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The gift….from them to me

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The day after I had baby M, S & A came into my room to visit, with a beautiful gift bag in hand.  Inside was the most sentimental card, thanking me for what I had done for them and also saying that “thank you” would never be enough.  Also inside the bag was a small, velvet box.  We all know what kinds of goodness comes from boxes like these!  I opened it to find a beautiful silver and diamond necklace inside.  They most certainly didn’t have to do anything like this for me, but I will always love and appreciate their gift.  My husband put it on me right then and I haven’t taken it off since.

When I look at it, it’s shape reminds me of my pregnant belly and the diamond in the middle represents baby M.   It is a beautiful memento of a very special time in my life that resulted in one very happy couple and a delightful little boy.

 

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The gift….from me to them

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It is always hard for me to come up with the perfect gift for my IP’s upon the birth of their baby.  Not just any old regular baby gift will do.  I want something that is unique, nothing store bought….something that will always be special to my IP’s and my surro babies.  This is something that I ponder for months ahead of time.  This one took me until just a few days before to get it just right, but it was perfect.

One day my sister texted me the saying you see inside the memory box in the picture.  The family she was nannying for at the time had it written down in their kitchen and she thought of me as soon as she saw it, knowing I would love it for S & A.  I knew right away that it was exactly what I was looking for!  The hardest part was finding the actual memory box.  I looked and looked, everywhere I went.  I didn’t find the perfect one until a week or so before my due date then I had to get the engraving done.  It was all done and ready a couple days before I had baby M.  I came home and tucked it into my hospital bag right away.

Shortly after baby M was born, we were all in the delivery room chatting and admiring the beautiful baby I’d just had.  I gave S & A the memory box and they loved it!  They are going to keep all of the special little things of his in it….his hospital bracelets, a lock of his hair when he gets his first haircut, etc.

The following day, S & A gave me a beautiful gift, which I will write about in my next post….hopefully tomorrow!

The “41 week belly photo”

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I have to give baby M’s dad all the credit for this photo idea.  I had had baby M the night before this photo was taken, so the following day would’ve been my weekly belly picture post.  S thought it would be fun to do the regular weekly belly photo, but this time with baby on the outside!  When I look at this photo, it’s hard to believe that big baby was squished inside me the night before!  I’m so glad S came up with this idea.  I will always LOVE this photo!!

The big day!

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May 19th….the big day!  I’ve been meaning to post and just haven’t gotten to it yet.  I had a beautiful labor and delivery and a quick and full recovery as I have before.   S & A arrived on Friday, May 18th and we met up at my scheduled doctor’s appointment at 9am on the 19th.  When I got there, I was 5 cm dilated and was having sporatic contractions, so my doctor sent us straight upstairs (her office is in the hospital).  Due to having a prior c-section (with the twins), their policy is to have a mandatory epidural in place in case the need for an emergency c-section arises.  Our plan was to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian), which my doctor felt I was the perfect candidate for considering I had had a 10 lb. 2 oz. baby at home previously with no problems at all.

Shortly after arriving at labor and delivery, the doctor came in to place the epidural, which I was petrified of.  I had a bad experience with the spinal block for my c-section and was really (REALLY!) nervous about the epidural.  The doctor did a nice job, but it still hurt and felt weird, kind of like getting hit in the funny bone.  They ran a test dose of medicine through it to make sure it was going to work and pretty soon I was numb from mid-belly down.  It wore off quickly and my contractions got closer together and more intense.  As many of you know, I had battled with the idea of using the epidural or not.  I’ve never had one before, but have also been at liberty to labor and deliver however I wanted to due to having homebirths.  I didn’t have the luxuries of home with this birth and quickly decided that if the epidural was already in place that I would go ahead and use it.  I’m used to having quick labors and this one was quite different.  It took all day to dilate completely and I didn’t feel much of anything.  I could feel a tiny bit of pain with each contraction, but after having the epidural, I can understand why some women like them!

I hadn’t eaten since the night before when we went out to dinner with our dear friends, so needless to say I was starving!  My nurse told me that I couldn’t eat in case I needed a c-section, but I knew I needed to eat, so S & A ran out and picked up the best burger ever and a strawberry milkshake for me from a local joint we’ve grown to love.  While my sister blocked the view to the door, I downed the burger and milkshake.  S & A were with me all day, as well as my husband and my sister.  We all had so much fun together.  Lots of laughs were shared and we all spent the day in anticipation of the little guy who would soon join us all!  Toward evening, I was tired and wanted to rest before it was time for delivery.  Everyone went to the waiting room and I was able to rest and focus on the task ahead of me.

