Monday, May 26, 2014

All Things Change; The Bittersweet Goodbye

I originally titled this post, "All Good Things Come to An End." I realized quite quickly that the title would be misleading and changed it. Here's why.

The Team, One Last Time. 
This journey has been a beautiful thing. Good is an understatement. It's been one step above anything I could have hoped for. Truly. I've made great friends with the dads and many members of their families and extended friend networks. We've all cross networked Facebook friends. We have loose plans to see each other in the future. While many surrogates wind up enjoying a close relationship with the families they help, I feel like our friendship is honestly something unique and very special.

Some might say that with the guys boarding a plane home tomorrow, our journey together has reached its end. But here's the thing... when you form a true friendship and a deep bond, as I believe we have, things don't really end. As with everything in life, they simply change. 

All The Gals
Yes, the leg of Ellie's life where I carried her and grew her is over. But now comes the leg where I get to watch her grow on Facebook. The leg where my family and her family meet in the middle for mini vacays.Perhaps even the leg where my bio-girls and my surro-girl become friends and long distance pen pals. This story is far from over. It's just this chapter that has ended. And as with all new chapters, there is a great fear of the unknown. Hence the tears.

All that said, perhaps for my own benefit more than your own, here's how today's goodbye went.
Surrogacy; This is what it's about
I cried a few times yesterday knowing that after today's lunch, I would not hold baby E again as a baby. I may never get to physically embrace (hug) her again. Best laid plans can change. Life can get in the way. It's a hard reality for an infant I've come to love and two friends I have come to love. Truth is, these were the same tears I shed for the Cherolis family (my best friends and God-children) when we moved from Ohio to Washington. The tears had nothing to do with the fact that this bond was formed through surrogacy or that I was saying goodbye to a child I carried. The tears were because I was saying goodbye to three dear friends with unclear plans for future visits.

So as we headed over the 520 Bridge into Seattle today I was doing the best I could not to cry. I didn't want to ruin my make up and arrive with red puffy eyes. So superficial, I know. But I did pretty well, actually.

T made a great lunch for us. Of which my girls ate none. So embarrassing. Sorry, T. Emmy also had a typical 2 year old tantrum melt down. So embarrassing. Sorry E, I know you were trying to nap. Oops. I ate plenty though, and it was delicious. Something that surprises no one who knows T, I am sure. Then I ruin their healthy diet with a cake baked fresh by Fred Meyer. Mmmm....
Surrogacy; This is what it's about

After lunch I nursed E for the last time. Gosh, she was hungry! It was possibly our best nursing ever, she latched on tight and nursed from both sides long and hard. I am so proud of her and will never forget this amazing gift. Even if it weirds her out as a teenager to know she once sucked on a foreigner's breast. Sorry, E, but you did. And you liked it. :)

I also gave the E her final gift from me. I had my labor gown torn apart and turned into two pairs of stuffed kangaroos (One for her, one for me) and a lap blanket. (Other surros, if you're interested in doing this please email me. I'm happy to pass along the info of the great gal who did this for me. Such a quick turn around, too!) I will keep one of these kangaroos forever as such a special memento of this phase of my life, and of E's. :)

After lunch we went for a walk along the downtown waterfront. Then it was time to go. That's it. Hugs, love and well wishes. We'll meet briefly tomorrow for one more milk hand off, but really it's done.

Remember This Gown? 
It's Been Repurposed
Bon Voyage, Ellie! 
Bittersweet, such an understatement. Bitter because I'd love to keep her close and cuddle her. And laugh with the dads. Sweet because once they're gone I can go back to being just Mommy Mandy to Didi and Emmy. Bitter because I've defined myself as a surrogate for over a year, and that phase is over for the moment. Sweet because I did it. I made a beautiful family. Bitter because this moment hurts. It sucks, to be honest. Sweet because I know it's not over for us, no matter what the future holds.

