Sunday, April 27, 2014

What's New?

I am being asked a lot of the same questions these past few days... and as the days go on I find myself more and more frustrated by them.

Don't get me wrong, I know the daily inquisition is based in interest and love and I appreciate having both from so many people. Even so, please, let me issue a blanket reply to the most commonly asked questions.

And, to satisfy my inner snark and current hair trigger patience, please allow me to do it in the least polite way possible.

(Ohhh... this is about to feel really, REALLY good. )
Haven't You Had That Baby Yet? 
Nope, as the massive lump protruding from beneath my T-shirt would suggest, I have not had that baby yet. 

Really. I am still pregnant. I am pretty sure that my summation is accurate, as I'd be unlikely to miss the emergence of a 7-9 pound living thing through my vagina. Trust me, I'll know when I am no longer pregnant. I'll be sure to pass along the memo. 

Well, When ARE You Going To Have That Baby? 
I've got it penciled in for next Tuesday afternoon just after The Young and The Restless. I really hate missing my stories. Your guess is jut as good as mine, folks. I don't have any inclination as to when I will no longer be pregnant. See previous post about performance anxiety. You're not helping. 

Well, When Does Your DOCTOR Think You'll Have That Baby?
Oh you know, Next Wednesday around 4:32 p.m. Seriously guys? Medical FACT -NO ONE knows what triggers the start of labor, therefor it is impossible to predict when it will begin. Even for doctors. 

Well, I Know How To Jump Start Labor. Have You Tried...
I'm Bringing Sexy Back
I'm really so happy that standing on your head while reciting the alphabet backwards put you into labor with each of your 14 children. Wow, I am impressed. However, I happen to believe that if there was a way that actually worked to jump start labor, most people would know it already. My doctor certainly would. I choose to believe that Old Wives Tales are like campfire stories. No one knows when this baby will be born but this baby, and no one's home remedy is absolute. Even if it were, I wouldn't do it. This may be my body, but it's not my baby or my birth story. It's not my choice to choose to try and "cheat" the labor fairy. 

How Are You Feeling/Hanging In There? 
Thanks for asking how I feel. And, now that you mention it, I actually feel a little bit like Kate Moss crossed with Princess Diana with just a dash of Julia Roberts. 
And then I wake up. 
Seriously... I feel fat, swollen, tingly and tired. It really brings down my (generally) good mood to have to admit this over and over again. So to answer your question, I feel like any other full term pregnant lady. If that's not relatable to you, I'm sorry for my snark (truly) but please stop asking me to remember how unsexy and uncomfortable this phase of pregnancy is. 

SheRa Is So Jealous of Me
Whew, man I feel.... well, like I probably just offended a ton of people who care about me. But hopefully you got a giggle out of it too. And if you've been pregnant before, maybe I even got an "Amen" out of you. I do appreciate each of your concern and care. And M&T, NONE of the above applies to any questions you have. At all.

What I do know is that I'm now rocking She-Ra gauntlets on each hand for my pregnancy induced hand and arm numbness and that my feet have swollen to the roughly the size of papayas over night taking me to a whole new level of sexiness. I also know that pretty much ALL of my Braxton Hicks contractions have stopped. While I should be happy for the reprieve... I'm just frustrated that it feels like we took a step backwards instead of forwards.

I also know that sometime in the next 14 days this baby will be born. Hopefully of her own doing and not of Pitocin's. Either way, her time is limited.

Friday, April 25, 2014

I surrender, I SURRENDER

That's IT! I surrender! I would probably make and wave a literal white flag, as opposed to this virtual one, ,if only I could grasp my hands around the pole of one.

I've been dealing with the painful, tingly hands of pregnancy related carpal tunnel for a few weeks now. It started out occasional and mild... and has grown to frequent and debilitating.  But if you know me, you know I am stubborn. I really didn't want to spend the $50-$60 on wrist supports to help the problem, as I know it's going to be going away the day I give birth... which could be any day at this point.

