Category Archives: Doctors

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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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.

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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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Still here. Still Pregnant. Still waiting.

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I thought I would pop in and give a quick update. I know I always get concerned when my pregnant friends don’t post in a few weeks.

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I’m still here and still very much pregnant. I’m also still waiting on the results of the genetic tests from January 9th. Which means… I’M FRUSTRATED!!!!

They told us to expect results within a week to ten days. Unfortunately, the lab is backed up and there was also the MLK, Jr. holiday in there. So here we are, waiting impatiently.

My doctor assures me the extra time is absolutely no indication that anything is wrong. She said regardless of the results, the time frame would be the same. Still, it’s hard not knowing. My IFs have been as amazing as always. I feel terrible that they’ve had to wait longer than we thought. I know they’re anxious to hear that their baby is healthy. PLUS we all want to celebrate knowing the gender, but that is, of course, secondary to receiving a good bill of health. So we wait. and wait. and wait. And we cross our fingers and toes and elbows that the waiting will soon be over and we will be on to the celebrating.

Aside from the frustration and anxiety of waiting, I’m feeling very well. I hit the 13 week mark on 01/22/15 and said good bye to my first trimester!!!  I’ve developed some food aversions and stronger food cravings over the past few weeks. I ordered a tuna melt at dinner with the kiddo last weekend (a personal favorite of mine) and took one bite before deciding there was no way I could eat it. It didn’t make me nauseous, it just was completely unappealing. I was so sad because I really wanted to eat it… My little belly buddy apparently didn’t’ agree, though.

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So what does my belly buddy like? Bagels. Cheese. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Steak (a food I rarely ever eat but I’ve been craving it like crazy!). Milk. and did I mention bagels? 🙂

Back to the waiting I go. Tell me what you craved and/or couldn’t stand and distract me for a little bit!

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!!! 🙂

Oh, Baby!

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It’s been a slow few weeks. After the early loss of Twin B, I’ve been anxious for my next ultrasound so I could see that the baby was still thriving and growing as he or she was supposed to. I tried to stay busy with holiday preparations and enjoying time with my family, but it was hard. I’ve had no morning sickness at all. That’s great… but it also means I don’t have that daily (awful) reminder of, “Oh hey, yup, you’re still preggers!”

I’ve been tired, a little moody (my partner may say a lot moody, lol), peeing often and have breast changes… still, it’s easy to attribute those to the meds. So I waited and waited for my monitoring appointment.

Finally, today, December 30th, came. Same usual routine. Blood work. Pee. Undress from waist down. Feet in the stirrups. Insert Mr. Weenie Wand. Deep breath.

Oh, baby!

There he/she was. My little belly buddy was right where he/she should be! There was no mistaking it. I took a slow breath. Okay, lets get down to the measuring.

Good heart beat. Check!

Good size and position. Check!

Good sac size and measuring at right stage. Check!

Everything was perfect!

What I hadn’t expected was how developed the baby would already be at only 9 weeks + 5 days (but measuring at 10 weeks even). You could see even see the tiny hand and feets!!! My belly buddy was an active little thing. It was beyond reassuring to see his/her little arms and legs just moving about. And that precious heart beat…. insert the teary eyes here.

As soon as we were done I sent my IFs the good news and pictures and I could just imagine the sigh of relief they each took. I know as emotionally invested in the success of this pregnancy as I am, they are so much more. This is their life’s dream.

Now I feel like I can relax some. We’ve almost made it to the 12 week mark which is what I’ve always been told is the time when the risk of miscarriage goes down to 1% or less. I am waiting to hear from my RE this afternoon. I believe they will have me decrease my meds and/or stop completely! (Insert the celebratory dance here.) It’s hard to imagine a life without daily injections, pills, patches and suppositories.

My next appointment is January 9th with the OB. They will be doing a non-invasive blood test to check for genetic issues and can also tell the gender if the IFs want to know now!

I hope you all have an amazing NEW YEAR. Have you made any resolutions? Mine are to focus on a healthier work/family balance, keep active and stress less. One great benefit of being pregnant is that “lose weight” doesn’t need to be on the list. HA! 😉

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My little belly buddy. She/he is head down and you can see the little arms and legs. 🙂

Bittersweet Baby News

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I’ve been putting off this post because it was hard to talk about, but I’ve been committed to sharing the good, bad and ugly from the beginning so I know it’s time.

Last I posted we had found out I was carrying twins and my IFs were over the moon. Unfortunately, it was a short lived high because when I went for my first appointment and ultrasound with the ob/gyn on Friday, December 12th we learned we had lost Baby B. Even though we were warned this was a possibility, it was still very upsetting and my heart broke for my IFs. They had been so excited when the first U/S revealed both embryos had stuck. Despite being cautioned not to get “too emotionally invested” since Baby B was measuring behind, i imagine that in their hearts and minds they’d already started to think of themselves as the proud papas of twins.

The GREAT news, though, is that the scan showed Baby A is thriving! He or she was measuring perfectly at 7 weeks + 2 days (so one day ahead of our calculations) and had a strong heart beat of 153. The tech at my ob office (who is my new favorite person!!!) let me record a little video of the baby and you could see his/her heart just beating away. This brought some comfort to my IFs (and me!).