I think I'll take some time to digest, and then post a "view from 30,000 feet" type of post. I also have plans for a FAQ post in the future. So if you've got some Q's for me- send them here.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mandy; Wet Nurse on Call

I used to babysit my Godson from time to time. His mother was a breast milk hoarder who never sent him to me with enough food to last the visit. Now, this is not to put her down, because who among us breastfeeding mothers is NOT a milk hoarder terrified of using too much and being left without? Anyhow, I recall one specific afternoon where we had not enough milk and a really, REALLY pissed off little boy. I was lactating, and really thought I should just nurse him. But I couldn't do it. Not without asking her first. And, honestly, it just felt weird.

Now, fast forward two and a half years later and I am a regular wet nurse on call for Baby E.

I've been given the amazing opportunity to nurse E a bit over the past two weeks. This has been such a gift to me. Before I talk a bit about what it is like to nurse a surrogate child, I first want to thank M&T for allowing me to do this, for trusting me to do this and for letting me experience nursing one more blessed time.

From the very bottom of my heart, thank you.

As the big day approached though we decided to go ahead and attempt latch nursing in the hospital. My world moved. I was so happy to have the opportunity! When the big moment came though, my first thought was, "What am I getting myself into?" Nursing has always been intensely emotional and a deep bonding experience for me.  I knew I didn't want to create that sort of bond, only to have to break it in the coming weeks. I had a bit of trepidation about if I was emotionally up to opening the door to that potential bond. But, perhaps selfishly, I couldn't turn down the opportunity to try. It was best for both baby and tummy mummy from a health perspective... and my heart fluttered at the idea to nurse one more time.

Then Ellie latched on. I swelled with pride at her natural ability. In that moment I knew that I'd be able to nurse without forming that bond. Over the next two weeks I would pump like mad and nurse whenever it was convenient for all parties involved.(PS- Thank you to the other latch surrogates who I consulted about this before doing this. You told me a bond wouldn't form, and I just had to trust you. You were right. Thank you for your wisdom.)

Through the experience I never felt a growing attachment through the nursing.  What I felt instead was pride in her ability to eat, and my ability to produce. And I got some wonderful cuddles in the process. Win-Win.

As the end of this experience draws near, I feel as though the nursing has actually helped me to more comfortably distance myself from Ellie, as opposed to grow nearer to her. It has given me the opportunity to still matter to her and still help give her the best shot at life that I can. I didn't have to quit mattering cold turkey.
Per Day...
So when she leaves what comes next? I'll be producing roughly 100 oz a day by that point!  I mean, that's just shy of a gallon a day! My boobs hurt at just the thought of weaning off of that insane amount.I have considered milk donation and even milk bank sales. Who couldn't use the extra cash and help a baby? But ultimately, I think I've decided to wean slowly and put the milk into a cup for my girls- if they'll have it. It'll be good for them, and I won't be a slave to the "milk machine" through our summer travels.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Let it Burn

So the moment comes when the hospital kicks you out. Usually it means you load your adorable newborn baby into a brand new car seat and drive, very slowly, home. But when you're a surrogate you leave with a paunchy belly and no bundle of cute to show for it. It is this moment specifically that causes a breakdown in non surrogates. The thought of "giving your baby away" is simply incomprehensible to most. They don't understand how we can do it.

Well, folks, here's how I did it. 

The morning of discharge arrived and I spent the morning cleaning our room and packing our bags. It was important for us to get out early so that Chris could get to work and I could get home to my girls. We let the nurse know as much and settled in for what is usually a several hour long wait for discharge.

Only this time it wasn't a several hour wait. It was really quite quick. And when they came in to kick me out, I had nearly no time at all to pop next door, hand off some breast milk and hug baby Ellie goodbye. In fact as I was having this emotional moment the nurse runner was in the hall impatiently waiting. I cut the goodbye short, walked away... and fell apart.

