at laughing it off. We often joked about some of the crazy advice we were given which I think actually helped keep us sane! It was mid November and starting to get cold here, not cold like most Novembers, which was great as it allowed us to go out for a walk every day. Cailyn was still very young but seemed to enjoy the great outdoors, the cool winds and the sunny days. Every day was the same, but different. The same routine stuck around and it seemed to work. Cailyn continued to have gas and fussiness and spit up after every feed. The differences in the routine were where she would spit up in the house and what part of my body was splattered with semi digested formula. My two least favourite landing spots were 1. down my v-neck t-shirt into the cups of my bra and 2. smack dab into my crotch – nothing like warm formula puddled into your crotch as you continue to pat and rock a gassy baby! Not a day went by where my wardrobe was safe – every day I was covered in dried up spit up in some not so appealing spots! Between my spit up on clothes, Cailyn’s 10 outfit changes a day and Mark’s daily clothing plus his spit up clothes we seemed to have a fair bit more laundry than life before baby. I prayed for these days and as much as I hate doing laundry, it was always a pleasure to pull out tiny little socks or undershirts from a hot dryer. By the end of November Cailyn was finally starting to take a power nap during the day. It was 20 minutes on the dot; no less, no more. Barely enough time for me to pee or shower! These days are looked back upon with great fondness and love. As stressful as the gas and spitting up were, we would not change a thing. Christmas was fast approaching and I wondered how I would finally feel, being a mom at Christmas? Most Christmases for me in the past felt empty and dreaded. I typically hate the holidays and I was anxious to see how this one would play out emotionally. To circumvent any old feelings we decided to actually put up a tree and add some lights to our gardens outside. If getting into the spirit needed a push then we were on it , hoping and praying it would help break the painful memories of the past. The weeks were flying by at this point and we were enjoying every moment of having Cailyn in our lives. It was hard to believe that Cailyn was almost 14 weeks! Being home with her was not about surrogacy anymore, it was about enjoying her and our days as a family. It is hard for me to disconnect from the world of Indian surrogacy as I had spent almost 4 years engrossed in it. Everyday I would get up before Cailyn, make a coffee and catch up on all the surrogacy in India blogs and forums. I continued to cheer on the ever hopefuls, console the folks who had received negative betas, and congratulate those who finally met their firstborn. I chose to stay connected and others choose to close this chapter of their life and not look back. For me, I wanted to continue to share my experiences and knowledge and also enjoy watching all these international babies growing in India.