Monday, October 20, 2014

6 Months Later

Spencer (6 Months old) with Me
As I was finishing my 9 mile run this morning, I watched a single leaf fall off a tree and float through the air against a very bright blue sky...PEACE had overtaken my whole being.  A few seconds later a whole branch lost all of its leaves and I was able to run through them with a smile whipped across my face.  I felt like I was a child again as I put my arms straight out like I was flying and just soaked it up.  I started thinking about the life cycle of the leaf and how eventually that fallen leaf will decompose and it's purpose on this earth will never end.  Just like our lives, our purpose will never end and will continue to evolve from each dream, goal, or calling that we fulfill, or perhaps, not fulfill.

 
I have realized that I'm just not normal.  I don't fit into what anyone would call a "societal norm".  I guess when I remember back to the first big shift from societal norm we made was in 2006, I felt like I was a horrible mom for allowing our kids to watch too much TV, so we put it on the curb with a "free" sign on it and never bought a new one because our life is much more pleasant with out it.  I don't watch the news, and haven't since 2004, and I honestly don't know anything about this ebola that everyone seems to be scared of, and I'm glad that I don't have to live with that fear.  We honor those who have made a difference in our life and think of them often.  We try to go the extra mile to let those people know the impact they have had on our life.I advocate for our children and other's children (even though they don't know it) at our school.  It's a lot harder to raise kids without giving them technology to keep them occupied and quiet, but we've made it a family mission and so far we're successful.  There is a time and place for it, and we'll NEVER EVER judge anyone for how they raise their family.  What works for us might not work for you and what works for you might not work for us, and we are respectful of you and hope to have the same respect in return.  I hope to be passing on meaningful purpose to our kids that has come down from previous generations in our family.  My hope is that our kids learn from the example shown and pass that on to future generations.  I feel so lucky that I was lead by this same example.  I'm honestly happy being me! 


Lydia was able to meet her LIFE SAVERS 10 years later!
This was a great honor to host and meet these people who have forever changed our life.

Fulfilling my calling has given me a much deeper meaning of self.  I'm so proud and empowered from what I have done, however, sometimes it feels like it was all just a dream.  I look back now and its really hard to believe that I actually carried Spencer, he's alive, and he's happy at home with his parents.  It really is a surreal feeling.  I'm not sure that the surrealness (if that's a word) of it will ever change.  I was able to see Spencer and his parents a month ago and that's truly my only feeling...SURREAL!  We did a mini photo shoot.  He is so darn cute!!!

6 Month Photo Shoot...YES, he's this happy all of the time
    
I know the main thing that people are dying to hear is how are my emotions AND if I would do it again...

Well, other than feeling like I just woke up from this amazing dream, I feel just like me!  There is a emotional connection but as we slowly drifted back into our normal lives I now stand a little taller, feel a little prouder, I'm a better wife, mother, daughter, and sister.  I know the feeling of successfully fulfilling a deep calling and how I want to fulfill more dreams and desires.  It makes me excited to see what life has in store for our family and how I can be the most supportive wife to my husband.  I will be able to stand by his side and be his cheerleader just like he did for me.

YES, I'd be a surrogate in a heartbeat!  I could see myself doing this four times, however, I'm not certain that it would be the best thing on my body...remember the leading by example?!  Maybe just once more...only time will tell ;) 

It sounds like we have a "ghost writer" for our book.  We found someone that knows the intricate details about surrogacy and has the ability to write so you can see the twinkle in our eye.  He is the biggest surrogate advocate that I know and will be a pleasure to work with.  I don't think we'll have a hard time selling this book.  I actually just spoke with two women from a local radio station that would love to follow a second surrogacy from start to finish with me. Of course my husband and IPs would have to agree, but it would be fun to be the "voice" of surrogacy.  It would allow people to hear a positive side through the whole journey.  Again, only time will tell.  It would be fun and a great resource to get our book off in the right direction.

I would love to invite those of you who still don't understand any of this to please ask questions.  I would be happy to answer anything you'd like to know!  It's better to ask the questions and get real answers so you can fully understand rather than passing judgmental feelings.  Peace, my friends, this was an amazing journey!    

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Different Twist~IP-B's Birth Prospective

IP-B’s Birth prospective:

On Wednesday night, 4/2/2014, Josie texted IP-A and I and told us that she was having contractions and they were 6 minutes apart.  I was a little hesitant to be excited since this was one of many texts we had received that she was contracting (one that even led to us showering and getting everything into the car).  Josie kept texting and telling us when she contracted again and that is when my excitement grew. 

We decided to head up at about 1:00 am and just wait it out with her.  If it ended up being another false alarm we could just chalk it up to spending more time together.  Josie had suggested that I contact my sister to start getting ready.  We arrived to a dark house so we called Josie and her husband let us in.  Josie was lying in bed so we chatted for a while.  My sister, Liz, arrived about an hour after we did.  Josie contracted all through the night while Liz, IP A and I decided to try to rest.  I was a little nervous how I would react to Josie having contractions and being in labor since I would feel really responsible for the pain.  While Josie labored at home it wasn’t as nerve racking as I expected since Josie could talk through the contractions and they didn’t seem to bother her much. 

Around 10:30am the contractions stopped Josie was asking Liz to help her do anything she could to start contractions again.  Liz told Josie to rest instead and let her body do what it is so good at doing.  Josie rested and when she woke up she and Liz worked on some positions to get the baby’s head in the right position.  Around 3:30pm the contractions started again just as Liz was leaving to pick up her kids who were on their way up through the snow in the cities.  While Liz was gone Josie decided to call the hospital and tell them that she was in labor and start getting things in order for his arrival.  The hospital told us that since it was the doctor’s day off it would be a good idea to head to the hospital as early as possible to give the doctor time to get there.   Everyone was getting ready to go.  IP-A and I were headed out to the car to get the shirts we were planning on wearing to the delivery,  Josie was getting her hair straightened by her sister and Ben was beginning to get the kids’ schedule with the sitter organized.  IP-A and I were at the car getting our stuff when the front door of the house opened and Josie’s sweet mother said, “Josie said you better call Liz because her water just broke.”  Luckily I was already on the phone with Liz so I just told her.  Liz told me to not wait for her and to go right to the hospital.  IP-A and I went in and quick threw on our different shirts and grabbed all of the luggage (there is an incredible amount of stuff that gets brought to the hospital when a new baby is coming; especially when there are two parents and a surrogate parent) and got ready to finally get to meet our little man. 

Josie rode to the hospital with us while Ben drove to the kids to get them where they needed to be.  I was surprised how emotional I was getting in the car ride to the hospital.  I think it was because I finally KNEW this was happening and I was finally going to get to hold my son after waiting so long.  I told myself, “Seriously, calm down.  We aren’t even to the hospital yet.”  When we got to the hospital, Josie told me to just go park in the ramp and not drop her off at the door.  It wasn’t very far and I know that Josie knows her own body very well so I trusted her judgment.  We got to the parking ramp and all got out and grabbed our stuff.  Luckily we met up with Josie’s mom and sister in the ramp and they helped with Josie and the luggage. 