Even as I sit here and remember that day I fall apart all over again. I've spent many hours and attempts trying to get this blog done and always have to stop and walk away. The emotional toll is high. The impact on my life is huge. This moment was hard.This moment hurt. I can't imagine that will ever change.

I spent the better half of the rest of that day between crying breakdowns and sleep. What should be noted is that I did not feel sad. Not in the least. Isn't that a bit strange? I felt proud, I felt tremendous joy, I felt closure... and yes, I also felt pain. It's a mixed bag of emotions that I really can't do a good job of explaining. What I did not feel was regret, depression, disappointment or loss. Ellie was never mine to lose. From what I gather, my mixed bag of emotions as well as the accompanied difficulty explaining those emotions is completely normal to surrogates and not at all unique to me.

So to answer your question, we surrogates don't just walk away with ease and without a glance or two in the rear-view mirror.

I have had several interactions and goodbyes with Ellie since that one with no emotional stutter stepping. So what made that first one so difficult? Maybe the unexpected rushing of the goodbyes? I still don't know.

I'm more apt to believe that it had to do with the separation and the closure of this leg of the journey being officially over. For months I had been connected to Ellie by a physical barrier. We shared a body. She couldn't so much as move without my knowing it. Then I joyously handed her to her dads, but remained just a door away and able to see her pretty much whenever I wanted. Now all of the sudden I was walking away from her. My job was done. Her need for me was over.
From this moment on everything had changed. The leg of her life where I was essential was over. Now we start a new leg where I'm just some crazy American lady who dad and dad talk to on Skype occasionally. Maybe I matter to her, maybe I don't.

Ellie isn't my child. I didn't give MY child away. I don't feel maternal to her, never have and never will. So the issue of surrogates giving, "THEIR" baby away is still just silly to me. That said, this transitional phase is very bittersweet.

I ultimately described it to another surrogate as the break up that you initiate because you know it has to happen. Nothing has gone wrong. There are no bad feelings. There may even still be great feelings. You still care about the other person, might even love them. Might always love them. Even so, the relationship has run it's natural course and it's time for you both to move on. It hurts. It's OK for it to hurt. You cry. It's OK to cry. And slowly you heal.

In the words of Usher, you just gotta Let it Burn.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Placenta Wrap Up

So, I did it. I ate raw placenta. And I've given into placenta encapsulation as well. So, what are the benefits of consuming a raw placenta? What are the benefits of placenta encapsulation? Did I vomit? Here's the post you've been waiting for.

First up, here's a link to my previous placenta post. In the post I talk about advertised benefits as well as the factors that lead me to first consider and eventually to commit to eating the placenta. 


When we checked into the hospital I had to let the staff know that I would be taking the placenta. A bit odd really, having to sign release forms in order to be allowed to keep something that is inherently my property. Anyhow, forms signed and nurses notified, I promptly hid the ice bags so that I wouldn't have to think about my culinary choices during labor.

Drinking the Raw Smoothie
Once the baby was born I let the Placenta Prep team know that the goods were on ice and ready to be flayed. Given my 1 a.m. delivery time, we wouldn't be able to have immediate preparation. I wound up sending my raw, bloody birth organ home with my aunt Becky. You're welcome. What an awkward passenger that must have been in the car. My life giving organ spent the night in my home fridge next to the Ranch dressing and hot sauce.

The next day Becky brought the placenta back to the hospital and the prep lady came, blender in tow, to make me lunch.

The first bit, and perhaps the more stomach turning bit, was the raw smoothie. About 1 ounce of raw meat was sliced off of the organ and put into a magic bullet blender along with strawberries, blueberries, Greek yogurt and raspberries. Then, it was bottoms up.

It tasted.... actually quite good. Just like raw strawberries. It was not a sweet smoothie, that's for sure. But it did taste fresh and healthy and totally drinkable. I was on board to do another 2 raw smoothies, but I'd have had to consent to a massive hike in prep price to do this. The alternative was to be given frozen Placenta Filet to blend up myself. And this, my friends, is where my gross out line was crossed. I just couldn't get OK with the idea of putting my own organ into a razor sharp blender and pushing pulse. So, we stopped at just one smoothie.