Around 8:30pm, I suddenly felt the urge to push.  My nurse said she “could see it in my eyes” that I needed to push RIGHT NOW!  She hurried and got the doctor and it was a mad rush to get everything ready in the delivery room.  My husband and sister were with me at this point and S & A quickly joined us.  They stood back behind my head in the corner of the room and graciously allowed me my space.  I pushed a couple of times and then knew I needed them to leave for a minute or two so I could totally focus on pushing the baby out.  They were gone for a few minutes and then I wanted them back in the room.  With my homebirths I have typically not been laboring on my back, so this was totally different for me.  I felt like I was not making progress on pushing him out, but everyone assured me that I was definitely moving him!  Soon he was crowning and I remember pushing so hard that I thought “If I don’t stop clenching my teeth, I am going to break a tooth!”.  The epidural was still working its magic, and at one point baby M’s head was lodged “in the chute” as my husband referred to it and I said to everyone “That is a really weird spot for a baby’s head to be stuck!”.  With my homebirths, I’ve just pushed right past that point, but my doctor wanted me to wait on another contraction to push his head out.  With the next contraction his head was out (15 inches!!).  One more push and his plump little body slid out and he was laid on my chest.  I’ve never cried with any of my other births, but tears instantly filled my eyes this time.  I was so happy for S & A, who stood in the corner in disbelief.  I motioned for them to come over to us and A looked at me with tear-filled eyes and mouthed the words “thank you” to me.  The moment my couples see their baby for the first time is still magical.  It’s like I’m a fly on the wall in a place where I shouldn’t be.  It is the most intimate moment a couple can experience and I’m privileged to be a spectator.  I will always be thankful that God has allowed me to help bring these babies into the world.

Baby M weighed in at 9 lb. 6 oz. and was perfect in every way.  We all spent a couple of days in the hospital before parting on Monday and going our seperate ways.  S & A were anxious to get home and had two days of travel ahead of them to get there.  I was ready to get back home and be with our children.  My sister had taken care of them for 2 straight days and she was ready for a break too!  Goodbyes are always sad and saying goodbye to S & A and baby M was no different.  As we packed up our belongings in our hospital rooms, I knew our time was coming together was coming to an end.  My husband and I went down to S & A’s room so our nurse could take a few photos of us all together.  After the photos, I could feel the tears coming.  As I held baby M, A hugged me for a long time.  The end of a surrogacy is an odd one.  For the surrogate it is an ending of a pregnancy that is so anticipated, hoped for, dreamed of.  For the new parents, it is the beginning of the life they’ve always wanted.

I carried baby M out of the hospital, placed him in his carseat and buckled him in.  I kissed those soft, full cheeks and told him how much I loved growing him in my belly and that we would see him again someday.  S & A thanked me again for the gift of their baby and told me that this was not a goodbye.  Our lives will be forever intertwined and this is just part of our journey together.

40 Weeks!!!

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Well, here we are….40+ weeks!  I am feeling really good considering I am huge!  The baby has definitely dropped so I finally have some breathing room and the acid reflux has let up a bit as well.  I went to the doctor yesterday and baby’s head is engaged now.  I am 4 centimeters, so active labor is next.  All we are waiting on is my water to break or contractions to start.  So far, nothing.

S & A are heading this way tomorrow evening and will get here on Friday.  I have another appointment on Saturday morning to see if I am making anymore progress.  My doctor is planning on breaking my water on Tuesday if the baby hasn’t made his debut by then.  At the rate I’m going, we will probably have to wait until Tuesday to meet the little guy.  I feel like I’m constantly on pins and needles waiting for any  indication of labor.  S & A are about at the end of their rope waiting to meet their little boy.  I can’t begin to imagine the tension they are feeling as we wait these last few days.  They were thinking they would likely miss the birth, but it sounds like they may be here after all.

I had an amazing surprise this past week when my sister showed up unannounced.  She has been a tremendous help with my kids this past week.  Their summer break starts tomorrow, so it’ll be nice to have her here to entertain them (entertaining is her area of expertise!)  She met S & A a few months ago, so we are all looking forward to spending time together when baby arrives.

I will update as soon as I have news to share either from my appointment on Saturday or on Sunday for another belly picture.  Hopefully baby comes before then and I will have the best news to share.  If you feel so inclined, please pray for a safe, easy, and quick delivery.

 

39 Weeks

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39 weeks….somehow I didn’t think that I’d make it this long.  I don’t know why, because I’ve gone as long as 43 weeks before, but I just thought this little guy might be a tad bit early for some reason.  It can’t be too much longer now.  S & A are so anxious to meet their little guy, and I am ready to “pass the baton” to them anytime.  I don’t feel horrible, but I am pretty uncomfortable.  I want to be back to normal.  I want them to start their journey of parenting that they’ve dreamed of for so many years.  It’s time for this shift to happen and anyday now would be great!  I thought the full moon last night might work in my favor…wrong.  Nothing.

And, on another note, white is very unbecoming on a 39 week pregnant belly.  I only wore this shirt to take this photo, thank goodness.  Just glad I didn’t wear it out in public.   It makes me look like I am 55 months pregnant!  Today was 91 degrees and I hate that kind of weather when I’m NOT pregnant, let alone when I AM!  Thank God for air conditioning…..it was my only saving grace today!

