Category Archives: Appointments

The Birth Story of Baby R

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I have sat down to write this several times, but I just never could seem to finish it before now. Writing this all down makes it so official. So much love, energy, hope and work goes into surrogacy. To finally arrive at the long awaited, and much anticipated, culmination of the journey is bittersweet.

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Thank you for your patience. I give you the birth story of baby R as I remember it (which is fuzzy in places because of the anxiety of the moment, the meds, the long hours and the post-delivery complications):

July 16th, 10:00 am: I arrived for my follow-up appointment on Thursday, July 16th and my palms were sweating as I waited anxiously in the lobby to be called back by the nurse. I tried to do calming focused breathing so as not to have an elevated blood pressure when I was called back to be check. This appointment is when I would get my results from the 24 hour urine test and we would set a date to be induced based on those results. My doctor had mentioned that we would likely either induce on Saturday, Monday or Wednesday. At the time of my appointment I was 38+1 weeks along, and we wanted to try to get to 39 weeks which is the new recommendation for inductions.

My blood pressure was checked and was high. I forget the exact numbers, but I know it was above the 160/90 mark which is the danger point they cautioned me about previously. The doctor came into the exam room and we went over the results of the 24 hour urine protein test, blood pressure and my symptoms. My 24 hour test results came back over 400 which means there was too much protein present in my urine. That coupled with the blood pressure and other symptoms meant I needed to be induced, but when? The doctor asked me to wait a few minutes while she consulted with my regular ob (she was on vacation) and said she would be right back with me. A few minutes later she came in with news I was not expecting…

“Okay, so based on everything we’ve decided it’s best to deliver you today…. so, I’m going to send you downstairs to be induced now. ”  (My doctor’s office is located in the Women & Children’s portion of my hospital, so labor and delivery is just one floor down.)

Panic immediately set in. I asked her to repeat herself. Surely I had just misunderstood her. Nope, they were inducing me now. I asked politely begged to wait until the next morning. I said I could go straight home and not leave the bed until I cam in to deliver the next day. I explained the dads had just taken off from Paris and wouldn’t be here until late that night. I started crying a little bit. They’d waited so long and we had worked so hard and now they might miss the birth of the son. How could this be happening?!?

10:17 am: The doctor gave me a hug (I love her!) and sympathized with the situation, but explained that because of the test results and blood pressure waiting any longer could have very dangerous consequence for my health and, as a result, the baby. She explained a few things about what would happen and then sent me on my way to labor and delivery.

I stepped out into the hall and as I walked to the elevators I realized I was crying. Ugh. I hate crying. I was just feeling very overwhelmed. I sat down in a lobby chair and pulled myself together and began to text and call everyone involved… my partner, my agency, our third party coordinator, etc.

My poor partner immediately started crying. Bless her heart, she’s just an emotional person and was freaked out by the thought of all this happening so quickly. I got her calmed down and gave her instructions for exactly what all I needed her to do: get my hospital bag (so glad that was already packed), pick up my kiddo from camp, board our dog, etc. Once I gave her all the instructions she talked to her boss and left work early to take care of everything and come to hospital to be with me.

Super glad I'd already thought to pack my bag!

Super glad I’d already thought to pack my bag!

Since the parents were in the air, there was no way for me to update them. We sent messages to let them know, but it would be hours before they landed in Atlanta and got them. :-/ This made me so anxious, but there was nothing I could do, so I hopped on the elevator and went down to be admitted to L&D.

I met with the head nurse in charge and reminded her I was a surrogate and she assured me she knew all about it and had my paperwork. She was so nice. I asked about the guys having their own room with baby and she said they were pretty full right now but she would make a note and check again when discharges happened later on.

I got settled into my room and met my nurse who was AMAZING. She was beyond nice and so considerate of the entire situation. I got into my hospital gown, went to the restroom and hopped into bed. Next came a ton of paper work and instructions. Because of the blood pressure they were putting me on magnesium through IV. This meant I wouldn’t be allowed to get up at all… i.e. bathroom only in a bedpan, how lovely, I snuck to the bathroom one last time when the nurse left the room. I wanted to avoid a bedpan as long as possible. No getting out of bed also meant I had no hope for naturally getting the baby to progress down on his own and try the pain management techniques I’d been practicing to try and avoid an epi as long as possible. No birthing ball. No walking. No squatting. Just me and the bed. I choked back my frustration and disappointment.

I’m a control freak and in one quick swoop they took away all of my control. I also wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything except ice chips in case a c section was needed. Ugh! Sure wish I would have known that in advance. Suddenly my meager breakfast that I forced down because I was too nervous about appointment to really eat anything was coming back to haunt me. Why, oh why, hadn’t I eaten more???

Once paperwork and all that was out of the way it was time to get the show on the road. I had stalled as long as possible and couldn’t come up with any more excuses to make things go slowly. My nurse tried to start my IV. Twice. No luck. Apparently my veins weren’t happy about my induction either. She called in another nurse. She looked to be about 12, but she assured me she wasn’t. Two more sticks from her. No luck. Damn veins. I didn’t want to be induced today, but I also didn’t want to be a human pin cushion. Third nurse. Fifth stick. We have a vein! Thank you, Jesus!

