Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Recent articles have come up in the media opposing surrogacy, so I thought this week we'd cover some interesting history on surrogacy and discuss why people care so much about controversial topics such as surrogacy, public nursing, homosexuality, and the differences in parenting. Take a deep breath and relax...why does or doesn't this bother you?

Here are a couple news clips from this week:



Accroding to Webster.com-
: the practice by which a woman (called a surrogate mother) becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby in order to give it to someone who cannot have children
According to Wikipedia.com-
Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person. The surrogate may be the child's genetic mother (called traditional surrogacy), or she may be genetically unrelated to the child (called gestational surrogacy). In a traditional surrogacy, the child may be conceived via home natural or artificial insemination using fresh or frozen sperm or impregnated via IUI (intrauterine insemination), or ICI (intracervical insemination) performed at a health clinic. A gestational surrogacy requires the transfer of a previously created embryo, and for this reason the process always takes place in a clinical setting.
The intended parent or parents, sometimes called the social parents, may arrange a surrogate pregnancy because of female infertility, other medical issue which make pregnancy or delivery impossible, risky or otherwise undesirable, or because the intended parent or parents are male. The sperm or eggs may be provided by the 'commissioning' parents, but donor sperm, eggs and embryos may also be used. Although the idea of vanity surrogacy is a common trope in popular culture and anti-surrogacy arguments, there is little or no data showing that women choose surrogacy for reasons of aesthetics or convenience.
Monetary compensation may or may not be involved in surrogacy arrangements. If the surrogate receives compensation beyond the reimbursement of medical and other reasonable expenses, the arrangement is called commercial surrogacy; otherwise, it is often referred to as altruistic surrogacy. The legality and costs of surrogacy vary widely between jurisdictions, which results in high rates of international and interstate surrogacy activity.
Here is information on the history of surrogacy.  The good, the bad, and the ugly...
Both our IPs and our family work with an amazing agency, IARC, found at fertilityhelp.com.  Here is a list of requirements and the process to become a surrogate found on their website.
Following are some examples of what is required for all our surrogates:
  • Within the proper age range (21-39 for Gestational Surrogates, 21-33 for Traditional Surrogates)
  • Non-smoker
  • Healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy history
  • No significant history of depression or any mental health disorder
  • No criminal record

Getting Started

To get started, please complete our online initial screening form. Once you fill this out, it will be submitted directly to our Surrogate Recruiter, who will be in contact with you to set up an initial phone call. This initial call will be informational and will go over all aspects of what it means to be a surrogate with our agency. We will be able to answer any questions you have about our agency and the surrogacy process during this call.


Once you complete your initial phone call, you will be sent an application packet, which must be filled out and returned to us along with several documents we will need to complete your screening process. These documents include the following:
  • Birth Certificate
  • Driver's License
  • Social Security Card
  • Passport (if applicable)
  • Photos - (the photos you submit must include at least one headshot and one full length photo)
  • Obstetric records from your most recent pregnancy and delivery
  • A copy of your full insurance booklet
  • Front and back copy of your insurance card
  • A Clearance Letter from your physician stating that you are fit to carry another pregnancy
The two things that we will need in order to begin your screening process are your obstetric records from your most recent pregnancy and your completed application packet. If it takes slightly longer to return the other items, that is fine, but we will not be able to complete your screening process until we have all of the documents listed above.

