Monday, October 29, 2012

39 Weeks - Reflecting

Only three days left in my 39th week of this pregnancy.

Three days until my estimated due date (11/1/12).


My journey started over two years ago in the summer of 2010. I applied to a smaller agency with the hopes of being matched quickly and getting pregnant in a flash. I really had NO idea what I was getting myself into though. I mean, I did my research about surrogacy prior to applying and I knew that i wanted to work with an agency; I knew that I was getting myself pregnant with another couple's child(ren); I knew all about the medications that i would be on....But what I didn't know was the crazy roller coaster of events that would take place causing heartache, stress, anger, frustration and confusion. I just wanted to help a deserving couple have a biological baby who otherwise weren't able to do so on their own. Who would have thought that I would be matched with a nice couple only to be denied by their RE and let go by the agency because of a false positive health issue with my husband? Now that I look back on all of that though, I think that was the universe's way of letting me know that was the wrong agency to work with and the wrong couple to be matched with. I am SO thankful for all that I went through that lead me to Growing Generations and ultimately to my current IPs. Everything happens for a reason, right?

Once re-screened and approved through Growing Generations in the Spring/Summer of 2011, I was matched pretty quickly with A and M. Actually, I had A and M's profile even before I passed screening and weeks before our match meeting, but shhhh, don't say anything. ;) We went through contracts at lightening speed and started meds right away for an October 2011 transfer. What we didn't expect was our transfer to be canceled just a week before the big day due to the egg donor not responding to the medication. That was a huge let down and heartache for us all and it took months to recover. I am thankful for those months though, as it allowed for me to get to know A and M a little better. It wasn't until January 2012 that A and M found a new egg donor and we were back on track for another transfer date of February 15th, 2012. This successful transfer resulted in PEANUT! Again...everything happens for a reason. All of the stars in the sky were aligned for this one, for sure.

I think it's fair enough to say that I had more than my fair share of "waiting" and a crazy roller coaster of a ride in the beginning but you know what, looking back on all of that now I wouldn't have had it any other way. All of the heartache, stress, anger, frustration and confusion with the first agency; then moving over to Growing Generations where they took me under their wings and saw that my husband was tested further to prove the false positive with HTLV; followed by more medical screenings, psychological screenings, another match meeting, legal paperwork, contracts, months of medications and daily injections, ultrasounds, pregnancy screenings, OB appointments....ALL worth it! A, M, and myself are exactly where we're supposed to be and couldn't be happier. We set out to have a baby and a baby we are having very soon! I'm a little sad that my part--my job--is coming to an end, but I'm so incredibly happy that I'm just DAYS away from creating a family--A and M's family!

Family and friends ask me: "Are you ready to be done with being pregnant?"
My answer is: "No. I'm actually pretty content right now and loving this pregnancy."

I have truly enjoyed this pregnancy. I've felt the best I have ever felt during this pregnancy than i did with my last two. Maybe it's because I've only gained 22lbs this pregnancy? I think it's because I don't have the added stress of preparing for a baby to come home with me. I didn't have to register and purchase baby items. I didn't have a baby shower. I didn't have to prepare a nursery or come up with a name for this child. I just get to enjoy being pregnant--which I love--and in the end I get to hand this beautiful baby boy over to his daddies. I get to create a family! How awesome is that!?!

39 week belly shot
I still haven't packed my hospital bags yet. I know..shame on me because this little Nut can come at any time now. I keep procrastinating and making excuses to hold off just a tad longer though. I also need to get a mani/pedi but I've been pushing that back too. It's my way of telling the universe that I'm not quite ready for this to be over just yet. I need one more week. One more week and I will be good to go. One more week and my BSSF (best surro-sister forever), Amy, will be here to hold my hand through this. She is also an amazing photographer and will capture the beautiful moments of my labor and Peanut's birth.

 So, one more week, you got that, Peanut!?! Please give us one more week.

How am I feeling? There have been a few noticeable changes going on within the past few days that I'd like to document. (some might be TMI, so avert your eyes if you wish)
  • My hands, feet, arm pits, and other places I'd rather not mention are sweating like crazy. It was this bad back when i was on all of that medication. So, I have a feeling that a surge of hormones are taking place...hence...labor is approaching!
  • My nipples are super sore. They've been fine and sensitive-free up until now. (again, hormone surge?)
  • I'm leaking more than usual colostrum. ( my body telling me it's almost go-time?)
  • My back is starting to get achy again even with me seeing a chiropractor each week. 
  • I have the urgency to make sure my house is super clean and everything is put away. My housekeeper came Saturday, but sure enough, we still cleaned, organized, and fixed things all day on Sunday. Nesting? I think so...
Doctor appointments: My next OB appointment is this Wednesday. Chiropractor Saturday.

