Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Relief, Reality & Surprises

So we are at the end of our 9-day visit to Seattle, which culminated in a day of medical appointments and the all-important 20-week ultrasound. This has given us a lot of relief that everything is progressing OK, and a good dose of reality about what the experience will be like when we return in just 18 weeks!

A few highlights of our visit...


The scan:

This was the world's longest ultrasound, lasting almost two hours, which had us all silently worrying about what on earth the radiologist was looking at. Apparently our little Joey was just being uncooperative and sitting at the wrong angle. But she eventually performed, and at 13 ounces, with long arms and legs, and again with the hand to the face... We can tell already that this girl is a princess.

The hospital tour

The staff at the hospital were so lovely, flexible and accommodating to our needs. Although they haven't seen a whole lot of surrogacy cases, they are familiar enough with it to know that we may have special needs, such as an additional room at the birth and some flexibility around security procedures and the like, which is a relief.

The surprises: 

There have been many pleasant surprises on this trip, not least of all the news we are having a girl! We decided to add one more surprise into the mix and a few months ago began talking a outs ow this visit would be a good opportunity to formalize our commitment to each other after our nearly 10 years together. 

With same-sex marriage not yet legal in a Australia, we found a judge, filed some forms and on the 26th December, we got married on the Seattle Great Wheel, with Mandy and family present as witnesses. This was a good old-fashioned shotgun wedding with a modern twist, and surprising our friends family back home with this news was so much fun. It sounds like they have already started party planning. We have promised our mums that there will be no more surprises in the near future!



The past nine days have been incredible, building a relationship with Mandy and her family, who have been generous, welcoming and hospitable beyond words. We never thought at the beginning of this process that we would gain friends, but that is exactly what has happened over the past week. 

It's mind-blowing to think the next time we see Mandy that it will be (hopefully) just days before the arrival of our little girl. We have told our 'bump' that she must wait until we are in Seattle before making her grand entrance, as the thought of enduring a 20-hour flight knowing the baby was on her way (or worse, has already arrived) doesn't bear thinking about!

As we begin the long journey home, we feel relieved and excited, but most of all, utterly grateful for the joy this little bean has already brought to the world, before she has even drawn her first breath.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Boy or Girl?

I have a perfect record of predicting baby's gender. Be it my own, or a friends baby, I have never guessed wrongly.

Which is exactly why when I said this would be a baby girl, 

...
...


OK, so I never said that. In fact, I've come very close to buying blue gifts for this kid several times because I was so sure... SO sure that it was a boy.

Only, she's not a boy. 
She's a she. 
CONGRATS!!!
Arm Under Chin, Her Favorite Post

Apparently, my body doesn't know how to carry boys.

This little lady was a wiggly little lass. We had so much fun watching this joey... er... flyer (that's a female kangaroo...) squirm.

Congrats to the guys, their mums, future aunts, uncles, cousins etc. I love me a little girl, and I'm pleased as punch to be carrying one for these awesome Aussie dads. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

First Weekend

The guys are going to be here for such a long period of time that making you all wait for one large (and lengthy) post visit wrap up post would likely be quite cruel. So, I'll just write a few smaller pieces instead. And as our first weekend together comes to a close, this seems like the ideal time for post umber one.

Two newly donned 12s
I must say that the best part about having them here has been watching how effortlessly they connect with my daughters. They both come from large extended families so I expected them to be good with kids. Even so, most non parents have this invisible bubble of personal space that surrounds them.
(Hell, I'm a mom of two and I even have it sometimes. I may or may not even loudly exclaim "DON'T TOUCH ME" when Emrys comes barreling for me whilst covered in ketchup. May. May not. )

Witness non existent non parent personal bubble
But not these two. After spending just an hour with the gals I caught T and Emmy blowing raspberries at each other in the car. Chris started to talk about how Aelia and Emrys really feed off each other... until T owned up to his shenanigans. :)

The next morning the first thing Adelia said to me in the morning was, "Where are M&T? When are THEY coming back?" Way to make a mom feel loved, kiddo... yeesh.

Not that it's any of my business to judge or contemplate how these two will be as parents once the Joey arrives, but watching them with my girls both Friday night and then today, I just can't wait to watch them in action with their own kids. It'll come so easily to them. They're going to shine. They're going to make other parents hate them for their ease, and other kids jealous because their parents just aren't that cool. I bet I'll even wind up consulting these two for parenting advise. Some people just get it. These guys just get it.

