Last night, I dreamed of a dark and billowing mass of smoke. It was eager in its searching, slithering low like a snake and sniffing pointedly like a rabid dog. It moved quickly, but there was no need for stealth; it was invisible and weightless it its hunt. It would creep up a person’s back or wind itself around someone’s shoulders. Though it wasn’t seen, there was a palpable shift in the air when it was near. Maybe the person felt a sudden chill. Perhaps the hairs on the back of the neck would stand on end, with the odd feeling of being watched. The seemingly causeless whisper of paranoia would dissipate as soon as the entity left. It would inhale the person’s scent deeply, deliberate for a moment, and then dismissively move on, leaving a vapor of charcoal dust in its wake.

It snaked its way through the streets, moving quicker still as it sensed it was closing in on its prey. The scent was a homing beacon, growing stronger as the entity drew closer. Now rushing, it sped into a familiar building, slithered up the steps, and into the room. It stopped short, then sinuously rose to hover over the bed where the sleeping boy lay. I could sense in the entity an evil smirk of satisfaction when it leaned over and whispered into Baby M’s ear, ‘I found you.”


Analysis wasn’t necessary to figure out from what dark recesses of my subconscious mind the nightmare arose. Strange thoughts can arise when in moments of mental crisis. When Former IM said, “Baby M has Leukemia,” I literally heard and saw glass crashing, as if someone had thrown a brick through a wide pane of glass. My next thought – and I know this is crazy – was that it was my fault. Not my fault through anything that I did or didn’t do when I was carrying him, but my fault because as far as surrogacy is concerned, I seem to have some sort of curse.

In my attempts to have a second successful surrogacy journey after Baby M, I’ve been matched with four sets of intended parents, have had three fresh transfers, one frozen transfer, one negative cycle, and three chemical pregnancies. I’ve never really thought of that as being “cursed,” per se, but I have spent most of the past year absolving myself of undeserved guilt and chalking it up to just dumb bad luck. But this? In the seconds after I heard Leukemia, the pieces of my mind tumbled like an avalanche. I literally shook my head in effort to clear out the sound of crashing glass and to set the broken shards right again. The reassembled picture was fractured, and what I saw was a curse – that whatever it was that took the other babies – the ones whose parents entrusted me to take care of them and bring them home – had missed Baby M the first time around and had been looking for him ever since.


Former IM is not the type who asks for help; she is a resilient, can-do type of person who doesn’t want to be a burden on anyone. But, she adapts to situations as she sees fit. Today she told me, “Moxie, let your heart lead you. I have learned quickly that people want to help, so let them help. This is about Baby M; I just can’t be prideful.”

I cannot thank you enough for the many ways in which you’ve shown your love and care. Many have shared love for Baby M through emails, Twitter, Facebook, Baby M’s Caringbridge guestbook, and here on my blog. Several of you have asked how you can help. Help is definitely needed. It will be a long, hard road for Baby M and his family, so the need for help is not only immediate, but constant. I don’t yet have an exact plan, but I am working on bringing together a few ideas. Please stay tuned through the next few days if you’re interested in helping. If you have any specific ideas or things/services you can offer in fundraising efforts, I’m all ears. You can holla at me through the Contact page above. xoxoxo

33 thoughts on “Shattered”

  1. Lori (In Pursuit of & AL staff writer), I know did a tweet a thon as a fundraiser for Project Purse and Boots and I think it was pretty successful. You have my support no matter what you come up with.

  2. I knew you’d blame yourself. (Because if I were you, I would too.)

    My thought was that you could organize someone to send him a card/present/something in the mail every week. Set up a calendar and let people volunteer for a week. And everyone takes turns and he gets something in the mail all the time.

  3. I am hopelessly un-creative when it comes to ideas of my own…
    But I will be here to do whatever you ask.

    Really. I’m all subscribed and ready to go.
    Just tell me.

  4. You did not cause this to happen. But because of you, this sweet boy and his wonderful parents have a much larger support group, and so many more prayers have been said on their behalf.

    No ideas for fundraising, but I like Jen’s idea of having a weekly care package sent to Baby M. Not only will it provide entertainment for him (what child doesn’t love receiving stuff in the mail?), but it’ll show the family just how many of us are out there rooting for them.

    A good friend of mine’s little boy went through this, starting at age 2. He’s 14 now, and the only evidence is the scar from where the port was placed. This battle is winnable.

  5. My last few years teaching I was working with students/families going through cancer treatment. Such a huge financial strain, and the last thing you want to worry about is money. So many restaurants were willing to donate a percentage of sales on a particular night to various students. And of course there were spaghetti suppers, fish fries, silent auctions, raffles….it all adds up but is able to be done because so many people work together. Teachers donated things like “A Day Out with Miss O,” tutoring hours, or had classes create things for silent auctions.

    I’m here to help too, Kym.

  6. I’ll be doing my research before you launch all your ideas and am already spreading the word back home and my mom is on board to help back there with my idea.

  7. Kym, you did everything that you could to bring life and joy to the world during every day of your surrogacy journey. Baby M is a living testament to your commitment, so please don’t let the (evil f*cking) cancer tarnish the memory of the time that he spent with you. Of course you blame yourself, because that’s what people do (and especially what women and mothers do!), but this is NOT your fault.

    I don’t have any genius ideas right this second, but will be racking my brain for ways to help.

  8. Oh Kym, I’m so terribly sorry to hear about Baby M. This breaks my heart. I can understand how you are feeling but please know, you are not at all cursed. In fact, you are blessed. And those of us who know you are blessed to have you in our lives and call you friend. I’ll be praying for Baby M.

