Friday, November 30, 2012

Peanut's Birth Story - The Recovery

To read the Labor and Delivery Story first, CLICK HERE.

Peanut's Birth Story continued....The Recovery.

Peanut, A, M, and Amy headed off to the recovery room while I stayed back to get stitched up. I joined them shortly after.

Peanut hanging out while taking in his new world.
I am so thankful that I was able to join my surro family in the recovery room. M got to do skin-to-skin first, followed by A. Watching the first moments of the new family together and bonding was a very special and rewarding moment for me.  This is what it was all about right here. This is why I became a surrogate. Witnessing the instant connection and love between Peanut and his Daddies was priceless.

Dada "M" doing skin-to-skin bonding with his new son.

Daddy "A" doing skin-to-skin while feeding Peanut his first bottle

Peanut's first bath.

Me holding Peanut for the first time.
After an hour or so, Peanut and his daddies headed to their own room and Amy switched out with my husband so that he could come back to see me. I stayed in recovery for a while longer while the anesthesia wore off and then I was wheeled into my own private room.

Later that afternoon Peanut and his daddies stopped by for a visit. They brought along a little blue bag that caught my eye right away. The kind of little blue bag that every girl loves – A Tiffany’s bag! A and M bought me a beautiful charm bracelet with the letter “A” for Ari on it. Every time I wear it I will be reminded of the family that I helped to create and the amazing experience that we went through, together, to bring little Peanut into this world.

I also had a few gifts for my Peanut. The t-shirts I had made from etsy. The blanket, lovey, and burp cloths were made by me. 

How perfect are these!

A and M love their pups, so I found this fabric fitting. 

It's a tradition in my family to receive handmade burp cloths for a new baby.
My mother taught me years ago how to make these - they are the perfect shape to lay over your shoulder.
I was honored to be able to continue the family tradition and make these for my Peanut and his Daddies.

The following morning (Sunday, November 18th) Amy set up a mini photo shoot in my room for lil’ Peanut. Oh my goodness, the photos turned out SO CUTE! I can’t get over how perfect and beautiful this child is. I wish I could take credit for the beautiful part, but they aren't my genes. I did grow him perfectly though!

Pure perfection.

The remainder of our hospital stay was a pleasant one. All of the nurses at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center were awesome (There's your shout out, Nurse Tiffany!). They truly made our stay a memorable one. We enjoyed visits from family and friends and everyone loved meeting Peanut and some even meeting A and M for the first time.

My daughter meeting and holding Peanut for the first time.

My family saying "Hello" to lil' Peanut
all bundled up on the pillow in front of me.

Flowers and a sweet note
received from my surrogacy agency.

Monday, November 19th:
My surro family's departure was a bitter-sweet one. A and M asked if I would like some alone time to spend with Peanut before they head out. I excitedly said, "Yes, of course!" They didn't have to do this, but they did and I love them for it.  I will treasure that time with my Surro Babe forever. It was truly a special moment between a Surro Momma and her Surro Baby. It allowed me private time to say goodbye to the child that I carried for 42 weeks and also signified the end of my journey as A and M's Gestational Surrogate. My "job" is now complete and their new life and family is just beginning. I was so proud of my accomplishment and I am so lucky to have the opportunity to watch my Surro Family grow for many, many years to come. We are family now and they are stuck with me. 

Saying my goodbyes to Peanut.
The Daddies, Peanut, and Me.
I stayed another two days in the hospital. I probably could have pushed to go leave sooner, but with a C-section you are allowed 4 full days in the hospital so I took advantage of it. I am so glad that I did. It gave me time alone to process what we all just went through. It gave me time to heal (physically, mentally, and emotionally) and time to reflect on our amazing journey. It also gave me time to cry and sort through my emotions without feeling judged. What we all just experienced was BIG, so naturally there were many emotions that came along with it.