Screening Process

Unlike most agencies, we prescreen all of our surrogates. We recognize the time, energy, and emotion that goes into the matching process, so we want you and the intended parents to feel confident that you are qualified to be a surrogate before a match is made. The following are the steps that will be completed during your screening process:
  • Obstetric record and health history review and approval - One of the physicians we work with will review and approve your obstetric records and health history.
  • Insurance review - We have a staff member who specializes in reviewing insurance policies to determine whether the surrogate pregnancy will be covered by your policy or not. If it does not cover a surrogate pregnancy or you do not have any insurance at all, we will work with the intended parents to purchase an alternative policy for you that will cover the pregnancy and delivery.
  • Criminal Background check - You will complete a release form with your application packet, and we will use that do to a quick criminal background check for you.
  • Psychological evaluation - You will be required to have an appointment with a psychologist who is experienced in the assisted reproductive technology field. This will include a face-to-face meeting as well as complete an MMPI-2 written personality test. The purpose of this appointment is to evaluate your fitness to act as a surrogate as well as provide you with information about what to expect throughout your journey. If you have a spouse or significant other, they will also be required to attend this appointment.

Matching Process

The surrogate matching process with IARC® is a two-way process where both you and the intended parents must mutually select each other. The first step in the matching process is circulating your profile to intended parents who might be a good fit for you. Your profile will include the following information:
  • General information regarding your physical characteristics
  • Educational and employment history
  • Diet and exercise habits
  • Pregnancy history
  • Personal medical history
  • Your responses to questions that relate to the surrogate pregnancy and program such as your thoughts on selective reduction, how much contact your want during the pregnancy, etc.
  • Photos
  • Dear Parents Letter
  • Insurance Summary
  • Your selected fee
When circulating your profile we will take into account your preferences for types of intended parents you are willing to work with, similarity of views relating to termination and selective reduction, etc. How long it takes to find a match will depend on the intended parents who are searching for a surrogate at the time you become qualified, but we constantly have intended parents from the U.S. and abroad who are signing up for our surrogacy program. We will let you know each time your profile is viewed by intended parents and provide you with their feedback. If they are interested in you based on your profile, we will then send you information regarding the intended parents and their situation. If you are also interested in them as a potential match, we will set up a telephone call between you and the intended parents that will be facilitated by our Matching Coordinator. Most surrogates and intended parents are able to determine whether it will be a suitable match based on the phone call, but face-to-face meetings are also an option if location permits. Once we establish a match, we will immediately proceed with your the contract phase.


IARC® will draft the contract between you and the Intended Parents. This contract is very detailed and extensive and discusses all aspects of your program so that everyone will have clear expectations moving forward. You will be required to complete an independent review of the contract with an attorney. Any attorney's fees associated with this review will be paid for by the intended parents. The Matching Coordinator will provide you with a list of attorneys in your state who are experienced at reviewing surrogacy contracts, and you will be able to select an attorney to work with based on this list. Once the finalized draft of contract is signed by all parties, we will proceed with the medical portions of your program.

Medical Testing

The first step once the surrogacy contract is signed will be infectious disease testing. Your IARC® Program Coordinator will assist you with getting an appointment scheduled to complete this testing in your local area. The testing will involve a blood draw and vaginal/cervical swabbing.

Fertility Treatment

When your medical testing requirements are completed, we will coordinate with you and the intended parents' clinic to prepare for the medical procedure. For Gestational Surrogates, this will mean preparing your uterine lining for the embryo transfer. This preparation will involve tracking your menstrual cycles so they are in line with the intended mother's or ovum donor's cycles as well as taking fertility medications, some of which may be daily injections. You will be required to travel to the intended parents' fertility clinic the day before the embryo transfer date and will return either one or two days after the embryo transfer occurs. You will be prescribed bedrest for at least 24 hours after the transfer occurs. All of your travel accommodations will be organized by your IARC® Program Coordinator.

For Traditional (AI) Surrogates, you will administer medications, usually via injections, that will improve the quality of eggs produced. You will likely have several appointments in your local area to monitor your hormone levels prior to when you travel to the intended parents' fertility clinic for the insemination. The Artificial Insemination procedure feels similar to a pap smear.
In both cases, you will be instructed to complete a blood pregnancy test at your local doctor approximately two weeks after the insemination/embryo transfer. If you are not pregnant, your Program Coordinator will talk with you and the intended parents to confirm whether all parties want to proceed with another attempt. If everyone agrees to try again, your Program Coordinator will work with the clinic to get another insemination/embryo transfer scheduled. If either of the parties does not want to proceed with another attempt, the Matching Coordinator will facilitate finding you a new match.

