Friday, May 10, 2013


It's been awhile since either Lori or I have posted any updates on our lives. For me, it's been a wonderful ride so far. The boys are growing bigger and bigger every day. Elijah still seems to be a pound or so heavier than Jedidiah. Both boys are smiling a ton, making lots of eye contact, and generally being happy go lucky babies. Jed has started laughing. It's the sweetest sound! They both like to talk to me. I think they are getting more aware of one another. Elijah does not like when others cry, especially Jedi. He will start to cry too. They have started sleeping longer stretches throughout the night, which is very welcomed! They normally go to sleep around 7/7:30 and usually will sleep until 12:30/1 sometimes even longer until 2:30! Then it seems they both are up every 2.5 hours after that feeding. Slow progress is fine. 
Clark loves his brothers very much, sometimes too much. Haha. He loves when they look and smile at him and hold his fingers. It seems that he's favoring Elijah at this time, but mostly I think because Elijah holds his finger more when they're in the car. I keep reminding him that we need to love and give both of them attention. No favorites just as he wouldn't want the boys to have a favorite and it not be Clark too. It's just innocent now I know but it doesn't hurt to remind him when he makes those comments. 
We are usually pretty active and busy during the day. Rarely do I stay home all day long. I enjoy to venture out with either just the twins while Clark's in school Tuesday - Thursday or with all three of them the other two days. Being a mom of twins never fails to draw attention to us. I'm not sure why haha but many people talk to us when we're out. Comments usually go like this. "Oh, are they twins?" "A boy and a girl?" "Oh do they look alike?" "Are they identical?" "Do twins run in your family?" "You look wonderful for having twins." "I know so and so who has twins." "Man you must have your hands full." "They're so adorable. Congrats" Most days I really don't mind the comments. It's just on those rare days or rare moments when things are slightly stressful, it seems everyone decides to talk to us. I am unsure how to react most of the time when the topic of delivery, pregnancy, and how good I look for having twins come up. Most times I just smile and say thanks for the compliments and give the abbreviated version of their delivery as if it was me who did actually deliver them. On rare occasions, I will share our story. I don't not share because I'm ashamed or embarrassed or anything like that. It's just that most times it would just take too long and get old so fast if I explained it to everyone. Those who matter know our story. The boys will know of our journey. And that is all that is important to me ultimately. 
I don't get to talk to Lori as often as we used to or as often as I'd like or imagined. It's fair to say both our lives got pretty busy once the pregnancy was over and she resumed normal life again. I really miss her, but life just swallows you up and relationships get put on the back burner. I'm not sure what our future holds or how our relationship will evolve, but unfortunately this seems to be the natural way of surrogacy. Once the excitement of calendars, med schedules, countless appointments, retrieval, transfer, home pregnancy tests, beta tests, ultrasounds, and delivery fizzle down, things kind of go back to how they were before all that. Life goes on, families and jobs need our attention back. I want nothing more than to be able to have daily communication from both sides, but it is just too difficult with schedules. I love Lori and her family more than any word can describe. We will both have special places for each other in our hearts. I can't wait to see them again. I can't wait for her to see how much they've grown! When will that be, I'm not sure either of us really know at this point. 
When we started this blog, I worried I wouldn't be able to be as honest and open as I could be had we not "shared" it together. I want to be open. I want to express myself somewhere since I haven't been able to with anyone else really. I miss her. I miss getting texts from her. I miss how our friendship was. I miss getting responses when I text her. In all honesty, I've tried to force myself to stop texting her because the past few times I had, I didn't hear back. I know she's going through her stuff. She's back at work so juggling being full time pharmacist, mom, wife, and friend is stressful. I don't blame her or hold any ill feelings towards her. And I'm not saying these things out of malice. I care deeply for her and don't want it to just have been for us to get babies. It just sucks that life gets in the way so easily. I hope sharing my feelings can help shine light to others that everything evolves and it's no fault of anyone in surrogacy relationships.  Thanks for reading. I'm not sure if I will be posting as much anymore. I feel that chapter of our lives has closed and I'm creating another one. Here are a few pictures of the boys. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cards game

What a fun weekend we all had. We packed up the car and headed down friday afternoon to visit Lori & Ryan. We were going to a St. Louis Cards game (boo!) with them and her extended family. Although slightly windy chilly, it was an enjoyable time. I love hanging out with all of them. The Cards won (boo). Elijah slept the entire game and car ride back to their house. Jedidiah, not so much. Saturday we got to see Koen and Brayden play in their soccer games. Makes me so excited for Clark to start up soccer in the fall.
Later that day was church and then we went to Ryan's brother and sister in laws' house. We have always struggled with Clark eating. We are lucky when he eats anything else besides a peanut butter n jelly sandwich. Well he ate an entire hit dog! This is very newsworthy. :) I was shocked. No threats, no bribes. He just sat and ate it plus I think he had some beans. He's gotten a soft spot recently for Dr. Pepper which I'm not thrilled about but it happens so infrequently that I allow it.
Late last night, Joe's dad came down by train for the Blackhawks v Blues game that was today. He was going along with Ryan and their boys and Joe and Clark. By the end of the first period, Joe had managed to get Brayden to cheer for the Hawks! Haha. They sounded like they had a memorable time. The little boys, on the other hand, were pretty fussy and unhappy today. I had to constantly be holding one baby at all times. Overall, we had a great time spending time all together again. I wish we lived closer to them, but at least all the boys did really well on the drive there and on the way back.
I'm hoping it is just a phase they're going through. Elijah started off being the needy one who always needed to be held and snuggled and was never content just being set down. Jedidiah was the independent one, patiently waiting while I would attend to Eli. Now, Jedi needs me to constantly hold him, shush him, snuggle him, rock him. He does not enjoy being on the floor by himself to play. He always seems to be in a cross mood while Elijah is usually smiling, cooing, taking in the world. Don't get me wrong, Jedidiah has some fun moments throughout the day, but he seems to be more crabby than happy lately.
Elijah has surpassed his younger brother in weight. At our last appointment, Eli was 8 pounds, 10 ounces while Jedi was 7 pounds 13 ounces. We ended up bringing Jedi in for a weight check a week after that appt and he had gained 3 ounces. He know seems to be filling out and eating more each feeding. We have our 2 month appointment this Thursday at 11. I'm not looking forward to them getting shots. Hopefully they won't hurt too bad.
They are starting to outgrow some clothes which makes me slightly sad. They are no longer tiny little babies but 2 month olds! Eli is fully out of NB clothes while I can still get away with a few things on Jedi. The only problem is the 0-3 and 3 month clothes are just too big on them both still. So either Eli looks like a chunk shoved into NB clothes or he is slightly swimming in his clothes. Clark's clothes seem to have been sized bigger 4 years ago and now things are smaller.
I'm loving being a mommy to twins and their older brother. I always get the questions from strangers, in this order :: •are they twins? •are they boy and girl? •are they identical? •you look great for just having twins! •oh man, are you getting any sleep? I also get the occasional:: do twins run in your family which is a question I'm not sure how to answer. I guess that depends on my mood. Do I really feel like explaining my whole life story to someone or is it easier just to give a simple "yes, my mother in law is a twin. So it could be genetic?" Other times when I've got some time I will explain our unique situation. I'm def not ashamed nor embarrassed of how we formed our family. It just seems pointless to waste time to a stranger but that's how surrogacy is in the dark to so many people. They just don't get it and I should be able to help give it a good light since media usually is giving it a terrible one.
It's challenging being a mom to multiples plus a 4 year old, but I take it one step at a time. I count my blessings often and am just so happy to be able to have these children. I'm so lucky. Yes, I'm usually exhausted and short of patience come 7 pm. Yes, my house is a disaster most of the time. Yes, I rarely have time to make myself presentable. But I know it's a stage. It won't last forever. Soon, they'll be Clark's age and fairly independent. I'm trying to just enjoy the moment, enjoy them being babies and needing their mommy to snuggle with them. Soon enough, they'll be too big for my arms, too heavy to lay peacefully on my chest fast asleep. I wouldn't change anything (except a little bit more help during the night from my husband ;-) )

Monday, February 25, 2013


We headed out of the house at around 6:15 am. We stopped at dunkin doughnuts for some bagels. Lisa is so thoughtful, and she wanted to get bagels for all the nurses helping make our day perfect!!!

We were taken to a room immediately when we arrived. Our nurse was Chris and she was beyond amazing. They placed my IV with only one try and I was getting all of the fluids I needed to head back for surgery! The nurses brought in scrubs for my hubby and for Lisa and Joe and they got all dressed and we were ready!!! My parents and best friend Brianne were there and we all joined hands to say a prayer to God for him to watch over us and protect us.

The nurses took great care of me in the OR. Rick held my hand during the spinal and they all talked me through each step and kept me warm and comfy. My blood pressure dropped and started to make me sick but the anesthesiologist was right there giving me meds to help and kept me comfortable. Then in came the crew!!! Things went very quickly. Ryan held my hand and just behind them Lisa and Joe watched.

I felt a little pressure on my belly then heard the precious cry of Elijah Jerek as he entered the world at 9:48 am. It was so amazing to look at the faces of Lisa and Joe as they saw their child be born! Then moments later I heard the cry of Jedidiah Jacob born at 9:50am. The nurses cleaned them up a little and let me catch a glimpse of each one. Lisa and Joe were right there taking pics and soaking in their children!! They weighed Elijah first at 6lbs12oz! Then Jedidiah at 6lbs14oz!! Big healthy twin boys! Then they all went out with the babies and closed me up and I was off to recovery.

Chris was there to take amazing care of me. She helped to manage my pain and keep me from getting sick. Things went very smooth. Both babies were doing great. JJ was cleaned up first and brought to me. It was amazing to get to finally meet the laid back baby from the right side of my belly! He was perfect and sweet and wonderful. He ate like a pro and was happy in his mothers arms!! EJ had some quick breathing so they watched him a little longer in the nursery. Then we were moved upstairs to our room and they finally brought the super hungry EJ to me. He was the energetic baby I expected from the left side of my belly! He did great eating too. Probably bc he had to wait longer and was soooo hungry!!

That is our birth story! Two wonderful and healthy baby boys!

Elijah Jerek 6lbs 12 oz
Jedidiah Jacob 6lbs14 oz

We had some awesome visitors! My support team!! My amazing children and my mom! My kiddos were so excited to meet the babies! they loved to hold them and so was my mom! It was so much fun to see them all so excited! We spent the next 48 hours all together. Lisa and Joe basically moved into our room. We spent almost every moment together just witnessing the miracles that God created. The boys were given a clean bill of health and called "PERFECT" by the pediatrician. Them we said see you later and they headed home to share these miracles with their anxiously awaiting family!!!

That is what heaven sent surrogacy is all about! Thank you God. All of the glory goes to you we are in awe of your goodness and your love.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Last pic of my belly just hours before the babies arrive.

6 am! About to leave the house!! Babies will be coming into the world in just a few hours!!! Here is my final belly pic! Bye bye baby bump!!

Hello babies!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

24 hours can you believe it?!?!

This has been such am amazing journey!! Two families have come together to create these two precious boys!!! The cross/manzi family has been so wonderful to us. We have just felt like part of the family from the very beginning!! I love how much support I have from my own family as well! We are all so blessed! My church family has been praying for all of us all through the journey too. I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way.

This time tomorrow I will lose a large part from my belly, but fill up so many hearts!!! These boys are so loved already by so many people!!! What lucky boys!! Coming into the world loved by Dad, Mom, grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles, and so many more in their own family. Then you add in myself and all of my family who love these boys a ton and are so excited to meet them!! Like I said they are very lucky boys!!!!!

It has been an amazing journey and I couldn't have asked for anything more.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

2 days, what?!

We have less than 2 days!! Holy crow!! I can't believe how quickly it flew by! This day never seemed like it'd get here, and now here we are... We are leaving here tomorrow morning to make the drive down to Lori's. We will have a "last" breakfast as a family of 3, then drop Clark off at school, and start the drive. It should only take us about 4 1/2 hours, but supposed to be terrible weather so it might take us closer to 5-5 1/2. As long as we get there by night and safely, there is no rush. Our c-section is 9 am Friday. Lori was able to have the nurses speak the anesthesiologist that will be there on Friday and he said we are welcome to come into the OR!! Yay!!!! Very very exciting!! I can't believe next time I blog, I will be a mom to 3 boys! Eep!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Getting so close! How big are they?!?

