Monday, July 14, 2014

Crazy busy summer!

It's been just about 6 weeks since the girls were born. I've had some updates and several pictures of them and they look great and very snuggly! So stinking cute.
 Both are gaining weight but baby A is apparently an eating machine and gained like 2 pounds in less than 2 weeks -  I told dad to limit her to half rations ;)

AFM, I am back into my old clothes, working, volunteering, taking classes...playing taxi driver, t-ball/swim/orchestra mom. We are considering buying a new home this fall and just put the finishing touches on our family vacation at the end of August- Gulf Shores here we come! Whoot! Now this freckle bodied albino skinned chick needs to get some sun. Haaaaa, we shall see.

I don't think I will do another surrogacy. Maybe in a year or two I will change my mind... but right now I really need to concentrate on myself. A year from now I will be graduating and with that starting a new chapter in my life.

One very unexpected emotion that came of the surro pregnancy and post birth was, or I suppose is, my self-esteem taking a real hit. I think the downward spiral started around week 36 of the pregnancy and is starting to heal over the past week or so. I don't want to really delve into what I think the contributing factors were during the pregnancy, but mostly I'd say it was realizing that as much as I tried, either a breakdown in communication was happening or hadn't been as great as I thought in the first place.
The birth itself, while ideal considering, was a bit humiliating. Not the physical process - but the hormones, tears... I had no control over it and it's totally normal, but it was really humiliating to go through with an audience. Then not knowing if it would make the parents run and hide because they read a bit too much into it. I mean, some of the tears were because of the situation, it definitely hit me harder than I thought it would, or I suppose differently than I thought it would.
Will I ever see the girls or the family face to face again? I see a lot of surros getting invites to first birthday parties and stuff like that. I'm not sure that is on the guys radar and that's ok. Of course I'd jump on a plane in a heartbeat.
 The good news is that one of the parents and my hubby became FB friends after the birth so we get to watch the girls grow up and keep up with everyone. If you're wondering how I was left out of this equation, I'm not really sure but I'm not rocking the boat.
I will not allow these small portions of the entire process/pregnancy/surrogacy overall shadow the awesome moments, and there were so many of those. I'm so happy that I got to be part of growing a family, especially this one.

Doing the math, I have put 45 months, almost 4 years of my life into pregnancy. Nursing - 21 months. Combined, that is 66 months, or 5.5 years. Between pregnancy insomnia and caring for babies, I have spent around 5 years functioning with very little real sleep. And I wouldn't change it for the world!
The pregnancy with the twins was pretty ideal physically, all things considered. They were born healthy and beautiful. That's 6 perfect little people that have grown inside me, 2 families completed.

I think this experience is the perfect ending. I'm really blessed.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

one week out

It's feels so strange that one week ago I was prepping to deliver two babies.
There were a few surprises over the past week. Emotionally I feel calm and happy about the experience.
  It is an adjustment though; the surrogacy occupied so much of my mental space over the last 13 months. Then in the span the of a few hours, it's done.
After the birth I was insecure over what my "role" was with the parents. What I mean by that is-when someone you're fond of has a baby, you'd show up to their home with a meal, check in to let them know you're there if they want some company, etc. But in the case of surrogacy that obviously would be strange to do. Specific to surrogacy/our situation was that they drove back home over the span of a few days. I was torn as whether or not to check in to see how the drive was going- would it be seen as friendly or hovering? Ultimately I reached out.
I hope this was conveyed not as needy but as adjusting to a role change.

I've been asked by a few friends if I will do it again. I think it's peoples way of gauging how I am really feeling about the experience. I don't have a concrete answer yet. If the guys wanted to have a sibling I'd be on board, but to begin again with a new couple is a bit overwhelming to consider at this point. Since the BP was likely due to hormones and was post pregnancy/delivery it should not have any bearing on carrying again. This is one reason that if I do carry again, I would prefer to carry only one baby.
Surrogacy is still in my heart and I'm open to one more pregnancy; maybe in time.

What I would change if I could: I'd make sure that the parents were a bit more ready- I think the teary eyes (hormones, totally normal) freaked them out a bit... but they will have a crash course in hormonal women raising two little girls! Haha. I'd also make sure my hubby is a bit more prepared and supported at home after delivery. He was an amazing support but was more than ready for me to come home.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

After the birth. Ugh.