 
We got into the hospital and it was like a race to the birthing center.  Josie was such a trooper.  Even though she was contracting like crazy she was still trucking along needing to take very few breaks.  Once we got to registration Ben was there so all we were missing was Liz.  We all got placed into the birthing room and put down all of our baggage and got ready for this amazing experience.  I was getting nervous that Liz wasn’t back yet.  I was also having anxiety because her phone was on the verge of death and she was using it as GPS so I didn’t know if she was going to make it to the hospital.  Luckily, she arrived just 15 minutes after we did and it’s a good thing she did. 

During the contractions, and in-between, Liz was rubbing Josie’s back while she labored.  It looked like it was really helping.  At this point, while Josie was having contractions about every 2 minutes, my ability to hold my tears in was getting weaker and weaker.  You could say that my tears were following Josie’s contractions pretty closely.  I really wanted to tell IP-A that I was about to cry but I knew if I said the words I would totally lose it and I didn’t want to cause Josie any stress so I texted him to tell him to tell him.  He texted back and said, “me, too!”  It felt good that we were both feeling the same way. I was expecting my guilt over putting Josie in this much pain would over shadow my excitement for the baby but I was wrong!  Each time she would have a contraction I knew we were getting closer to fulfilling this dream of becoming parents that we had waited for over 4 years to complete.  That thought would jump into my head during her contractions and that was when I would just about break down into tears.   

At about 6:30 (about 1 ½ hours after arriving to the hospital) Josie decided that she wanted to labor in the bathtub for a while.  After she was in the bathroom for about 10 minutes, Ben came out and said, “Josie is requesting everyone come into the bathroom with cameras.”  That was when I knew she was going to have him in the tub.  When we got into the bathroom, there was chaos.  Josie was in the tub, her mom was at her head putting her “always-cold” hands on Josie’s head, Liz was spraying Josie’s tummy with hot water from the shower head while Josie was begging her to make the water hotter.  The hot water was all the way on high much to Josie’s dismay.  The nurse told Josie two different times that after the next contraction she needs to get out of the tub and to the bed, but Josie’s contractions didn’t appear to be stopping and pushing had definitely started.  I glanced over the doctor’s head as she was kneeling by the tub and saw that the baby’s head was not coming out yet but Josie’s belly had gone from a tiny basketball to a long tube with a bulge near her pelvis.  I looked again as Josie was saying, “He’s stuck” and saw that his head was partially out.  Liz told her that he is just taking a little break and that she is doing wonderful. 

 
Complete chaos had ensued in the bathroom as the doctor, Liz, IP-A and I, Ben, Josie’s mom and sister, the photographer and four nurses scurried around the tiny bathroom.  Both Ben and Megan, Josie’s sister, were taping and were both told to stop since the hospital did not allow the baby crowning to be taped.  Josie was saying, “Ooooh” at about talking volume pretty much the whole time she was in the tub.  She later talked to us about, “… when I was screaming in the tub…” to which I told her that she wasn’t screaming, she just “oooh’ed”.  During the commotion I heard someone say, “Here he is!” I looked at the tub and saw him coming out of the water.  I was unbuttoning my shirt because I planned on doing skin to skin with him as soon as he was born.  I had been thinking about doing this and was very nervous about it.  I wasn’t nervous about holding my son but I was super nervous about the umbilical cord not being long enough for him to reach to me without hurting Josie.  I quickly knelt by the tub and he was being held up by the doctor.  As soon as he was about to be given to me he started peeing all over, mostly on Josie.  People were talking to me and I was so overwhelmed with holding my son for the first time, I almost forgot about staying close to Josie so the cord didn’t pull.  Luckily for me and Josie, the cord was very long and I only needed one reminder from Josie to not go too far away from her before it was cut J. The nurse came over with the clamp for the cord and I told her we were going to do delayed cord clamping.  As I held him to my chest I immediately let out the tears that I had been desperately trying to keep in since the car ride to the hospital.  After the fasted two minutes of my life, someone came to clamp the cord so IP-A could cut it.  They put two clamps on the cord and IP-A cut between them. When he did, the cord popped like a balloon and sprayed cord blood all over me and IP-A.  Between the tears in my eyes and the blood all over my glasses I couldn’t even see the baby so I asked IP-A to take my glasses off.  Once we were detached, I took the baby out of the bathroom and sat in a chair where the nurse came over with a washcloth to wipe my face off.  I didn’t care at all that there was blood, sweat and tears all over me. 

I only cared that I was finally holding my son!
 

Friday, April 25, 2014

I'm Not Superwoman!

Sweet Baby Spencer-16 Days Old
Contrary to most of your thoughts and spoken/written words, I'm not superwoman! I'm just a crazy woman who thinks that you should listen to your gut and trust your instincts.  Some would say that's the universe while others would say that's God, whatever you believe, I think that you can trust that the little voice or feeling is correct and you should believe that those dreams or goals that continuously pop in your head should be accomplished.  If you think it, believe it, do it!  Everyone I talked to about surrogacy, in the early stages while working with the agency, had their reservations and I could tell that most people were really unsure about it because they themselves couldn't imagine doing it.  The same goes for after I gave birth, people continuously asked if it was difficult because they imagine what it would feel like for them.  Clearly those people weren't meant to be a surrogate.  It's hard to make sense of things because we all, even I, try to imagine how things would feel for us when we look at other people's lives.  We think that they should feel how we would feel.  And sometimes, well every time, it's impossible to understand because we've never walked in that person's shoes.  We all have big dreams, or at least I hope you do, and this journey has taught me that regardless of other people's opinions, you need to write down your goal and take charge of making them happen.  You must accomplish it because it feels AMAZING!
You are right in the fact that I seriously don't look like I gave birth three short weeks ago.  It's almost nauseating how disgustingly fast my body bounced back into shape.  I did work really hard at staying very active and healthy throughout the pregnancy though.  Do you also remember how sick I was in the first trimester and how I couldn't eat anything sweet throughout the pregnancy?  That still remains a problem.  I'm guessing that played a big factor in it as well.  I bounced back fast after the birth of our three kids but it was even more quickly after Spencer's birth.  I told you from the start...I WAS MEANT TO HAVE BABIES!  I must take after my Grandma Boom who had 14 kids in 14 years.  I could totally do that if I only kept the three that we already have, except my husband probably wouldn't stick around!  I'll be lucky enough to carry one more time and that's probably all my body should really endure. 
This Certificate should go to Spencer.  If it weren't for him and our "blow up the belly" photos then my hair would have never been long enough to donate.
Food has always been a topic of discussion this whole pregnancy so why should I stop talking about it after the birth?  It's unreal how bad I want to enjoy chocolate again!  I tried a piece of chocolate at Easter and had the typical "Josie looks like she's having a seizure" reaction to the sweetness.  It's not good!  My taste buds have totally changed and I'm realizing that I might not be a sweet person anymore.  I can't get enough nuts and raisins. Raisins are sweet enough!  Maybe that's what nine months without sugary foods can do?!?!  I also can't get enough popcorn with sea salt.  I used to not have to add anything to my popcorn or I could just skip eating popcorn altogether, but it is a nightly necessity now.  I guess it's better than my nightly ice cream, except my brain still tells me that I'd rather eat the ice cream and skip the popcorn.  I also can't get enough cottage cheese, fruit, plain yogurt, and granola.  It's great that I can eat banana's and granola now, those two things were way too sweet while I was pregnant.  Unfortunately, apples still taste funny.  Our kids said that I just have to be a surrogate again to help my taste buds go back to normal.  I asked them if they would be okay if I was a surrogate again, and the answer was a unanimous-YES!  So, if you're wondering how the kids are doing, well...they're ready to get back on that train ride again sometime.  It truly has been a wonderful experience for our family! 