I just wanted to update since we are getting so close!!! Had an appointment,NST,BPP, and A growth ultrasound today! Lisa's boys are looking amazing as usual!! Studs on the NST and the BPP!! Growth shows baby A at a little over 6lbs and baby B is almost 7lbs!!! Now that's a lot of baby I am carrying around! So thrilled for healthy weights and hearts and all!! NST this Friday and next Tuesday! Last dr appt on Tuesday then the boys make their grand entrance next Friday!!!!! Where did the time go!?!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chugging along

We have been chugging along this pregnancy. We had a tiny scare a couple weeks ago with Lori having significant contractions, but no dilation. She was put on modified bed rest, to be reevaluated in a week. During that week, the contractions calmed down and became more sporadic. At her next appointment, her cervix was starting to thin out, but still no dilation. She was taken off modified bed rest, but was not/is not able to work until she delivers. Her doctor didn't want to risk her going into labor, especially with her long work hours and being in MO for work. I'm pretty relieved that that happened. She has a job that requires her to be on her feet most of the 10 hours. It's nice that these last few weeks she can take it easy, put her feet up, get a massage.
We visited them this past weekend. Their family and her extended family all get together in St. Louis for Monster Jam. We joined them. It was such fun!! Very loud, though. Clark and her kids had a blast! We then hung out with their friends for the Super Bowl. I love them and their friends! They are all such wonderful, welcoming people :)
Monday we had our hospital tour at the hospital that Lori has delivered her children at and where the boys will be delivered. It was so informative! We got all of our questions answered which is a great relief. We now know what to expect. They now have faces to match the names on our PBO. We signed all the necessary paperwork for the boys' after birth care as well. Joe and I will be getting our own room at the hospital! We can take full care of our boys while they need to be in there. Lori will have her own room as well, and we will be able to visit her whenever (especially at the early mornings ;-) ) Lori is going to breast feed the boys as long as she feels comfortable during their stay. We will also be feeding them bottled breast milk during the night.
Lori had her OB appointment and NST today at 35+2. Things are looking great. They think she will make it to our scheduled c-section, February 22 at 9 am. I still think she might go earlier, February 16, and my husband thinks February 11. We were finally able to find out the boys' estimated weights from her 33+3 week ultrasound. Baby A is 5 pounds even, and Baby B is 5 pounds and some grams. So they have evened out their weights. They seem like great weights for that age, and especially great since they are twins! Hoping they continue to put on that fat and come out around 7 pounds each!!
I have everything ready for them at home. The last of the bottles and nipples are being washed as I type this. I ordered some boppy covers which came in this weekend. I put them on tonight and they look awesome!! I will have to take pictures and post them. The car seats are installed. The clothes are all washed. Two weeks and 2 more days until we meet our boys!! Can't believe this whole journey has flown by! <3

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Crib sheets

I'm on a birth board for March. There was a DIY post for crib sheets. Looked simple enough and possibly less expensive than buying crib sheets at the store. I know how to sew. I had just sewed Clark's Halloween Jedi costume when I saw the post. I decided to go to Joann fabrics and buy some fabric to make the boys' crib sheets. Found some super cute dinosaur ones and some cute whale ones. Decided to get the dinosaur ones first, then if it was as easy as it looked, I'd come back for the whales ...
I'm not going back for the whales. It wasn't hard per say. It was slightly time consuming. I made many mistakes. But I did it. And I love the end results. They may not be as perfect as brand name sheet, but it's made out of love. They are on the boys' beds. I smile every time I look at them. They're going to look so adorable laying on them. I can't wait to bring them home.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