A day or two later the Placenta team came to my home to bring me my pills. The prep lady handed me the equivalent of a Placenta Report Card and my pills along with a strange compliment. She said, "Your placenta was a thing of beauty. Seriously, it was beautiful." Go on ahead and add this to weird things that I've been complimented on by medical type people. Right up there with a Phlebotomist who once told me I'd make a great Heroin addict. Uh, thanks? Anyhow, I guess I had a particularly high yield. 213 pills. I know a gal who had twins and yielded around 250 tabs without sacrificing organ bits for a smoothie. So I guess I'm proud of my placenta.

The pills are small and go down easy. They're purple in color so it's easy to forget what's inside of the caps.

So, was it worth it? 

I'll say this much... my milk supply is insane. Given that I've never used the breast pump before, I've just nursed directly, this could be a normal supply for me. I'd have no way of knowing. But to me, producing roughly 30 ounces over the past 24 hours at just 3 days post birth is INSANELY good. This is also my easiest and quickest recovery. I'm up and about and not in pain...well, most of the time I'm not in pain. I find I don't need naps as often either. By ay 6 my post birth bleed had stopped. I'm lifting my girls. And I'm far, FAR less weepy than I was with the girls.

And I have to mention the weight loss. 25 pounds in the first week alone. 

Maybe this is because it my 3rd time doing this. Maybe it's because I don't have the stress of a newborn. Or maybe, just maybe, it's the placenta.

Verdict: I recommend. 
Even the smoothie. 
Especially the smoothie.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Welcome To The World

This post has been 4 years in the making. I can't believe we're finally here. And I have so much to say that it won't all be said at once. It simply can't be. So consider this just the first of many blogs about the birth, the days shortly following, the placenta eating and everything in between.

The first thing I want to do is to thank a lot of people. Mostly importantly:

Chris. Without your support I wouldn't have been allowed to chase this dream. Without your love and endless foot rubs I wouldn't have weathered the storm. Without your frequent trips to Dairy Queen I wouldn't have been quite so impressive as a preggo.

M&T. Where to even begin?? Your dream was my dream. Together we accomplished something so beautiful. What a team we've made ,and what life long friends we have found. Thank you for picking me, for trusting me. Thank you for laughing with me, crying with me and not suing me for kidnapping when my uterus almost refused to give you your daughter. I love you all for always. <3

All of YOU. Wow-oh-wow. The outpouring of love from my friends, family, surro sisters and blog readers. I've felt a bit guilty  for not updating from bedside moments after birth. I think most of you expected it. I feel the love from you all so much, and your role in my journey is something I'll never forget. Thank you for coming along on this ride with me.

Now, for my first of many installments about the birth. Tonight we'll tackle the birth story, from the surrogate's side.

The day she went in, And the day she came out
I held onto hope all night Sunday that my body would go ahead and start labor on her own. After a particularly hard boat ride with the dads and the girls and the family I thought we might just be there! I stayed up most of the night timing contractions and by the time my 6 a.m. call to the hospital came, we were a minute long and 4 minutes apart. They wern't that intense yet, but I was feeling fairly certain that given a few more hours of her own time, we wouldn't need to induce after all. I felt very good about this!

Labor and delivery was very slow so they went ahead and had me come on in at 7 a.m. to start the induction. The very excited dads met us at reception and we started signing forms, taking pictures and updating social media. Worth noting is that the first two babies I had, I showed up at the hospital in active labor and was sent home diagnosed with false labor.... This time I showed up in false labor and was welcomed with open arms and eagerly invited to stay. SO.STRANGE.