Pregnancy and Delivery!

All of your prenatal appointment will happen in your local area, so the only travel required will be for the actual insemination/embryo transfer. Even after a pregnancy is achieved, your IARC® Program Coordinator will stay in regular contact with you to make sure that everything is going smoothly with your program, that you are being reimbursed for program-related expenses, and that contact between you and intended parents is going well. You will likely communicate directly with the intended parents regarding your prenatal appointments and how the pregnancy is progressing. IARC® will assist in coordinating all legal requirements. We are here to make sure that as many administrative responsibilities as possible are taken off of your shoulders so you and the intended parents can enjoy the pregnancy and the relationship that will develop between you! If the intended parents are not local, they will typically plan on arriving a number of days prior to the due date. This will be an incredible experience for everyone, and we truly appreciate your willingness to give this amazing gift to another family; it is truly remarkable!


I didn't realize that surrogacy is such a controversial topic.  I guess I'm blown away by the extreme proposed bill they have in Kansas to criminalize surrogates and intended parents that were involved in commercial surrogacy.  I wonder what happened to this woman to go off the deep end on a beautiful process.  She stated that surrogacy lessons the dignity of women and children.  Speaking as a surrogate, I feel the opposite!  Has she been a surrogate?  Is she a child born via surrogacy?  Has she experienced infertility?  Why does she have the right to speak negatively for those of us who have been involved in the process and can only speak wonderfully of it?  Why does she care? 
A surrogate baby is one of the worlds most planned and wanted people on earth.  What does she think of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies?  People that waste their time and energy on a subject that has proven to be extraordinary baffle me.  These people should spend their time educating people who don't want their kids instead of fighting those who so desperately want them and can't carry their own.
Most of us have witnessed a new mother dog feeding her puppies and couldn't take our eyes off the amazing wonder of how natural and beautiful that process is.  The mother dog isn't told she should lick her puppies clean after each is born, or that she should lay on her side and allow her puppies to nurse from her, she just does it naturally.   
Now, imagine someone tells you to take your plate of food and go eat in a locked dirty bathroom under a sheet.  How do you feel with that demand?  Why do people in society feel like they need to tell nursing mothers that they should be confined to a locked dirty room to feed their child/ren?  Why do they really care?  Why does one waste emotional time and energy on a topic that doesn't really concern them?  If you choose to bottle feed, nurse publicly covered, or spend your life locked in your home to nurse your baby, that's your choice and no one should tell you that it's right or wrong.  What works for you might not work for everyone.  Choose what works for you and your family! 
I worked in an amazing office full of nursing mothers.  Each nursing mom would pump throughout the day to supply her child enough milk while she was away at work.  Lunchtime was part of the pumping schedule so she wouldn't be away from patients as much.  We all ate lunch around each other where boobs were out and hooked up to pumps while milk was being expressed into a bottle that was resting on the same table next to my food.  In the two years I worked with these incredible women I never ever heard one person say that it was wrong for them to pump in our staff lounge.  They could have a private room if they choose, but each of them choose to pump around the rest of the staff and NOT ONE PERSON WAS UNCOMFORTABLE!  Our spouses/significant others would occasionally come and visit but nothing changed when or where these women would pump.  It seems so normal, why would this bother someone? 
I've heard mothers of boys say that they don't want a woman to whip out her boob and have her son see it.  The truth is that boobs were created to feed children in a natural and healthy way for both mother and baby.  Society is telling us that boobs are created for sex appeal, though that may be another natural attraction for men and women, a woman has a natural reaction to feed her child after it's born.  We can walk into any store, mall, drive by most billboards, or open our internet browser and find boobs displayed sexually everywhere, look around you and you'll find boobs right now.  Do you feel uncomfortable when you pull up your internet browser?  Why do people feel uncomfortable when a woman is feeding her baby in public or at home where she chooses not to cover?  Again, why do you care?  Take a deep breath and choose not to care...it doesn't matter!   
I dream of an accepting world where everyone can be happily comfortable in their own skin.  Lets do some soul searching... 
What do you look like?  What color are your eyes, hair, and skin?  Did you grow up in a happy home where your parents loved each other or two loving home where your parents were separated?  Do you have a disability?  Did you choose any of these?  Why do people say that sexuality is a choice?  When did you choose to become attracted to the opposite sex?  We're born with traits that we don't choose.  Lets look at these traits as unique qualities that make us who we are and lets LOVE who we are!  Look back to your younger years and name the person who you knew was gay or a lesbian.  These people may have waited years to "come out" or haven't yet, but we can all pinpoint a childhood classmate that we knew was homosexual when were young and not surprisingly came out later in life.  Do you think that child would demonstrate homosexual tendencies by choice in a world that is so unaccepting?  Still think it's a choice?  Again, at what point did you choose to be straight?  We can't help who lights that fire inside us.  Maybe it'll take you to have a child that is gay to realize that you'll love them no matter who they are and what traits they were born with.  They're not any different than you or I.  Still, weather you think it's right or wrong, is it worth your blood pressure rising?  Why do you care?  Take a deep breath and choose (yes, this is a choice you have) not to care...it doesn't matter! 
I wish everyone could realize that each family has what does and doesn't work for them and we can accept that we're all doing the very best we can for our own family.  Some homes have two working parents, some have a stay at home parent, some families have a single working parent.  What works for one family might not work for others.  Some parents buy their kids everything they want while others choose not to or can't buy their kids everything.  I see so many differences in parenting and realize that what works for our family might not work for yours and what works for your family might not work for ours.  Are your kids in every sport that you can put them in?  Do you allow your kids to have unlimited access to electronics? Do you belong to a church or do you teach your kids your family ethics and beliefs at home?  Do you eat family dinner together every night?  Do you eat fast food?  Do you only feed your kids organic or local grown food?  Do you medicate your child or choose alternative methods?  I think if you ask any parent they would tell you that they are doing what is right for them and their family.  Who are we to judge and why do we care to express our opinions on others?  Lets accept the fact that we're all doing our best! 