After the birth I was wheeled back into the delivery room. Dads had the girls on one side of the room and on the other side I recovered behind a curtain. The room was large but I felt bad that they weren't able to be in a separate room to enjoy the babies without anyone around.
My BP was taken and it was high.( Apparently this isn't uncommon after a twin birth and after being given a Pitocin shot.) After being monitored for a bit (not sure how much time passed) it was decided that I needed to be put on magnesium for 24 hours. This meant that instead of being sent upstairs in a room next to the parents and girls, instead I would remain downstairs to be monitored where the care could be more one-on-one. The plan was that I would nurse the babies while they were in the hospital so that they could have the benefit of colostrum. The guys decided they would just wheel them down when they were hungry so that this could still happen. I was thrilled but felt so guilty that they would have to... but it couldn't be helped.

The guys were amazing. They brought the girls down to the room for my kids to see, hold, and enjoy. I got super emotional watching it. Really, I hit the jackpot when I was matched with these guys. They have treated my family so amazingly throughout everything. Hormones were kicking in so I kept tearing up in front of everyone. That sucked. When the kids and hubby left I lost it for a bit. I know it couldn't be helped but it really stole from the amazing experience.
At some point during the visit flowers arrived, they were from the girls; grandparents. How sweet is that? The girls are going to be so spoiled.

Turning that magnesium off at 930, getting to eat some food, and being sent upstairs to the room next to everyone was the best thing ever. And being amazing as they are, the guys came over and brought the girls with them, sat and chatted for a while. I was an idiot I'm sure while the med wore off, no filter.. oh well.

Saturday was spent getting the girls ready for discharge. They would be leaving before me as my BP was still being monitored. I am still taking a medication for a week or so as a precaution although my BP is looking ok now.

