Monday, September 23, 2013

Reasons to Celebrate

I can't suck in my belly anymore!
Maybe when I can eat then this baby belly will pop.

There are so many reasons we need to celebrate...

BIGGEST CELEBRATION NEWS- I've been eight days hormone-free and am feeling so much different and better!  Ma and Pa took us out for dinner at Granite City Brewery to celebrate this awesome occasion.  I think there are just a few people that are close to me who really understand how horrible I felt for the first trimester of this pregnancy.  Ben told me I wasn't allowed to even discuss being a surrogate again for a long time.  My poor family has to suffer through the food issues with me on a daily basis, and it's horrible.  It's something that I can't describe to anyone and you wouldn't understand unless you have been there anyway.  I still haven't really gained my apatite back and I dread going to the grocery store, but I'm NOT feeling like I'm going to throw up all day every day and that a relief!  There are a couple of new food items that I've been able to stomach, rice with coconut milk and curry, Alfredo sauce with gluten free noodles, and dairy products: cheese, cottage cheese, and milk.  I'm sure by the end of the week that Ben and the kids will be sick of these things.  
Because I'm feeling better, I am taking Zofran one to two times per day now instead of four time a day.  It seems like I need to take it right away in the morning and I'm fine for the rest of the day, usually.  I truly hope that I'll be done with it in just a couple days!  It has been my saving grace and I'm sure that I wouldn't have gotten out of bed without it.  Thank God for Zofran!  :)

I had one day that I was able to eat CHOCOLATE!  I went to the dreaded grocery store late last week and I thought that a chocolate turtle looked tasty, so I bought it and ate it.  I have to admit that it wasn't fantastic.  It was only tolerable, but I was really happy that I didn't spit it out like I had to two days ago.  Coming from a chocolate loving family, I feel really sad that I can't just enjoy a bite of chocolate every single day.  It has to change after the pregnancy, right?  It's almost as bad as not having ice cream for a whole trimester.  I hope that will be fixed soon too so IP-B and I can share in our love for ice cream again!  People should never say, "I wish I had that problem."  This is a bad problem and no one should suffer through the dislike of chocolate and ice cream!

My paths crossed with a leadership development coach and author last week.  IP-B and I have been talking about writing a book (everyone better be nice now because you may be a part of our story *wink* actually, I'm really serious) about our surrogacy journey for several months now.  I have tried to touch base with several authors but this was clearly meant to be.  I'm finished reading his book and listened to an audio program that he lent me.  I hope that he's the one that will help us write a book...well, once we have an ending to the amazing story!

Yesterday our agency, IARC, put on a surrogacy social.  It was an event for our entire family, and our kids were so excited to meet other kids that understand what it's like to have their mom be a surrogate.  It was so cute to listen to these kids talk about the babies that are/were in their mom's tummy, and the kids telling us the best way to describe surrogacy to a kid...which is from a book-  The Kangaroo Pouch.  I enjoyed listening to the stories of the other women who have gone through so many different experiences.  Our journey has been a breeze compared to 99.9% of these other ladies.  I can't believe how many unsuccessful transfer stories I heard, and then couples or surrogates would decided to part ways after failed attempts.  UGH!  I feel like my relationship with my IP's will be a lifelong friendship!  I guess when you go through a heartache it must be different.  Ben and I left feeling overwhelmingly grateful for what we have and how smooth things are going!

Unrelated to surrogacy and because this is the celebration entry... CONGRATULATIONS to IP-B's sister who was married this weekend!  I was able to see a couple photos of the wedding and you make one beautiful bride.  I wish you many many years of happiness and joy!  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's Alive...We Heard The Heart Beating!

Yesterday we had our first "official" OB appointment.  IP-B has a new job and was unable to attend the appointment, however IP-A was able to make it!  We met with an RN, Joan, to begin the appointment.  She was so nice and full of great information.  We went through my pregnancy and medical history.  Some questions were directed toward me while others were directed toward IP-A.  I did the typical urine sample and initial blood work (everyone on this green earth will know that I don't have HIV or an STD, because I've been tested more times in the last year than most of you have ever been in your life).  The nurse was so accepting and nice when dealing with our unique pregnancy.  I honestly think we're given more time than the average Joe, or Josie, because people are so fascinated by us.  I'm the first surrogate that our doctor has seen, so this little nugget will be the first surro baby delivered by her!  It's kind of cool. 