I'm blown away by the kindness people have shown throughout this journey and after the birth.  We're still getting mail that's flooding our mailbox, email inbox, and facebook messages.  I know I wrote about it before, but it's truly appreciated that you're expressing how this has impacted your lives in such amazing ways.  I didn't realize that it would go beyond our family, my IPs, and their families.  I'm realizing that it has touched so many people in ways that I never would have guessed.  I feel so blessed to read about the impact it's had on your life.  Thank you for sharing and thank you for your love and support!   

The transition from being pregnant and having daily contact with my IPs to the amount of contact now that Spencer is here will change and evolve.  I'm not sure what it will eventually look like, other than I'm sure we'll be friends forever and feel a lot like extended family, but after the birth I have had daily contact from one of them or the other until yesterday.  I'm sure that's why it was so easy my emotional well being, plus they were really excited and happy that I could come down and visit a couple times.  I keep thinking that the daily contact will eventually find a new normal and we'll settle into what is right for us all.  The only person, other than my husband, that I talk to everyday is my sister.  It would feel weird if I didn't talk to her every single day, she's my best friend (speaking of her...she's calling right now)!  Last night when I went to bed I realized that I didn't get a new picture, a phone call, text, or email from either of my IPs.  It's okay that the separation is happening.  All of us have been so very respectful of each other and so open in terms of boundaries.  I'm glad it has been a slow process and it will continue to level out and just become normal.  I'm just so happy that we have had this perfect match! 

Visiting Spencer-16 Days Old
I'm still pumping throughout the day and that's usually when I look to see if there's a new photo of Spencer.  Pumping allows me to still feel connected and I know that I'm helping Spencer's little immune system.  I think I'll quit pretty soon.  I don't produce much and I'm starting to feel like it's taking too much of my time for not much milk.  This will be my final physical attachment that I have with this journey so I'm not sure how that will feel.  Probably just like everything else...not a big deal.  I think once I'm working more it'll be an easy transition to quit.  I'm still bleeding and that's a constant reminder every time I go to the bathroom that I really did give birth three weeks ago and I still am recovering.  It also reminds me that I still need to take it easy, even though I'm dying to go running.

I've gotten a couple letters in the mail, one for Spencer's birth certificate information, and the other was the county sending Ben and I a congratulations note on the birth of our son, Spencer.  We really need to get these laws passed so that these things don't get sent.  I really didn't react to them except with a good chuckle.  It's strange getting "new mother" info when the baby doesn't live here and he's not mine!  I also had to do some research because Ben's information was on Spencer's birth certificate information notice.  It actually shouldn't have his info on it, so our agency went to work along with my IPs to get that changed.  I guess there was a new person at the hospital that made a mistake on the form.  We knew I'd end up as the "mother" until we go to court and have everything finalized.  It's strange how the law works.  Even having Spencer and my IPs banded with my name at the hospital seems weird. 


Letter sent in the mail to congratulate Ben and I on the birth of our son
I'm kind of surprised at my new found need to set and accomplish another big goal and dream.  I guess it kind of makes sense because our last 20 months were consumed with becoming a surrogate, being a surrogate, and I'm sure I have another three weeks to heal from surrogacy.  That would mean that this was a 21 month commitment for a lifetime of joy!  It was worth every piece of blood, sweat, tears, sleepless nights, frequent urination, smiles, and hugs.  A journey of a lifetime!  So, I've decided what's next and have sort of become addicted to blogging now, so expect a new blog for a whole new goal to be accomplished!  This journey isn't quite over...we still have a court date we're waiting for so stay tuned for more updates.  I sounds like it's going to be a while for that because we're waiting on background checks.  Plus, who doesn't want to watch little Spencer grow up?  I'll keep this blog updated as we have visits and such.  He's one special little man! 

If you're interested in following my next blog, please e-mail me at followjosiessurrogacy@gmail.com and I'll keep you posed.      


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Emotions

I had a really hard time sleeping while I was in the hospital.  The stress that I created by giving birth in the tub had filled me with a terrible amount of guilt.  Looking back I realized I shouldn't have gotten in the tub in the first place, but I really didn't know that I was going to start pushing almost instantly when I sat down.  I had to apologize to several people and I kept running conversations through my head.  Once I had these conversations, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and knew that I needed time to process his birth and just kept telling myself that everyone is healthy and everything is fine!  I actually couldn't bring myself to watch the birth video until yesterday (13 days later), when I watched it with my IPs.  I still have a guilty feeling but I'm sure that time will help heal.  Lessons have been learned and if/when there's a next time (It's not a secret that I want to do it once more, but there are a lot of variables...only time will tell), I have no doubt about what that birth will look like!        

The day after Spencer was born
The day following Spencer's birth our kids had a two hour late start at school due to the snow storm, so Ben brought the kids up first thing on Friday morning to meet their little wombmate.  We actually didn't know Spencer's name until Friday morning when we went down to my IPs room for the kids to meet the baby.  We've been calling him "Little Man" since we knew he was a boy so it was nice to say his actual name!  They didn't decide on his name until after he was born and all the visitors left the hospital.  It was fun that they did involve our family with all the names that they had on their list.  We never gave our opinion, expect once when IP-A asked our honest opinion about one name, so it's great practice for when we become Grandparents one day!    
Spencer- 1 day old

Lydia has had a maternal instinct her whole life, so naturally she couldn't wait to get her hands on the baby.  She came into the hospital with a smile and left beaming from ear to ear!  She was the first of the kids to want to hold the baby.  She later told me, "When I grow up I'm going to have two children of my own and be a surrogate twice!"  This journey has had such a positive impact on all of our kids, especially Lydia.  She's so in love with pregnancy and babies...just like her Mama!     

Lydia and Spencer
Jack was a little timid and was the third of our three kids to hold him. It seems like his typical response to babies in general.  He didn't hold either of his new baby cousins when he met them.  He loves to look at the baby from afar and he seems to be happy to keep his distance right away.  He did warm up to Spencer and even held him before heading to school.  Jack, though quiet, also left with a huge smile from ear to ear.  Jack has a huge heart and can remember nearly everything that he hears.  He is so proud of our surrogacy story and wants everyone to be supportive.  When someone may disagree, it tears his heart apart and he'll remember that and discuss it often.  He's a deep thinker, so we go above and beyond to share with Jack how most people are supportive of Surrogacy and we show him all of the letters, messages, and cards that people have sent.  Thank you all for your kind words and gratitude.  They mean so much to me and it's even more appreciated when we can share those things with our kids!    

