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 and I'll keep you posed.      

Thursday, April 17, 2014


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'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 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


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

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.