Thursday, February 27, 2014


Oh my, I'm back to my normal self and enjoying pregnancy again!  Two weeks ago I thought I wasn't going to be able to make it another six week with the excruciating pain I was in, but now I know that I can handle another four weeks, or more, just fine (I'm holding out that he'll arrive on St. Patrick's Day though.  How cool would that be for an Irish woman to have an Irish baby on St. Patrick's Day?!).  His movement is so much lower now and he'll give me a kick in my sore rib or muscle every once in a while but it's not constant all day long.  He sure is an active little boy who doesn't allow me to sleep as much as I need.  It's fun to watch people react to his strong movement now.  Both my IPs got to feel body parts moving across their hands this week!  It's pure joy watching them light up when he moves.  They were even able to see my belly move while we were having supper. 

36 weeks
It's a wise idea to do a tour of the hospital, mainly to make sure that everyone ends up at the correct location.  Fifteen minutes before our scheduled tour I got a phone call from my IPs and discovered that they were at Centracare Plaza instead of the hospital, it's totally an easy  mistake to make.  The plaza is giant and looks very much like a hospital.  I was able to guide them to the hospital  over the phone and they made it just in time.  We actually had a personal tour, I guess we were the only ones to sign up for that time, and our guide was an acquaintance of mine that I'd met through The Wizard of Oz.  She was a delightful tour guide and spent nearly two hours with us at the hospital.  She gave us wonderful information and shared stories about her experience as a labor and delivery nurse.  We're not her first surrogate couple, so it was nice to hear what others experienced while they were in the hospital.

I know most of you have loads of questions about how it all works in the hospital.  Here are a few answers to the most common questions...Some surrogates and IPs like the baby to be placed on the surrogate after delivery and she gets to "hand the baby" to the parents and it's very symbolic for them.  I have no desire to have him placed on me, and my image was always that he'd come out and go right into one of my IPs arms.  That's the plan...they'll be at my feet and ready to greet him upon his arrival.  I'll get my snuggle time when it's appropriate (I'm sure it'll be hours later and that's the way it should be!)  We'll hang out in the same room for a couple hours and then we'll end up in separate rooms for the remainder of our stay at the hospital.  I'm just going to see how I'm feeling when deciding if I should stay longer than the 24 hours or not.  I've heard from other surrogates that they enjoyed staying as long as they could because they got time with their IPs and the baby before going home, while others decided that they wanted to leave as soon as they could.  So, the answer to the other MAIN question, "Will your IPs be in the room when you deliver?" is ABSOLUTELY!  They watched him go into me when he was a 3 day old embryo, so they better be there to watch him take his first breath.  My husband and Mom will be there, along with a photographer who will take photos of the birth, and we're crossing our fingers that IP-B's sister will attend, too.  I imagine that it will be perfect.  My goal is to have another natural unmedicated delivery, so start sending positive thoughts and prayers my way!   

We headed to Chipotle for a late dinner after our tour.  It's crazy how we can just sit and visit and the time flies by!  Both of my IPs came into the restaurant super excited, it's really starting to feel more real for them.  For one, I actually look pregnant, and seeing the hospital where he's going to be born just makes things feel like it's actually happening.  I, on the other hand, have felt how real its been since the first Lupron injection and when I started vomiting.  It's so neat that they can feel and see the movement now, though.  It's so fun to hear the names that they have on the list that they're bringing to the hospital and how everything they have at home is coming together.  They've made decisions for this little guy long before he was created and I look at their decisions as parents and I'm in awe.  Some of the things that they have done for him have made me cry out of happiness.  This little boy will never need to question if he was ever wanted, desired, or loved.  He's got so much proof that he'll never ever have any of those thoughts!  I keep saying that he's one lucky little boy, and he is. Maybe he can be born on St. Patrick's Day and they can name him Lucky!?!?...just kidding, it's not on the list! It might be my nickname for him now...Lucky Leprechaun!  All jokes aside, he's bound to be a really cool kid!        

I'm fully aware that there is a lot of concern about my emotional well being after I have this little man.  I'd ask that all of you keep those thoughts and feelings to yourself or among you and your significant other.  I am not worried at all about the attachment issues after the baby is born, because there isn't a maternal feeling I have associated with this pregnancy or baby.  I realize that it's quite common for surrogates to be teary for the first couple weeks after delivery due to fluctuating hormones, and that is to be expected.  I'm going to have my placenta encapsulated to help with the hormones.  I feel when I hear people express their concern to me, then it makes me feel like I should be worried.  In fact, I felt slightly panicked this week when discussing these thoughts with my IPs over dinner after our tour.  I know it to be true, when you hear things about yourself from others that you start to believe them to be true about yourself.  So, I'd appreciate that you're all aware that I'm not worried about me and neither should you be!  It will be ok to talk about it if I bring it up (my husband and IPs are the only three are welcome to ask me anytime you'd like).  I expected this surrogacy experience to be amazing, but I've been blown away by how incredible it has been.  My IPs have become such amazing friends of ours and I don't imagine that things will change.  We are two families that are forever connected by this little boy, who I'll always have a special kind of love for, much like the love I have for my nieces and nephews!  Let all of your concerns rest in peace with the knowledge that this is something that I was truly called to do  :) 

This will bring a smile to anyone...