Pregnancy Update
I'll be 32 weeks in just a couple days and my right rib and back are in so much pain!  I feel like at times I want to curl up in a ball and cry.  Today I can't seem to push him out of my ribs, so I took my sisters suggestion and got down on all fours to get some relief.  It seems like the only position that I can feel comfortable.  Sleeping has been terrible for the same reasons.  This baby must really be really comfortable in my right rib.  I'm ready for the little fellow to go home with his parents.  It's been a great ride but I'm ready to get off! 
When my IPs were here last they brought a book that they read into for us to play to the baby.  We've made it a point to play it daily or multiple times a day so the baby can be familiar with their voices.  I've attached a couple photos of what a typical night looks like in our house.   

Jack, our 8 year old, took this photo.  He's normally snuggling with us.
George, our 5 year old, pretending he's playing the book for his belly

Friday, January 24, 2014

Traumatized? YES!

I was fortunate enough to watch and video tape the birth of my new niece last weekend.  My sister is my new hero!  She had a perfect drug free water birth, and Elliott had the most peaceful way to enter the world.  I am, however, slightly anxious about the delivery of Mr. Surrogate baby now.  I kind of forgot how painful it is...Oops, should have thought about that before I got knocked up! (just kidding)  I love giving birth, but watching it from the other end is a very different experience.  I just wanted to take the pain away from my sister.  It's very difficult to watch my very best friend in that much pain.  At one point the midwife told my sister, "No one smiles while doing this."  Megan said under her laboring breath, "Josie does!"  It made me chuckle.  I'm so proud of my sister for succeeding in her goal for a water birth!