After some unexpected emotional moments when they left, I took turns tearing up and napping. I can't really put into words just where the flood of emotions came from. It is so sweet seeing the girls "on the outside". I look at them in amazement realizing that they were kicking me from the inside just hours earlier. For example, Baby B has always seemed like the firecracker- her movements, her seemingly always throwing us a curve ball as to her position, all of this is being seen after birth. Dad reported her waking up around the same times she was being a nut in utero, she loves her hands by her face which we saw on ultrasound several times and prior to birth. Baby A is more content, the little ninja. She is sweet and seems super snuggly, again just like in utero. The tears were mostly happy tears but some were (and are) sadness that it's over. I will miss the excitement of the journey and all that goes/went with it. They are perfect little people.
I have edited this portion of the post several times trying to make it reflect the emotionality more honestly but I can't find them.

``` Again, just to reiterate the statement- it is not due to wanting to "keep" them.

After some monitoring it was decided I could be discharged around dinner time :)

I got to see the girls today at their newborn photo shoot. It was much easier when they left this time. Seeing the guys parenting and loving on them was so stinking adorable.
I am so blessed to have met this couple. If it hadn't been for great timing and an amazing agency they would have been with a different surrogate and I would never had gotten the chance to meet them. Truly, I am awed by the experience and I look forward to watching them grow, even though it will be via email and computer as they live so far away.

They're here!

The induction process officially started at 10:30. Between waiting on doctors, IV's to finish up, etc the process really began around 1:00 (I think). Because of the progress already made the decision was made to just break A's water and wait for things to naturally happen. Amazingly an ultrasound showed that B had moved vertex (ish). I was so relieved to hear this.
First I had a round of IV antibiotics for GBS which was positive this time, 1st time in 5 pregnancies. Next we started the IV meds needed before I could get the epidural. At this point my hubby, sister, and the parents all left for a few hours to run errands, get some lunch while I tried to relax and take a nap. When they returned it was expected that the epidural would have been placed and things would be ready to begin. Instead, waiting. waiting. waiting. It was a popular day to have babies, apparently, and the anesthesiologist was busy attending patients already in labor. Once he came in the epidural was placed and we waited on the OB for a bit (who was attending patients already in labor). He broke A's water, and the exciting wait began.
The hubby, sister, and parents were relaxing, chatting about chicken poop - really, this was the topic of conversation. It was a pretty relaxed atmosphere and it was entertaining listening to them talk from across the room while feeling the pressure changes as A's station lowered and dilation began. Having the epidural was actually pretty nice; got to feel the process and pressure but compared to a natural birth very little pain.
After an hour or so I asked the nurse to be checked and I was about 90% effaced and 0 station. An hour later maybe, I was at 7. Shortly later I told the nurse it was go time, I felt the urge to push, and I was wheeled to the surgery room. There the OB, a million nurses, anesthesia, were waiting.
A was born after 9 pushes at 8:43, weighing 6 lbs 8 oz and 19.5 inches long. B's water was broken and she was born at 9:10 weighing in at 5 lbs 5 oz and 18.5 inches. The time gap is due to B moving her little hands up by her head (the doctors moved them out of the way) and my cervix closing up a bit after A was delivered. Pushing while B moved into place opened the cervix back up and she was delivered after 6 deliberate pushes.

There was a moment after A being delivered and the exhaustion of that when it dawned on me that "oh, I have to do this one more time...crap!". Ha!

The babies were taken directly into a room nearby to be evaluated. Both aced their APGARs. The nurses showed me them (gorgeous babies, just beauties) and then took them into meet their dads while I was cleaned up and delivered the placentas.

Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better birth experience. My amazing sister captured the birth. I haven't looked the pictures over yet, but I am so glad that the experience is captured for the girls to see when they are older.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tomorrow is the big day!

The girls will be here tomorrow! I'm being induced at 10:30. It is earlier than planned, and while I don't want an induction at all, I want it more than I want to risk delivering on the side of the road. My record of fast delivery, dilation, thinning out should make the process risk vs. reward weigh in on the reward side moreso than the risk side.
Physically I'm ready to be done being pregnant. Mentally, I'm there. However, emotionally...not so much.
              I don't think that will come until tomorrow when the dads are holding them. When the family is together.

In the mean time, I am weepy and anxious. This is not because I want the babies, I don't...they are not mine and never have been. But feeling and watching them grow, the whole surrogacy process... it is hard to process that being over. Baby B just had the hiccups and it occurred to me that it was likely the last time I would feel it. Bittersweet moment. Snuggling with my toddler helped a bit, it reminded me of why I am doing this- so hopeful parents can have that same amazing feeling that comes with parenthood.

I don't anticipate any sleep tonight. Right now I am trying to put together a mental picture of what tomorrow will bring. I'm wondering what the weeks following the birth will be like. I'm not worried about the birth, I have faith in my body and the professionals attending the birth. I will have my hubby and sister for support. The anticipation is making me crazy.
outie belly button :)

Final belly shots!

Monday, June 2, 2014

38 Weeks. Twins. What?

Between the false labor of week 36, infrequent contractions - now mostly in the mornings, bloody show on Friday, the CM of the past two days, how low Baby A's head feels, being dilated 4-5 as of last week... I am stunned to be writing this post still pregnant.

OB appointment is Wednesday but not with my regular doctor. The consensus between me, hubby, babies parents, and my friends is that I will be quite dilated/effaced at that appointment and will probably either be sent for an induction right away or be encouraged to schedule one on the following day or two. Pure speculation based partly on hope.

(rant alert)
And that reminds me of something I'd forgotten from my past pregnancies: don't admit that you're tired, uncomfortable, and ready to be done. Admitting any of these things will lead to hearing how lucky you are to be pregnant (as if you take it for granted), how close you are (as if this means that you are not grateful to have made it so far), stories about how miserable others were in their pregnancies (stories of bed-rest, hospitalizations, bleeding... not so comforting to hear). Look, I love pregnancy. I am beyond excited to help these great guys build their family and humbled that they let me. I have had an amazing pregnancy. I am still enjoying watching and feeling the girls dance it up in my belly. But damn it, I'm tired, swollen, and ready to be done. And even so, I will miss being pregnant when it's all said and done. But for now, I am ready to hear that the babies are ready to be born.

Friday, May 30, 2014

OB visit, 37 + 1

Dilated 4-5, whoot!

At this appointment we talked about induction and reasons why it is done so often with multiples, and at what point the benefits outweigh the risks.
Week 39 is regarded as that point with DI-DI twins. Because twins mature faster, the placenta starts to function less effectively around the end of week 38. Because of this and due to my cervix obviously being ready we will discuss induction at next weeks appointment - if we are still pregnant!

Right now the OB is content to let my body and the babies set the pace. My BP is lower than last week and I'm dilating on my own, the babies look great.

I had the super glamorous "bloody show" this morning, it seems that things are progressing on their own. Since I hope to avoid any extra medical interventions over and above those already in place due to carrying twins IF possible I was excited to see it!

Maybe the last belly shot: