Saturday, May 24, 2014

Postpartum: getting back to "normal"

As a surrogate, the most common question received is, "Won't it be hard giving up the baby?"

Simply stated, "No. Not at all."

I can only speak from my experience, but I think most other surrogates agree that this couldn't be less difficult.

The mindset is completely different for this child and their family. The application process, matching with the IPs, medical screening, drugs, transfer, pregnancy. It is all for this new family. Conscious decisions are made and they are all so this couple can have the family they've been dreaming about and working for.

When delivery day came, I felt guilty that Michael and Jason wouldn't be able to make it to the birth of their little girl. I hated making that FaceTime call. As soon as Bunny was born, my husband, Justin, was at the warming cart taking photos and video to send to the new dads before their flight. After she was bundled up, Justin held her and it was reminiscent of the birth of our son. I was afraid Justin was beginning to become attached, which worried me. Then, he looked up at me, smirked and said, "We get to go home and sleep after this!" I laughed and knew he was back in reality.

I have to give Michael and Jason the highest complement: they are awesome dads. The anxiety and awkwardness of typical new parents didn't show. Besides Thea's beautiful wardrobe of dresses, it couldn't have been more clear how much love (and spoiling) this little girl is in for. I enjoyed the two weeks they were here and was happy to be a part of it all. It was priceless to see the family bonds form.

Dempsey and I met them at the airport to pick up the car seat they had borrowed from a co-worker (it really does take a village!). I was so nervous to see them go. In all honesty, I didn't want to meet them. I didn't want to cry in front of them. I knew I would be a mess and I didn't want them to remember me like that; I didn't want that to be my "goodbye."

At the end of our adventure, saying goodbye to the baby was easy. I was sad to say goodbye to her dads. For almost a year, our entire relationship was because of this wonderful baby girl. The contract, the transfer, the heartbeat confirmation, the sonogram and first meeting with Michael and Jason, the emails, the Skype and FaceTime calls and eventually the birth. All for her. And while I'm quite fond of her, I'm very fond of her parents and the relationship we have built. Surrogacy brought a farm girl from the middle of the US and a couple from the United Kingdom together - in what other world would we have ever met?

While they are thankful beyond words to me and mine for our help with their family, I'm ever gracious to them. They were always so kind and respectful to me and my family and I can't thank them enough for letting me experience their joy. Justin even said, "We won the lottery with them." I love my photo updates of Thea and am so excited to see a new e-mail from her dads.

So, at the fork in our road, I hugged each of them as they dragged their excessive baggage to the airport terminal. We kept it short and sweet. Luckily, my sunglasses helped me appear to be keeping it together. As I drove away, I turned up my Pop Hits and Technotronic iTunes radio station and tried to sing and shoulder dance to entertain my toddler. Tears fell to commemorate the end of a chapter in my life, but I hold so much excitement to have the opportunity to see them as a family.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Parent Edition: a note from the new dads

...and quite an accomplishment it was too!

We arrived to see our wonderful surrogate and her family and our new family there too in the cot by the door! We had spent the last 24 hours flying from London to New York to Chicago and finally to KS. We arrived a day after the main event, which we understand was peppered with charming expletives. We asked if we could pick her was so alien to us that this was it and we were dads. 
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And how wonderful to be dads slowly beginning to seep in.
Morgan's son had consoled our little bunny by telling her that it was ok, they would find her daddies when she cried and here we were. At last with our new love in our arms. We stayed at the hospital one night and in KS two more weeks. We had all the paper work done in a week, but enjoyed the time with our little bundle so much we didn't want to return to the real world. Jason also had to catch up on Honey boo boo and Dance Moms!

We are back now with no Morgan to support us, we had a scare when we found she had developed a rash to some horrid clothes some distant aunt bought her (straight to the bin), we had a breeze through customs on her US passport with a very excited border guard who's first words when we approached the counter was "Surrogate?" then "Congratulations!" and we have managed to register Thea at the local GP (oh dear how different the UK health service appears in comparison). 

We have had lots of visitors but we are still making sure there is plenty of time for just the three of us....every day brings a joy, every day we are grateful to Morgan and our egg donor Amanda!


Thursday, May 8, 2014

She's Here!

I am a month postpartum. The beautiful family has come and gone and I am feeling small bouts of accomplishment. But I bet you want the details.

Induction was set for April 14, but clearly this little girl decided she couldn't wait that long to start the party.

April 4th, 6:30 a.m., my alarm goes off. I get up like any other day and eat my bowl of cereal. My hips are sore and feel like they have spread in the night and I seem to be experiencing a strange sensation in my lower pelvis- I think it might be contractions. Since there isn't much Capt'n Crunch left, and because I know I can't eat once I get to the hospital, I polish off the last bit of cereal.

I start getting ready like any other self-respecting woman, my makeup was fully intact, but my clothes were poorly matched, as the contractions were stronger by that point. After a call to my sister, the emergency line to my OB's office and a few text messages to co-workers I began to realize I was REALLY in labor. After I told the OB emergency line "My contractions are 2-3 minutes apart and are pretty intense," they said, "you need to go to labor and delivery, now."

It's not difficult to imagine the look of horror on Michael's face as he answers my FaceTime call (especially since I've never called unannounced). I hold a fake smile between contractions and tell him that I'm headed to labor and delivery and I'll keep them posted "if I'm really in labor." The only thing that he could mutter at the time was, "the soonest we can get there is tomorrow at 10 a.m." As I feel another contraction coming on, I tell him to do what he can with a big, fat, wincing smile.

My husband makes his call into work to make arrangements because his wife is pregnant and in labor (both of which were shocking news to unknowing co-workers...). We load up our son and head to day care, then to drop off my FMLA paperwork (thankfully I had picked it up the afternoon before!). Then, on to the hospital we go. In between contractions, I mention we should take bets on what I'm dilated to... but that was quickly forgotten by the next contraction. We get to the hospital and I snap at a sweet little volunteer lady and tell the maternity care coordinator that I will sign anything that they need me to and the answer to all of their questions is, "Yes."

Three or four contractions after arriving a little after 9 a.m., triage is attempting to get me checked in, despite my foul attitude. Despite several questions about an epidural, I was not able to get one. I was checked and dilated to an 8. Five minutes later, my water broke. Twenty minutes later, I delivered a beautiful baby girl. A day later her daddies got to meet the little princess.