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.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Managing the Details

3 weeks left!

It's amazing, how quickly a pregnant woman will stop counting up and start counting down to delivery day.

We are down to the final month. My last pregnancy was 2.5 years ago and I will verify that this child-bearing "thing" is for the younger crowd. Little Miss Bunny seems to be resting very low. There are times mid-walk I have to stop and kind of crouch over to get her out of a very uncomfortable and compromising position.

As you can imagine, two very excited parents are already packed and ready to fly! I have yet to pack my hospital bag, so they are making me look bad.

Almost all of the legal stuff has been completed. The Pre-Birth Order (PBO) was approved! That document will establish the rightful parents and will take my name off of Bunny's birth certificate once she is born. The only things now left to do will happen after she is born. What a relief it is to have very organized parents.

I had an OB appointment on Monday and am down to the once-a-week visits. I am dilated to a 1 and "about half way thinned out," according to my doctor. Let me just say, there are a few things one forgets and blocks out after the birth of a child; cervix checks are one of those. Since I grew up on a farm, I always related it to my dad preg checking the cows (just google it...). Those gloves go all the way up the shoulder, so that poor cow has it MUCH worse off than myself.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

34 Weeks

I have five weeks left of being pregnant.


Michael and Jason fly in to KC in one month. I'm excited to see them again and excited to help them set up their temporary apartment for their new family.

This little foot photo is a few weeks old. I'm sure it is bigger now and I can assure you it is much more tappy these days. During the ultrasound she was wiggly and playing with her other foot. Both of those little feet like to find their way into my ribs. She prefers me to use proper, upright posture - She's already so British.
Hopefully, she'll have (at least) a little bit of fuzz for hair. She was measuring in the 61st percentile for size. I like that; she's no behemoth and she'll still be healthily sized.

It has been such a relief to have such a boring pregnancy. Isn't that what everyone hopes for? Nothing to get nervous about and everything to go according to the plan. I do have a follow-up appointment with the neurologist this week. My CT scan was normal, so that is good news. Hopefully, those strange symptoms were just a weird fluke that will disappear.

Dempsey is finally noticing my sizable bump. I lifted my shirt to show him and he laughed and proceeded to drum on it a little while. He felt her kick last night and quickly pulled his little hand away. I suppose that would be weird if you weren't expecting it!

I may have thoroughly confused the poor child by telling him there is a bunny residing in that bump. However, it was pretty funny when he walked over to Justin and asked if he was also smuggling a bunny in his belly. My very audible laugh received a glare.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pregnancy Side Effects

Pregnancy does weird things to a woman.

It can change her body, change her mood, change her life.

There are cravings, aversions and "side effects."

The strangest thing I've experienced while pregnant is sneezing. If I am hungry and take a bite of food, I will, inevitably, sneeze. It is the weirdest thing, and I've only met one other person that has experienced this phenomenon. 
The other side effect I have had is "complex migraines." These aren't normal migraines - I have a dull headache, at best. But it is accompanied by "ocular disturbances," meaning that I get blurred vision on the right side of my field of vision. Then my hands, nose and mouth will go numb.  I talked to my OB and my general practitioner about it and "complex migraines" is the answer I got. They last for about half an hour from start to finish and come very irregularly, maybe one every couple of weeks. 

Doesn't that look delicious!?!

I love ice. I can't get enough of it. Apparently, ice is considered a "non food" item, which means I have Pica. Some people suggest that craving ice may mean that I have an iron deficiency. In fact, I do. Just got the phone call to start an iron supplement. I'm starting to worry that chomping ice is becoming a habit rather than a craving. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Little known fact

This is the real reason our pregnancy stuck...

THAT will make the embryo stick!

In all honesty, as soon as I got up there, I thought, "WHAT AM I DOING! I am supposed to be taking it easy!" and immediately went and laid down.

I had a check up last Monday at 27 weeks. I passed the glucose test with flying colors, just as I knew I would. I did make the mistake of eating a huge "farm girl" breakfast before deciding to down my orange sugar juice. I was terrified I was going to vomit on the way to the doctor's office. Did you know you have to drink another one if you can't keep it down? What torture!

I gained 5 pounds, to which my amazing nurse quickly stated, "Oh my! She's gone through quite the growth spurt!" What a smart woman.

We also set the induction date! April 14 is delivery day! Michael and Jason have already {and excitedly} booked their flights and started packing. 

Michael pointed out that there were only 12 weeks left. I asked him how that made him and Jason feel: "Terrified!" I thought that was a laughable moment. Mainly, because it is completely NORMAL!  

12 weeks left!