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1:51 PM: Magnesium and pitocin started.

2:26 PM: Felt first contraction. Pitocin is definitely working. Contractions aren’t too painful and I’m handling them okay with just focused breathing.  Somewhere during this time Cindy made it up to the hospital to be with me, but I can’t remember exactly when. We chatted and I fussed at her for talking to me during a contraction. She got upset and I reminded her to get it together and none of this was me being mean I was just in some pain and focusing on breathing during contractions so couldn’t talk then.

3:00 PM: Contractions regular but not too painful yet. They checked me and I was only at 3 cm. Doctor broke my water.

3:33 PM: Top green line is baby’s heart rate. Middle white mountain looking line is my contractions.Contractions

4: 35 PM: Contractions picking up in intensity, I still didn’t want an epi and doing okay with focused breathing. Cindy went to pick up our daughter from summer day camp and bring her to see me for a bit before she spent the night with a family friend.

Baby was pushing around on left side of tummy. Hopefully, looking for an exit!

5:21 PM: Baby was being a stinkier and wouldn’t stay on the heart monitor so they had me lay on my side. They upped the pit about every 30 minutes to keep labor progressing.

6:48 PM: Dilated to 5 cm and then got stuck there but contractions kept coming and coming. Finally gave in and got an epi. My blood pressure dropped really low after epi was working and I got sick and felt very loopy. They stopped the mag and worked to get BP back up.

8:13 PM: Got BP up to 108/63. Started to finally feel better. That was completely awful! Dilated to 6 cm. Heard from the guys and they made it to Atlanta but were delayed so wouldn’t be to Birmingham until about 11 pm. I was very worried about delivering before they arrived, but felt a little better because at least they were now aware of what was going on and the possibility of arrive to a baby.

OH, you know, just trying to have a baby.

OH, you know, just laying here trying to have a baby.

8:40 PM: Hospital staff is amazing and so accommodating. They’ve got separate room ready for guys and baby, baby will be listed strictly under them and they’ll get both id bands instead of me having to have one. The hospital lawyer came and talked to me. He said because there’s no biological link to me, once I deliver the baby everything related to him can be listed separately with the guys like he’s his own separate little patient including billing!

9:44 PM: Still at 6 cm… Doctor a little concerned that I’m not progressing very much. Pit is at 42 (whatever that means) which is above the typical limit of 40. At this point I started to freak out a little for fear that this would end in a csection.

10:44 PM:  IPs landed in Birmingham!

 11:31 PM: Another cervix check. I’m at 8 cm, 85% effaced and having bloody show. Woo hooooo!!!! Nurses had me sit back up for a while to try and get more pressure on cervix. I tell ya, this baby was waiting for daddies!

12:05 am (so now July 17th): Daddies finally arrived and are washing up. They made it, they made it. I felt such an immense sense of relief. Even though the day had been painful and crazy and I was BEYOND ready for it to be over, I was thrilled daddies wouldn’t miss the birth of their son. I was at 9 cm with regular steady contractions.

The timeline gets lost after that because I’d stopped updating people. The guys come to my room and we talk and they sit and then pace back and forth between the couch and the monitors. I explain what the various lines mean: heart beat, contractions, etc. Richard* (name changed for privacy) asks me questions about the induction and baby’s heart beat and other things. He’s read online about various aspects of it all. I try to answer his questions and explain why they insisted on inducing right away and whatnot.

I’m feeling completely exhausted and anxious as we approach the end. Some where around 1-2 am the nurse comes to check me again and the guys are asked to step out. They go back to their room to wait until it’s time for the pushing so I can rest for a bit. I manage to nap for about half an hour. Before I know it, it’s time!  My doctor and the different nurses come in and start getting everything set up and ready to go. My partner goes and gets the guys.

About 3:00 am, and we’re ready to start pushing. There are a million people in the room. Okay, we’ll more like 10 or so. Definitely not what I was expecting and MUCH more than I appreciated being present (not even counting the doctor, guys and my partner). Apparently word had gotten around that this was a surrogate birth and so about half of the labor and delivery staff found an excuse to be in the room. I remember feeling very exposed, vulnerable and frustrated. Nearly of the people were down south, i.e. right in view of my lady parts! Because of the layout of the room, the baby’s monitoring station stuff where they clean him him and measure him and all that stuff was set up in the area directly opposite my hospital bed, so I was looking straight at them, meaning they were all looking straight at me and seeing every bit of the action. Did I mention I felt exposed and frustrated. I really wanted to throw a fit, but I was exhausted… going on 12+ hours or labor and had been awake for nearly 24 hours. Instead, I tried to make jokes about the situation and and just tune them out.

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Ready to get the kiddo out!

Around 3:10 am the pushing begins. I could barely feel anything because of whatever it was they put in my epidural line to help with the pain. Everything was completely numb south of my belly button and this made pushing beyond hard. My nurses and doctor were incredible though. They were so patient and encouraging. We kept trying different ways of pushing. They had my hold the handrail things and push, hold a rope that one of them was holding (tug of war style) and push, hold my legs and push, you name and we tried it. FINALLY, after about 45 minutes they could see the head starting to move down and almost ready to come out. By this point the medicine making me so numb had also started to wear off and I was able to feel more.