Weight gain: Up one more pound as of last week. We'll see what this week brings. I am at a total of 22 pounds gained during this pregnancy. (remember my goal is 25 I'm stoked with the 22lbs at 39 weeks!)

Sleep: My hips are going numb now so I'm constantly tossing and turning to find a good spot, but it only last for so long and then I'm back to tossing and turning again.

Mood: Nervous!!

Exciting moment: I can't go into complete details just yet, but I recently finished Peanut's birthday project and I am so excited to give it to A & M!! I'll post pictures later because it is that awesome and I'm pretty darn proud of it. 

And....this just arrived at my door step.

Crap. I better pack my hospital bags!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

38 Weeks - Turning that baby!

I write this blog post with the biggest smile ever plastered to my face and so much weight lifted off my shoulders!!

If you can recall a few posts back it was discovered that Peanut was semi-transverse. His head was low, but off to my right side. Although he was in a favorable position for a successful External Version, it still stressed the crap out of me because this was (potentially) interfering with my plans for a VBA2C.

What if the version didn't work? What if Peanut couldn't tolerate the version and his heart rate decreased sending me into an emergency c-section? What if the version caused me to contract and go into labor--I'm not ready!! What if A & M miss the birth because we had to move quickly to get Peanut out after attempting the version? Ahhh, all these things were going through my head.

I had to do something!

I worked very hard over the last week and a half to help get baby into the optimal position--head down. I visited the Spinning Babies website religiously and have been performing every exercise and position they suggested to get this little Nut head down. AND IT WORKED! As of today's ultrasound performed by the Perinatologist, PEANUT IS HEAD DOWN! No external version needed to turn this little guy. He turned on his own with a little help from his Surro Momma.

We've got this now, little let's go for that VBA2C!

Here are some of the things that I've been up to...

The Forward-Leaning Inversion

The Breech Tilt
I used our ironing board propped up on the bed and with pillows supporting me.
My belly was HUGE while doing the Breech Tilt. My son, Aiden, walked in on me while in this position and he said, "Whoa, Mom! Why is your belly so big!?!" Then he proceeded to make a little bed next to me and rubbed my belly until it was time to get up.

SUCCESS!!! 10/19/12
Ultrasound confirmed we have a head down baby!
 Phew! I can rest a little easier knowing that Peanut is now in the optimal position for childbirth. I noticed on the ultrasound that he was head down before the tech could say anything. I screamed as quietly as I could, "Yaaaaaay, he's head down!", and in that moment I could feel a huge weight being lifted off of my shoulders. It was a magical feeling. Good job, Peanut.

How am I feeling? After today's big news....GREAT! I feel like I can concur the world right now. My body feels great. My back feels great. I feel pretty fantastic for 38 weeks. The thought of carrying Peanut for a few more weeks seems totally doable. 

Doctor appointments: This past Wednesday was my weekly OB appointment. These appointments are so boring. Boring is good though! Only thing to report is that I did test positive for Group B Strep (GBS). So, once in labor and admitted into the hospital I will have to get a bag of antibiotics. No biggie.

During today's visit with the Perinatologist we discovered that Peanut weighs approximately 7 pounds and 6 ounces! (i say approx because u/s is not 100% accurate) His head measured a little small (phew!) and his belly about a week ahead. The u/s tech kept saying what a big belly he had! She also pointed out his head full of hair. So precious! I can't wait to meet this little guy and finally see what he looks like. 

I have an appointment tomorrow morning with a new chiropractor that my doula suggest I see. She is a prenatal chiropractor and specializes in the Webster Technique. It involves assessing and correcting any misalignments (subluxations) in the pelvic and low back area and helps to keep the ligaments and muscles, which support the uterus, relaxed. This allows for optimal uterine positioning and ultimately, a more favorable fetal position. Baby is finally head down and now we need to help him engage into the pelvis! Just another thing that i am doing on my end to ensure our best chances for a successful VBA2C. 

Weight gain: Up two pounds from last week. 

Sleep: My hands and feet/legs have been going numb during the night forcing me to change positions. This doesn't happen all the time, but when it does it's very uncomfortable. 

Mood: In this present moment I am very happy and content.  

Exciting moment: Peanut moving head down, of course!!!

I'll leave you all with my most recent belly picture taken this week when the family and I visited the local pumpkin patch. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Maternity Portraits

As are a few of my favorites from the maternity shoot I had done at 36w5d. ENJOY!