One week ago IP-A and IP-B came up for our 30 week OB appointment, our third "Blow up the Belly" photo, and to watch The Wizard of Oz play.  Lydia, who is 9, took our third photo and did an amazing job!  She also posed us an extra photo to enter into a photo contest and wrote a poem that answered the question, "What makes someone one of a kind?"
 Someone special
 Using her belly
 Really selfless
 Rounded belly
 Ovum donor
 Gave the egg
 Caring heart
 You are having a baby for someone else

Our appointment last week went well.  I'm measured at a perfect 30 and his heart rate was in the 130's.  I hate to say that I have 25lbs to loose already and I still have 9 weeks to go.  Not to focus on this as being bad or a big deal, but when people say I don't look big I have to let them know that I actually feel huge!  It's amazing peoples perspective on someone else when they don't know what they looked like prior to pregnancy.  Our doctor is as sweet as they come, but after seeing my sister deliver with a midwife I know that I really want IP-B's sister, who is a midwife, to be at the birth of her nephew.  Unfortunately, midwifes aren't allowed to deliver at the St. Cloud hospital or we would just have her instead of the OB.  We can, however, labor at home for as long as possible and then head to the hospital.  I think she would be perfect to have around to help keep me calm!  We've been chatting and she's given me great advice and resources to check out!  I'm super thankful that IP-B has an awesome sister (really there are two awesome sisters!!!).  We just hope the stars align right and she can make it!!!!!!!!!!

I've had some ups and downs this week.  I'm struggling to sleep and starting to feel exhausted.  I'm at the point where thinking about doing this for nine more weeks might feel like eternity!  My right ribs are bruised and I'm continually trying to push his foot out of them.  I still struggle with food.  I grew up in a chocolate loving family where CHOCOLATE is the main topic of most conversation, and my brain tells me I really want to eat it but it doesn't taste good (insert a BIG GASP!).  I've come to terms with it but it's still really hard to accept that I can't eat it while I'm "with" this child.  I wonder if he'll like chocolate?  I did have one night where the little man allowed me to sleep for five straight hours!  Hopefully this next week will be better!  The power of positive thinking does do wonders!!      


Friday, January 17, 2014

30 Weeks

30 Weeks
Ten weeks to go and counting...

This week has been very interesting in terms of pregnancy and life in general.  Ben and our kids are in The Wizard of Oz play.  We've had 10 plays in the last 6 days and I've been working the spotlight for each performance.  We're all ready for this weekend to be over so life calm down and we can get back into our regular schedule. 

My  pregnancy week started off with a crazy nightmare Sunday night. 
Three things you need to know before I go into my nightmare...
1. We know this little 8 year old girl who doesn't quite understand the concept of surrogacy, and continuously asks us if we're going to take the baby home with us for a little while and why are we giving him up for adoption.  I'm not in a position where I can explain things to her like I can our kids, so poor thing doesn't grasp the concept that he's not our baby even though I tell her that he's not ours.  2. My BFF (AKA my sister) is due with her baby today and they haven't given us a clue on her name yet.  I hope it's good so I don't have to fake that I like it even though she'll be able to read trough a fake smile.  I'm sure it'll be good because we always like the same names. 
3. I actually like the name Sam.  
The Nightmare 
Most expectant mothers dream about bringing their new baby home and all joy that goes with being a new mom.  Being a surrogate, dreams about bringing a baby home are actually considered a nightmare!  It was written in our contract that I had to take the baby home for five weeks before he went home with his parents.  They named him Samuel and I hated the name!!  I was forced to take this baby home that I didn't want with a name that I couldn't stand and take care of him for five weeks.  His parents came to visit when he was two weeks old and then planned on bringing him home three weeks later.  I didn't take care of him and forgot to change his diaper and feed him.  I was so happy when I woke up and realized that it was only a nightmare.  I sent my IPs a message and they confirmed that they want to take him home right away and that they don't plan on naming him Samuel.  I'm not sure if this is something that other surrogates have experienced, but I'll have to ask the ladies in my support group and see if anyone else has had similar nightmares. 