We took the guys out for a nice steak dinner Friday night, but the real highlight of our weekend was today's Seahawks game. Despite the Hawk's less than impressive performance, the 12s pulled together for a showing the guys aren't likely to soon forget. The guys were welcomed into the world of hot wings, loud fans and American football. We just all had such a blast together. I even got them both in Hawk gear. See photographic evidence.... M's mother... because I'm told such evidence is the only way you'd believe this had actually happened. ;)

Of course we talked legalities. And now the baby is kicking consistently. It was a good, good weekend.

Up this week? The big stuff. The gender reveal and BIG ultrasound.. meeting the doc, touring the hospital, Christmas, sessions with the film crew, and a few other golden nuggets I am not at liberty to discuss.

Hot wing. Beer. Football. And a Pregnant Lady. American Dream.
I am a very happy and very tired surrogate. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Today is THE day

At least until the 27th, that is.

But today is THE day that the guys arrive, and that they meet the Blondesters.

And how does the day greet me?

With an allergic reaction to the left side of my face.

No, I'm not posting pictures.

I have highly sensitive skin when it comes to laundry detergents and softeners. While I've not changed anything, even one garment getting a larger helping of detergent or softener can cause this. It will resolve on its own... and I should be able to conceal it for dinner tonight... only, I'll look like an ape while I claw at my jaw.

Never mind our surrogate, she's special.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

KICK Start To The Day!

My daily routine rarely changes by much. I start each morning with a parade of blondesters marching into my room, and always earlier than they should. Next they crawl into my bed and demand cuddles and cartoons. The amount of both varies by day.

This morning was no different. In they march at 6:56 (grrr), on goes Thomas, The Christmas special and cuddling commences.

This morning Adelia decided to really cuddle me. She put her head on my chest, which left her arm cradling my pregnant belly.

Then something out of the ordinary happened. 

Something amazing. 

The little Joey kicked. 


Once. 

            Twice. 

                          Thrice.

                                          FOUR TIMES. 

That folks, is probably the summation of every kick I've felt the entire 20 weeks combined.

And then Adelia moved and the kicking stopped. I tried to poke, prod and rub in the same areas where she was applying pressure and got no response.

Maybe the baby was hopped up on last night's cleaning chemicals.

Maybe, like everyone else who encounters her, Adelia had a magical effect on this baby.
Maybe he was playing with her.
Maybe he was telling her to MOVE.

I don't know... but either way, I finally felt more than the random kick. And with roughly 55 hours to go until Dads' arrival... the timing couldn't be more perfect. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cleaning Frenzy

Holy cow. The guys will be on my doorstep in 72 hours and 40 minutes. 
Cleaning woman vector
How I want them to think it looks here....

If they're on time...

This means I have exactly 72 hours and 40 minutes to transform my home from a toddler haven into the abode of a responsible and clean adult worthy of their child's prenatal care.

Crap.

I'll start on a clean after dinner tonight... and then do more tomorrow during the day. I'm sure I'll do finishing touches Friday while Adelia is at school.

There will likely be a manic Mandy at 6778 137th for the next 72 hours and 39 minutes.
err... 72 hours and 35 minutes...


How it really looks here...

Friday, December 13, 2013

This post is brought to you by the letter T and the number 20

So I was chatting to Mandy today and she asked if we would write a guest blog before we leave Oz. Although there is plenty to write about, there is so much going on in our minds at the moment with the crazy end of year and all that goes with it, that I didn't know where to start.After giving it some thought, I was taken back to my childhood watching Sesame Street. And, ladies and gents, it seems this post is destined to be sponsored by the number 20.

- 20 days away from home (5 in Canada, 10 in Seattle, 3 in Portland, 2 days flying).

- 20 hours of flying to get to the Pacific Northwest (the price of living down under)-

20kg luggage allowance, which will filled with winter clothes and a few Christmas presents for our new extended family

- 20 degrees (f) in Whistler, which is where we'll be recovering from jet lag before arriving Seattle. This is seriously cold for us Aussies who are coming straight from an (albeit mild so far) Melbourne summer

 -20th December - the day we finally get to see Mandy and Chris, and meet their blondesters. Mandy mentioned recently that it feels like she is being visited by old friends... And it certainly feels the same for us too. It's so strange to think we have only spent 4 hours together in person and haven't even met their kids yet (who look like they will be SO MUCH FUN)

- 20 weeks - the very reason for this visit, the all-important 20 week scan. The halfway point. When gender is revealed, as well as a whole host of other important medical checks. The scan is booked for 27th December.