They've waited YEARS for this very moment
The truth is, an induction is SO.STRANGE. The end result is the same as a non induction labor but so many things are different along the way. While it wasn't more painful or uncomfortable, there is more stress and different procedures. I would hope to not have to take this road again should I ever find myself pregnant again.

So the first thing we did was break my water. True to form, little joey girl did NOT want to be born. As soon as the needle went in, she swam up into my ribs. They actually had to use external force to push my waters down onto the needle to puncture my bag. Um, ouch. But, the process was done. This was the first time my waters have been broken before 9cm.... and I don't like this method. AT ALL. Evertyime I moved I gushed fluid. I left a trail of amniotic fluid wherever I went and soaked through towel after towel on my labor bed. It made me feel dirty. And, it didn't accomplish a darn thing.

I've waited years for THIS very moment
After an hour or so of hoping my body would labor on her own, we decided to start a "low and slow" dosage of Pitocin. We started at 1 unit per hour, but had to begin upping it fairly quick as we noted no result until 8 units per hour. At that point things hurt, I was breathing harder... and... nothing was happening. Contractions continued to space out. At 14 units per hour we finally started to at least see some more cervical dilation.

But it still wasn't enough. We could not keep the contractions steady and moving. This was one of my largest fears in doing an induction. The fear that forcing my boy into labo it wasn't ready to do on it's own would be pointless. I was starting to get very worried that we would not be able to move my body to labor and we'd have to resort to a C section. At 12 hours in I opted for an epidural. I was worried we'd be at this for a lot longer.

Miss Eleanor
Despite the stress and tension in the air and pain in my uterus the guys and I stayed true to our personalities. The room was frequently filed with sarcasm, jokes and smiles. I remember at one point being the only female in the room and listening to them all talk about how cute and attractive my nurse was. As I finished a contraction I said, "OK, Enough doting on the nurse in front of the big fat laboring whale on the bed here, guys." It led t lots of laughter, which is something this team has always been god for.

Eventually we had to up to Pitocin even more. I am told that usually they max out the dosage at a "20" but that I had to be given special permission to go to 30 units per hour.. just to get this kiddo out. Thank GOD I opted for that epidural after all.

Finally it was time to push. I was really drained. It'd been close to 36 hours since I had eaten anything and I just didn't have much fuel in my tank. I'd been in labor for 20 hours on pitocin. This kid had a reputation of refusing to be born. Things were not looking good.
My Girls Meeting Mommy's Belly Buddy

I felt like such a whiner as I pushed. Luckily for me, I've been told I did not come off as such to others in the room. Then the magic happened.

At 1:18 am on Tuesday, May 13th a beautiful little girl with a full head of hair slid into this world. She was beautiful. I could hear the dad's crying happy tears. The air in the room just changed. A family was made.

They cut the cord and cuddled her. Then I got to hold her. Then I got to look into the eyes of the little belly buddy who I had shared a body with for the past 9 months. It was such an intensely beautiful moment.

In those first moments, I have never felt so proud or accomplished in anything I have ever done. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Birth Story, Penned By A New DAD

Eleanor Roosevelt once said "Do one thing every day that scares you".  For us, labour was a little like that. We were scared. Not terrified, but certainly scared about the unknowns; about sharing such an intimate moment with someone else; about whether we would stay upright, keep our lunch down, or descend into complete hysteria. 

We had some prior experience of childbirth - M was present for the birth of one of his nieces, I had done a lot of research and made sure we attended our prenatal classes. We were scared, sure, but we wouldn't have missed it for the world (which is why we arrived 3 weeks early in case something happened!).
We had come to the date of our scheduled labour, 12 May 2014.  Surprisingly, we slept well the night prior. It was possibly the knowledge of it being our last uninterrupted sleep for many years, but we slept through to the 5.45am wake up time, ready for a call from Mandy which would tell us whether the hospital had capacity to accept us for the 7am scheduled induction.

They did.

