Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I'm having Contractions

Yup, that's right. 
You did not misread that. 
I am having contractions. 

Not to worry though, they're just practice. 

See you soon, dads!
For those who are incredibly confused right now, we're talking about Braxton-Hicks contractions. Here's a link to a scientific explanation of the things. But basically, it's just my uterus starting to do some muscle training t prep for the big day. It's kind of like an effort free and painless sit up. Kind of. 

I'd have to go back through my facbook posts to see when I felt these with the girls, but I know it wasn't this early. I did ask the OBGYN is this was normal/safe to be felt so early on. She assured me it was just fine and has had some women report feeling them as early as 13 weeks. WOW.

Once I was assured that this was safe and normal it made the process seem pretty exciting. I can't believe we're nearly in the 3rd trimester (8 days to go!) and that my body is starting to get things in order for the big day.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Happy V Day!

It's not a "B" day, but in the world on child cooking today is just as important. It's V day. So what IS  V day, anyway?


I am 24 weeks pregnant today. This, in most accepted OB circles, marks the earliest date at which this little joey could be born and have an expectation of survival outside of the womb. This very important day is often referred to as V day, or viability day.

This does not mean that baby is done cooking and that we're ready to meet her. Far from it. We'd like her to stay in there at least another 14-15 weeks. (OMG, IS THAT REALLY ALL THAT'S LEFT?) Being born now is not guaranteed survival, and would come with a lengthy stay in the NICU as well as potential health and development problems that would follow her through her entire life.

Wow. That sounds worth celebrating, right? 

So why is today a celebration at all? 

According to Babymed.com,

" The chances of survival increase with each day after 24 weeks, and the risks of complications decrease."

In fact, the odds of survival from this point increase by 2-3% per day for the next two weeks. At the conclusion of the next two weeks I will enter the third trimester (Again, when did this happen??) and a fetal survival rate in the 80-90% window along with it. 

For you visual learners, here's a cool chart: 

               COMPLETED WEEKS OF GESTATION AT BIRTH               
(using last menstrual period)
          CHANCE OF SURVIVAL              
21 weeks and less0%
22 weeks0-10%*
23 weeks10-35%
24 weeks40-70%
25 weeks50-80%
26 weeks80-90%
27 weeks>90%
30 weeks>95%
34 weeks>98%


So while we've still got a long ways to grow... we're getting there. And this baby is getting stronger everyday. Just ask my cervix. 

Hope you're REALLY ready, M&T... she's really coming. And go ahead and have a toast to this day. It's a big one. :) 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Making Friends

I really didn't expect to make friends in this process. 

I expected a solid relationship with whomever my IPs would be, but outside of that, I didn't expect much. I was more worried about LOSING friends over this, if truth be told.

But the reality of what I've received and continue to cultivate just takes my breath away.

I have much more than a solid relationship with my IPs, I have real world friends.

What really amazes me are the other surrogates that I've met through this process. One in Kansas whose husband happens to be friends with my cousin. What a small world. Girls from Maine to Florida. East coast to California and back again. Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Girls in my own backyard even, and now our daughters are "friends."

One made this for me, "Surro Sisters" 
I used to think surrogates were white unicorns in the sunset. Turns out, we're not that rare at all. We're all over the place, we're real people and, in my opinion, we're pretty damn cool.

Apart from the massive extended network of acquaintances I have gained, I feel like I've also gained some life long and deep friendships. I've bonded especially with two gals in particular.

I am evening planning a potential girls trip with one girl for next year sometime when we're both baby free.

Yes, I'm even planning a vacation with someone I've never even "met."

I know two other surros who did this earlier this year. I remember being equal parts jealous of their bond and terrified that one might kill the other. Because really,  how could two strangers get along so well so quickly and so absolutely?

But then it happened for me too.  

Yes, it started out that all we talked about was needles and baby making. But over the course of the past several months we have begun to share more parts of our lives. One gal I talk with daily, perhaps more than I talk with my husband. I hate that we live to many miles apart, because I think we'd be inseparable if we were closer.

I didn't expect to form these incredible bonds. And I don't think they've been forged because we're both surrogates, though that was the catalyst.

I'm just so happy to have been given more than I expected

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Last Time I Gave Birth

Today marks two years since I had my last baby for keeps. I just can't believe little Emmy is already 2!!! So I thought I'd share the story of the last time I gave birth. And then on Valentine's Day I'll share the story of the first time I gave birth. :)

The day before Emmy was born I was at a birthday party for a friend. I was 38 weeks pregnant and I was in labor. I knew it, but it was early labor so there was no reason to not go to the party. I'm one of those lucky gals who is very tuned in to her body, and have known I was in labor both times from the moment it began. I've never confused false labor for real labor, I'm jut in tune with my uterus.

Anyway, I remember everyone at t


his party making bets on what the baby's birth date would be, and what the gender would be (we didn't know either). I remember having a private smile at the guesses, knowing each and every one of them was wrong and that I'd have a baby by that time tomorrow evening.

Once home Chris and I tried to have a movie night with Adelia because I knew it was going to be the last night we'd ever spend as a family of three. I wanted her to cuddle. She wanted to squirm. We gave up around 11 and I tried to sleep.