Our OB is just the nicest there is.  She had just gotten back from the hospital after delivering a baby and we could tell she was still a little giddy.  It makes me really excited to know that she still clearly loves what she does.  She asked us if we had any questions and told us what our appointment for the day would look like.  We started by listening to the baby's heartbeat.  It took a little while to locate the baby, but finally we heard the 166bpm.  IP-A videotaped this part of the appointment so IP-B would be able to hear the little heartbeat for the first time.  I still vote it's a girl!  The smile that IP-A had definitely lit up the room.  Moments like that make this whole journey worthwhile!   

I finished up the appointment alone with the doctor.  She had to do the annual physical, etc.  I think she also wanted a little time alone with just me to see how I was doing.  It really makes me feel like she is extra thoughtful to know that she had prepared the appointment to spend time with just the two of us.  I tell my IP's everything, but I appreciate the fact that she felt the need to make sure I was doing ok. I was able to explain that I do have a bond with the baby, but it's sooooooooooooooo very different than the bond I had with our babies. I think I can liken it to the bond I have with my nieces when they were in utero.  It's a connection and love but different than our kids.  It must be the feeling that a typical surrogate has.

IP-A and I had lunch at Noodles and Company following the appointment.  It's my new pregnancy obsession.  When I say obsession, I mean I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF IT!  The Pad Thai noodle bowl is gluten free and has been in my stomach for the last three days in a row.  I'm still struggling with food issues, so it's nice to have something that I can eat and enjoy.  I honestly can't stop thinking about eating it.  I still can't eat anything sweet.  The smell of bubblegum was pleasant the other day, so I bought myself some chewing bubblegum this morning.  I didn't get more than three chew in and I spit it out.  It was waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too sweet for me.  The only other thing that sounds appetizing is seafood.  I'm not a fish eater at all, but I really want seafood.  I learned that I'm allowed one serving a week, so I think I'll be adding that to my weekly intake. 

The heightened sense of smell is getting the best of me.  Our kitchen is torn apart, we had some water leakage while we were in Canada and we couldn't get rid of the stink.  Sometimes I would walk into the house and head straight for the toilet to barf because the smell was pretty bad.  Ben tore up the floor and when he pulled out the dishwasher he discovered the stink.  The smell was/is so rancid.  After he opened the cabinet next to the dishwasher up, I held the barf in until we made it out of Menard's and I had dry heaves in the parking lot.  There was a car full of spectators watching.  Oops.  We had an insurance adjuster come out today, so we'll see where that leads us.  Ben is so amazing and has completed the demo work and is installing new flooring as I type.  The smell is much better but not gone.  The other smell that has made me gag and almost loose my stomach is fast food restaurants.  They are everywhere and they stink up the whole freaking town.  If you see me driving my mini van with my shirt over my nose, please wave!  It's a stinky situation. 

I'm winding down my medications!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I gave myself my last HcG injection tonight and I have two final days left of the rest.  I think by this time next week I'll feel like my normal pregnant self.

There is something inside me that keeps moving.  It's fun to feel the little bubbles everyday.  One night I thought she was using my uterine wall as a trampoline and just jumped for a solid five minutes.  I love feeling the movement.  I can't wait until it's really strong and my IP's can feel it.  Lydia might be almost as excited as my IP's are.  When I giggle and tell her that I feel the baby moving, she jumps up and tries to feel it.  She tells everyone that her mom is pregnant and how excited she is that we're helping a couple have a baby.  I think our kids are going to gain more out of this experience than I had originally thought.

Our next OB appointment is scheduled in six weeks!                    

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Not So Hot Right Now

Lydia took this to show my IP's what I look like after puking my guts out.
I haven't been feeling the greatest during these last couple months.  We're a little over 10 weeks now and I have less than two weeks of medications that I have to take.  I think once I'm off the meds I'll feel better.  A couple weeks ago I was feeling so miserable that I called the OB to see if there was anything else I could do to help with the nausea and help me eat more.  She suggested that I take Zofran every four hours instead of every eight.  That made a HUGE difference in my life!  The only problem is...