But, I surrender. You win, nasty tingly hands and arms. The pain has been waking me up over night for a few nights now. And tonight Adelia wet the bed, and my pain was so intense I had a hard time removing her soiled bed sheets. Never mind trying to get back to sleep after.

So here I am, awake for my day at 2 AM, ordering wrist splints from Target online, and waving my white flag. See you at 8 am sharp, Target personnel. And to my blanket and pillow.... we have a date for 7 pm sharp this evening.

Disclaimer: I still love late pregnancy. Yes, it's the worst part. It's ugly and frustrating. The odors, the swelling, the "fu#^&! it all" attitude... but I still love it. I love paying too much attention to every twinge, cramp and sensation my body makes. I love trying to guess at baby's birthday. It's like Christmas Eve for me. So while I am cranky about the hands, I'm not an unhappy preggo.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Performance Anxiety

37 WEEKS!!!
I am officially considered term! This means a few very important things.
#1, I can have this little girl anytime knowing that her family is here to greet her.
#2, Any future journeys I may wish to consider will now be made to declined by the power of my brain and heart, not rules or insurance standards.
#3, I can finally issue the formal eviction of Uterus notice. So, to that level:

Dearest foreign national kicking my left hip, 
It has been my pleasure to house you these past 9 months. I've loved your milk cravings and wiggle dancing. If we're being honest, you've probably been the most polite guest Hotel Ursula Uterus has ever hosted. Even so, your planned visit has come to an end. Please consider this your formal notice to evacuate the premises. You have no more than 18 days to leave your heated, rent controlled apartment before I will be forced to call in reinforcements to assist you in your relocation process.  
The Management. 

Ah, I love eviction notice time.

That said, I have just a few more things to complain talk about before signing out.

Performance Anxiety

37 Weeks! 
Now that the guys are in town I am feeling more pressure to "perform" than ever before. I suspected I might feel it more around transfer and Beta time, as there was pressure on my body to accept the egg and produce high numbers. But the truth is, I feel it more now. They've pressed pause on their lives to fly half way around the world to meet this little girl. And my loving aunt Becky (who is more like a sister than an aunt) is coming out to help with the girls after delivery. She's wanting updates too to make sure she can arrange her flights accordingly. In fact, her preference would be that I go into labor on the 30th. Around noon. Seriously.

While I know that nothing I do or don't do will speed up or slow down the time frame in which I go into labor, I am feeling the pressure to perform. I know  no one expects me to be able to tell them when this baby will be born or to be able to birth her on command... but I'm still feeling it!! It's like flashback to college finals.

Tingly Hands

No one likes a complainer. So I won't dwell on this long. While I had numb hands with Adelia (not with Em) I knew this could happen. Just not so extremely. With Didi it was annoying and novel. This time it's painful and a bit scary. It is constant. It wakes me overnight. It impacts nearly everything I do. I know it goes away  at birth. Which takes me back to my original point.

We made it to 37 weeks, M&T! 
Today is a great one for celebration! :) 
Go team!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Baby Watch 2014


Now the official baby watch 2014 begins!

I'm feeling so much peace just having them here.  Knowing that they won't miss the birth lets me breath easy. Knowing that she can come anytime and all will be jut fine feels so freeing.

Of course we'd still like for her to make it until Wednesday, our 37 week mark. That's ideal. But it's no longer death con 5 if labor starts earlier than that. And who knows, maybe it will. We're certainly showing some of the (less than pretty) signs of early indication. My hunch is that we'll see her well before her May 14th due date.

I'd share why I think that, but frankly,  this isn't my baby nor my birth story and I don't know where the dads stand on sharing those details so publicly. So for now, just know that all is well on the left coast. We're eagerly awaiting the hour when this little Joey hops out of me and into her daddies arms.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

No, We're Not Getting Divorced

But I'm not wearing my wedding bands either.

We've hit that point where I am swollen. So I've had to ditch my beautiful wedding bands. Just as the Seattle summer sun returns to make my diamonds sparkle. Sigh.

Our rings on 1st Beach- 5 year wedding anniversary

The rings were not uncomfortable, they didn't hurt. But I noticed that thy were very difficult to remove the other day, making it a now or never type of thing.

So off they came, and off they'll stay until the little lady makes her arrival and I drop some pounds.

Just another sign that we're getting very, very close.

Friday, April 11, 2014

By The Numbers.

I've never really been a numbers person. Probably a good thing I polarized in the direction of words, as I ultimately became something of a professional writer by trade, and amateur blogger for fun. (You're welcome.)

But try as I may to avoid dealing in numbers, I feel so consumed by them right now. Here are a few playing a major role in my cerebral cortex at the moment.

12,15,22,31,34,53,25,60,112,8, 240.

If those numbers seem random, they're not. I wish I had a witty lottery style joke to insert here, but as I said, My mind is floating in  numbers these days as opposed to wit. Here is why each of these numbers matter to me at the moment.

12.  Number of days till I hit 37 weeks. The EARLIEST possible date at which it is OK to deliver. What this really means is that I will be a nervous wreck for the next 12 days. There have been so many unexpected premature births in our surrogate group as of late. It has me so scared that (for no legitimate reason) I won't be able to keep this baby in for another 12 days. I've never had a preemie. I have no warning signs. But even so, I'm skipping out on this weekend's day hike "Just to be safe."  

15.  Number of days until the dads arrive and I can feel GOOD about delivering. I will do a happy dance for me in 12 days. I will be nothing but smiles in 15 days. Once we're past that critical 37 week mark AND the dads are here, it's all smooth sailing from there on in to port.

15.  Also happening this day is a Spa day with a fellow surrogate. Prenatal massage and customary pre-birth foot peel and pedicure and manicure. Because I actually think people will be looking at my callused feet when I am in stirrups pushing a kid out of my vagina. How rational is THAT?

22. Number of das until I take the dads to Tillicum.  A Four hour tourist experience that I love, and that would be equally terrifying to be in labor during.

31. Max number of days left in this pregnancy. That's all she wrote, folks. Just a solid month to go and then the chapter closes. I can't believe that's all that we have left.

34. Number of days until I take the dads (AND BABY!!) to the coast for a closure trip and to expose them to "Our Coast." If we're being honest, the Washington coast is a big part of why we moved here. And I just can't wait to show the guys why.

53. Number of days until my Anniversary get away. And well deserved, methinks.

25. Number of pounds I need to lose by that day. I usually drop 20 pounds pretty quickly after birth, so this number is totally attainable.

73. Number of days until my Vegas get away with my Surro bestie. I'm not a gambler, but I am so looking forward to sun, cocktails and bonding.

112. Number of days until the BIG family vacation through the Panama Canal. We have been counting down to this for darn near a year. I am *so* excied for this I can't even tell you.

25. Number of additional pounds to have lost by THIS trip. This one will be a stretch. By this point though I hope to be back to marathon training and maintaining a better diet that makes this number possible.
8. Number of minutes it should be taking me to run a mile by this point.

Number of days (give or take) until I am eligible to start this whole crazy process again.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

From The Mouths of Babes

Tonight Didi said something that made me so proud. A few of you have heard the story already because I was too proud to keep it to myself. I chose not to post her words on my Facebook page for all to see because I didn't want to cheapen this very special moment or endure the controversy her words would surely cause. But I do want to blog about the event, because I feel like it is directly related to this journey.

As a rule I refuse to censor this blog. Both in the things I say and in the comments I allow you all to leave in response. However, this is a different story. I am proud of my daughter and of my parenting tonight. We shared a very special moment that I will not allow to be cheapened by controversy. While cheers, happy tears and "You GO girl" will be accepted, I'll forewarn that jabs against myself, my parenting, or my four year old won't be tolerated this time.

OK, disclaimer over. Here's the story.

About a year or so ago I was telling an admissions person at Growing Generations that one of my motivations of becoming a surrogate was to show my girls a first hand example of love, tolerance and acceptance of all. As a person with a bisexual sister, a gay aunt and more gay friends that I can enumerate, I have been an ally to the community for more than half of my life. I marched in my first parade in the 8th grade.