Seriously, I wanted this kid out NOW!

Seriously, I wanted this kid out NOW!

We went back to pushing and at 4:04 am, little R made his debut into this world with his proud daddies standing right beside my bed.

The doctor put R on my belly while they wiped him down and clamped the cord for the dads’ to cut. He then immediately went to his dads for skin to skin contact on the couch in my hospital room. That was such a precious moment and I felt a little like an intruder to their private time. After some skin to skin time, the baby went to the warmer to be cleaned, measured and checked. The guys stood right by baby to witness all of these and learn the details of their son. He was a perfectly healthy 7 lb 15 oz and 19 inches long baby with a head full of hair and great lungs!

Baby R is here and papa is cutting the cord.

He’s here! One of the papas cuts the cord.

While all of this was taking place my ob was focused on the delivery of my placenta. After it delivered she saw that part of it had not detached from my uterus and had to remove that by hand. I thank God that I’d had an epidural or I’m sure I would have passed out. She kept reaching into my body and feeling around in my uterus to get everything out. While I couldn’t, thankfully, feel the pain of this, it was an uncomfortable sensation each time she reached and scooped, reached and scooped. I’m not sure exactly how long this went on, and there was some quiet discussion between my doctor and the nurses and scary looking instruments were handed to her. I learned afterwards that they’d been discussing a possible D&C if the doctor couldn’t get the rest of the placenta.

Things get less clear after that point. My blood pressure dropped really low, I spiked a fever and I developed the worst chills I’ve ever had in my life. My teeth were chattering so hard I actually was afraid they might break. No exaggeration. They covered me with heated blankets and started me on IV meds. The nurse said this was likely from the trauma of everything and placenta issues. I don’t remember how long it took to get things under control but it was scary and exhausting. I ended up with an infection and had to stay in the hospital from the time I was induced on Thursday until Sunday afternoon.

Despite all of the unplanned craziness, the scary moments and talks of cesection and D&C, the infection and exhaustion, the 24 hours without sleep or food, and everything else, it was worth it. It was completely and totally worth it. Baby R may not have come into the world as we’d all planned, but he came into the world healthy and with his parents right there to witness it all. This is a priceless moment that I will carry with me my entire life.

My precious love holding baby R for the first time.

My precious love holding baby R for the first time.

Baby R was discharged from the hospital the same day I was and went to stay in a hotel with his parents until it was time for them to fly home. They were here for about four weeks while they got everything finalized with the birth certificate and passport. We all got together several times and enjoyed some baby snuggles and watching the guys take care of their son. I’ve had absolutely zero attachment issues to him. Despite carrying him inside me, he never felt like my child and he wasn’t… not biologically or any other way. I know that’s a hard idea for many to understand, but it’s something that only those who’ve been a surrogate will ever fully grasp. I was just an  extreme babysitter who had the rare opportunity to carry a child under my heart until it was time for his parents to take over.

Baby R and his parents are safely back home and settling into their new life as a family. I’ve no doubt it will be a life full of love and shared adventures. I hope we will stay in contact and share pictures from time to time, but I am taking things as they come with no expectations.

That is the birth story of R and the end of my first surrogacy journey… I would love to carry again in the future for another family, but that will be a bridge to cross at another time. Thank you, thank you for following my journey and sharing so much love and wisdom with me. I wish you all baby dust or luck in whatever journey you find yourself on. ❤

With Love,

Liz

 

Baby Update!

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Baby Update!

Sorry for delay in updating, it’s been a crazy few days!   

I’m excited to say that baby R has arrived!

I went to my doctor’s appointment on Thursday, July 16th and was sent straight down to be induced. I’m planning to take some time later and write my full birth story, but I wanted to share the highlights now. 🙂

R arrived at 4:04 am, 17 July 2015, after 15 hours of labor and 53 minutes of pushing. He weighed in at 7lbs 15 oz and 20 inches long. He’s perfection and despite being a couple weeks early, he didn’t need any assistance or extra care. His proud papas made it in time for delivery by just a few hours! What a miracle.

There was a small piece of placenta that was being stubborn in my uterus so it took the doctor a good bit of digging and scooping to get it out. Oh my! I spiked a fever and had really bad chills after delivery. They finally got the chills under control and put me on antibiotics for the fever and possible infection. I’ve had to stay in the hospital to monitor everything, but I hope to be able to go home Sunday!!!

The papas are over the moon and already in love with their precious baby boy. Seeing them together has given me the greatest joy.

Look for R’s birth story soon with more pictures of the big event (with the parents’ permission, of course)! 

Thank you to every single person who’s followed along with my journey, offered support, love and/or encouragement. I’m so thankful to have “met” some remarkable people along the way and look forward to, hopefully, following along with you still. 🙂

Love, Liz ❤

  

Full Term- What Goes Up Doesn’t Always Come Down

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We’ve probably all heard the expression “What goes up, must come down,” right? I’m frustrated to say in my case, this hasn’t been true.