Jack and Spencer
George is such a goof ball when he's around people and has more energy than anyone!  He likes to show off and be the center of attention, isn't that what the baby of the family does?!  He held Spencer with me and was sure really excited to see him.  He likes to feel the baby's head and he does a great job with being gentle when he's around a baby.  I'm not sure if George was more excited to see Spencer or my stomach.  He kept feeling my belly that day and several time everyday for a week (I eventually put a stop to it because he told me that it was still big and he thought it felt like the baby was still in there).  George bounced out of the room when he left.  His excitement is pretty contagious! 


George and Spencer
Ben still hasn't held Spencer.  It sounds like a very normal reaction for the husband of a surrogate.  It seems like most of the husband's of the woman in my support group had the same response.  It might be similar to not really feeling the baby move while he was in my womb, and it must be what they do to help prevent any attachment to the baby.  I think it's a fine and natural way to respond and I'm happy with whatever makes him happy.  I would never push him to hold him or get a really close look.  Ben was the most supportive husband during this journey and I will always adore him.  He and our kids were just as much a part of this journey as I was and they deserve just as much credit as I do!  I'm so proud of our little family!!!

My mom, sister, and nieces came shortly after Ben and the kids left.  We visited in my room for a while and then went down to visit Spencer and my IPs.  Spencer's grandparents, auntie, and cousin were in visiting when we got into their room.  Words can't express the feeling I get when I see Spencer's family members holding him, and I get this surreal feeling when I see him in his parents arms...it's indescribable!  This was a room full of happy tears and loaded smiles.  We took lots of pictures and had lots of snuggles.  My family is very respectful with making visits short when they should be and staying longer if they are needed.  Ben joined us at the hospital and brought a heaping laundry basket full of items that people left at our house when we bolted out after my water broke.  He stayed for lunch with us and everyone left shortly after so I could nap.

I spent most of the afternoon sleeping, pumping, and sitting in the amazing bathtub that the hospital has.  The same nurse was assigned to Spencer and me.  It was fun because the nurses would go from one room to the next and I got to hear updates on the baby and my IPs.  Our day nurse, Betty, was so touched by our story.  It took her until Friday night to finish my registration information because that didn't happen before the birth.  I think three nurses throughout our stay, on separate occasions, told us that we should write a book.  We obviously showed the hospital staff that our surrogacy journey was perfect without even telling them.  I think people can just see it and they probably feel it, too.  I didn't want to be overwhelming by visiting too much, so early Friday evening I got a text from my IPs that I should come down and visit or they could come to my room to visit, if I wanted.  It's hard to know what kind of balance I should have in terms of visiting, especially at the hospital.  It was so nice to get that text.  It's very clear that all of us are so respectful of each other.  Thankfully, we have ALWAYS had very open and clear communication about our desires and boundaries.  So, Friday evening was very quiet.  I hung out with my IPs and Spencer and we had such a wonderful time.  We had a mini photo shoot which is always fun, and I got to snuggle but I didn't hold him very long.  It was nice to hold him but it was even better to see my IPs holding him!  We all wanted to get an early discharge on Saturday morning, so I went back to my room and packed up and had another sleepless night...guilt of the birth got me again.
1 Day Old

1 Day Old
Ben and the kids greeted me early Saturday morning with roses and perfect hugs.  I was so excited to hug them, especially Ben.  I didn't feel like I was a mile away from him anymore!  He could scoop me up in his arms and give me a gentle hug because pumping has made my boobs extremely sore.  They were able to see Spencer once more and say a nice good-bye, until we visit him again.  Ben packed all of my things up and took the kids home to gather 100 ounces of breast milk that my sister donated to Spencer.  Due to a breast reduction I had when I was 18, I don't produce enough milk to supply Spencer to be completely fed by breast milk.  He's has had a few people donate breast milk but he is supplemented with formula.  I still continue to pump and give them what I can.  I actually left the hospital with my IPs and we met Ben and the kids at the gas station for our last "Blow up the Belly" photo.  The last one has the baby in it!  The photos turned out ADORABLE!  We said our farewells and Spencer went home.  No, I didn't cry!  We drove away and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.  I think I must have had a natural high. 

Our life is so busy with our kids activities, so right after leaving the gas station I needed to go and get my new breast pump at the medical supply store.  Then we dropped Lydia off for her play, she actually had two plays that day, and then headed off to see Jack in his two plays.  Somehow I needed to find time to pump a few times between the performances.  After Jack's second play we went out for supper with my in-laws who came up to watch Lydia's first performance and Jack's second performance of the day.  Everyone from our kids' school had been anxiously waiting for Spencer's birth so when I showed up at Jack's play I had so many shocked looks.  I don't think most people would have gone straight from the hospital to their son's play.  He did a play in a week, so he only had two shows the day I got out of the hospital and I couldn't miss it.  It was a nice way to transition, too. 

Our life didn't slow down from there.  Lydia had another show on Sunday.  On Tuesday I volunteered as an usher at Lydia's two school shows.  On Wednesday my sister came with her girls to visit, she cut my hair and I had a photo shoot with her girls.  I ended up sending my hair to Locks of Love.  Wednesday and Thursday, Lydia had two school shows again.  Thursday night Lydia had a school coir concert.  On Friday I had a five hour dental meeting, had to pick up and deliver milk to our milk group, Lydia had another show that night, and I had a mini breakdown.  Everywhere I went I was asked the same question, "Was it hard...you know, to give the baby away?"  I didn't think it was a hard question to answer because I just fulfilled my dream, but hearing the question over and over became quite emotionally taxing.  I knew I pushed myself too much, and  I was overwhelmed and very overtired.  I cried for two solid hours.  Thankfully, Ben took the boys to an event at the school and picked up Lydia from her show so I could take a long bath and head to bed at 7:30.  On  Saturday Ben and I volunteered as greeters at Lydia's first show and then we had Montana, my cousin, babysit so we could have a date and enjoy watching Lydia's second show.  On Sunday I volunteered in the greenroom at Lydia's last show.  It was way too much!
Hair Sent to Locks of Love

I've been much more careful this week to keep my commitments down.  I did have a few things planned.  On Monday I took our van to get fixed.  I dropped off the van and walked to the gym, just a couple blocks away, where I walked 5 miles on the treadmill and biked 6 miles while I waited three hours for the van to be fixed.  Again, I'm not sure what in the world I was thinking doing this much work knowing I just pushed myself too much.  I didn't have anything else to do while I waited, so I felt like I just took it easy while I walked and biked.  On Wednesday I got to go visit babies!  I met my sister and her two girls and we had a visit with our sister in-law and her girls.  I bet is was a sight to see two women pumping while one was breast feeding all in the same room. We had a blast together, it's so fun we'll all best friends!  Then we went down to visit my IPs and Spencer.  I didn't know what it would feel like seeing Spencer for the first time since leaving the hospital.  I felt like I almost ran to look at him.  I didn't think he looked like he had changed much, but when I picked him up I could tell he was solid.  I couldn't believe how heavy he was!  He had just finished eating, so I snuggled with him on my chest for a full hour.  It was the perfect snuggle time that I had hoped for.  We also all watched the video of the birth together.  I left with a smile again!  We had a nice two hour visit and then I made the trek in a snow storm back home.  I stayed in my PJ's for most of today writing in the blog and tomorrow we're going to have another PJ day with the kids. Saturday we're going to be in the cities for my cousin's wedding shower and we all get to visit Spencer on Saturday afternoon.  I learned today that Spencer weighed 9 pounds and 4 ounces and measured 21.5 inches long at his two week check up today.  That explains why he felt heavy when I snuggled him. 
Snuggle Time- 13 Days Old
13 Days Old
13 Days Old

The truth of the matter is, I'm emotionally doing wonderful!  I think people question this because most people couldn't imagine doing what we just did.  Most people couldn't do it because of the fear of having attachment issues.  I had no fear of having attachment issues, but that's because I was meant to be a surrogate.  I've had joyful tears and tears when I had my mini breakdown.  None of these have been because of sadness or a feeling of loss.  I have such joyful feelings and still feel like I'm on some type of high from this journey. 