But I wanted to be more than words. I wanted to lead by example. And I deeply hoped that seeing a loving same sex couple would humanize the people of same sex relationships to my girls, as opposed to them just being a controversial idea and a few distant family members they'll likely never know in person.

Clearly the topic of same sex marriage and parenting comes up in our household. Because of who I am, what I am doing and what I believe, the topic peppers conversations between my husband and I. Clearly the girls hear this and know where Chris and I stand on the issue.

Apart from overhearing these adult exchanges, I've never really discussed or instructed my girls on the matter. We don't talk about why some people think it's OK while others don't. We don't talk about hate crimes, the fight for legal equality or the dogmatic concerns with our kids. We don't instruct them that "Gay is OK". We don't instruct them that "Homosexuals are sinners." To them M&T are no different than Mommy and Daddy or Aunt Mary and Uncle Dave.

So imagine my surprise (and delight) tonight when Adelia turned from her coloring page to look me in the eye and say, "Momma, some girls marry girls. And some girls marry boys. And some boys marry boys. And it's all OK."

I was instantly proud. But I didn't want to PRAISE the declaration either, as I want it to belong to her and not to her mother. I simply said to her, "That's right, they do. How do you feel about that, honey?"

Her answer? "Well, I'm going to marry YOU." And then she went back to coloring. She is 4, people. She's not a philosopher.

So I feel like one goal of this journey has been realized. She's seen something first hand that most kids don't get the chance to experience before society expects them to have an opinion on it. And she's come to her own opinion on the matter. It just makes me so proud that my 4 year old can get that this complicated issue can be as simple as that.

Some girls marry girls.
Some girls marry boys.
Some boys marry boys.
And it's all OK.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

This Is Why I am Weird

I love babies. I love getting pregnant, being pregnant, going into labor and even giving birth. I just love it all.

Makes me kind of an ideal process for this entire surrogacy thing, yeah?

Here's the thing. Most first time moms are terrified of labor, hell I sure was. Most second time (plus) moms dread it. But not me.

So here I sit on most evenings, paying to much attention to my uterus, with each strengthening contraction wondering, "Is this it?!"

Don't get me wrong, going into labor now would be bad, and I don't want that to happen. I'd like to wait for the dads, and that 37 week mark we talked about.

Even so, Ursula the Uterus (what, you don't have a pet name for YOUR uterus?) is getting pretty clutch at these contractions. They're starting to really give cause for attention. But they're still just practice, and I know it.

But then there will be a big one. a long one.. and I think uh oh... and then I fart.

Friday, April 4, 2014

19. My New Magic Number

I should start this by saying I have NO reason to believe labor is imminent. None. So stop worrying, dads. ;)

That said... it's something every (very) pregnant woman starts to feel about this time. We are 34w, 2d along. Means that with our chosen induction date we have no more than a potential 38 days left in this pregnancy. But I'm betting we're more like 26-30 days away. Just a hunch.

My personal old wife's tales is telling me we're getting close.

I've gained 30 pounds. 6 in the past two weeks. I've NEVER had a spike like that in three pregnancies. Either way, I gained 32 pounds before Adelia popped, and 28 before Emmy did... so we're at critical mass, I'd say.

My old beloved OB in Ohio told me after Emmy that while he has never seen medical evidence to support his theory, hes seen many women who are either short (guilty) or very thin (errr) carry babies more "to weight than to date."

Considering Adelia was born 4 days early, Emmy 2 weeks early and nearly identical in weight and length, he suspected I would be another of these cases. He was very interested to see how any baby born to me of surrogacy (different genetics) would come out. Then I moved and left his little experiment.

So why is 19 the new magic number? That's the day I hit 37 weeks. That date is considered full term and is a milestone for many reasons. Hitting it allows the door to remain open for future projects for me. It is also medically accepted that the baby is just growing and practicing being alive for those last 3-5 weeks.

So given my weight gain, Im crossing my legs tightly for at least the next 19 days. And laying off the ice cream.