I left my 36 week appointment floating on cloud nine. I was feeling good, well, except being almost 9 months pregnant, because I had another perfect visit. Not only was my blood pressure and baby’s heart rate right on track, I was also 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. Yes! I was heading in the right direction for our plans to have this kiddo at 39 weeks.

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This euphoria lasted one week. My next visit rolled around (37 weeks, full term, hello 9 months) and my blood pressure was high. Very high.

No! How, why? I’d been doing everything… resting, lots of water, taking it easy, low sodium diet. 

My doctor believes firmly in getting babies to at least 39 weeks when they have the best chance for being perfectly healthy (as is the recommendation of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine). She also believes in keeping her patients (me!!!) as healthy as possible. So, we needed a plan. I was only 37 weeks!

My doctor took me off work and put me onto bedrest from that appointment until after delivery. She also ordered some blood work and a 24 hour urine collection test. Oh fun. Ever had one of those? No? How lucky! Basically, you have to pee in a cup from the time you get up and every time after that for a full 24 hours. It goes in a collection jug that has to either stay in the fridge or a cooler with ice. I always knew I peed a LOT, but I was a little shocked to see exactly how much I go. I’m a big water drinker, though, so that’s to be expected. By the end of my 24 hours, I had collected 4 LITERS of urine.. that’s almost 17 cups… more than 1 gallon. WOW! When I turned in the collection this morning my lab technician was shocked. She laughed and said, “You weren’t joking, you DO go a lot!” She said the average is about 1-2 liters from most people. I guess I’m just an overachiever. 😀

My lovely urine jug (prior to starting test). Try not to be too jealous.

My lovely urine jug (prior to starting test). Try not to be too jealous.

After turning that in and getting blood taken, it was time for the dreaded blood pressure test. I tried to keep my breathing calm and relaxed. Hard to do. My numbers were a little lower but still elevated. Next I was shown to a room and waited for the doctor to come do my exam.

The doctor came in and we chatted while she examined me. The baby had an excellent heart rate and was measuring perfectly. I’m 2 cm dilated, 60% effaced and baby has moved lower into pelvis. These things are really important because studies show that the risk of an induction resulting in a c-section is greatly reduced if certain criteria is met (at least 2 cm dilated, 50% effaced and at a -2 station). I definitely want to avoid a CS if at all possible, so this progress was very reassuring.

Now what? Well, we wait. Boo! I go back to the doctor in three days (July 16) for another check and the results from the urine collection test will be back. My doctor and I discussed what would need to happen based on the results:

  1. If results from test are severe- we will schedule an induction for Friday or Saturday (17th-18th)
  2. If results from test are moderate- we will schedule an induction for Monday (20th)
  3. If results from test are average- we will schedule an induction for Wednesday (23rd)

Regardless, Wednesday July 23rd is the latest we will go before an induction so that this blood pressure nightmare can come to and end once and for all. I will be 39 weeks at that time. The doctor hopes to get me as close as possible to 39 weeks, but we also want to keep me and my belly buddy as safe and healthy as possible, so we will induce prior to that if needed. Basically it’s a risk vs. risk situation.

My IPs had already booked arrangements for arriving late on Monday, July 20th, so depending on the outcome this Thursday, they will reschedule their trip to arrive sooner. Them being here for the birth of their son is extremely important to all of us. This is the moment we’ve been working towards since that first meeting last September. 🙂

That’s what has been going on in my world. It’s crazy to realize that within the next 4-9 days this baby will be here and my role will be finished (except pumping in the hospital for him). I’m completely okay and at peace with that. I’m ready for the dads to be able to take over and their job as parents to begin. I AM anxious for delivery. It’s been almost nine years since my daughter was born, so this really feels like a first time delivery. LOL. I’m still hoping to go it as unmedicated as possible to help my body naturally progress. Given that it will be an induction, which I’ve heard can be a lot more painful, we will just see how my plan goes. I don’t feel any need to be a super warrior woman and birth this baby without an epi if I decide I need one. As long as baby and I are safe and healthy, how he comes into the world doesn’t matter.

I’ll update Thursday and let you lovelies know when Mr. Surro Dude’s planned debut will be!!!

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35 Week Bumpdate and Hospital Plans

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I’m thirty five weeks. I’m thirty five weeks. In five weeks or less this belly buddy will no longer be in my belly. Just let that set in for a minute.

Three weeks have come and gone since my last post and I’m happy to report that my blood pressure has improved significantly!!! Woo hoo! All of the extra rest and other things I’ve been doing have worked some magic. The hardest change has been trying to cut back and relax more. I’m a classic type a personality/control freak (ha!), so it’s really hard for me to delegate and let others help me. It’s something I struggle with, but having a healthy pregnancy and baby for my IFs was most important.