I received this message from IP-A just a few days after giving birth.  I think it sums up our experience perfectly!  We feel the same about them...
As we think back on this chapter...joyful tears come to our eyes for all the expressions of love, outpouring of support, and just plain generosity.  You and your family are such incredible gifts to the world and you have brought so much joy to IP-B and I.  No words can express how appreciative we are.  You're heroes and you'll always be family to us.  Your selfless act of carrying lil Spencer to our arms, Ben's strong support, the kid's excitement, the My Wish for You book, both yours and Megan's incredible gift of liquid gold, Ma and Pa Boom's active cheer leading.  You all have done so much for us.  We wake up thinking this might all be a dream...but it's real and it's very very special.
                 

    

         


     


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Baby

Okay, I know you're ready to hear the story about Spencer's birth.  I had my last OB appointment last week Tuesday, April 1st, and had my membranes stripped again.  I was dilated to 4cm and he was still posterior.  I went for a walk that day and was determined that I'd try everything that week to make him come out, because I would have to have an ultrasound on Friday to make sure that the fluids were fine and that he looked ok.  Then I had to come back first thing on Monday morning and we would have to talk about induction.  The next day, Wednesday the 2nd, I tried everything I could.  I text my family, "The life of a woman trying to go into labor=4 mile walk, hot shower, dishes and laundry done, and 1.5 hour nap.  Nothing is working!"  My IP's were planning on coming up on Thursday after work due to an expected snow storm that night and into the morning.  We all thought it would be nice if they were here just in case I went into labor, and if not, then they could join me at the ultrasound on Friday.  Ben and I made a conscious decision to not clean the house perfectly that night, the first time in several weeks.

About 10:30 on Wednesday night I had my first contraction.  Ben started timing them after the second one which came on quickly after.  I believe they were about 9ish minutes apart.  I decided after the third one that I would let my IPs know that I had three contractions just so they could decide when they wanted to head up, because I didn't want to be blamed for them missing the birth (I'm sure that those feelings were brought on because I was so sad I missed my niece's birth by two minutes).  I wanted to make sure that the contractions wouldn't go away if I got out of bed and started moving around, so I got out of bed and ran up and down the stairs, which brought on harder contractions.  I kept texting them updates on each contraction. 

Sometime around midnight we all decided that it was time for my IPs to head up to our house.  Once they were on their way they called Liz, IP-B's sister who is the most AMAZING midwife!  She had Thursday off and text me just hours before that she had our address programed into her phone and so she was ready to go when she got the call.  I believed, ever since I asked her to be at the birth, that she was going to be able to make it and really didn't have a doubt that it wouldn't work for her to be here.  Guess what?  She made it to our house about one hour after my IPs did.  Shortly after she left I lost my bloody show.  I text Brianna, our photographer, around 3:30am and she packed up her little girl and made it up to St. Cloud.  She hung out with her family until I went into the hospital.  I let my mom know around 3:30 or 4:00am.  She got up and was here by 5:00ish.  We all sat around, except Ben who got some sleep, and chatted while I continued to have contractions.  They weren't very painful and I was able to talk through them.  I felt so great that everyone was here and relaxed a bit knowing everything was in place.

While my mom took the kids to school, Liz suggested that I try to get some sleep.  I did fall asleep and was happy to get a little nap in.  My counteractions slowed down a bit and we decided that it was time for Liz to check me and see where I was at.  When Liz checked me I felt like I wanted to keep that private, for whatever reason.  We went into Lydia's room and I had a towel under me, which was a good idea, because when she checked me and stripped my membranes again I had a TON of mucus discharge.  Yes, it was pretty gross.  I was dilated to 5-6cm and his head was still posterior.

Liz showed me some amazing tricks and positions to try to get his head in the right position.  I probably spent an hour or more in these positions to see if we could get the little guy to move.  Labor was slowing down.  After a while I wanted to get outside and walk.  Both my IPs and my mom joined me.  After a mile it was getting cold so IP-B and Mom went in and IP-A and I went for another mile.  I had a few contractions on the walk but they were getting less painful, not that they were that painful anyway, and a lot farther apart.  Once we got back inside I tried some of those positions that Liz had again.  Mom made me some eggs and tea and I went to take another nap.  I was terrified that labor would stop if I slept!  It did stop but I needed the sleep.

*I'll post a photo of the rebozo sling technique once I get it*

Once labor stopped everyone was trying to figure out a game plan for the night.  Liz's kids needed to come up, everyone there was looking at hotels for the night, both IPs families were worried about the snow storm and wanted to be close so they could meet the little man once he arrived.  So, hotels were booked, kids were on their way up with their grandparents, auntie and cousin were on their way to help grandma with Liz's kids, and Liz was about to take off to meet her kids in Albertville to bring them the rest of the way.

Just as Liz was finalizing plans and ready to leave, labor started again.  This time the contractions were much stronger and 5-6 minutes apart.  Not going to lie, I was nervous about Liz leaving at this point.  I could tell things were progressing faster than before.  We decided she should check me before she left just to see where I was at.  Back to Lydia's bed...I was still dilated to 6 cm but his head was in the right position and my water bag was bulging out of the cervix now.  I think Liz was a little nervous about leaving, too.  She told me, "If your water breaks go straight to the hospital!"  I think that was the best advice she could have given me at that point.  I gave her a hug and told her I would hold on until she could get back.

Once Liz left I thought I should touch base with the hospital and let them know they could expect me sometime that night or maybe in the morning.  I knew my doctor had off that day, however, she was going to make an exception and allow the hospital to call her no matter when I went into labor and she would decide if she was able to attend the birth.  This was going to be here first surrogate delivery and I think she was pretty excited that she had been so involved in this amazing journey!  When I spoke with the hospital staff I asked them to let Dr. Jokhadar know that I was in labor and to call me back about the plans for who would attend the birth.  I needed to be mentally prepared for what I was going to see at the hospital.  They called back and said she would need a little time to get to the hospital so I couldn't come in at the very last second if I wanted her to attend the birth.  That seemed fair enough, so we all decided that we should pack up and leave the house in a half an hour to assure ourselves enough time so Dr. Jokhadar could make it.  The packing and planning began...

