Friday, May 6, 2016

LIFE got in the way of this long overdue update

I'm sorry that I've been MIA for many weeks.  The Dahlager household has been very busy in our day to day life, so updating the blog has been pushed to the side.  I don't have much time today, but I'll do my best to give you a quick update on what's been happening in our life. 

There was a 20 week debate that went on in my IPs house trying to decide weather or not to find out the gender of the baby.  I'm sure many of you know that they ultimately decided to wait until the birth to find out baby's gender.  IP-A wanted to find out and IP-B didn't want to know.  I hear that there was some great negotiating that went on in their home.  IP-B went as far as telling IP-A that all naming rights could be IP-A's.  There could be a list with 10 names and IP-B could get one veto.  IP-A is so sweet and said that they would name the baby together but wanted to see how far the negotiations would go to see how much it really meant to IP-B.  I'm right along side with IP-B.  I really didn't want to know the gender at all, but it's totally their decision and I respect whatever they had decided.  They did call the night before the ultrasound and asked if I wouldn't mind taking home an ultrasound picture of the genital area that has boy or girl written on it.  They have a photo like that of Spencer and wanted one of this baby too.  The ultrasound tech had us look away while she got the shot and stuck that photo in an envelope that is hidden in our house.  Ben keeps teasing me that he's going to search for it and open it up to find out what the baby is.  I think I did a great job hiding it, so no one needs to worry about him at all!  Also, both my IPs were able to feel their baby kick for the first time as I was on the ultrasound table.  I love that baby was cooperative enough to let them feel the movement.  It wasn't too cooperative to get a great profile photo though.   
Best Profile Photo We Could Get

At the ultrasound we learned that that baby looks great.  Everything is measuring on track and baby looks healthy.  It's always a sigh of relief to hear that everything is looking like it should.  Baby is laying transverse (sideways) just like our little George was when I was pregnant with him.  Unfortunately, I found out that I have partial placenta previa.  I'll go back in for an ultrasound at 28 weeks to confirm that the placenta has moved up as baby has grown, and hopefully baby has moved head-down by then.  I had a low lying placenta when I was pregnant with our youngest, George.  It moved up on its own and didn't result in any problems at all and he flipped head-down on his own.  I don't feel concerned about this at all.  I know it will all turn out just fine!  Next week I go in for my glucose test and visit Liz again.

I was asked several months ago by a surrogate friend of mine if I would come to the delivery of her third surrogate baby (this baby is a sibling to the twins she had 22 months prior).  My job in the delivery room was to attend to any needs that her 10 year old daughter might have while watching her mom give birth.  I didn't even need to process the question before answering, YES!  It is one of the greatest honors to witness the birth of a baby.  I'm still quite in shock that I was able to be in the delivery room. 
I received a text from my friend around 5:00 on the evening of April 4th that she had been at the hospital since 2ish that afternoon.  She was contracting consistently but not really progressing much and she would keep me posted throughout the evening if they were going to admit her or not.  Around 9:30 that night she said that it was happening and I could come whenever I was ready.  I packed a small bag, grabbed my camera, and ran off to the hospital. 
When I got into her room, she was so calm and seemed to feel relieved that this was actually happening. She decided to get the epidural before the pain got too significant.  I was in awe watching her 10 year old who didn't flinch while watching her mom get the epidural.  I played it safe and didn't directly watch the epidural as it was happening.  The last time I watch an epidural being placed I almost fainted (I was 6 months pregnant with Spencer). 
The intended mother got to the hospital a couple hours after I did and it was a pleasure to meet her.  She didn't realize that my friend's daughter and I would be at the delivery, so her initial plan on not watching the birth changed as the night progressed.  She and I both took a nap sometime around two in the morning.  When I woke up, my friend's epidural seemed to have moved or wasn't working as well as it had been.  It also appeared she was getting close to pushing.  I woke up the intended mother when the doctor came in and said it was time.  "Are you ready to have a baby?" I asked her as I woke her up. 
My friend's daughter is a sweetheart.  She was holding  her mom's hand between contractions and as quiet as could be.  It was too late to have the epidural fixed, so my friend pushed out that baby while feeling what was happening.  Other than feeling bad that the epidural wasn't working, It was one of the most magical experiences of my life.  The plan to have baby placed on my friend and have her hand the baby off to his mother worked out perfectly.  The raw emotions of this miraculous event will never leave my memory.  To witness, as an outsider, what surrogates do is almost beyond comprehension (even though I've done it myself).  The experience was more powerful than I ever realized.  I understood the relief she felt the moment that the birth was over, but I also know the feeling of the journey coming to an end and how bittersweet that feels. Watching all of this unfold was breathtaking!  I couldn't control my tears that morning as I watched my friend pass that beautiful little baby into his mother's arms.  I felt so proud of my friend!  It gave me a whole new appreciation for surrogates. 