Friday, October 12, 2012

37 weeks

37 week belly picture 
What an exciting yet stressful week this has been! A lot going on. We are officially "full term" and Mr. Peanut can now safely make his grand appearance any day now. I'd like to think we still have a few more weeks though, but if and when he's ready, then I am ready!

Daddies are packing their bags and they make sure to keep their cell phones on every night just in case they get "the call"! I keep saying I need to pack my bags as well, but I haven't made it that far yet. Maybe I'll tackle that this weekend.

How am I feeling? Physically, I am feeling great this week--A little more pressure down below but that's a good thing. It means the Nut is getting himself nice a ready for birth! My back has been feeling a ton better this week too, so the chiropractor is definitely working wonders. 

Doctor appointments: Wednesday I went in for my weekly OB appt. We discussed my birthing preferences and I had a vaginal exam. Originally I was going to pass on the exam and let things happen as they come, but since I was experiencing quite a few braxton hicks the week prior, I figured it won't hurt to see where we are at with progress this week. I also thought it will be neat to see my progression from here on out and to compare each week. Anyhow, doctor checked me and discovered that I am 50% effaced with zero dilation and baby is high. I was happy with her findings because I don't recall ANY progress made at this stage of my two previous pregnancies. The doc also sent me over to have an ultrasound and to see what position baby is in. It was discovered that Peanut is semi-transverse (head low but to my right side). Doc suggested that I consult with their Perinatologist next week on having a possible External Version. So, next week (38wks) I will have that consult as well as another u/s to check baby's position. If he has moved completely head down by next week then we do nothing further and wait until labor begins. IF he is still transverse then we will schedule the external version for the following week (39wks). 

For more info on an External Version CLICK HERE
For a video on an External Version CLICK HERE

Weight gain: Down two pounds from last week, giving me a total of 20lbs gained so far during this pregnancy. 

Sleep: Sleep is OK this week. I've got my routine down on the exact positions that I lay each of my (4) pillows to make me the most comfortable. This week I've had a lot on my mind, so it has taken me a while for my brain to fall asleep. I can lay there for a few hours before finally getting some shut eye. Thank goodness for smart phones because I can lay in bed browsing the internet or Facebook until my eyes finally start to get heavy. 

Mood: I would say the same as last week...One big ball of emotions. 

Exciting moment: I had maternity portraits taken this week! I am SO excited to see how they turned out. As soon as I get them I will share!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Meet the egg donor!

This is a very special post as I will introduce you all to A & M's egg donor, "J"!

I hope that you will enjoy reading this as much as I did. 

And to "J"...I thank you for taking the time to be a guest blogger. This blog post will forever be treasured by many...


Hi, my name is "J".  I am 21 years old and from North Alabama.  Roll Tide.  I am a full time student.  I am an Accounting major with a minor in International Business.  I come from a military family.  Both my parents, both grandfathers, and even my little grandma have served.  I love the idea of myself being in the military, but honestly feel there are more ways for me to help those who need it.  I am a huge animal lover.  I have been a vegetarian for 8 years.  I feel it’s so important to be the voice for those who have none.   I have been an egg donor 3 times, two were anonymous one was open.  I am looking forward to seeing the families I have helped and watching them grow. 

I first was informed of egg donors through a friend of mine who was struggling with infertility.  She and her husband were looking into every possibility and she was telling me about their options.  I have never wanted kids.  I really felt bad that I am capable of it but don’t want it when there are people who want kids but can’t have them.  I went home after an afternoon with my friend and started researching.  I found Peas in a Pod website, and filled out a quick registration form and added some pictures.  I literally forgot ALL about it, then over a month later had a voice-mail saying I had been picked by a couple.  I didn't return the call for about a week.   I finally did and planned on just hearing what she had to say, Similar to my friends story, I heard of the couples struggle and decided there was no way I couldn't do this.  

I have donated 3 times, all different couples.  The first time I did was in August 2011, to a couple who just went through the adoption process.  It was an anonymous donation and I haven’t had any contact with them.  I was told from the donor agency that they now have a baby girl.  I donated in November 2011 to a same sex couple in Australia.  They were using a surrogate in the states that also gave birth to a little girl.  That was an anonymous donation also.  And as we all know, in February 2012 I donated to A & M and they are having a little boy.