Ben realized we didn't have anyone "officially" lined up yet to help with our kids, but my cousin, Montana, was our "on-call" babysitter.  We discussed that she would get the kids from Kid Stop and tend to their plans that evening.  Lydia had dress rehearsal for Shrek the Musical and the boys needed to head home and be to bed on time.  Montana said that my other cousin, Sierra, would be able to help out so that the boys wouldn't need to get out of bed when one of them picked up Lydia at 9:30 from rehearsal.  Just as we were finalizing plans, I was still on the phone with Montana, I heard and felt a little pop (one of the strangest sensations ever).  I'm sure I said, "UH, hold on!  I think my water just broke!"  I darted toward the toilet, and sure enough the water had broke.  Let the chaos begin...

Megan, my sister, was in the bathroom with me.  I had her call the hospital back right away and then call Brianna.  Brianna planned on meeting us at the hospital.  The hospital called me back and said Dr. Jokhadar was on her way and would attend the birth.  I felt so relived that she would be there!  I'm very grateful that she came in on her day off.  IP-B was on the phone with Liz and he told her that my water broke.  She was an exit away from Albertville, so she switched cars with her sister (who is another really awesome person!  Switching cars was due to the space they needed for kids and car seats) and flew back up to St. Cloud.  Ben was heading out to drop off our car seats with Montana.  Megan and Mom dropped everything and headed out.  I road with my IPs to the hospital and met everyone else there.  We drove up to Emergency parking but I was feeling okay so we parked in the parking ramp and walked into labor and delivery.  When I stood up, I had a HUGE gush of water.  I waddled into the hospital. 

Once we got checked in and went to our room,  the bed was raised as high as it would go so I could labor standing up, my birth plan was handed to the nurse, the tub was being filled with water, and I got the birthing ball.  Once we got into the room it's kind of a blur because labor got really intense almost immediately.  I actually don't know when Liz got into the room.  At one point I looked up and Dr. Jokhadar was there.  She asked if she could check me.  I said she could so long as she could do it while I was standing.  I didn't want to lay down!  If I remember right, I think I was at 7 cm (again, it was a blur so I could be wrong).  After she checked me I got on the birthing ball and Liz massaged my back.  THANK GOODNESS FOR LIZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  With every delivery I have had, I talk about this amazing gush of water that I get when I stay relaxed through a contraction. This labor was different, only because the gush came at the height of the contraction instead of the end.  I also had way more water gush out with each contraction.  The floor looked like it had two or three gallons of water on it.  I had to take off my socks because they were saturated!  My mom tried to give Liz a break from massaging, but I fired her because she didn't take the pain away like Liz did.  Truly, between Liz's massage and the gush of water, some of my most intense contractions were painless.  The water gave me almost the feeling of a topical anesthetic.  It tingled and I had no pain.  I needed to go to the bathroom but I was terrified to sit on the toilet.  Every time I sat on the toilet with our kids is when the shit hit the fan.  I have a hard time relaxing on the toilet, but I needed to pee.  Same story, it was horrible to sit on that toilet.  After peeing I went back to the birthing ball.  That was the point where I told Liz that I couldn't do it.  I imagined someone just sticking me with a needle and knocking me out of my misery.  Liz is simply amazing at what she does.  She talked me through every contraction and kept massaging me.  Not long after that I decided I wanted to sit in the tub to see if the warm water would help.

Between Contractions.  Look Closely and You'll see Liz massaging my back
The moment I sat down in the warm water I realized I needed to start pushing.  Liz had the water spraying on my stomach and I kept asking for it to be hotter.  It felt so amazing.  The contractions weren't painful but I had a head that was starting to emerge!  Liz asked what I needed, "EVERYONE AND A CAMERA!" was my reply.  I don't think I opened my eyes until Spencer was born.  I was only told where people were located in the bathroom.  I know my mom's cold hands, which felt amazing, were on my forehead the whole time I was pushing.  Liz was near my feet.  I was told later where people were located in the bathroom.  I heard that there were 12 people, not including Spencer or me, in the bathroom.  It was a bit stressful because water births are not allowed at the St. Cloud Hospital.  It seems inhumane to move a woman who is pushing out a baby, so there he was, born in that hospital tub.  I opened my eyes only to see a stream of pee coming at me.  IP-B was holding Spencer and IP-A cut the cord after two minutes of delayed cord clamping.  I FELT ON TOP OF THE WORLD!

This photo is right before pushing


Mom's hands on my head
Pushing

















Ben helped move me, basically he carried me, to the bed so I could deliver the placenta.  I couldn't stop shaking.  I was cold and I think my body was in shock.  I remember someone asking if anyone looked at the clock to see what time he was born.  IP-B said it was about 6:50pm.  I don't know how long it took to deliver the placenta, but the placenta delivery was much less painful than I remember with our son, Jack.  It wasn't comfortable but not very painful.  I had one tiny laceration that didn't need to be stitched. I couldn't stop moaning and shaking, and I asked for Ibuprofen and Tylenol right away.  I was holding Ben's hand and Mom's hand and told them, "You know something?  I hear him crying and I don't feel the desire to hold him!  That's not our baby's cry."  He sounded so much different than our kids.  The only part I was worried about was when I heard him cry.  I didn't know what instinct I would feel when I heard the cry.  I felt NOTHING!  Liz came up and hugged and thanked me.  She stayed by my side instead of doting over her new nephew.  I can't speak highly enough about Liz.  She is amazingly talented at what she does and is one of the neatest people I have met.  I got warm blankets and my sister squeezed my legs to helped me stop shaking.  Little Spencer came in weighing 8 pounds 1 ounce and measured 20 inches long.  I was so surprised at his length.  I thought he was going to be a long little guy because of my rib issue. 

Again, so much is left in a blur, but I do remember at some point asking if I could see the baby.  IP-A was holding him at that time and came over to show him to me.  He's gorgeous!  I touched his little hand and I know I shed a happy tear and had the biggest smile on my face!  This experience was exactly what I pictured and everything I had dreamt.  Amazingly Perfect doesn't even begin to describe this journey.  The priceless moments of watching my IPs hold their son was my most magical moment.  Watching them become parents and being a part of it has fulfilled a long dream of mine.  It's just incredible!  Brianna snapped a few photos of all of us before taking off.  I'm told that she was standing on the sink in the bathroom when Spencer was born.  I wish someone would have gotten a photo of her standing up there.  I'm so grateful that she photographed the birth!  At some point my dad snuck in to congratulate us.  I don't think he stayed long at all.  Eventually, my IPs asked if I wanted to hold him.  OF COURSE I wanted to hold him!  Other than the fact that he was perfect and adorable, I couldn't get over the fact that he was really heavy!  Looking at him, it was hard to believe that I just pushed him out of me.  It's crazy to think about him curled up inside of me and now he's out and in his parents arms.  I don't think I held him very long.  I just wanted to see his parents holding him! 


Meeting Spencer for the first time
People slowly left, I'm not entirely sure who left when.  Ben packed all my things on the cart and went to get Lydia from rehearsal.  We had rooms just a couple doors down from each other.  My IPs families came to visit shortly after they had gotten into their room.  I hung out in the corner and watched everyone meet Spencer for the first time.  It was nice to be included.  I was able to watch grandparents hold their grandson for the first time, aunties and cousins meeting him and doting over him.  Gratitude poured out from everyone.  I feel like our extended family grew a lot larger from this experience.  They're all such wonderful people!  Once everyone left I headed back to my room, pumped for the first time, and slept.    