I had my hospital tour last week and met with the labor planning people. It was completely awesome! My hospital rocks. Really, it does. Even though it has the latest and greatest medical technologies and a highly respected neonatal unit, it also respects the rights of a woman to choose how to birth (as long as she and the baby aren’t at risk). They have lots of resources available to laboring women such as birthing balls, the newer peanut balls I’ve just been reading about, birthing stools, squat bars, etc. This all surprised me because they’re at the forefront of medical technologies for labor and delivery, so I didn’t expect to find these things available. They seemed more in line with a home birth or one of those freestanding birth centers.

Now, let me be clear. I am in no way one of those (awesome) “crunchy” women who dreams of a water birth, no drug interventions, and catching the baby herself. Hats off to those ladies. It’s just not for me. I think epidurals are wonderful things and I’ll more than likely want one. However, a lot has changed since I had my own kiddo. I know a lot more about laboring and how to handle pain and stress. While I’m not certain when or if I’ll for sure get an epi, I am hoping to hold off on it for a while to allow my body to labor better with other techniques such as using a birthing ball. I’ve really come to love using mine daily to relieve discomfort in my back and hips. I’ve done a lot of reading and the benefits of being mobile and not strapped to a bed with an epi just sound ideal for a faster and safer labor and delivery for me and the little guy.

I also was glad to be able to convey the wishes of the dads as we created my delivery plan. I’m really excited that they want to do skin to skin and cut the cord. I think that will be an incredible bonding experience for all of them. Our plan is for them to have their own room with the baby after delivery. The hospital was on board with that as long as a room is available. I’m looking forward to uninterrupted sleep and they can enjoy those first precious days together as a family. I’m still planning to pump colostrum for them, per their wishes. I’m nervous about this because I’ve heard it can be painful and difficult, but I’m willing to give it a try. Mostly, I’m just thrilled to know in a few weeks this belly buddy I’ve carried around for almost nine months will FINALLY be where he belongs… in his daddies’ waiting arms.

I had my 35 week appointment today. My blood pressure, weight, urine, etc, were all perfectly healthy. I wanted to jump up and down and celebrate, but I thought better of it. Baby is measuring right on track at 35 weeks and is in the head down position (fingers crossed he stays that way). They checked my cervix and it’s still fully closed and thick, so no signs of labor yet. I will have my 36 week appt. next Thursday, July 2. They will recheck my cervix and also do a growth ultrasound to check his size and position. My IFs will use that information to help them decide on their travel plans. I know it will be hard for them to be here and away from their own home and country for that many weeks. I’m willing to bet they think it’s worth it, though.

I’m working on finishing up my hospital bag. Look for a post on that soon!

Bumpdate:

How far along? 35 weeks

How big is baby: Your IPs’ baby doesn’t have much room to maneuver now that he’s over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (about the size of a honeydew melon). Because it’s so snug in your womb, he isn’t likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times he kicks should remain about the same. His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he’ll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.

Boobies? Bigger and fuller.  Bras are awful. I miss the support of a good underwire bra, but they just hurt too much. 

Stretch marks? No new ones. Yay! I’m using the amazing all-natural products my IFs sent me from France.

Belly button In/Out? In, I have a deep one, but its closer to the surface of tummy now.

Wedding ring Off/On? Off, hello swollen hands

Symptoms? Insomnia. Frequent pee trips. Carpal tunnel in my hands at night. Crazy dreams. Sporadic appetite. More easily tired. Back sore more often. Some sporadic swelling in feet and hands. Thirsty. Always hot (Alabama heat doesn’t help). Weird numbness at the top of my belly. Quick little pains in my cervix which we’ve decided is the baby punching it!

Sleep? Sporadic- the wrist/hand issues at night make it hard as well as vivid dreams and peeing often. It’s getting more difficult to sleep. I’m averaging about 6 hours a night, but it’s very spaced out.

Miss anything? Sushi and sleep without numbness in my hands. Bras that are comfortable. Clothes that fit. Wine. Sleep. Sleep. lol

Movement? Yes! He’s a very strong and frequent mover. He’s head down now and does a lot of cervix punching!

Food cravings? Anything lemon, icy drinks,taco, grapes, sushi (which I can’t have), popsicles.

Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope 

Labor signs Nope. Cervix is still fully shut and no effacement yet.

Happy or Moody most of the time? Happy! A little more emotional sometimes.

Best moment this week: The Supreme Court ruling that marriage equality must be legally allowed and recognized in all 50 states. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Here’s my 35 week bump picture. You can see weeks 33 and 34 over on my bump picture page here.

35 weeks, wow! Yes, this is the same dress as 34 weeks... but it's just so cool and comfy!

35 weeks, wow! Yes, this is the same dress as 34 weeks… but it’s just so cool and comfy!

32 Week Bumpdate and the Blood Pressure Annoyance

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The past two weeks have seriously flown by. I can’t believe this is a 32 week update. It makes me realize there won’t be too many more of these and I’ll be doing a delivery post! 😀

The only significant news to report is about my 32 week ob appointment this week. Belly buddy was measuring right on track and had a strong HB of 133. Everything with me was good also EXCEPT my blood pressure was elevated. The doctor said it’s not of major concern at this point, but I’m supposed to start trying to “take it easy” more and resting in the evenings. I also have to start checking my BP twice a day at home and bring those numbers with me to next appointment or call if it goes over certain point. I’ve never had blood pressure issues before, so this really caught me by surprise. I’m determined to do anything I can to have a safe and healthy remainder of my pregnancy and deliver this little guy when he’s fully baked!