31 weeks, 4 days

I can't believe we are 31, almost 32 weeks!! Yippee! What an awesome feeling!! 
In other news, I have stopped trying to induce lactation. There was a mix up with my birth control, forcing me to start pumping sooner than I really had wanted to. I pumped for a couple days and ended up stopping. The toll it was starting to take on my body was foreshadowing to how it'd be like once the boys got here, but worse. I wanted to give it a try and to bond with them that way, but He had other plans. My health truly does need to come first. So after months of going back and forth between formula and Lori pumping for us, or just formula, or donor breast milk and Lori pumping, or just donor milk, Lori will pump for the boys! What an amazing gift she's giving us. I didn't want to burden her with that task because of my experience with pumping, it gave me a negative view of how it might be for her. And I didn't want that. She's already "given" us over a year of her and her family's life, plus the trials of carrying twins. I didn't want it to feel like a chore or a burden on her to be pumping throughout the day and night. I didn't want to be selfish. She wants to give them the gift of breast milk. We also have accepted a freezer full of frozen breast milk from an amazingly generous woman I knew from high school. That will help us with beginning feedings while Lori's supply comes in. From what I have read, it takes a couple days for the milk to come. So instead of feeding them formula in the hospital and for the first few days until we can meet up with Lori again, we will supplement with this donor milk. So we have shifted from supplementing formula to providing them with breast milk only. I am so happy for that, not that I have anything against formula. Clark received BM from our former surro as well as formula. He turned out just fine :) It just will be nice that they will have exclusive bm at least for the first few months. We will cross that bridge shall we need to.
The cribs are up! I am sewing them crib sheets, which I hope to complete this weekend. I will post pictures when I finish. We have a few more things to do to complete their "nursery" but we are mostly fully ready for them! We shall be receiving their car seats this weekend, all washed and new looking. Clark's car seat was used by my niece. I will wash the cover this weekend. We are borrowing my other nieces' car seat from my SIL. She is washing it this weekend as it is still being used, until this weekend. Once those are in our possession,  I can take a big sigh of relief to know that we are officially "ready" for them. I do not want them just yet, but at least we are prepared for them when they do make their arrivals. We have a double snap 'n go. My sister gave me a wonderful custom made baby carrier, which I am so thrilled to try out! We also have 2 mobys. I plan on wearing at least one baby as much as possible. I never knew those types of things existed with Clark. So I want to do it often with boys to promote more bonding with them. Plus, it might make things slightly easier since now I will have a 4 year old in the mix.
Coming soon.. our "nursery" pictures!


We sent in our pre-birth order paperwork back in October or so. Called the IL State Dept of Vital Records today to make sure they had received the paperwork and that it was correctly filled out. Yay! They received and it was filled out correctly!! Called the hospital we will be delivering at. Made sure they received our paperwork; They did! Set up a hospital tour and chat with the L & D charge nurse for the Monday following the weekend we will be down visiting the Rineys for Monster Jam and Super  Bowl Sunday. It's all coming together. It's hard to grasp that in 6 weeks, we will finally meet our boys. We've waited so long to be this far along.. Our goal right now is to make it past 32 weeks. The hospital can handle the babies after the 32 week marker. Once we pass that, it'll be 34 weeks, then 36. Every day they stay in there, means less time in the NICU, and that is my ultimate goal: No NICU time. I want them coming out healthy and ready to thrive in this environment. I keep trying to imagine the day of their births. I know we are scheduled for a 9 am c-section. Lori tells me we need to be there 2 hours early. I picture Joe and I spending most of the 21st night tossing and turning unable to get any important sleep. I picture the bundle of nerves I will have in my stomach as we head out the door. Will we stop to get some Starbucks as our lives as a single child family comes to an end and we embark into a 3 children family. I might need all the caffeine I can get that day. ;-) I am so so excited to be going through this with such awesome people. We have come such a long way since first meeting. I consider them my family now, whether they like it or not. They mean so much to us. I am feeling anxiety about how our relationship will shift. Will we still have the same type of relationship that we've developed over the year? Will I be too exhausted to text her like I usually do? I know in my heart, I will never stop loving her or wanting to talk/text her. She is giving me the (second & third) greatest gifts I could ever desire. I want her to remain as close to me as we are now. Our lives will take different turns, but the boys will always hold us together. I wish we lived closer, so I could visit more often. But that isn't the case. Luckily, Joe and I never mind traveling, especially to St. Louis, especially if the Blackhawks have games versus the Blues. ;-) So I find comfort that they are only a drive away. I want the boys to know her, and to know Ryan and Koen, Brayden, and Bella. Clark has formed a great friendship with her boys, so it'll be refreshing for him to see them often as well. So as long as they'll have us, we plan to never leave their lives. God brought our families together for a reason and a season. We are bonded for life :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Some pics!

Here are some pics I wanted to share. Our growing baby bump and some of the latest pics of the babies

Today 30 weeks 4 day

Baby A-EJ

Baby B-JJ

Happy healthy moving babies!!!!