During our highs and lows at the dinner table this week, Jack told us that one of his highs was the surprise note that he left for us.  We had to go searching for it after we ate and this is what we found.  He's such a sweet little boy!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

34 weeks 5 days
*Photo by Lydia
34 weeks 5 days
*Photo by Lydia
We have a winter weather advisory that went into effect this morning at 9:00, so I thought since it was gorgeous out (27 degrees) earlier this morning that I could get in one mile for each week I had left of the pregnancy and reminisce. 

During the first 2.5 miles these are some of the things that I thought about...

I realized during my workout that it has been exactly a year and a half since my first contact with my friend, Charity, from IARC.  Our family has put our heart and soul into getting to the point where we are now.  Every single day was something new or different to get to the agency, but the last 35 weeks we have been giving every single moment of every single day into growing a healthy baby boy.  I have to say that this has been an incredible journey and I just realized, out on the road, how proud I am of our little family!  I knew that this was something I was "called" to do, but it's taken me this long to realize that I CAN be proud of us...and I am!  I'm proud that I listened to that little voice in my head, I'm proud that Ben has been so supportive, I'm proud that our kids are so accepting and loving, I'm proud of my parents, siblings, extended family, and friends who have watched us and supported us throughout this journey, I'm proud to help IP-A and IP-B become parents, and I'm proud to say that this little boy has a wonderful family that can't wait to meet him!  I AM PROUD TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT SURROGACY IS AN AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL OPTION FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE A CHILD OF THEIR OWN!  

Even though I had some food issues, was sick, and had a foot that killed my rib, I feel lucky that this journey has been so smooth and I really have loved this pregnancy!  I finally feel great again and I'm looking forward to the last five weeks.  I know, I'm crazy...most of us surrogates are!

During my last 2.5 miles I could only think about one thing...I NEED TO PEE!

When I turned around to head home I realized that I needed to pee really bad.  It wasn't so bad at first so I walked slow and knew that running wasn't an option anymore.  I started watching for snow banks, trees, or bushes that I could squat behind (thankfully my mom taught us girls the art of squatting).  We're out in the country and the road that I was on is pretty busy, so if I hid behind a tree then the houses could see me.  I thought maybe the church would be open, but it must have been too early...I just kept searching for any option.  I finally noticed two men in their garage chatting, about 3.5 miles into the workout, and I knew I had to make a decision to either hide behind a snow pile and have wet feet for the remainder of the workout or I could ask those guys over there to use their bathroom.  I waddled over to them, "Hi, I'm your neighbor (out in the country we consider anyone within three miles our neighbor) and I'm 35 weeks pregnant.  I'm 3.5 miles into my 5 mile run and I need to pee soooooooooooo bad.  Can I use your bathroom or your woods?"  As in the title, desperate times call for desperate measures.  They laughed and told me that they were just there working on a remodel project.  It wasn't even their house, but I totally used the bathroom!

As I locked the door to the bathroom, I kind of thought that this was a really bad choice.  I'm in a strange persons house with random construction workers...not a good idea!  On my way out they were laughing pretty hard.  I thanked them and told them that they'll be able to go home with a really funny story tonight.  I didn't think it was so funny, but I was so relieved that the last 1.5 miles I didn't need to waddle and that I had dry feet.  I would have stopped to pee in a snow bank if I didn't ask them.  There was no way that I could have made another 1.5 miles.  I also came to the conclusion that I need to workout at the gym or stay within one mile of our house and just do loops close to home. 

The last 1.5 miles I could only think about my empty bladder and how amazing that feels.  Yay for nice, random, not creepy construction workers who let pregnant ladies pee in the house they're working on!  One of them actually drove by me as I was finishing up and honked and waved.


Lydia's photo that she entered into a contest was picked out of a few hundred photos as one of sixty to be displayed at the mall in St. Cloud.  Unfortunately it wasn't chosen to advance in the contest, but we're so proud of her.  All of our kids left the ceremony feeling really excited and motivated to enter more photos next year!  I'm not sure how long the photos will be on display, but if you stop by the food court you can see her handy work!  Way to go Lydia!!!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cousin Love

We found out that Lydia's surrogacy photo and poem that she entered into the contest is going to be given an award tonight.  We'll learn what place she got and if the photo will advance in the competition.  It's such an awesome way to spread the wonderful message of surrogacy through a nine year olds voice.  I'm so proud of her!