Friday, March 28, 2014

Due Date

Fully Cooked
I had my membranes stripped on Monday at my OB appointment.  I was a little nervous after hearing from people that it can hurt.  I actually didn't think it hurt at all, yes it was uncomfortable to have someone digging around in my cervix but not painful.  She initially told me that I was still dilated to 1.5cm but once she got into stripping she told me that I was at "a good 3cm".  It doesn't surprise me to hear this because my cervix is tipped and I've been check before and it seems like I must be harder to reach than others.  It makes me feel like those three hours of contractions last week actually did something to help me progress.  It's three less centimeters that I have to dilate now!  I was told to expect to bleed a little after having the membranes stripped and I did lightly bleed for a few days.  I guess I'm one of the few that the stripping didn't work on because he's still all cozy in my belly!

Did you know that the mucus plug can regenerate?  I heard this from a few people in my surrogate support group and I didn't believe them for a second.  I believed that I lost it and he would be born in just a couple days.  To my surprise, I lost my mucus plug for the second time on Wednesday and I even lost a little more yesterday.  I'd really like to not have to experience that again during this pregnancy.  He's welcome to enter the world without making me wipe that thick bloody mucus out of my vag again. 

I think I have been mentally pushing off the birth of this baby because my sister-in-law was due the week before me and I was invited to witness the birth of their baby.  I knew I didn't want to miss out on the birth and I even thought that if I was in the hospital that I would make a dart for the cities so I wouldn't miss out on the birth.  I'm so lucky that my sister-in-law is one of my best friends and that she wanted to have my mom, sister, and me at the birth of their baby!  We got the phone call yesterday that she was in labor, so my mom and I headed down to the cities yesterday morning.  We hung out at their house while she labored there for hours, and she totally rocked it!  Once she decided that they should head to the hospital her contractions were REALLY close together and we were a bit nervous with the 35 minute drive to the hospital.  She started crowning in the car on the way there.  We were in separate cars and left just minutes after them.  By the time we parked and sprinted down the hall (you know it's serious business when a 9 month pregnant woman and a Grandma, carrying a dozen roses, are sprinting down the hall screaming, "She's Crowing!  What room do we go to?") she had already delivered the baby.  We missed it by two minutes!  Devastated? Yes!  Regardless, they have a healthy mom and baby and that's all that matters.  And now it's my turn.


Proud Auntie!!!
I've been doing everything I can to help urge this baby to come into the world.  I've been walking like a mad woman.  I've put over 10 miles in this week to see if that would help urge him along, but clearly he's one content baby.  I've thrown lots of dance parties, some of them by myself and others with the kids.  This is a pretty normal daily occurrence in our house anyway, because dancing makes the day just a little brighter and way more fun.  Plus, I need to make sure our kids know all the cool dance moves for when they make videos with their cousins!  Acupressure is another thing that I'm doing every day on myself, but clearly that's not working either.  My favorite piece of advice is when EVERYONE tells me to have "Great Sex!"  Did you know that I'm 40 weeks pregnant?  I'm pretty sure that those two words don't belong together at 40 weeks pregnant.  Thanks for the advice, though!  I've decided that the only thing bound to work is patience.  He'll come when he's ready!

Signing Paperwork.  I felt like I had to wear my "I swear it's not mine" shirt.


Paperwork
I received another big package in the mail full of more paperwork to fill out.  This time we needed to get a Notary when we signed all the pages to "give up our parental rights".  I read the contracts cover to cover which always ends in a headache.  We signed the papers on Wednesday and had to overnight them to the agency.  They'll have all of our papers for our court hearing by today.  Yay!  Obviously there would never have to be a worry about us not filling out this paperwork, but I imagine that my IPs feel great knowing that it's all turned in and we're just two steps away from them "legally" being the parents of this baby...I still need to deliver the baby and then we'll have our court hearing.  I know I've said it before, but it blows my mind that this part is necessary!  The baby has NO genetic link to Ben or me, so lets all pray that the bill will be passed into law so that this step can be avoided in the near future. 

We're really close to finishing the final chapter of this book and starting the first chapter of a new one.  Hopefully my next update will include a photo and name of the baby!  Positive energy, happy thoughts, and prayers are always accepted.  Thank you all for your continuous support and love.  This is going to be the BEST gift ever!  I'm ready to see my IPs holding their son.  They've spent way too many years holding the image of this baby in their dreams, so it's time to make that dream a reality.                  


Friday, March 21, 2014

Well That Wasn't Funny!

39 Weeks

My IPs came up for our final "Blow up the Belly" photo.  We have a series of four photos now and they're adorable.  We'll take our last picture with the baby right after they're released from the hospital and heading home.  We took a bunch of other fun photos and had a wonderful lunch with our family and both IPs.  I don't know why, but I always feel extra lucky when we get to spend time with them.  I'm still certain that we're the best match ever! 

My OB appointment on Monday was quite uneventful, except my cervix is tipped so far that her knuckles have to reach into me to find it.  That can be a little uncomfortable but not painful.  I told her she was allowed to stir things up if she wanted just in case that might make this little man decide that he'd like to come out.  She said she could strip my membranes next week if I wanted her to.  I truly feel so amazing!  IP-B asked me this morning how I was feeling today and I could only respond with, "Ugh, way too good!"  I really can't complain about how amazing I'm still feeling at 39 weeks.  I know most of you could slap me right now, but I guess this is why I was meant to do this and you weren't!  I'm seriously fine if he stays in a little longer to gain a bit more weight.  The selfish reason I'd like him out is I really can't wait to give my husband a hug and snuggle with our little kiddos and not feel like I'm a mile away from them.  I'm also really excited to see my IPs holding this little man and for him to finally have a name! 

I met a woman yesterday when I was volunteering at a March of Dimes event who learned that I was a surrogate.  I'm so amazed at the overwhelming support that strangers poor out when I tell them that this baby isn't ours, and I'm just carrying him until he gets to go home with his parents.  Most people express that they have only heard about surrogacy on the news, TV shows, or the movies.  This lady was so exited that she started giving people high-fives and saying, "We met one!" because she got to meet a real surrogate in person!  She made me laugh.  At this same event, there was an older gentleman who shook my hand and gave me a bow and was so thrilled that our family is helping others.  It's so neat to see how other people are impacted by a decision we made as a family and that the joy of this baby extends far beyond his parents.  

I joined seven other surrogates, several IPs, and the owner of IARC last night at the state capitol to support a bill that was passed for assisted reproduction.  I've never ever had an interest in legislation or truly cared much about bills that were presented to our senate.  I have truly have found a passion for surrogacy, so I thought it would be important and a great learning lesson to join my fellow surrogates in support of this bill.  I felt proud to stand behind two surrogates and a couple IPs who testified for the bill.  I think it helped that there were two of us who were really pregnant that stood behind the people testifying in support of the bill.  There were only two old douche-bag men that didn't want to pass the bill.  I love that all of the women and a couple gentlemen were very much in support of what we are doing to help build families! 