When thinking of the med process I always roll my eyes and think ‘oh lord’.  It was terrible!!!  Worse than terrible, I literally would cry and just say “I’m done.”  Seriously thought I would have to call it off at least once during all three cycles.  I took Lupron, Menopur, and Gonal F.  I took the Lupron for 13 days, 10 units the first week and 5 units the last week in the morning.  The needle for this was tiny and had no problems with it.  The Gonal F actually wasn’t bad either; I took it the last week at night.  It was a prefilled pen that had two doses in each pen.  The Menopur was the terrible one.  The needles were HUGE and they stung so badly!  I took one vial every night with the Gonal F for the last week.  I had to ice the area until it was literally numb before I could do this shot.  The cycle for A & M was probably the worst.  The night I was scheduled to start the Menopur and Gonal F I was sitting on my couch and happened to be watching Intervention.  I can’t remember what the girl was addicted to, but whatever it was she shot it up in her upper thigh and that’s where I was supposed to inject the Menopur!!!  I literally cried and that was my I give up moment.  I was supposed to do the shot at 6 pm, after a few hours my leg was frozen enough I just did it.  There’s a Peanut, so I obviously got over it.

My retrieval process was great.  I have read so many terrible experiences and was so scared.  The first cycle I woke up laughing and joking with the doctor.  He told me how many he retrieved and I yelled “shut the f*** up”.  (Really embarrassing)  I went to the hotel for an hour then went to the beach. Second cycle I was on the plane back home 7 hours later.  Third cycle, with M & A I remember pretending to be asleep because I didn't want to talk to the doctor so my companion had to take the instructions.  (he wasn't too happy about that)  As soon as we left I demanded we go to Ihop.  I now LOVE hot sauce on my eggs and hash browns and Boysenberry syrup on my pancakes.  I think it’s safe to say I've now experienced the munchies.  I was told each time to stay in bed but I’m not a stay down kind of person, I like to be moving.  Especially didn't want to be in bed on vacation.

The day of the retrieval I got a text from the donor agency saying another couple had chosen me to donate for them.  I declined, and asked her to only contact me for previous families.  Something about meeting A & M made this donation so much more real for me.  I didn't just feel like I was helping build a family, I saw the family being created.  Peanut is special, and I just felt, for me, donating again would take away from that.  I feel a little hypercritical saying that because if I had that “feeling” the first or even second time Peanut wouldn't be here. 

If Peanut wants to meet in the future I would be completely ok with that.   I already love seeing pictures of him on FB, I hope to be able to continue following A & M building their family.  Like I mentioned before, I am not a kid person.  I like to be the fun Aunt "J".  I get to have fun, spoil, and create messes but then get to give them back. I enjoy being friends with everyone on FB so I can witness the experiences without having to go through them myself. 

I do stay in contact with A & M.  We are FB friends and we email every now and then.  With it being so close to the due date we haven’t spoken lately, I’m sure they have so much going on right now...

Friday, October 5, 2012

35/36 week comparison. Changes are happening!

This past week I have been feeling different. I'm more tired. All of Peanut's movements are starting to get uncomfortable and sometimes even painful as he grazes across my rib cage or flips into a crazy position. It's harder for me to get around without supporting my belly or my back. Trips to the grocery store are exhausting. I've had to ice my back daily, in addition to seeing the chiropractor once a week. The chiro suggested I get a prenatal massage before coming in to see her next week, so that I will do. My mood has been something else, too! I'm so irritable and can't tolerate much going on arond me. My husband will say, "What's new?", but I can seriously notice my mood swings increasing and my sensitivity level at an all time high. You look at me wrong and it will send me into tears. I've also been experiencing braxton hicks lately. This one is new for me because I don't remember having them with my other two pregnancies. Or, maybe I wasn't in tune or aware of what was going on with my body then? I'm not complaining here, just documenting all the change so I have something to look back on.

I had an OB appointment this past Wednesday and since my last visit two weeks ago I have gained 5 pounds. That explains a lot of my uncomfortableness lately. So, I'm up to 22 pounds total gained. My goal for this pregnancy is 25lbs....and I still have 4ish more weeks left. Eeeep!

It dawned on me to compare my 35 week and 36 week belly photo this week. Man this baby can grow!!
It's amazing how much change can happen in just one week.

All of these changes happening this week is starting to freak me out a little. I'm not going to lie. I have a scary feeling that Peanut *may* make his grand appearance a little earlier than expected. I'm not ready for that. My "plan" is for him to arrive on 11/1 or shortly after. So much is relying on that date.

So Mr. Peanut...please hang tight just a little longer. Take this time to grow just a little bit stronger and allow for all of us to prepare the way that we need to for your arrival. Four more weeks, little buddy. You will be in your Daddies arms in no time, just please allow me four more weeks. I love you.