Category Archives: travel

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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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!

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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.

What Happens in Vegas…

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Las Vegas is my new favorite city!!! Granted, I spent absolutely no actual time in Vegas, but it’s still my favorite city and this is why…

I flew from my home airport in Birmingham to Houston, Texas. Due to bad weather, the plane was delayed landing which meant I missed the connecting flight into Vegas. The airline was, thankfully, able to get me booked onto a later flight to Vegas that night. I quickly messaged Samantha and she contacted the fertility clinic so they could adjust the car service. I’m extra grateful I hadn’t checked any bags! I used my gorgeous new Vera Bradley duffel as a carry on bag. Luggage would have been a nightmare with the delays and flight cancellations. (Picture especially for you, tummymummy11 :). )

photo 1Once I made it into Vegas I found my driver (how cool and fancy is that?!?) waiting for me and he took me straight to my gorgeous hotel. It was late and I was starving, so I ordered a chicken quesadilla from room service and took a quick shower while I waited for it. The quesadilla was yummy, but it was also a fortune! I’m glad I wasn’t paying for that or I’d probably have just gone hungry! Who knew room service was so expensive!?!

Not even an hour after checking into the hotel I was in my comfy bed and out like a light!11The next morning I got up and ready, checked out and went down to the lobby to meet my car service (fancy again!). As we drove to the clinic I was a basket of nerves. This didn’t stop me from admiring the gorgeous scenery, though. All around me were themed resorts and tons of lights, but the sky was clear and baby blue and the mountains in the near distance were such a breathtaking contrast to the cityscape. I could have spent hours just riding around, but we shortly arrived at the clinic.

I immediately loved the nurses at the clinic. The one who took my blood was friendly and funny. There was also another GS getting her blood drawn beside me and we chatted about surrogacy. She’s starting her second journey and also has international IFs! Before I even knew it the nurse had filled her many vials with my blood. I hadn’t even noticed how much blood was being taken because it happened so quickly. I’m certain fertility clinics are secretly supplying vampires with the amount of blood they take!12

My intake coordinator, Maria, took my vitals and then led me back to a room and I donned the dreaded paper gown and hopped up on the table to wait. I stared in slight horror and the ultrasound machine thing beside me. I’d seen pictures of it on friends’ Instagram accounts (my favorite nickname for it is “Mr. Weenie Wand”) , but it was still intimidating.

I thought to myself, “Wow…. they’re putting that where? They could at least buy me dinner first!” 🙂13

Soon, Dr. D and Maria came into the room and the medical screening began. Dr. D was beyond nice. He explained everything to me step by step and kept asking if I was okay or feeling any discomfort throughout the process.  The two procedures he did were a sonohysterogram and a trial transfer. The sonohysterogram involved injecting water into the uterus through a catheter that is inserted into the cervical and uterine canal. During this process the doctor did an ultrasound to look for any uterine abnormalities that could interfere with pregnancy. The second procedure was a mock transfer. During the mock transfer the doctor used the same instruments he’ll use for the actual transfer so he can determine the size of the uterus and best positioning when he transfers the embryos. This helps to ensure the actual transfer will go as smoothly as possible. The entire process took less than 20 minutes and didn’t hurt at all.

2Dr. D showed me the sonogram of my uterus and told me it was a “beautiful uterus”.

For those who don’t know, that’s basically the best compliment a surro can hope to hear! He said everything looked great and perfect to carry a surrogate pregnancy! As long as everything from the lab work comes back fine, I’ll be officially medically cleared!

After I was redressed Maria introduced me to my nurse coordinator, Sarah. Like everyone else at the clinic, I adored her. She will be my point of contact at the clinic from here on out. We went over everything again and I signed a bunch of consent to treat forms and other paperwork. She told me she would keep me updated and as soon as they have my medical clearance and contracts she will order my meds and set up my med calendar!

I finished up and went outside where my driver was waiting to take me to the airport. The trip home was long and tiring! There were lots of delays because of the bad storms that came through Thursday.

While at the airport I checked my email and had two awesome messages. One from the clinic 4telling me my blood levels had all looked good! The other from Jesse at my agency saying the clinic had said they loved me. 🙂

This made up for the frustration of the travel delays. I finally made it back to Birmingham around 2:00 am Friday morning and went straight to bed.

After a few hours of sleep and dropping the kiddo off at school, my partner and I had the psych evaluation phone session with the psychologist for the clinic. It went very smoothly and I wasn’t nervous at all compared to the first time. I felt calm and sure of myself because of everything I’d learned over the past several months. We wrapped up the session and the psychologist wished us well on our journey.

Now, we begin contracts and wait for the medical clearance! My IFs are anxious to move on so we’re starting the contracts right away with hopes of having them done with in a couple weeks. They been amazing and kind. They’ve sent little messages to check in with me, or thank me again or wish me safe travels. I feel so blessed knowing I’m helping such wonderful guys become fathers!

How long did contracts take for you? What are some things you added or wished you’d added? Help a girl out with any advise you have! 🙂