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.




1 comment:

  1. So happy for you, your family & your IP's that you had the most wonderful journey together! Go Josie :)