There was one woman and one man who testified against the bill and I almost threw up from the ideas that they had of us.  The lady basically stated that we were uneducated women who are on welfare and only become a surrogate for the money.  Isn't it great that the agency has such a thorough application that would disqualify anyone that has a motive like that?  I appreciate that they have us fill out hours and hours of paperwork, telephone interviews, medical examinations, and psychological evaluations prior to even being accepted as a potential surrogate.  All of us involved in surrogacy have the same goal...help create families that can't do it on their own!  It's such a beautiful process to be involved in and I feel so honored that I get to be a part of this hidden world that isn't as small as you think. 

I started having contractions about 9:00 last night.  I kind of thought it was funny that I was surrounded by a ton of surrogates and IPs and was contracting so much.  I met up with a couple ladies to carpool and when they dropped me off at my car around 11:00 I was still having contractions.  My IPs asked for me to call them when I could after the legislation meeting (they watched it at home), so I called them on my way home.  I was still contracting and they were getting stronger.  I told them that I'd wait to have them head up until I got home and started moving around just to make sure that they didn't stop.  About thirty minutes later I called them and said that hey should probably get ready because I was 99.9% sure that he was going to make his grand arrival.  The contractions continued to get stronger and stronger in the car.  I had to even start telling myself to relax during them.  Of course I was driving so I could time them out, but I almost called the hospital before going into the house to tell them that they could expect us sometime last night or early this morning.  I was so confident that this was it.  I walked into the house and could almost tell instantly that the contractions weren't as strong as they were when I was sitting down.  I told my IPs to hold off with making the drive and I'd try to get some sleep.  I'm sitting here, so you can guess pretty quickly that it wasn't true labor!  I'm super shocked.  I'm still getting random contractions that aren't very strong, I actually am having one right now.  He'll come when he's ready, I guess! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mucus Plug

38 Weeks
You may think it sounds disgusting to talk about the mucus plug, but why do people think that it's somewhat inappropriate to discuss?  It's a completely natural part of the birthing process and your mom lost hers at some point when you were making your arrival.  I'll spare you the photo I took of my mucus plug that I sent to my IPs, but I had to think about that for a long time before posting this.  I don't think that it would be a bad thing to show you.  I had to take a photo and send it to my IPs so they could be as involved in this process as they wanted to be!  Plus, I've heard that some of you even got to see the photo already from my IPs.   

I had my OB appointment on Monday and I'm still dilated to 1.5cm and she said I'm slightly thinner than last week.  I lost my mucus plug that afternoon after she dug around up there, which probably helped it out.  I really got hopeful that this little man would have already made his grand arrival.  I lost mine with our little Jack on a Thursday and had him on Saturday, so I had really high hopes that yesterday would have been the day.  I realize that loosing the mucus plug doesn't mean labor will start really soon, but at least we know my body is working on preparing itself for giving birth.  I've had several random contractions that really don't hurt.  We're just playing that game of "hurry up and wait".  

I went crazy on Monday night getting everything ready just in case I did go into labor that night.  I now have everything ready to go.  My bag is packed and I somehow completed the task of shaving my legs...not easy to do!  My IPs went to the store that night to finish up their last minute shopping and I think we're all completely ready to go.

I had a dream last night that I forgot to call our photographer and tell her I was in labor.  I realized after the baby was born that she wasn't there and I was so sad!  In that same dream, no one video taped the birth either.  I guess it's clear that I feel like these two things are very important and I know we won't forget to do either!  I don't want to have to do all this work and not have a video or photos to look at after the birth.  It's kind of sad how the person giving birth does all the work and misses out on seeing what is happening.  I know I closed my eyes and gave so much concentration on my body while I was giving birth to our kids, so I appreciate having a video and photos to look back on.

I'm still feeling amazing!  Keep those prayers and positive thoughts coming my way that this little man will make his arrival really soon.       

 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Nesting

37 weeks
I started nesting about two weeks ago.  I actually had to ask  my surrogacy support group if it was normal for a surrogate to go through nesting.  I guess it's pretty common that we do go through nesting in a whole different way.  Most surrogates say that they went crazy baking and cooking things and buying unnecessary items for their house.  I guess I started by cleaning our house like a mad woman.  I dusted everything and even washed all the windows.  This week I started feeling like I needed to get all of our paperwork in a neat pile ready to go and I had to get my camera memory card cleared and charge up those batteries.  I sent out our Birth Plan to everyone with a big email of instructions for those that are going to attend the birth.  My final touch will be when I pack my bag.  I think I'll do that this weekend or next week sometime.

I had an OB appointment on Monday and went over our whole birth plan with our doctor. She is very much on board with all of our wishes to make this labor and delivery as smooth and drug free as possible.  One thing I really like about our OB is that she allows time to answer any and all questions that we have and we never have felt rushed.  I really appreciate that she makes me feel like my health care is important and that her schedule will be fine, and she always seems to be running on time.  She did the Group B Strep test and then check to see if I was dilated at all.  I told her before she check my dilation that I've never ever been dilated prior to going into labor with our kids.  I even sent a message to my IPs telling them that they shouldn't expect that I will dilate at all before going into labor.  To my surprise, I am dilated to 1.5 cm.  I realize it doesn't mean anything, other than my body is starting to work on something down there, but it's really fun to say!

I guess after one tells their agency that they are dilated, the paperwork starts coming extra fast!  I heard from my IPs that they had paperwork that needed to get turned around pretty quickly.  I think it's all complete and we'll just have to sign more papers at the hospital after this little man is born.  In addition to making our court appearance about a week or so after he's born.  It still blows my mind that Ben and I both need to sign our "rights" away.  There is NO biological connection to this baby and yet we have to sign more papers to "give up rights" and appear in front of a judge.  You would think that there would be laws put into place by now that would prevent this...and our agency is actively working on putting such laws into place.  Most of you will be getting an email from me pretty soon to ask you to send an email to your congress person to help pass a bill to prevent all of this unnecessary paperwork.  It would help protect the IPs as well as protecting the surrogate.  Please consider taking a little time to help the surrogate world, my IPs, other IPs, and future babies born through surrogacy.  We appreciate all of your support!     

I got together with my sister and sister-in-law yesterday for a pampering morning.  We got pedicures and had lunch at Granite City.  It's fun that we're all best friends and having babies (obviously they'll be keeping their babies and this baby will go home with his parents) around the same time.  My sister's little Elliott is almost 2 months old and my sister-in-law is due a week before this baby is due.  I especially love that they are going to have little babies that I get to love on and not have to take home.  I'm so out of baby mode, but it's fun that we were all pregnant together!  I've enjoyed going through this journey with them  :) 



Happy Toes all set to greet Little Man
There isn't much more to update you on other than I ended up with a horrible cold that lasted two weeks.  I don't think I got more than one hour of sleep at a time without feeling like I needed to move from the bed to the recliner and back to the bed.  When I went into my OB appointment on Monday she said she would like to give me antibiotics, but I thought I would be able to fight it on my own so I asked for her to give me a couple more days. By Wednesday she called in a prescription and I now feel almost 100%.  I only got up once last night to pee...that's a BIG deal!!!  I still could use a good night of sleep.  Pregnancy wise I feel AMAZING!