- 20 weeks from today (or thereabouts) we will be dads. Which, to be honest, still blows my mind. I think seeing Mandy's baby bump (and maybe even feeling a kick or two, hey, Jnr?) will start to make it seem very, very real.- lastly, funnily enough, Jnr will be the 20thmember of M's immediate family. And, having all sisters, the only one to keep their family name.

So that's a wrap. The next time you hear from us we will be stateside, with a whole lotta news to share. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Time to Whine

Because pregnancy in general isn't all sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. And besides, I know there are at least a few of you out there waiting (patiently or not) for something to go less than perfectly here. It's just human nature.

Don't get me wrong, this is still my easiest and best pregnancy to date. Sorry, blondesters... but this mellow Aussie has you both beat. Even so, there are a few concerns I'd like to file with the management. These include:

Most Annoyingly... Round Ligament Pain.
RLP for short. From WebMD 
"It is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy and is considered a normal part of pregnancy. It is most often felt during the second trimester." 
So no worries M&T, this is normal. What is the round Ligament and what is it's purpose? Also from WebMd:
Several thick ligaments surround and support your womb (uterus) as it grows during pregnancy. One of them is called the round ligament.
The round ligament connects the front part of the womb to your groin, the area where your legs attach to your pelvis. The round ligament normally tightens and relaxes slowly.
As your baby and womb grow, the round ligament stretches. That makes it more likely to become strained.
Sudden movements can cause the ligament to tighten quickly, like a rubber band snapping. This causes a sudden and quick jabbing feeling.
RLP is a stabbing pain usually in my right groin area. I only feel it when going from rest (laying down or sitting) to standing. I had it with Adelia, and the first time it was so bad I fell to the floor and called my OB right away, CONVINCED I'd separated the placenta from the uterus wall. Because nothing that painful could be normal, right? Then, with Emrys, didn't feel it even once. So I thought I'd stretched that sucker out good and would never deal with it again. So perhaps I'm more annoyed that it's back than I am bothered by the pain.

Headaches. 
This is kid is a time sensitive and picky eater. If I am late for lunch, my head THROBS. Until I get that first morsel in me, then all is well.. most of the time. The tricky part is that he (or she... i guess... maybe) is hungry more often than me. Which means eating when I am not at all hungry. Which is an odd sensation for me, albeit probably more healthy. I have been told that bio dad has to have toast just before bed and a banana first thing in the morning... and this kiddo seems to shadow those dining desires.

My Butt.
Not the fact that it is expanding (because really, I don't think it is) but more the odor emitting from it. OK look, I told you I was going to whine. It's not always going to be pretty. But man, this kid has some foul smelling fumes coming out of me pretty much all the time. Silver lining? No gas stomach cramps. Perhaps it's the fact that this kiddo loves greens (which give me gas)... I dunno. But I fart like an old man.

OK, that's it. I feel better now. Back to those sunshine and rainbows and unicorns.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I am SO grateful

Just thinking about the upcoming visit some more, and reflecting on the fact that I'll be spending a LOT of hours with some folks I've only ever spent 4 hours of real life time with.

That's when I notice that my feelings are anticipation, excitement, and joy. This opposed to nervousness, apprehension, and fear.

The filmmaker following our journey asked me recently how I was handling the long distance between M,T, and myself and if I was  nervous for such a long visit. I told him the honest answer, "Nope. I feel like these guys are my family. I share things with them I otherwise only share with family or close friends. To my head and my heart, they could live across the lake... I'd likely see and talk to them no more than I do with them in Australia."

I'm not nervous about awkward silences, or discomfort in having them at my OBGYN visit (a place Chris has only ventured a few times himself). I am excited to watch T and Emrys bond, because he's so sure they will... to show them our favorite places around town, to try their Aussie style cooking and share a few laughs. Mostly, I am so excited to watch their faces as they see their son (..or daughter, i guess...maybe) move around on screen for the first time.

These are some great fellas. Wonderful friends. For that I must thank their mommas. Good job, ladies.

For the brilliance of this match I need to thank Growing Generations. Way to go team.

But for the ease and beauty of this relationship, I need to thank the guys.
Thank you for sharing your lives with me and my family. 

For all of this I am so , SO grateful.