My AMAZING SO (significant other) has been just fantastic and supportive. I couldn’t ask for anything more and appreciate how she goes above and beyond to try and take care of me and make sure I’m resting and taking it easy as much as I can. My daughter has been away at sleep away camp this week (I miss her like crazy), so that’s made it easier to start getting into the routine of resting in the evening and not trying to do as much. I feel guilty that my SO and my daughter will have to do more around the house so I can get that evening rest, but I know it’s worth it and we’re in the home stretch! We’re all really excited for the IPs to arrive in a month and await the arrival of their son!

My little cutie on drop-off day at camp. I can't wait to pick her up and hear all about her adventures!

My little cutie on drop-off day at camp. I can’t wait to pick her up and hear all about her adventures!

This week I was also able to preregister for the hospital and schedule my labor and delivery tour (June 19!!!). I’m very eager to see the maternity floor and meet the social worker so we can go over everything together. They will get a copy of our contract and pre birth order (the legal document signed by the judge that establishes the intended parents’ legal rights and parentage to their baby) so that they’re prepared for the special circumstances of this delivery. 🙂

I’m starting to think about delivery more and getting my list together of what I want to pack to bring. Any suggestions?

It’s been nearly nine years since I delivered a baby, so it feels a little foreign to me. On the bright side, I don’t have to bring near as much stuff since the IPs will be in charge of all things baby! So, car seat, baby clothes and bibs won’t be on my list.

Bumpdate:

How far along? 32 weeks

How big is baby: About 4 lbs (about the size of a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in my uterus. I’n gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to the baby.

Boobies? Bigger and fuller

Stretch marks? No new ones. Yay! I’m using the amazing all-natural products my IFs sent me from France.

Belly button In/Out? In, I have a deep one 

Wedding ring Off/On? Off, hello swollen hands

Symptoms? Insomnia. Frequent pee trips. Carpal tunnel in my hands at night. Crazy dreams. Always hungry. More easily tired. Back sore more often. Some sporadic swelling in feet and hands.

Sleep? Sporadic- the wrist/hand issues at night make it hard as well as vivid dreams and peeing often. It’s getting more difficult to sleep.

Miss anything? Sushi and sleep without numbness in my hands. Bras that are comfortable. Clothes that fit.

Movement? Yes! This little guy is making his presence known often. Some times I think he’s practicing kickboxing or soccer. I can feel his little hands or feet pressing into my stomach and then moving away again.

Food cravings? Anything lemon, icy drinks, steak, grapes, sushi (which I can’t have).

Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope 

Labor signs No! And let’s keep it that way!!!!

Happy or Moody most of the time? Happy! A little more emotional sometimes.

Best moment this week: Dinner and a movie date with my SO

Thirty one weeks and ready for the pool!

Thirty one weeks and ready for the pool!

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30 Week Bumpdate

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Have I mentioned before that I love my Ob-Gyn clinic? 

I really, really do! Living in the Deep South, I’ll admit I had my concerns of how my surrogacy would be handled by others…. Especially considering I’m a lesbian and helping gay men. I have to say, though, my clinic has blown me away at every step. They’ve never shown the slightest hint that they may not approve or made me feel less than  anything but a valued patient. If you’ve never been treated differently because of who you are, you can’t really understand what a majorly big deal that is. 

Everyone at the office I talk to always seems so excited about my journey. They ask me about the dads and how they’re doing and are they getting excited. It makes me feel hopful to think that maybe in some small way seeing me, a regular, everyday person, doing this for such a deserving couple of guys helps to normalize and destigmatize the stereotypes associated with surrogacy and being gay/lesbian.

So, I had my 30 week appointment  this week and it went great! Baby has a great HB of 144 and is still head down. My levels all are very healthy. We discussed the results of my blood glucose test. They’re looking for a score under 131 and mine was 119 so apparently I “aced” it. Baby boy is measuring right on track and only a few days ahead now instead of a week+. The doctor said that’s a good sign for an easier delivery. 👍

This appointment was with one of the other doctors at the practice. I was slightly nervous at first because I wasn’t sure if he knew about the surrogacy and if that would make him uncomfortable. But he knew all about it and was funny and kind. As he’s looking for the heartbeat he joked, “So, I hear this baby is headed to France with his dads. If I end up delivering do I get to go too?” 🙂

Loved him!

I still have two more doctors to meet and I hope they’re equally awesome!

Next appointment is at 32 weeks. 

Bumpdate:

How far along? 30 weeks

How big is baby: 15.2-16.8 inches and 3.5 lbs… The size of a cucumber.

Boobies? Sensitivity has gotten better, feeling big and heavier 

Stretch marks? No new ones. Yay! I’m using the amazing all-natural products my IFs sent me from France.