My sweet Godson, Spencer, turned two on April 3rd.  We went to his birthday party on April 10th at an indoor play center.  I feel so lucky that both IP-A and IP-B's sides of the family embrace our family like their own - we're just an extension of their families now.  I love watching Spencer interact with his cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  It is so satisfying to be able to watch him grow into such a cool kid.  His parents are doing an amazing job!  Spencer clearly prefers Ben and our kids over me.  It makes me chuckle at how long it take for him to warm up to me, but Ben can pick him right away and he's as happy as
can be.  Lydia always is a favorite among the little kids.  It's so cute to hear Spencer say all of our names - his voice is so sweet!  The relationship we have built with my IPs and Spencer is just as I pictured it before becoming a surrogate.  It has fulfilled all of my hopes and dreams.  Perfect almost sounds like an understatement when I think about how well everything has turned out. 

I attended the Minnesota RESOLVE Advocacy Day at the capitol on April 13th.  There was a group of about 70 people from all over Minnesota that gathered and spoke with our representatives about supporting family building legislation.  I'm really not into politics very much, but I do see the need to have laws that protect surrogates, intended parents, and their unborn baby(ies).  It was an interesting day that I was happy to be a part of.

The Back of Mine, Jack's, and Megan's Shirts
Before the Race
Our 10 year old son, Jack, had a goal this calendar year to run a half marathon.  Well, this mama said it needed to happen before I got too big that I couldn't do it with him.  We trained for a couple months and Jack was able to accomplish his goal on May 1st!  I must admit that training for this race was one of my favorite experiences I've had with Jack.  We put so many miles in together and having all of that time to chat was unquestionably the best one on one time I've ever had with him.  He inspires me!  He has big dreams that I know he'll be able to conquer.  I loved listening to his attitude about how many miles we needed to run change over the course of training.  I just loved listening to him talk in general.  My favorite comment he made while we were training was after our neighbor told us that Jack has inspired her son, Jack, to train for a half marathon.  Jack said, "That's so cool!  Mom, you inspired me to run, I inspired Jack to run, and I think Jack will inspire someone else to run.  I think it'll just keep going on and on - people inspiring others to run!"  We should learn more lessons from kids.  We just need to keep teaching by example because they are watching! 
Half Marathon Finisher

Ben and my oldest brother, Shawn, ran the race ahead of us.  My sister, Megan, ran with Jack and me.  We made some really fun shirts to run our race in.  I made sure we answered all of the people's questions they would have about a kid running a half marathon on Jack's shirt.  The front had "First Half" written on it, and the back said, "Jack" and "I'm Ten" on it.  There were a lot of people who read his shirt as we ran by them or passed them along the course.  They would cheer for him by name and he would smile every time.  My favorite lady we passed was around mile 11.  She was in her mid 40's and clearly struggling.  As we passed her and she saw Jack and read his shirt, she said, "JESUS!" Once she gathered her thoughts she said, "GO JACK!!!"  We all laughed hysterically!  We also heard people say, "Jack, if you can do this then so can I!" and "Jack, I have 44 years on you and this is my first half!"  I was feeling inspired running along side of a 10 year old.  I'm such a proud mom!
Shawn, Ben, Josie, Megan, and Jack

Grandma and Grandpa left their vacation early and booked it back to surprise us for Jack's first half marathon. 
We hadn't seen them in over six months. 

I'm 25 weeks along already and feeling fantastic!!  Spencer has apparently been telling people that he's having a sister.  I guess we'll find out in 15 week.             


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