Category Archives: Surrogacy

Life After Surrogacy

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I’ve had quite a few people reach out to me in the past three months to ask about my life after surrogacy. I’ve been asked how I’m doing, do I miss the baby, will I do another journey, etc.

First. Thank you! It means so much to me that you’ve wanted to check on me or have still been interested in my story.

Life after surrogacy has been great. I’ve had absolutely zero feelings of regret or any postpartum issues. As I’ve said from day one, baby R was not my child, and, so, all I feel is a sense of pride and happiness that I played a part in his story. His parents and I keep in contact as time allows. I know how time consuming it is to work and take care of a baby. I do the unexpected pictures or updates, though. They say he is doing wonderfully. He’s healthy, happy and SO very loved. It shows in his pictures and the way they speak of him. It fills my heart with such joy to know their dreams of a family are a reality now.

Physcially, I’m doing really good. I’m still focusing on losing weight and getting back into shape. Once I had R my blood pressure issues completely resolved themselves. Other than my squishy stomach, I tend to forget I had a baby just a few months ago. 😛 Ha!

In the few months since my journey ended, I’ve been a busy woman! My daughter started fourth grade; I left my full time job in retirement planning to go to part time hours and nanny part time so I could have a better balance of work and family time; My partner and I were married on October 18th; We just bought our first home together (we close on the house and move in around Thanksgiving!); and We leave for our honeymoon on November 8th.

To say I’ve been on cloud nine would be an understatement. I feel incredibly blessed and very lucky right now. Our wedding was AMAZING! We planned everything ourselves and couldn’t have hoped for a better day. We were surrounded by twenty of our dearest friends and family members as we said our “I dos” by a lake at local bontanical gardens, and then we had a lunch reception at a restauarant we love.

“So, now what?”

That’s the question most people ask. “Will you do another journey? You were just married. Do you want a baby together?”

Such good questions! They are ones we are discussing together right now.

I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that I hope to do another surrogacy journey. There is no other feeling that compares to seeing a couple become parents except for maybe having your own child. It’s an addictive feeling, to be honest. I imagine it’s like completing a marathon. You spend months preparing and training. It challenges you physically, emotionally and mentally. The big day arrives and you give it all  you have and it takes absolutely ALL you have. At the end, you’re exhausted. Your body aches. You wonder how you even did it. BUT, you DID! It’s the biggest high. In order to allow you body the chance to rest and recover after a baby, you need to wait at least six months after a regular delivery. I will be six months postpartum in January, so I have a few months still to decide the WHEN of another surrogacy, since the IF isn’t really a question for me.

That leaves the question: Will we try for our own baby?

Honestly, we’re not sure. Going into surrogacy, we felt our family was complete. My daughter, P, was eight, almost nine. She’s been the only child for nine years. I’m nearly a decade older than I was when I had her. That’s a lot to change. A big factor in deciding that our family felt complete was also the fact that “gay marriage” wasn’t legal in our state at the time I started my surrogacy journey. I knew I didn’t want to bring another child in our family that wouldn’t have the legal protections that marriage offers a child. I didn’t think it would be fair to the child or to my partner.

Then, June happened, and marriage equality became the reality of our country. It caused us to reconsider the topic of family size.

We’re currently discussing our options. It’s not as simple as, “Let’s make a baby!” for a gay or lesbian couple. Straight couples decide to have a baby, and that is that. Assuming they have no fertility issues, it’s just a matter of timing and practice.  That’s, obviously, not the case for us. There’s a lot more involved and that makes the decision something to even more carefully think about. (Please know I realize this isn’t the case for the MANY couples who struggle with infertility or other complciations that make conceiving hard or impossible. I mean this strictly as a comparison between uncomplicated straight couples and that of non-straight couples)

When we make our decision, I will likely blog about it either privately or publicly. I found blogging to be such a good way to keep track of everything, share with others and learn from others. That’s another decision to be made at a later time, though. For now, we’re preparing to leave for our honeymoon cruise and move into our new home. What an amazing year 2015 has been!

I’m really enjoying continuing to follow so many of your blogs and journeys. I love reading about the progress you are making towards your own babies or babies for others and the other incredible things going on in your lives. ❤

Many have you have asked to see pictures from our wedding, so I will upload those in a seperate post after this for easier viewing.

 

 

 

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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

 

25 Week Bumpdate

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Hello 25 weeks!!! This past week flew by. I’ve been busy getting ready  for my trip to visit the guys. Which means I’ve bought some cute maternity clothes, dug out my suitcase and taken inventory of what I still need. 😁

How far along? 25 weeks

How big is baby: 14 inches & 2 lbs!…  the size of Napa cabbage or cauliflower (depends the app). 

Boobies? Still getting bigger! 

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 

Wedding ring Off/On? On. Except at night 

Symptoms? Insomnia. Frequent pee trips. Carpal tunnel in my hands at night- this is majorly annoying – wrist braces at night help some. Some swelling in feet. Back aches.

Sleep? Sporadic- the wrist/hand issues at night make it hard as well as vivid dreams and peeing often. I feel well rested most days though.

Miss anything? Sushi, sleep without numbness in my hands, shoes and bras that fit!

Movement? Yes! Frequently. I look forward to it. He’s very active after I’ve moved around a bit and then sit still. Definitely stronger! I noticed outside movement for the first time this week. 🙂

Food cravings? Anything lemon, icy drinks, steak, and also milk is a new recent one. 

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: Feeling and seeing baby movement from outside my belly.

  

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.

A Small Scare and We’re Halfway There!!!

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Wow! It’s been a month since my last update. When I started this blog I vowed to myself that I would ALWAYS post regularly. Fast forward to this past month and things were crazy and my blog suffered. So, let’s get all caught up. 

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TMI WARNING: The following gets a little personal, so you can skip ahead if that stuff bothers you.

Around the 18 week mark I had a scare. It was evening and I was folding clothes in the bedroom. All of a sudden I felt a dampness between my thighs. I thought I must have somehow peed myself a little. That had happened once or twice (very small amount) when I had sneezed too hard or laughed too much. Oh the untold joys of pregnancy!

I went to the bathroom to clean up and when I removed my pajama shorts my heart dropped. My panties were soaked with bright red blood. I couldn’t breath for a moment because of the feeling of panic gripping my chest. I took a few deep, calming breaths and got myself cleaned up. I put a pad in my panties and went to lay down and call my doctor’s after hours service.

I left my message with the service and waited for my call back. I also immediately messaged Samantha (our interpreter/friend/surrogacy helper extraordinaire) to get her input. She was a great source of calm and we talked through things.

I wasn’t experiencing any pain, nor had I at any point… no cramping or aches. Good signs we thought. I laid in the bed on my side, very still, and waited for the doctor’s call back. The entire time my brain was going crazy. What could this mean? Was I miscarrying? How could that be possible? Everything had been perfect and uneventful so far. I had just seen the baby on an ultrasound a few short weeks ago.

I rubbed my stomach and talked to the baby. I told him he needed to be growing big and strong in there for his daddies… that he had so many people who already loved him and couldn’t wait to meet him.

A short while later, though it seemed like hours, the doctor called me and we talked it all through. She asked me questions about my symptoms such as amount, color and texture of the bleeding, any heavy lifting recently (of course not!), feeling any pressure at all in my uterus, etc.

We were in the middle of a “winter storm”, so she didn’t think driving to the hospital would have any benefit at that time and would just create undue risk. Based on our conversation of the symptoms, she advised me to continue laying down, drink as much water as possible and monitor my bleeding. She said if I started feeling any pain or pressure or bled through a pad in less than an hour to call her right back. Otherwise, she’d see me at her office for an exam and ultrasound the next day.

I didn’t get much sleep that night. I tossed and turned and worried. I got up every hour to check if I was bleeding. I was scared. How would I ever tell my IFs if something was wrong? This was their dream. Their perfect little baby boy. How could we get this far and then something be wrong? It didn’t seem fair or possible. I cried a little and prayed a lot. Samantha and I decided to wait until the appointment before we talked to the guys. We didn’t think it would benefit anyone to worry them before we knew anything concrete.

The bleeding subsided after a few hours and by morning there was just a little bit of blood when I wiped and it looked like it was leftover from the night and not fresh.

I breathed a little easier, but I was still terrified. I counted the minutes until I could go to my appointment.

Sitting in the waiting room, I watched the hands tick by on the clock. Finally, my name was called. I sat in the exam room and waited for the doctor. After a short wait she came in and we talked it all over and then she had me get up on the exam table so she could use the Doppler to listen for a heartbeat.

I held my breath and said a quick prayer. Then, I waited. She spread some gel on my abdomen and moved the monitor thing around. 1 second. 2 seconds. 3 seconds. Please, be okay. Please, be there.

Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. 

Oh, thank God!

There it was. That precious, perfect heart beat. It was beating away just like it should be. A few tears slid down my cheeks. I finally breathed.

Next came an ultrasound. Everything looked fantastic! The baby was measuring right where he should be (a day ahead still, actually). The placenta looked healthy and no issues. Basically, everything looked picture perfect normal.

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I felt the biggest wave of relief wash over me.

The doctor looked over everything and agreed that there was nothing to be found wrong. She told me that sometimes this just happens. It could just be hormonal fluctuations or a broken capillary due to the increased blood volume down there. Whatever the cause, the baby, my uterus and cervix all looked very strong and healthy. She told me to take it easy (pelvic rest, no exercising, etc.) and would see me back in two week instead of four to recheck that everything was still fine. Also, if I had any more bleeding or any pains to call her right away.

I messaged my IFs to let them know what was going on and assure them everything was still just fine. It was such a relief to be able to have a positive report to go along with the scare. I can’t even think about what I would have done if it had gone otherwise.

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I spent the next two weeks taking it very easy. I worked from home so that I didn’t even have to make the drive to work. It was a wonderfully boring two weeks with no more bleeding.

The follow up appointment fell right at 20 weeks so they went ahead and did the anatomy scan at the same time. There was my little French belly buddy wiggling around in my tummy! He was perfection, as always. They measured and looked at his heart, brain, spine and all those other good bits. Everything was right where it should be and looked healthy and complete. Hooray! I happen to think he has the most gorgeous brain ever and I love his little profile. I’m convinced he’ll be smart and handsome like his proud daddies.  🙂

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So that’s been my crazy month. Today I hit twenty-one weeks, so we’re officially past the halfway point. 🙂 🙂 🙂

The guys have been busy preparing their son’s room. I loved seeing pictures of it. It’s absolutely adorable and I know this little belly buddy is going to LOVE it when he gets older. It’s bright, happy and fun, just what I imagine his life will be like. 

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?