Staying those few extra days in the hospital really made a difference with my recovery. I was having a hard time managing the pain from my C-section. We went through a few different pain medications before one finally worked - Percocet is a life saver! I also ended up breaking out in a rash all over my stomach. Apparently I had an allergic reaction to the glue that was used to hold down the tape strips over my incision.


Three days postpartum belly shot
On Wednesday, November 21st, my family arrived to take me home. It was weird being wheeled out of the hospital without a baby to show for it. The drive home felt odd to me. A few tears ran down my face. When we arrived at home I felt lost and out of place. Life was continuing on around me and I didn't know how to jump back in, nor did I feel ready to. I went to my room and cried. I didn't know why I was crying, but I was crying. It felt good to cry. I felt like I needed to find myself again. Surrogacy had taken up so much of my life for the past 2 years and now that it was over I didn't know what I was supposed to do. I didn't have a newborn to care for, but I was pumping every two hours and struggling to get around with my C-section pain. I needed to figure out how my life was going to continue now that I am home and no longer pregnant.

I was aware of the “blues” that surrogates go through after the delivery of their surrogate baby - It's a natural and normal process that we all go through - I just didn't expect it to hit me the second I arrived home. I confided in my amazing surro-sisters for support during this emotional transition. Each and every one of them reconfirmed how normal it was to experience what I was going through. I took comfort in knowing that I was going to be OK and that this too shall pass...

I laid myself up on the couch for the remainder of the day. Eric and the kids waited on me so that I didn't have to struggle getting up off the couch. As the hours passed I started to feel much better. Then the door bell rang. Eric had stepped out so I was forced to get up and answer the door. Much to my surprise, it was a flower delivery. 

"Welcome home. We love you. M, A, and Ari"

Tears poured down my face again as I walked the flowers into my kitchen. I sat there, crying, staring at these beautiful flowers and reading the card over and over again. I am so lucky. So blessed. So in love with my new Surro Family. This was just the pick-me-up that I needed to get me through the rest of my first day back home. 

The following day was Thanksgiving. I was nervous about getting out of the house so soon and being overwhelmed by questions and "how are yous". I wasn't ready for all of that just yet as I was still sensitive to the birth and afraid I would break out into tears in front of everyone. Our day ended up being the exact opposite of what I was so nervous about. My in-laws welcomed my family into their home with loving arms (as always) and they knew that I needed my space to just be. I wasn't bombarded with questions and "how are yous", and in fact they knew just the right things to make me feel good - like offer me my first glass of wine with dinner. This Thanksgiving was a memorable one and it definitely helped to ease my way back into "Life". 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Peanut's Birth Story - Labor and Delivery

Last belly shot 11/15/12
42 weeks pregnant

Saturday morning, November 17th at 2:00am - the morning of my scheduled cesarean section - contractions awake me from my sleep. 

Could this be it? Am I really in labor? No, I can't be. But how freaking amazing will it be if I really am in labor!?! I've never gone into labor on my own, so I wasn't sure if this was the real deal or not.

I lay in bed counting how many contractions I’m having, how far apart they are, and how long they are lasting. Man, these are close together; 3 to 5 minutes apart but manageable. I get out of bed and head to the bathroom. More mucus plug on the toilet paper. (I started losing my plug the day before.) I keep moving and walk laps around my upstairs to see if the contractions continue. They do and I am ecstatic! 

Keeping track of contractions
It’s now 3:00am. I start writing down each contraction on the first thing I could get my hands on - a box of breast milk storage bags. They are still 3 to 5 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds to one minute long. I start squatting through each contraction to see if I can make some progress in helping Peanut descend into my pelvis. After a few more contractions in the squatting position I feel a small, warm gush between my legs. I jump up and run to the bathroom to check it out. Not sure if it's more mucus plug or a small water leak? I wipe and notice a small pink tinge on the toilet paper. Bloody show maybe? I don’t know, but it’s looking like progress to me! I get into a squatting position in the bathroom with my underwear off. I bear through a few more contractions in that position and look down to notice more watery slimy stuff on the floor. Crap, things are happening! I’m so excited but don’t want to wake anyone just yet. I wanted to enjoy this moment all to myself. I’m in labor, people! I've never gone into labor on my own, so this was awesome and I was so proud of my body.