Two days ago I came to the point that I new would eventually creep up on me, I was ready to be done!  I couldn't get his little foot out of my rib and it seriously feels bruised.  My back was in so much pain because I keep arching it to see if I could move his little foot out of my rib.  The pain was so bad that it kept me up most of the night and I got a horrific headache.  I don't think pain could actually describe how miserable I felt, I just wanted him out right then an there!!  I was still uncomfortable yesterday, so I kept my hand under my rib and battled with his foot most of the day.  Last night the pain went away and I'm back to my normal happy pregnant self.  I know that in just a few weeks I'm going to be really ready for him to go home!

I hope our sub-below temps pick up a little bit.  We're planning on taking our third "Blow Up the Belly" photo today before our OB appointment.  I'm going to have to head there a little early with a shovel and clean up our photo site before my IPs get there.  After our appointment they're going to watch our family in the show tonight.  I'm looking forward to hanging out with them for a while.  I can't wait for them to feel the difference in the movement of the baby.  I'm actually able to feel body parts move now instead of just kicks.  Hopefully he cooperates so his parents can experience the excitement that I get to feel every day! 

I realize that I might not look as huge as I feel and people keep commenting on this topic, but I am feeling like a beached whale.  I get out of breath walking up stairs and struggle to put on my shoes.  I constantly think that I would be a really bad fat person because it seems like a struggle to do a lot of things.  It'll be interesting to see how my body bounces back in shape after this pregnancy.  We had our kids in our early 20's, so I'll be interested to see how my 30 year old body does after the pregnancy.  I signed up for a 1/2 marathon to do with my sister in May.   I hope having that motivation with keep me up and moving these last ten weeks!      

I realized I forgot to give you our feedback on the "Baby Mama" movie.  We didn't think we'd watched it before, but 3/4 through the movie we both realized that we had already seen it.  I'm not impressed with the movie much.  I think it gives a horrible example of surrogacy and it's virtually impossible to get pregnant with your own child like the movie shows.  First, the contract states at what points you are to remain abstinent before and after the transfer.  Second, there is an ultrasound done prior to the transfer to look at the lining and to make sure that the surrogate isn't ovulating.  It's a funny movie but portrays surrogacy kind of bad.  Surrogacy is not at all like the movies and each state has different laws!           

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Remember When...

We celebrated Jack's 8th birthday this week!  So I thought for this weeks update we can take a look back at what I looked like when I was expecting our kids and their stories...


Kisses from Daddy just a week before Lydia was born

First Family Photo

I was only 21 and Ben was 22 years old when Lydia was born.  Most people must have thought we were very crazy to plan on having a baby at such a young age.  Looking back now, we think we were crazy, but we knew what we were doing, maybe?!?!  WE HAVE NO REGRETS!  Lydia was a week late.  We were preparing to become parents and have Ben leave for his deployment to Iraq.  We went into the hospital on our first anniversary to have something placed to help me dilate and I was induced the next day.  Knowing Ben was going to be leaving in five days, we wanted Lydia's birth to be very private and didn't want visitors until the next afternoon.  I didn't want many photos of the birth and I didn't want it video taped (UGH, total regret!).  I hung on for a long while without any pain medications but at some point caved in and got an epidural.  I think I pushed for two hours and the doc said they might need to use the forceps or suction to help her out.  I knew that they weren't going to use that on our baby, so buckled down and was able to push her out on my own.  We didn't know her gender until she was born.  Most of you don't know, but I made a deal with God that I needed to have a little boy if something terrible was going to happen to Ben.  I NEEDED to have a little boy who would remind me of him everyday.  When this little head of red hair started crowning I knew it was going to be the little girl of my DREAMS (I wanted a little red-headed girl for as long as I could remember).  I had an overwhelming peace that Ben was going to be okay, we had a girl!  
Long story short, Ben didn't go to Iraq and Lydia is healthy. (See one of my earlier posts for the full story)   