We quickly showered, packed our bags, grabbed a coffee and hoped in the car on a clear Seattle morning.  Mt Rainier will forever have a special place in our hearts, looming over the Bellevue skyline as we raced over the 520 bridge towards Overlake Medical Centre. Neither of us uttered a word, excited and scared for the day ahead.

We arrived at Overlake at the same time as Mandy & Chris. After wishing Chris a happy birthday (apologising for the small distraction on his special day!) and completing the paperwork, we were in the room. The countdown had begun, we just didn't know how long was left on the clock.

The medical staff broke Mandy's waters at around 8.30am, hoping that would kick her into labour.  It did to some extent, but we needed to add pitocin to get things really moving.  Mandy had told us for many months prior that she laboured long, with her previous births taking over 24 hours, so we were prepared for a long day.  That said, she hadn't been induced before, nor had she given birth to someone else's baby, so there were still a lot of unknowns.
At around 2pm our friends and family in Australia started to awaken.  We had debated about whether we should share the events of the day on social media, but in hindsight I am so glad we did. The outpouring of love and support from almost every continent on earth was truly special, and helped us feel like we were not alone, despite being 14,000 kilometres from home.

The contractions and dialation progressed slowly but surely throughout the day.  By dinner time, things were getting moving and Mandy had her epidural.  Her aunt and birthing support person, Becky, joined us for a walk to Whole Foods to get some dinner and when we returned to Mandy the epidural was in, and she was as talkative and jovial as ever.
The pitocin levels were gradually increased throughout the evening. Every time the pitocin levels went up, Mandy would have a rest, her body seemingly knowing what was ahead.  Contractions and Mandy's dialation increased slowly but surely, and there was a positive energy in the room as we chatted with the nurses and each other about important subjects such as whether the Beach Boys preceded the Beatles, and the intricacies of traffic mapping (thanks Chris!).
As midnight approached, we began taking bets on whether baby would be born on the 12th or 13th.  Things really started to ramp up around 11.30, and as we ticked over midnight, the pushing started. Mandy was focused, putting her every last ounce of energy into bringing this little girl into the world. Meanwhile, we were holding hands, tensing with each push.  As the head began to emerge, we decided we didn't want to miss a moment, and moved to the foot of the bed, where Becky joined us, arm in arm, as we both became overwhelmed,

At 1.18am on 13th May 2014, our gorgeous little girl was born and our lives were changed forever.

Until now, we had been scared to cut the cord but as the doctor asked us one last time, we both felt a sense of responsibility in our new role as fathers. We took the scissors in both our hands, and without any hesitation, severed the physical tie from the amazing woman who had made all this possible, Mandy.  We were no longer a couple; we were a family.
Our daughter Eleanor weighed 8 pounds 8 ounces, was 21.5 inches long, and had a head of hair to rival any adult.

We had just experienced the scariest but most incredible moment of our lives, and we were so happy and grateful we did.
Words cannot express our gratitude to Mandy and her family for not only being with us for this journey, but allowing us to be present for such an intimate moment. Our families are forever intertwined and as I sit here writing this account, my eyes well with tears when I think of the love and selflessness that is required to do what she has done. Like our daughter's namesake, I have no doubt that becoming a surrogate was incredibly scary for Mandy.  But it is love, not fear, that brought us together. By overcoming fear, love has given us Eleanor and made us a family.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Now for the Nerves

What a brilliant and beautiful day I have had today. I got to cuddle my babies in bed this morning, prepare a feast for 7 in the afternoon (The kitchen sans kiddos is my zen place) and go for a great and sunny boat ride through Lake Washington with so many people I love.

But now that the fun and distraction of the day has passed and the kiddos are crawling into bed I find my head swimming and my nerves building.

No matter what I may have said previously, I was still secretly hoping and counting on my body to start labor on her own. Even sitting here 12 hours from medical induction, I still have a hard time believing I need one. I'm still timing contractions, hoping they're the real deal and knowing that they're not.