May Cause Constipation? The warning should read:

I haven't taken a dump in weeks.  There isn't one person who I've talked to about Zofran who hasn't gone through severe constipation.  It's way better than being nauseous all day long, so I'll take it.  I labored some poo this weekend during a 30 minute car ride home, only to proudly push out four little rabbit turds.  I'm on a stool softener to help ease the pain, clearly it's not really helping that much.  I'm confident that I'll be off the Zofran within the next few weeks and will have a happy and clean bowel soon after. 
As of today, I've lost 13lbs since the transfer.  I even threw up again from some stupid person leaving a cigarette butt still lit in the ash tray.  Why do people think that's acceptable?  I'm still only able to eat really bland food like homemade mac n cheese, soup, plain rice checks cereal, fake Velveeta cheese, fake cheese in a can on plain crackers, and my favorite is boxed mashed potatoes from Bonanza with their fake cheese on top. This weekend I pounded a bag of Funyuns.  I'm pretty sure I haven't consumed most of these foods since high school.  They sound so gross and taste so good.  The smell of wine is delicious.  I'm one of those crazy people who, on a normal basis, thinks coffee smells as bad as cigarette smoke, but this pregnancy has totally changed my mind.  I almost want to try a cup of decaf just to see if it'll taste as good as it smells.

My IP's came up for a visit a week ago.  We were able to take our first "Blow up the Belly" photo that we'll continue to document throughout the pregnancy.  Ben was our photographer and we had a bunch of people on a nearby balcony who were probably completely confused as to what we were doing.  After our photo we were able to hang out by the beach and chat the afternoon away.  It's such a comfortable relationship that we all have.  The time just flies when we're together.  We ended at Bonanza to fulfill my craving for those mashed potatoes and cheese sauce. 

I've been keeping track of people's reactions to the news when they find out I'm a surrogate.  The most common response is in the form of a question, "Is it for someone you know?"  I don't have a solid answer that I give when I hear this question.  We've become AMAZING friends, so I instantly want to say...Yes!  Sometimes I do say yes and sometimes I tell people how we met through an agency.  I've had arms swing around me with a giant hug, from people I don't know, and they tell me the nicest things.  One lady asked me a million questions and just cried, happy tears, through our whole conversation.  Our community is becoming aware of our gift and I have people in the grocery store asking me how I'm feeling.  We are blessed beyond belief from the support that is being poured out to our family!  I love that other people are as proud of us as we are for what we're doing.  We thank each and every one of you for your love and support!  This gift doesn't come easy and most people wouldn't be able to go through a journey like we are.  I'm so happy I'm one of the lucky people that was given this as a true desire in my heart.  Without a doubt and as sick as I am, this is something that I was put on this earth to do. 

I got a phone call from my IP's this weekend.  They heard from a friend that her dad had a Josie working at his dental office who is a surrogate.  She said that there can't be that many Josie's in the St. Cloud area that are surrogates, and she was wondering if I was the one who worked for her dad.  I guess it shows how small this big world is.  I'm actually going to be at her dad's office tomorrow.  I hope you're following this blog and maybe sometime we'll get to meet in person. 

There is a definite bonding that's happening with the baby and me.  I love her so much already, however, it's so very very different than the bond I had with our kids.  I don't really know how to explain it, but people often think that "giving up the baby" will be the hardest part of this journey.  I don't see it as "giving up" anyone, it's not mine to begin with.  There must be some great subconscious work going on because I'm not worried about that at all.  This little person will always hold a special place in my heart! 

This weekend I started feeling little bubbles.  Most people would say it's probably gas, but I think it's movement that I'm starting to feel.  Each day I'm feeling a little movement, just a couple times each day.  I think that it'll be awesome when there is movement that my IP's can actually see and feel!

We have our first official OB appointment on September 10th.  We'll meet with the nurse first and then see the OB afterwards.  I hope we'll get to hear the heartbeat!