I continue to walk around and breathe through the contractions. It’s just after 4:00am now. I hop into the shower for some relief and to shave my legs and other areas. I've heard that if you take a shower and contractions subside that it could be false labor. Well, my contractions kept on coming! Getting a bit stronger now where I have to stop what I'm doing and really concentrate and breathe through each contraction.  I’m out of the shower and I get dressed. From all the commotion and moving around my husband awakes. I tell him I think it's time. "No way, are you serious?", he says. I give him a kiss and tell him I think I'm headed to the hospital soon and that I will call him as soon as I have an update. The kids were home and still sound asleep and I didn't want to disrupt anyone with childcare so early in the morning so I let my husband sleep.

 Down stairs I went to wake my friend Amy who had arrived back into town late the night before. She wasn't going to miss this birth and I wasn't going to allow it, so we flew her back out for the weekend since we had the C-section date scheduled. I told Amy I think it's time - contractions are 3 to 5 minutes apart. "No way, really?", she said as she jumped up off the couch. I sit down and breathe through a few more contractions. Amy realizes I wasn't kidding and heads upstairs to take a quick shower. I called my Doula to let her know what was going on.

It’s now 5:00am and things are continuing on, steady at 3 to 5 minutes apart, but still only lasting 45’ish seconds or so. By this time I was hoping to see the contractions lasting longer, especially since I was staying active, but they weren't.  As I’m bouncing around on my exercise ball I call A and M to let them know what was up. “You aren't going to believe this, but I’m in labor!” In the middle of our conversation I had to pause and breathe through another contraction.  We all decided since I was to be at the hospital at 9:00am anyways for my scheduled C-section, we might as well pack up and head there a little early so Peanut and I could be monitored. Just after 6:00am we were out the door.

At my last OB appointment my doctor mentioned that if I went into labor on my own that she would allow me to try and labor successfully. I was so excited to put the surgery on hold to see if I could attempt this VBA2C after all. Amy and I arrived at the hospital and met A and M out front. We all exchanged hugs and headed inside for the labor and delivery unit. I couldn't believe this was happening. Nothing like the threat of a C-section to throw you into labor! I was so proud.

Checking out Peanut on the monitor. He's doing great!
Once checked in, they hooked me up to monitors and checked me for progress. I was 80-90% effaced with no dilation and baby still very high, -3 station, and cervix tiled way back. Not really what I wanted to hear after being in early labor since 2am. My doctor finally arrived around 7:30am. She said I can continue to try and labor on my own, but that we need a game plan if things do not progress (like my past history of laboring with my son that ended in my first C-section due to no progression). I wasn't ready to talk games plans yet; I just wanted to see what my body was going to do over the next few hours first. My doctor respected my wishes and told me to get up and walk, walk, walk. Finally, we were assigned a room of our own to put our things down and off to walking we went.

Breathing through a contraction
as my Doula massages my back
Around and around the labor and delivery floor we walked, stopping every so often so I could concentrate and breathe through each contraction. My Doula was by my side massaging my back each time I stopped. Contractions were still 3 to 5 minutes apart and only lasting 45 seconds to one minute long.

It is now 8:00am and I was told to go back into my room so I could be monitored for 30 minutes. Peanut was doing great and hanging in there during each contraction. My doctor came back in the room and told me I had one more hour to walk, walk, walk, and then she was going to check me for progress. Back to walking we went. Around and around the labor and delivery floor, pausing and breathing slowly and deeply through each contraction. 

My entourage as we walked around L & D.
Breathing through a contraction as my
Doula comforts me with her magic touch.
A and M looking over me as I'm being checked
for progress by my doctor.
9:30am rolls around quickly and I’m back in bed to get checked by my doctor.