Belly button In/Out? In, I have a deep one 

Wedding ring Off/On? On. Except at night 

Symptoms? Insomnia. Frequent pee trips. Carpal tunnel in my hands at night. Crazy dreams. Always hungry. More easily tored. Back sore more often. Some sporadic swelling in feet

Sleep? Sporadic- the wrist/hand issues at night make it hard as well as vivid dreams and peeing often

Miss anything? Sushi and sleep without numbness in my hands. Bras that are comfortable 

Movement? Yes! This little guy is making his presence known often. Some times I think he’s practicing  kickboxing or soccer.  I love it 🙂

Food cravings? Anything lemon, icy drinks, steak, oatmeal cream pies, grapes

Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope 

Labor signs no! And let’s keep it that way!!!!

Happy or Moody most of the time? Happy! A little more emotional sometimes.

Best moment this week: great OB visit

  

29 Week Bumpdate and Pictures from France!

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France was AH-MAZ-ING. I still can’t believe I got to go. It all feels like a dream.

After a long and somewhat bumpy plane ride, I finally made it safely to Bordeaux and was met by my IFs at the airport. I could go on and and on about them and the trip, but that would make this a REALLY long post. They are simply fantastic, though. They’re just as kind and considerate as I thought they were prior to meeting in person. The took me exploring around Bordeaux where they live and then we went to Paris for more exploring.

France is beyond description. The history and beauty of it is something you can only understand if you’ve actually been. I loved the architecture. Even the mall in Paris that we visited was a work of art. Standing before the Eiffel Tower, or the Hotel de Ville, or Basilique Sacré-Coeur felt surreal. These are places that you read about in history books, and I got to see them in person. People watching was very fascinating… their clothes, mannerisms, conversations. It all just intrigued me.

My IFs completely spoiled me and showed me some of the highlights of Bordeaux and Paris and made sure I was well fed both from their home cooking and out and about. I’ll never be able to eat American ice cream again without longing for French ice cream (glaces).

Yummy, yummy food everywhere. The guys made me fondue my first night in France (top left) which was simply amazing.

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There she is! The famed Eiffel Tower (and me in front of her). We took the metro there and when we came up the stairs and around the corner, she was standing there in all her glory.

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Did I mention I was well fed? 🙂

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The Hotel de Ville right before dark. The fact it was cloudy and had been raining made it all the more beautiful to me.

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We walked this beach along the Bay of Biscay. It is part of the gulf of the northeast Atlantic Ocean located south of the Celtic Sea. It lies along the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border, and the northern coast of Spain west to Cape Ortegal. Those huge concrete things in the water are leftover bunkers (or something like that) from WWII with Germany.

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Me on the steps to the Basilique Sacré-Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart). It is a Roman Catholic church and familiar landmark in Paris, located on the highest point of the city in Montmartre.

Dunes de Pyla

The Dune of Pilat (French: Dune du Pilat, official name, also called Grande Dune du Pilat) is the tallest sand dune in Europe. It is located in La Teste-de-Buch in the Arcachon Bay area, France, 60 km from Bordeaux. Another amazing place we got to visit. What a climb!

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Beyond the sights and tastes, what I enjoyed most was the chance to spend time with both of the guys. It made me love them even more and more eager to see them with their son. They have the nursery all ready and it’s such a warm and happy place. The love and effort that went into getting it ready is apparent. Now they just need the baby to bring home and it will be complete. 🙂

So that is the short version of my trip to France. I arrived back home utterly exhausted, feet swollen, and completely enchanted with France and my IFs. I hope to visit again with my partner and daughter. We would love to see little Belly Buddy growing up with his daddies. 🙂

Since I’ve been home things have been going great with the little guy. No complications or anything of that nature. I had my 28 week ob appointment on May 6th. Hello, Third Trimester how did you get here so quickly? Both the baby and I looked perfectly healthy. He is still measuring about a week ahead, but the doctor assured me it was not of concern and he wasn’t “too big”. I also had my one hour blood glucose test to check for gestational diabetes. The results came back negative! That means Belly Buddy and I can keep cruising right along towards delivery.

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Starting at 30 weeks I begin seeing the ob every two weeks instead of four. I’m going to rotate through the office and meet with the other three doctors during this time. Even though we’re anticipating my ob delivering the baby, I wanted to meet the other doctors “just in case”. I’m confident they’re all equally great, but I thought it would be nice to meet the person who may end up all in my lady parts! ha!

In the next several weeks I’ll also be making the appointment to tour the hospital, register and meet with the social worker to go over everything. The hospital has had surrogate deliveries before, so I’m hopeful things will go smoothly. We finished the PBO (pre birth order) paperwork on May 6th, also! It’s back with my IFs’ lawyer to go before the judge. As far as I know, that’s all we were waiting on so we should be all clear for delivery when the time comes.

That sums up my past few weeks. I would love to hear any suggestions /advice you have for the last two months of pregnancy. What helped you stay comfortable? What questions/concerns did you go over with the hospital during your tour? Just anything and everything. Thank you all!

I can’t remember if I said this already or not (thank you pregnancy brain), but I also created a separate page just for my bump pictures. You can access that here.

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Viability & France

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My AMAZING IFs have graciously invited me to come visit them in France before I reach the 28 week cutoff time! I leave April 21st and come home April 26th. I really can’t think of anything more exciting then meeting them in person, seeing where this little belly buddy will grow up and just sharing this special time with them. We stay in contact all the time and I share pictures and heart beat clips, but I know that nothing will compare to them actually getting to spend time with their son via my belly.

They’ve scheduled a 3D ultrasound so they will get to see and hear their baby in real time. He’s super active and I’m hoping by the time I visit his movements will be strong enough to feel outside my belly. Plus, they can start teaching him French! Well, okay, maybe that won’t quite work, but it will be so precious to be able to witness them talking to their baby in their own language. I feel so blessed to be able to share in this magical process with them.

I had my 24 week appointment on April 8th.  It’s such a relief to have reached the viability point of pregnancy. I hope to keep this little guy baking until my due date, but it’s a relief to know that I’ve made it to this big milestone. Everything at the appointment looked great. My fundal height is measuring about a week and a half ahead, but the doctor said this happens often and is nothing to be concerned over. The baby had a strong, steady heart beat of 141. He was moving the whole time and didn’t seem to appreciate her pushing on my belly because he kept kicking right where the doppler was pressing. HA! 🙂 The doctor said the baby and I were in perfect health and safe to travel.

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I go for my 28 week appointment the first of May. They will do a growth scan and also the dreaded glucose test. Fingers crossed for great results. 

Twenty-four week bump!

Twenty-four week bump!

Have any of you traveled while pregnant and/or been to France? Please share with me any tips or advise you have! I’ll be visiting Bordeaux and Paris.

The BIG Surprise!

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My IFs and I got quite the shock at my last appointment. It turns out the baby girl we thought I was carrying is, in fact, a baby BOY!!!

Yes, you read that correctly. My belly buddy is a healthy baby BOY! We had two ultrasounds a week and a day apart just to confirm it was little boy bits we were seeing. Both ultrasounds showed us plain as day it’s a boy. 🙂

A bottom view of that baby. You can see his little bum and leg bones and right there in the middle... BOY BITS!

A bottom view of that baby. You can see his little bum and leg bones and right there in the middle… BOY BITS!

How is this possible you ask? Great question! The prenatal genetic test I had done at my 11 weeks appointment is not guaranteed to be 100% on gender. As my doctor said, “Someone has to be the 2% or it WOULD be 100%.”

The test detects the X and Y chromosomes. Apparently, it didn’t pick up on the presence of the Y chromosome.. meaning the test determined my IFs were having a baby girl. Clearly, that’s not the case.

I was nervous to give the guys this news. They seemed so excited about a daughter. Adam had predicted I was having a baby girl (Richard thought a boy). I was concerned they would be disappointed in the change. They’d already begun deciding on a name and everything!

I didn’t give them enough credit, though. They were so incredible about the news. They assured me the gender made no difference to them. They’re just thrilled to become parents and that’s all that matters to them. Have I mentioned how much I adore them? 🙂 Because of the additional ultrasounds they also got the extra reassurance that their baby continues to grow strong and healthy.

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How cute is this little guy? I could stare at his profile all day. I can’t wait to see what he looks like in person.

So now my IFs are preparing to welcome a son in July! It’s surreal to think that in a few weeks this pregnancy will be half over. I can’t wait to see the guys hold their baby in their arms for the first time. I’ve no doubt this baby is going to be so loved and cherished! 

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11 Weeks and Med Free!

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I am officially med free! Say it with me folks, “Good bye, shots!”. 

Wednesday, January 7th was my last day on medications. I definitely do not miss them, though, to be honest, the shots weren’t nearly as bad as I had first anticipated. The downside to being off the meds is that my body is readjusting to my own pregnancy hormone levels. I’ve had an annoying headache off and on since then. The first day or two I was also a little nauseated and would get light headed/dizzy. I checked in with my ob and was assured this was normal. The symptoms passed quickly, except the headache which is hanging around sporadically.

On Friday, January 9th I went for my 11 week ob appointment. Their doppler wasn’t functioning properly to check for the baby’s heartbeat so instead I got an ultrasound. There was my little belly buddy just hanging out and looking all perfect. 🙂 He/she had a strong heartbeat of 164 and was measuring right on track. I miss the super awesome quality of the internal U/S, but it felt like a good milestone since that meant the baby was big enough to be seen with a regular U/S.

At 11 weeks + 1 day my belly buddy is nice and snuggled in.

At 11 weeks + 1 day my belly buddy has plenty of space to grow, grow, grow!

They also took my blood for the genetics test my IFs agreed we would have done. This will allow them to check for chromosome abnormalities earlier in pregnancy while also avoiding the invasive amnio. My doctor said she’s no reason to suspect anything will be wrong since the donor was very young and Richard* is healthy and was tested prior to our journey. We will have the results back in 7-10 business days…. which means in less than two weeks we will also (hopefully) know if pink or blue is in the future for my guys!

What do you lovely followers things? Leave me a comment with your guesses on whether I’m carrying a boy or a girl!!! 🙂