I go back to the doctor on Thursday if baby isn’t here by then.  When I went this past week, I was 3 centimeters, nearly 1/3 of the way there!  Hoping there is some more dilation happening between now and Thursday.  I’ll keep you posted!

38 Weeks

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How could I forget to post the weekly belly picture?!  Probably because right now, I’m preoccupied with thoughts of having this baby any day now!  I’ve had some low pelvic pressure off and on, but obviously nothing productive or promising.  I always get so ready to have my babies and get back to normal, however, when I really start thinking about it, I have my reservations.  I’ve had awesome labors and deliveries (except the twins), but the reality is is that it still hurts and I know what I’m facing.  Luckily I tend to have super quick labors and easy deliveries, so that part eases the tension a bit.

Since I’ve had so many different birthing situations (unmedicated hospital birth, 3 homebirths attended by a midwife, 1 accidentally unattended homebirth, and an emergency c-section with a spinal block), I’m trying to decide how to proceed with this birth.  We are planning a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian, another birthing scenario to add to my collection) hospital birth, but as far as the epidural goes, I’m totally undecided.  I feel like I’ve made it through 5 births with no pain meds, and that it would be ridiculous to try an epidural now.  I feel like I need to prove to myself that I can do it again, especially since this will be my first VBAC.  My hubby insists that after all of my unmedicated births, that I don’t need to prove anything to anyone at this point.  Part of me wants to have the epidural just to see what birth with one is like, but deep down I feel like that is cheating myself out of the pride of giving birth the way it was meant to be.  When I’m birthing, I fully count on my body to tell me what to do, when to do  it, and how to do it.  It’s never let me down, so why start now?  My biggest fear with the epidural is being stuck in the spinal column with a dang needle.  The spinal block with the twins was horrific.  It took the doctor 4 times to get it in, meanwhile, the first twin was making his breech debut while the dr was sticking a large needle in my back.  Anyone who says getting a spinal is like a bee sting is surely full of you-know-what.  It more likely resembled being kicked in the jaw by a mule.  A very large, mean, and ugly mule at that.  I guess I will make the decision on what to do when the time comes.

My next doctor appointment is on Thursday morning, so I will have an update then.  I’m really hoping that one of my next updates will be a “baby M is here” headline.  With the way I usually go past my due date, I’m not putting much stock in an early birth at this point, however, if you would be so kind as to say a little prayer that it happens soon, it would be much, much appreciated.  Truth be known, I’m ready to be done!

 

Appointment update

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I had an appointment today with my nurse practitioner and everything is still going well.  My blood pressure was super, I hadn’t gained any weight since last week and the baby’s heartbeat was fluctuating between 145-155 beats per minute.  I am dilated to 1cm, which doesn’t really mean anything.  I could stay that way for weeks.  I did have a super quick ultrasound to determine the baby’s position, and he is definitely head down.  His head is high and needs to engage in my pelvis, but there isn’t really a concern that he will flip back over at this point.  I go back on Thursday of next week, but I’m hoping we will have a baby by then!  Will keep you all posted!

My birthday!

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I woke up this morning to a dining room decorated with pink crepe paper, birthday banners, and homemade cards from my beautiful children.  My hubby surprised me with a day away in one of my favorite little towns ever.  The weather was gorgeous and we had such a nice time together.  When I got home, I had this beautiful vase of flowers waiting on me with a lovely card from S & A.  Following that, I received a huge birthday box from my dear sister, full of all kinds of things I love!  The outpouring of facebook birthday wishes was amazing and I received all kinds of texts and phone calls too.  This birthday was wonderful from start to finish.  I am so blessed!

P.S.  Last night was a gift in itself….I slept until 4am before I had to get up to go to the bathroom and it was the first night I didn’t have acid reflux in MONTHS!  Thank you Jesus for this extra little birthday gift!  I am so grateful!

37 Weeks….aka “Full term”

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Finally we are in “full term” land!!  Baby M could come at any time now and all would be well.  As I compare today’s photo with the one from last week, it definitely appears that I’ve dropped.  I had a great appointment this past week and I go back on Wednesday.  The doctor I saw on Wednesday felt that baby was head down, however, he had hiccups this evening that were at the very tip top of my uterus, which leads me to believe he is breech.  I’m seeing my favorite nurse practitioner this week, so I’m going to ask her if they can do a quick ultrasound to know what position he is in for sure.  If I have to have a c-section, I need some time to mentally prepare for it.  S & A had their second baby shower yesterday and went today and got the last minute things they need for Baby M.  Their bags are packed and they are ready to hit the road when the call comes in.  I’m as excited as they are for the big day.  I guess the only thing we can do is be patient and wait…..easier said than done!!