Preparing for a known labor is such an odd thing to me. Maybe that explains the nerves? The knowledge that this time tomorrow I'll be in great pain... It's a bit like planning to take a bottle of ex-lax tomorrow morning... yet being oddly excited for the prospect.
Perhaps the weirdest thought or feeling is knowing that I am expected to show up at the hospital to have a baby. The comedy of walking in on my own two feet in no distress and not in labor and saying, "Hi there. Mandy Storer here, reporting for duty." It feels a bit like my first day of work at a new job. "Hi, I'm Mandy. I'm here to have a baby, where do I clock in?"

Here's the funny part. The last two times I've gone to the hospital, in active labor, I've been sent home declared in false labor. This time I'll show up, no where near labor, and admitted readily. Oh, the irony. 

The Running Joke

Has turned into the fact that even though we have an induction scheduled for 24 hours from right now, we will still be pregnant come Tuesday, maybe even Wednesday.

What's perhaps even funnier is that there is plenty of probability in this running joke. 

If labor and delivery is very full with women whose bodies KNOW how to go into labor on their own tomorrow, as mine clearly no longer does, then I get bumped. From 7 a.m. to 11 4p.m... and ultimately to Tuesday. Considering how eager this little girl has been to evacuate, I'm pretty sure I can guess what she's all up in the womb hoping for. But this time, lass, it's NOT in YOUR control. Take that.

Time's Up, Little Girl 
Also, I could go in tomorrow and get all hooked up and just labor slow... like I do... and not deliver until Tuesday.

I suppose either way you look at  it the end is near folks. It's going to feel so weird to pack my hospital bag the way I'd pack for a vacation, as opposed to packing it like I'm running from the Nazi SS, which is a little bit how it feels when you're packing during spontaneous labor.

I hold on to 0% hope that my body ill do this on her own this time (I did have a few hours of hope yesterday.... ) I am dissapointed and let down by this fact.

But, as another surro told me yesterday, "It took science to get her in there, it's going to take science to get her out."

We've come full circle in that regard, I guess. I found peace in those words, so thank you, Kira. I'm not a failure. I grew a healthy, big, full term baby on my first shot. We've had no complications. I've made a family.

But, I'm not perfect. I'm not getting a 100% on this term paper. And people who know me, know just how wildly insane that drives me. But, it's OK. It'll be OK. Maybe she just wanted to be with her "Tummy Mummy" for her first Mother's Day?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Third Pregnances are Weird

At least that's what my OB has been telling me since 13 weeks.

Despite her warnings, this pregnancy hasn't really been that different from my own. Apart from the kid not being mine and all, I guess that's a bit different.

Insert exit plan. 
Now we're talking weird. 

Today is that day my eldest was born. And as we're no where near any kind of labor, it is quite clear to me that this will become my longest pregnancy to date. That's weird.

Apparently this little Aussie didn't take my eviction notice very seriously. So I'll try again, maybe there was a language barrier issue.

OK, I mean that in the most loving and joking of ways, I promise. I have come to terms with the induction, because if I didn't do it, I am convinced that she'd never come out. We have a plan for induction that allows us to skip most medical and pharmaceutical intervention, which is all I was after anyway.

My aunt arrived last night to help me with the girls post delivery. Chris has been able to give his work place solid plans since we know when the birth will (hopefully) be. It's all good.

But if there is still any chance... any miracle... that this could happen on it's own. That would be just great.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

No Filter

A little story for your Thursday.

I stopped in to a quickie nail place yesterday...I get my big ole pregnant booty propped up into the pedicure chair and hope for a rough foot massage. 
In walks some skinny woman in her mid 40s with bad make up. She stops, literally stops, at my pedicure chair and says:
Oh my GOD. you're really ready to have that baby!! Oh my GOD you're HUGE.
I smile politely and say, "yes, any moment." 
The manicurist looks at me with terror in her eyes like, please lady.. not here...
Skinny blonde goes for her fill... because of COURSE she has fake nails, to match her fake blonde hair and yoga pants. She clearly can't get over my grotesque hugeness... because 5 minutes later she INTERUPTS her nail technician, she seriously stopped work to turn all the way around and say to me, "I mean, wow! How many are in there? ..JUST one? Wow. What a BIG baby."