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I tried to give them a little extra space over the weekend to process their loss. They were amazing as always and assured me that they had complete faith in me to carry their remaining baby. They really are the most wonderful people and I hope and pray every day that this baby inside me will grow healthy and strong until it’s time to meet his or her Papas.

I hadn’t realized how much an early loss could impact me emotionally. I felt guilty even though I know there’s nothing at all I could have done to change the outcome. Still, it’s hard not to blame your body for a failure. I also had mixed emotions because I was so excited and ready to carry twins for my IFs but a part of me felt a little bit of relief at now being a low risk singleton pregnancy. I would have gladly carried both babies, though, if the choice was mine and not my bodies. That mixed emotion did not help with my feeling of guilt. The added pregnancy hormones didn’t help the situation much either. My doctor reminded me that even though the loss is emotionally hard, it significantly increased the chances of having a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery and that she was sure, ultimately, my IFs biggest hope was to have a healthy baby.

I LOVED my ob and her entire staff. She has worked with surrogates before and was recommended to me by my lawyer. She told me that her entire office is surrogate friendly and that while she intends to be at my delivery, whomever delivers my baby will be welcoming of the IFs and do anything possible to include them. This warmed my heart and was a big relief. I’d been concerned about the reaction of an ob since I live in a southern community (i.e. not the most progressive!)

That is what has been going on in my world. My final monitoring appointment is on December 30th and then I should be released by the RE and under the sole care of my ob.  I’ve been very anxious for this appointment so I can see how the baby is doing. I’ve no reason to think there’s anything wrong, but I’m feeling paranoid after the loss of Baby B. Other than that, I am feeling good. My only real “symptoms” are being tired and having (what feels like) huge boobs. I’ve been very lucky and haven’t had any morning sickness at all. So far this pregnancy seems very similar to my own with my kiddo, only maybe a little more tiring… probably do to the fact I’m almost 30 and not a 20 year old any more!

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No bump, just bloat! So ready to be off the meds!

I hope each and every one of you have a safe and wonderful holiday and a very Happy New Year!!! I will talk to you in 2015. XOX- Liz

… and then there were two.

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TWINS??? OH. MY. GOSH. TWINS!!!

Yes, that’s EXACTLY what thought popped into my head while laying on the exam table Monday, November 8th, with Mr. Weenie Wand all up in my lady bits. I’d looked at enough ultrasound pictures over the past few months to know what twin sacs looked like in a uterus.

Taking a VERY slow, deep breath. I waited in nervous anticipation as the tech took all of the measurements and looked for heartbeats. She was great and explained everything to me as she went.

And then.

I saw them.

Two little flickering spots on the screen. Heart beats. My IFs’ babies had heartbeats! 

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At the date of ultrasound I was estimated to be 6 weeks and 4 days. Baby A was measuring at 6 weeks 3 day and had a strong heartbeat of 117. VERY healthy and picture perfect. Baby B was measuring 5 weeks and 4 days with a heartbeat of 88, which would be normal for that measurement. Baby B was smaller but still healthy. The tech said this early in pregnancy it is normal for baby B to be measuring smaller… they will continue to monitor and baby B usually will catch up to baby A. We are hopeful that will be the case, but we’ve also read about the “disappearing twin” where the body will “absorb” the weaker baby.

I messaged my IFs right away with the news and pictures and their pure, raw joy and emotion is one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. I can only imagine what it will be like when I (hopefully) deliver their babies!!! 🙂

I have my first appointment with my Ob on Friday, December 12th. I’m anxious and excited to meet the doctor for the first time. She came highly recommended by my lawyer because of her medical experience and prior experience with surrogates. It makes it all feel very real. I’m also nervous about the ultrasound. Several people have cautioned me to be prepared to only see one heartbeat now. I’m choosing to have hope that Baby B will still be growing and catching up to his/her twin.

For those of you who carried multiples, what were your experiences with the size and development of them? I’d love to hear about your pregnancies with them!

The Five Week Mark

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Things have been delightfully uneventful this past week, so I thought I would keep this short with a few picture updates. 🙂

I came home from errands the day after our second beta confirmed pregnancy and these beauties were waiting on my doorstep. The note had me a little teary eyed.

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My IFs are getting married shortly before Christmas so I wanted to send them a little “happy” as a Christmas gift. This ornament seemed perfect! The hats have their names on them and snowflakes say “Merry Christmas” in French.

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I hit the five week mark on 11/27 so I made this little collage for my IFs. I’ve only gained a few pounds since starting cycle meds but nothing fits comfortably because of the medicine bloat! :-/

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I had my third beta on Friday, 11/28. That was a worrisome event because they forgot to fax the results to my RE’s office so it took a couple extra hours to track down the results. We’re thrilled with the number and can’t wait until the ultrasound to see how many belly buddies I have on board! I also found it interesting that all of my HCG levels started with a 4. I’m going to take that as a sign of luck!

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That is my week in a nutshell. I hope you all had a wonderful week and a Happy Thanksgiving (for you American followers). I get a break from appointments this week (woohoo!). I may not know what to do without someone taking blood from me. Lol. Our ultrasound is scheduled for December 8th. How many babies do you think I’m carrying?