 For some reason I can't make the rest of the photos larger...sorry!
This is Lydia giving Jack kisses just a couple weeks before he was born.
He came earlier than expected and we didn't get a really good photo  :(
The birthing ball is my favorite way to labor in the hospital other than walking.  I used it with all three of our kids and will use it with this baby, too.
                                                                               Family of Four 
 It wasn't long after having Lydia that I told Ben that we better have another baby or I didn't want another one, because Lydia terrified me of being a new mom again.  Lydia and Jack are seventeen months apart.  I figured since I wasn't sleeping already that we should just have our second, and final baby, and thankfully Ben was on board.  Lydia was on an apnea monitor her first year and I honestly don't think I slept for nearly two and a half years after she was born. 
Jack's pregnancy was uneventful and his birth was perfect, except Auntie Meggie and Kristal (Ben's sister) missed it!  Eleven days before my due date, Ben was heading out to work and I was on the couch holding a sick little Lydia.  I told him that I'd been having contractions since six that morning and he might want to stay home for a bit to see it if progressed.  We knew he was a boy.  Just a couple weeks before we had changed the name from Kai to Jack because I couldn't stand the reaction I had gotten from people (Thanks everyone!!! I'm a fan of telling people the name for this reason).  Labor continued and I did much of it at home in the bathtub.  Ben became unsure of the name, Jack, when he realized that it was his adoptive sister, Jaclyn's, birthday (who left the family many many years earlier).  I totally understood.  We dropped Lydia off at my friend's house and headed to the hospital.  Ben said he purposely hit as many potholes from the ice storm that we just had on the way that he could!  When we arrived at the hospital around one in the afternoon I was already dilated to 9cm.  The doc broke my water right away and he was born within two hours.  They didn't have time to give me an IV and I had the perfect drug-free delivery!  The first thing Ben said as the baby came out was, "HI JACK!"  I didn't think we'd have a name for him for days.  I can't imagine him having a different name!     
My sister and Ben's sister were both supposed to be at the birth.  Megan was on her way home from Florida and we called Kristal late because we didn't' realize how far along I was.  Neither of them were there to watch, but Ben video taped the birth and that's a treasure to have!  


This photo was taken at 38 weeks with George
Taken by the Amazing Frank Marino from Life Touch in California
Frank photographed our family all the time while we lived in California.  He was our FAVORITE!
Typical labor look...quiet, peaceful, and on the birthing ball
Not many people give two thumbs up when it's time to push

                                                                                                        Our family is complete

Within a month of having Jack we had a vasectomy consult for Ben.  Our insurance at that time made us wait one month from the consult to the procedure.  I did what any 22 year old would do and changed my mind in that month!  We were finishing up with college and were planning our move to California.  I loved being pregnant!!!  Being a mom was the best, other than the fact that I was terrified of newborns because of my PTSD from Lydia, and so we got pregnant soon after moving.  We found out that we miscarried at our 10 week visit.  I could tell from the beginning of the pregnancy that it wasn't "right" and it felt very different than the others.  We waited a week to see if it would pass naturally, but I was scared to go to the bathroom, so at 11 weeks we had a D&C.  We were told to wait one normal cycle and then we could try to get pregnant again.
George is 25 months younger than Jack.  I did have a low lying placenta with his pregnancy that eventually moved up and I was able to have him vaginally.  He was a week overdue and I selfishly let our doc induce me.  I was so ready to have the little guy out of me!  Megan, Bethy and Shawn (my brother and sister-in-law), joined Ben and I in the hospital for the birth of George.  I actually called and asked Shawn if he wanted to watch his birth that morning and about two hours before he was born he decided he'd come and watch.  I think I was dilated to 6cm when I had an epidural that only worked on the left half.  I was totally fine being able to feel the right side, because when I pushed him out it only took two pushes. Having a room full of people meant that we were able to get awesome photos and a video of his birth. 
By the time we had George, I was already signed on with a surrogacy agency in California.  We knew we were done having kids, but I knew I wasn't done giving birth.  I love childbirth and really wanted to experience it again.  Ben said, "So long as that baby doesn't have to come home from the hospital with us, more power to you!"  And here we are.
I'll be 29 weeks tomorrow and I got a terrible cold this week.  For the first time I felt like I would like to have this baby out of me, just because I want to take drugs to knock me out and be able to sleep off this cold.  I'm starting to slowly feel better as the week goes on except for the acid reflux.  I cut out the carbonated water and that's helped a bit.  I can also feel my stomach stretching, so he must be growing fast inside or trying to stretch out himself!  He's still a little night owl, which is why I think I got sick.  I'm not sleeping nearly as much as I should.  Rant over, I still love carrying this little guy  :)  My IPs will be up next week for our appointment and we hope to take our third "blow up the belly" photo.  They're also coming to watch our family in The Wizard of Oz production.  Tomorrow is opening night for our three little munchkins and my big Ozian, and this pregnant lady will be doing the spotlights!     

