Friday, September 16, 2016

Counting DOWN, & Some Sad News

At some point in every pregnancy women begin to count down instead of up. Instead of, "Oh, I'm 13 weeks..." you'll begin to hear things like, "Halfway there!" or, "Only 10 weeks to go!!!!!"

Typically this begins sometime after the 20th week of pregnancy. But I'm only 19 weeks along, and already my count DOWN has begun.

My OB (and in fact many OBs out there) don't like to allow a twin gestation to be carried past the 38th week of pregnancy. It can lead to more complications than it's worth, and babies typically only gain weight, as opposed to life necessary functions, in those last weeks anyway. So, in most cases, an OB will induce labor (joy of joys) sometime in the 38th week, if it doesn't happen on it's own.

Apart from my OB's countdown clock, I am assured that my body has a biological countdown, too. I've been told time and time again that, with twins, the body kind of throws in the towel around week 34/35. While many women can and do carry twins to full term (40 weeks) that seems to be the exception, and not the rule. I've made my peace with this.

In our case, we have no reason to suspect that I'll have a premature labor or birth. My cervix has always been my, "steel trap" and is "long and strong" as of last week. Even so, mathematically, we've officially past the latest possible "half way" point for this pregnancy. While not technically "due" until February 8, 2017- our plan is to deliver these babies in January. January 12-19 specifically is our "golden window."

And that brings me to my sad news. 

As of last week, my beloved agency, Growing Generations announced that due to complex legal barriers, they will no longer be able to work with surrogates from Washington State. As I've stated before, I had really, really hoped to have one more surrogacy after this; ideally with GG's "HART" program for those living with an HIV+ diagnosis.

It is crystal clear that, with this latest development, that is no longer an option for my future. As Chris continues to tell me, "We still have options, just none of them ideal," for if we want to achieve my goal of one more surrogacy following this one.

The sudden change of life plans has put a bittersweet shadow on me this week. I've always said I'd aim to know at the start of a pregnancy if it were to be my last, so that I could enjoy and memorize every "last first" of the process. What can I say, I just love being pregnant.

So, just this week, as the cubs have gotten *VERY* active... it's been bittersweet. It could be the last time I'm feeling little babies inside of my body, my absolute favorite part of pregnancy. To realize that this could be my last pregnancy when I'm already in the "count down" phase... is sad.

But, I am determined to enjoy and memorize every last ounce of this pregnancy from here on out... just in case. The Intended Parents will be here in a week or so for our big 20 week ultrasound. I'm excited for the visit, and intend to make the most of every moment of pregnancy that I have left!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Surrogacy Means Sacrifice

It's not something most surrogates will talk about openly.
For the most part, the majority of surrogates that I know feel as though there is enough negativity surrounding surrogacy without any potential help from us. So, the sacrifices that we make, we tend to keep those to ourselves.

But they do exist. Things like:

  • Self imposed celibacy
  • Travel restrictions
  • Missed dance recitals or other kid's events (due to required travel or appointments)
  • Submission to certain lifestyle changes (mostly dietary) 
  • Disruptions in annual traditions

In truth is, on a macro level, we're happy to make these sacrifices. The overall good and nobility of what we're doing is, to us, worth every sacrifice or inconvenience we make in exchange.

We "get" that what we're doing...
 is larger than what we're doing without. 

Doesn't mean it isn't annoying. 

Chris and I moved to WA roughly 4 years ago. When we came, we left all of our family behind. That has made for some pretty lonely holiday seasons... party of 4. Six if you count the cats. We've combated this by introducing new traditions. Instead of spending Christmas morning at home, we make sure we're NOT home on Christmas; filling the empty space with experiences. 

Last year we went over the mountains and stayed at a cabin in the snow. This year the tentative plan was to repeat that, or maybe trade snow for sand. For New Years we travel to the WA coast to dig clams, a PNW tradition among the native tribes. These traditions have quickly become near and dear to our hearts. 

This year I will be nearly 34 weeks pregnant on Christmas Day. And, while I'm determined to carry these twins until AT LEAST 36 weeks, I'm told that anytime after 34 weeks is the "Go-Zone" of "anything is possible." Twins mean planning differently. 

Even I must concede that it is careless at best... reckless in reality... to travel over a mountain pass that often closes for days at a time this time of year to keep family traditions in tact. It's downright criminal to travel the 3.5 hours to the coast at nearly 35 weeks pregnant, considering what I've been told about twins.

So.. this year we have a choice. 

I can CHOOSE to be annoyed or angry at the loss of our tradition.

Or, I can CHOOSE to get creative and make our tradition work within our current reality. Making a fun choice that is still responsible to the care of these twins. 

We're toying with making a bigger deal out of Thanksgiving, traveling for that instead. Or about a "Staycation" get away, staying at a hotel in our own hometown and making a big deal of the local holiday festivities.