My rib has continued to bother me a lot.  I had my OB appointment on Friday and she was a little concerned that it could be an issue with my gall bladder.  When she pressed on my sore area I thought I was going to punch her, it hurts so bad to push on it.  I swear it was my rib, but when she hit the spot she said that it's my gall bladder.  Then, in the next breath, she said that it just doesn't seem like I would be the typical person to have a gall bladder issue.  She said the only reason I would be likely to have any issue with the gall bladder is that it's my fourth pregnancy.  I went back into the clinic later that day to have an ultrasound on the gall bladder.  I nearly cried during the ultrasound...they aren't gentle on sore areas at all.  Thankfully I was cleared of any gall bladder issues!  She said it's either an issue with my rib or muscle due to the position of the baby.  I found that sleeping with ice on my rib allows me a lot of relief.  I think it just makes the baby move out of the area...sorry little man! 
34 Weeks

On Sunday the kids and I attended a baby shower with IP-B's family.  We went to IP-B's sister's house and we were again welcomed with open arms.  What an incredible family that this baby is going to have.  It's so wonderful to get to know this family more and I really enjoy spending time with them.  They are really wonderful people!  George disappeared and played with all of the little baby's cousins the entire time we were there.  Lydia and Jack wanted to play the games and watch the gifts being opened.  It looks like he's set to head home now!

The baby was moving quite a bit and both IPs were able to feel him.  He also gave his cousin a nice kick right when she touched my belly.  It was fun to see a HUGE smile spread across her little 8 year old face.  I was hopeful that he would have been a little more active, but at least a few people were able to feel him moving!  It's funny how he would move, so someone would put their hand on my belly and then he would decide to wait until they took their hand away to give me a nice kick.  Funny little guy!  Soon enough they'll all be able to hold him.   

I was also able to chat with IP-B's sister, the midwife, for a while and get some good tips from her.  She lent me a few books so I can read up on different labor techniques.  I'm hopeful that this little man will cooperate so she can attend the birth.  I think she's got that perfect calming personality that will be very helpful while I'm in labor.  My sister's birth experience really changed my views and I would so much rather have a midwife at the birth, but the St. Cloud Hospital doesn't allow midwifes to deliver at the hospital.  The closest hospital that allows them to deliver is 45 minutes away.  I know that I want to labor at home as long as possible, so we have to deliver in St. Cloud.  It's such a bummer but that's our option.  My IPs will head up and we'll tour the hospital in the next few weeks.  EEEKKKKK, we're getting close!

The baby's cousins giving him some love.  I especially love that kids are so open, accepting, and loving of how life is any way, shape, or form.  I wish adults we more like kids! 

The BEST news of the last couple rib has felt good for two days!  I was able to have two relatively pain-free nights.  Yesterday was the best day I've had and so far today I'm feeling WONDERFUL!  I hope that because he's supposed to "drop" this week that he's doing it and that's making me feel better.  I kind of think that he just needed to spend time with his parents and have them tell him to move down.  I can't tell if he's "dropped" but I do feel a lot more movement a little south than I have.  I don't care what has happened, I'm just happy that my rib isn't killing me.  I was even able to shop for a new pair of running shoes and scored on a pair of sandals, too.  I wasn't sure that I'd be able to try on and tie running shoes, but it was okay and I was successful in finding a new pair.  I have a half marathon that I have to be ready to run (okay, I might end up walking some of it so my uterus doesn't fall out) in May.   

Saturday, February 8, 2014


This is one of the only positions I can comfortably be in.

This little man is happily living in my right rib.  I seem to be carrying him much higher than I did with our kids and as much as I push him out of the rib he goes right back.  Other than him being in my rib, peeing every ten minutes, and not sleeping as much as I need, I feel pretty good!  Okay, that makes it sound like I'm miserable!  I am!  My rib and abdominal muscles must be bruised from me pushing on them so much.  I try my best to not complain to my husband and kids but it's super obvious how painful it is when they see me on the floor like the photo above. One night this week while we were getting home, I moaned under my breath and Lydia said, "Mom, are you crying?"  I told her, "No, but I feel like I could."  Jack chimed in, "You always tell us it's okay to cry if we need to.  It's okay to cry, Mom!"  They are so sweet.   

I worked this week more than I have in any given week in the last couple years.  That may have made a big difference in how I feel.  After Monday I realized that it was more comfortable to just stand while cleaning teeth.  I don't think the baby or I liked me sitting down and having him squished in my rib.  Most dental people know that it's not super comfortable to do standing hygiene, but I can attest that it was a thousand times better than sitting!  My back was a tiny sore after the week was over but my feet were just fine.       
Yesterday was my 31st birthday and I'm wondering if it makes this much of a difference being older carrying a baby.  Our baby, George, will turn six on Tuesday.  I think six years on a body can make that much of a difference.  George got sick yesterday so Lydia, Jack, and I met up with my parents for dinner.  After we ate I tried some frozen yogurt and almost had a seizure, not really, but when something gross hits my tongue I shake my head and try to make the terrible taste disappear.  I was able to eat some cake today, though!  You would think that I'd just learn to not eat these things with the hope that they taste delicious.  My new found favorite food is celery with almond butter!

I finally hit up the chiropractor yesterday and hope that it will help.  I celebrated at 3:00 this morning when I woke up, that was the longest amount of straight sleep that I can remember.  I also was able to have almost a full night of painless sleep so I woke up feeling really happy, except for having to clean up George's puke!  The baby spent the rest of the day in my rib, but having a night of sleep is more than I could ask for  :)   

33 weeks
I'm anxiously counting down the last seven weeks!  I'm not sure who is more IPs or me?!?!!?!