Thanks, lady. One more time and I'm chucking this top coat at you.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Deep Breaths

So here we sit. 
39 weeks pregnant. 
No signs of impending labor. 

This means one thing. 
Induction is likely. 

That means something, too. 

I'm scared. 

I've never needed and induction. And, if this were my own child, we wouldn't even be talking about it. I knew going into surrogacy that inductions were possible, even likely. I was and am OK with that. Honestly. I feel like it's healthy for these things to creep up. Choices that I wouldn't make for myself. It reminds us, as carriers, that this isn't our child and these aren't always our choices to make. Doesn't mean that I have to kiss the allowance of some trepidation away. If anything, it's probably more healthy and stable that I can recognize my fears and address them.

So what am I scared of here? 

5 days to go!
At the most basic level it is fear of the unknown. I am no more scared, at a rudimentary level, of this induction than I was of the first time I faced labor in general. Only now, after birthing two children, I know what labor is. I know how my body handles it. I know how I cope with it. What I don't know, is how it will feel, how my body will respond or how I will cope with a labor that is started by drugs and doctors as opposed to my own body.

But, I also know that epidurals are wonderful, wonderful things. So if the pain is more than I can handle, I also know that I have an out. So what is really bothering me can't truthfully be the pain aspect.

The real issue, if we're being honest, is that on some level I feel like my body is failing me. Now, before you induction mommas start attacking me, I'm not putting you down. This has nothing to do with you or your birth choices. Like so much of my thought pattern, this has everything to do with only me.

My birth preference leans toward hippie. I'm eating my placenta raw, for God's sake. To date I have only had naturally occurring spontaneous labors placed in the allowable full term time window. I'd probably feel just as let down by my body if I birthed a premature baby. Only, you don't plan for that. You don't count down the days until you throw in the hat, give up on your body doing it on her own, and employ doctors to do what nature should have done. I don't understand why my body decided to forget how this is done, and that frustrates me.

So I guess that's my real issue here. I'm angry at my body, not the procedure. And since there is nothing I can do to FORCE my body into labor, there is nothing I can do to change the need for the procedure. This little girl needs to meet her dads. They have a flight home to catch. A whole family waiting to meet her. And my selfish pride shouldn't be getting in the way. I've been lucky enough to carry her for 9 beautiful months. It's her turn to call a few shots.

So, deep breaths. We'll enjoy the next 5 days of being pregnant. Then we'll take even more deep breaths.... and we'll try this induction thing out.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bottoms Up!

The whole extended Family! 
Last night we took the guys to Blake Island and Tillicum Village. It's bar none my favorite touristy thing to do in Seattle. Good food, culture, a bit of sailing across the Sound, what's not to love?

Anyhow, the guys asked me what my first adult beverage would be if I once I (finally) convince their daughter that the outside world is a place she really should check out.

Truth is, I enjoy a good adult beverage. On occasion I enjoy quite a few. Yup. It's true. Even so, I haven't given much thought as to what this ceremonial drink will be. So, I'm putting it to a vote from you all. Here are my favorites in each category. Please vote below or on my Facebook page to help me decide.

Bottoms Up!


Friday, May 2, 2014

When You Run Out Of Old Wives Tales...

Have a membrane sweep 
and go for a bumpy boat ride. 
Let's see how you like THAT, little Joey. 

In all seriousness, I spent such a charmed afternoon and evening with the dads. Being with them is just easy. From the appointment, to a boat ride along Lake Washington to dinner. I am honestly so blessed to have found friends in this journey.