Friday, January 3, 2014

Wait, Third Trimester Already?!?!

28 weeks
  I feel bigger than I look
 Welcome to week 28-third trimester!  I'm still having mixed emotions about being this far along on this incredible journey.  My sister, who is due in two weeks, will tell everyone that I'm so stupid for volunteering to be pregnant for someone else.  Don't get me wrong, she is one of my biggest supporters.  Poor thing, she just isn't good at being pregnant.  I'm sure in two months I'll be ready to have my body back and this little man off my bladder and out of my ribs.  He's been using my bladder as a punching bag during the night, and I'm getting up frequently to urinate and flip from one side to the other.  He's a little night owl...watch out IPs!  I'm sure it'll be quite a difference that my IPs will be well rested when he arrives.  I wonder if that will help with the sleep deprivation during infancy?  Most of the time the mother is beyond tired before the baby is even born, but they'll have had all the sleep they can get right up until delivery.  BONUS for them!!!  My acid reflux started kicking my butt a week ago, but I still need to quit drinking my La Croix water that is probably the cause of it.  All in all I really feel great and I'll miss it when he's born and gets to go home.  I totally understand why other surrogates do this over and over.  IT'S AMAZING! 
I'm just about ready to head into the clinic for my glucose test and I'm really not looking forward to this.  I've never minded having to drink the really sweet sugary drink for our pregnancies, however, when nearly everything tastes too sweet it's hard to imagine drinking it.  I plan on just chugging it as fast as I can to get it over as quickly as possible.  I'm bringing my camera and hopefully someone can capture me drinking it so my IPs can see how it goes  ;)  They're not coming up for this appointment today because we're already at the point where we'll have appointments every other week and they're coming up in two weeks!  Here I go...I'll write more when I get back from my appointment!    

No choice...I have to have the fruit punch


It really wasn't as bad as my face looks
So the glucose test wasn't as terrible as I had imagined. She captured the very moment that the drink hit the base of my tongue that can't handle sweets.  I was just relieved when it was over.  She looked at me after I drank it and said, "If you throw that up, you'll have to come back and repeat the test next week."  Mind over matter...I wasn't going to throw that up!  One hour after consumption, the vampire drew my blood and will call me with my awesome results this afternoon.  No worry, I've always passed it!

I saw our OB right after I drank that poison and I'm measuring at a perfect 28!  The little man's heart rate is in the 140's.  She gave me an Rx for an antacid if I need it, however, I'll stop drinking my La Croix water and see if that helps cut down the acid reflux.  I don't like taking anything while I'm pregnant so I didn't even fill the Rx.  We're on the downward hill now to the end of this part of the journey and the start of one that will last a lifetime!