At 3 a.m. we decided to call in the sitter and head to the hospital.

At 4:30 a.m. the hospital decided I wasn't in labor and decided to send me home. I will never forget looking that nurse in the eye and saying something along the lines of, "How long is your shift? Because when I come back in later today to push this baby out, I want you to know it." I was so mad!

A couple of hours later Adelia woke up and we agreed to send Chris downstairs to keep her away from Momma because I didn't want her to see me in pain and get scared.

I remember timing contractions and texting a friend through them. About noon I had progressed to 2 minutes on, two minutes off. She was telling me to get back to the hospital. I finally realized that I was laboring alone like an animal and not like a human and went downstairs to tell Chris it was time to go back.

He hadn't checked on me in quite some time, and I think the change in my dealing with labor took he and Adelia by surprise. He had been in the process of making Didi lunch and couldn't understand if I wanted to feed her first or just go... and then the choice of where to take Didi... Chris is so used to my making the decisions that this process threw him for a loop.

In the meantime one of my worst fears came true. Adelia watched me go through several contractions. She was crying. I will never forget that. Even though I know she won't remember that, I'll never forget it. I still hate that she had to see her mother in that way without having the knowledge or maturity to understand what was really happening.

Once we got to the hospital my contractions were intense and almost as bad as they were when I started pushing with Adelia. Emrys came into this world with a fury, people.

Once up to L&D my second worst fear came true. My L&D nurse was a gal I knew from church. I had been terrified for 8 months that I'd deliver on her shift and that she'd see my gal parts and never my face again. She offered to send in another nurse, but in that instant I knew I wanted her there. And in truth, nothing could have wound up being more special to me.

At first check I was already 8cm. An epidural was NOT part of my birth plan, but my rest periods between contractions were shrinking and I was having a hard time catching my breath between them. I wimped out, we ordered the epidural.

Just like with Adelia, my water broke during the epidural placement.

The next time the nurse came to check me, I think it was 20 minutes or so, I was complete (10 cm) and ready to push. I pushed for two hours last time, so we didn't think there was a rush. She paged the doctor. I started to push.

Two pushes later she called for an OB.. ANY OB THEY COULD FIND... mine ran in just in time to catch Emmy and proclaim I had a second girl.

And there she was. 
Beautiful, healthy, blue eyed and perfect. 
Our family was complete. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Talk About it Talk About it Talk About it...

I love to talk to people about surrogacy. 

And I seem to be doing it more and more often. 


Just this week I've been contacted by 3 potential surrogates and one potential intended mother. WOW

I mean, how cool is THAT? This thing that I once thought was so crazy, so rare, so unheard of... and now I've got amazing people coming out of the woodwork to talk to little old me about it. 

It just blows my mind that my story, this blog, this experience is touching so many lives. That this story is impacting so many of YOU. Because I'm willing to bet that for every one person who is brave enough to talk to me about surrogacy, there are  five more thinking about it in silence. 

Do I think all of these people will follow through? Nope. I don't even want them to. That's not really my goal when I am talking to them.  This experience isn't for everyone. 

Just to be opening eyes and hearts is enough for me.  


Someone told me this week,

"I just wanted to share that I honestly thought you were completely crazy when I first read you were going to be a surrogate. Like, completely over the edge! However, I've been reading your blog and can I just say my opinion has completely changed? There are lots of stereotypes and before reading your blog- I believed them."

If I've received a better compliment (as it relates to this process) I can't recall it. Wow. Just wow. Thank you all for letting me, M, T and this little baby into your lives.That you for being open enough to consider something crazy like surrogacy. 

And keep the questions coming!!! 
In fact, feel free to email me with them. 
Maybe I'll post them here. 
Maybe I'll call you to chat.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

BLINK

I don't have a maternal connection to this baby. 

Yes. It really is THAT simple. 
_____________________________

Yes, I love her. But not in the way I love my girls. Instead, I think I'd liken how I feel towards her most closely to how I'd feel about a niece, or in my case, my goddaughter Lucy.

Yes, there is a connection. Just not the kind of connection anti-surrogacy folk expect there to be. She and I, we've shared something special. It deserves a connection.

As happy as I am to be carrying her, I'll be happier still to put her into the arms of her PARENTS.

Even so, it was so surreal and strange to receive a copy of the birth plan. No surprises in there. I "got" everything I wanted in the process. But ... blink your eyes for me.


BLINK

That's how quickly the buck will be passed. 


The moment that little lady is out of me, I am relieved of all responsibility and expectation. Her well being is no longer any of my concern. Whereas birth is usually the very START of the parenting marathon, for me it marks the finish line.

BLINK

I don't want there to be confusion over this- I am not depressed about this quick change. I don't have any negative feelings surrounding it. In fact, I kind of look forward to it.

BLINK

Whereas for the previous 10 or 11 months I was expected to take pills on time, inject medications on time, refrain from certain activities, not travel past a certain point, get enough sleep and exercise, not expose myself to dangerous conditions or items. Avoid roller coasters. No alcohol or oysters. And then...

BLINK

It's all over. 
That quickly.