    1. Thanks, Gia. I give up on ever being able to complete that email, with as much catching up as we have to do. Phone call sometime this weekend/next week? xoxo

  9. Kym- you have been placed in all of our lives for a reason. Even when bad things happen, there is a reason. You brought life to Baby M, immense joy to his family, and now you are bringing love and support in a time of great need. There is no dark cloud, except in your mind. Do what you do best, and continue to help those you love. You and I got through those difficult times and we doubted ourselves, but there was a reason.
    I am here to help in any way.

  10. What Niobe said.

    Also, before reading this post I went over to the Caring Bridge site and as I was there I was thinking — well, I am not really of the “it happened as part of The Plan” school of thought because so much happens that I cannot see fitting into The Plan (if there were one). But, I was thinking how wonderfully fortunate it was that *you* were Baby M’s surrogate mama because now he and his family have you on their side as they fight this thing and there could be no one better. Honest to goodness and I believe that with all my heart, so please know he is blessed, not cursed, by your presence in his life — then, and now.

  11. Oh hon…

    Praying… for Baby M (for swift and complete healing), for his parents (for peace, wisdom, security), and for you (for a peaceful mind and healed heart).

  12. El Cinco's Gran-Gran

    You know in your heart of hearts this is not your fault. I understand how the dream you had relates to what is now happening and it makes sense in a macabre, logical way.

    There is no curse… I would have felt it. I’m not going to grace this post with cliches’ and well meaning comments because to me right now you need Mother and Big Mama Wisdom!

    Big Mama would say, “Baby, don’t say that, don’t believe that because that will bring you down and you will lose faith. The Devil or whatever evil is a liar and will make you weak and weakness is what gives strength in this mess.” I know this, because she said it to me when Chanel was diagnosed with thalassemia major during her 1 year check-up.

    I won’t go into details about how I felt but I will never forget how Big Mama stayed positive and strong in her faith. One day she came to me and said she had a dream and felt a mild electrical shock and knew Chanel would be fine.

    I had to wait weeks before taking Chanel back for a follow up, in which they were going to tell me if they needed to begin transfusions. They took blood tests and I waited what seemed like hours. Finally they came in and told me her blood cells developed rapidly and literally caught up and there were more normal cells than abnormal. They did not have to do transfusions.

    Now, I don’t know if there was a misdiagnosis or not because we didn’t have the medical technology we do now and military hospitals were infamous for misdiagnosis. It didn’t matter. All I know is something “not right” was found and then it was gone. Her medical team was stunned but it taught me a lesson in humility and the power of positive thinking and faith.

    Here is the Mother Wisdom: This my dear child is not about you, its about what you can and will do. You have spread the word and there are hundreds of people willing to help in any way they can. People that have gone through this are contacting you. People in Atlanta you know have made offers to be there for the family to include giving them a place to stay. I see posts on blogs about Baby M and this condition, he’s been placed on Prayer Lists, and my group is beginning a fund raiser for him, not to mention other folks will no doubt begin other fund raisers or give what they can.

    How much of this would be happening if not for you? You have followers that look up to and respect you. There are hundreds if not thousands of people you’ve touched in some way, helped in some way, even if it was putting a smile on their face or laughter in their hearts after reading one of your threads.

    No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.
    Alan Watts

    Keep thinking positively, keep fighting, keep being the strength they all need you to be. Keep living, keeping planning, and keep faith. Ask for strength and guidance. So many times we ask for the wrong things from our Higher Power.

    Put on your Superwoman cape, get out there and kick some ass. Knowing you, you will post information about this and because of it, I wonder how you will help others.

    Guilt has no place here.

    1. You’re so right, Mom. I could hear Big Mama speaking through your words. I gave myself the weekend to be upset. I have my butt-stompin’ boots on now. 🙂

  13. It is so hard going through IF to believe that these kids are really here. I have felt about all of my kids that I’m just waiting for the shoe to drop. I think that it is natural to believe that these kids have a fragile thread holding them here because it took so much just to make them happen. Anyway…it’s not just you.

    I’m here waiting to help. I wish I was a creative leader kind of person, but I’ll have to settle for an I’m willing to follow role.

    1. Whoa – you nailed so many of my emotions with this comment. I felt like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop when I was pregnant with each of my successive pregnancies. I felt like that all through matching and cycling for a second surrogacy. When I retired, I felt like that proverbial hanging shoe was dissipated. It just wasn’t relevant anymore. Baby M getting leukemia? *THUNK* It felt like the damned shoe dropped anyway.

      To be honest, I’m usually in the “there are more qualified people to handle the heavy work, so I’m willing to follow” camp, but this is one instance where I need to put my big-girl pants on and use that crippled Type-A gene. 🙂 It’s good to know that you’re on my side.

  14. Big hugs to you.

    Based on my experience with my son, a few ideas on how to help: Feed the family. Find ways to make sure they eat good meals. Bring meals to the hospital, bring meals to their home. Find services that will deliver meals to their home. Even after my son finally came home from the hospital, it was so nice to pull something from the freezer that only needed to be heated up. I was in no place or frame of mind to cook.

    For the times when Baby M is in the hospital (especially if there are longer stays), find ways to get Baby M’s family OUT of the hospital for short periods — even if only to get some fresh air. It’s the hardest thing to do to leave your child, even for a moment, when they are in the hospital. But mom and dad need time to reenergize, and it’s amazing what a few moments outside can do.

    Add me to the list of people willing to help.

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