No progress; nothing at all.

I am devastated. Tears roll down my face. I have been defeated - again. My body is not meant to birth babies vaginally. I gave it my best shot. At least I can say that I tried. We chatted about my options - I can continue on all day with my contractions still the same and no progress being made, or we can move forward with the C-section. My Doula, whom I love and trust immensely, tells me that if I haven’t made any progress by now, I most likely won’t make any more progress if I choose to continue on, but that whatever I decide she supports me 100%.

The loving embrace of my amazing doctor.
I am 42 weeks pregnant. I've been laboring since 2:00am with no progression what so ever. It’s time to make a decision - my decision. I did not feel pressured at all. I knew in my heart what the right decision was, even if it tore my heart into a million pieces. It’s time for the C-section. My doctor hugged me and through her tears said how proud she was of me for all that I have accomplished. My Doula laid her comforting hands on my body and my IPs both embraced me with their support and love.

Accepting the reality of a C-section and "The Team" standing
by my side to comfort and support me.
I then asked for the nurse to give me something to stop the contractions. If I was headed back for a C-section, I didn't want to deal with these damn contractions any longer! That seemed to break the ice and we were all able to smile again.

M cooling me off with a wet paper towel
as I power through the last of my contractions.
I called my husband and told him to get down here because I’m going into surgery soon. He wasn't going to be in the delivery room, but I wanted to kiss him goodbye before they took me back and I wanted him to be there at the hospital just in case anything were to happen to me. The nurse continued to hook up my IV and my blood was drawn for Peanut’s cord blood kit. Amy, A and M got suited up in blue paper scrubs. Amy took the place of my husband in the delivery room so that she could take all of the birth photos.

M, Amy, and A ready and waiting for Peanut's arrival!
It’s minutes now before we have to head back into the OR. My husband is nowhere to be found and all of my calls are going straight to voice mail. The nurse sees that I really want to see my husband before we head back so she very slowly takes care of last minute preparations and paperwork. I can’t thank her enough for that.

It’s time to go and still no husband to be found. We slowly walk out of my room and past the elevators as we’re walking towards the OR. It sounds like someone is coming up. We pause to see if my husband steps off the elevator. It’s not him. I take a deep breath as we walk through the doors leading into the operating room. It’s go time.

Walking back to the operating room.
A, M, and Amy wait just outside the doors as I head back to get prepped with a spinal and laid out on the table. The anesthesiologist had a hard time with the spinal. I have scoliosis, so that wasn't a surprise. A few cuss words from me and it was done. They laid me back on the table, raised the curtain and got started. A, M, and Amy are now allowed into the room. A and M stayed near the baby warmer while Amy came over to sit by my head. I start giggling. For what reason, I don’t know. I think the anesthesiologist slipped me something to take the edge off. Whatever it was, it helped.

A and M sharing one last moment before the birth of their son.
Lots of tugging and pulling and pressure was felt. Peanut was in there good. They ended up having to use the suction thingy on his head to help pull him down and out. I remember they had to do the same thing with my daughter, as well.

At 11:48am my Peanut, Ari Isaac, was brought into this world!

He weighed in at a whopping 8 pounds, 5 ounces and he was 21 inches long.

Well hello there, beautiful. Welcome to the world.
There are so many people who already love you dearly...
As soon as I heard Peanut’s first cry, tears poured down my face. I did it. I created a family. I successfully grew this beautiful child in my womb for 42 weeks and now he is placed into the loving arms of his amazing daddies whom I love so very much. I am so proud. What an incredible experience! I may not have gotten the vaginal birth that I so badly wanted and planned for, but Ari’s birth was beautiful just the same.



 I am so thankful for my friend, Amy, who took so much time away from her own family to be here with me (twice!) and to take pictures of this incredible birth. I will never forget this moment and I now have so many beautiful pictures to remind me of this amazing, life changing experience.

To be continued......

For Peanut's Birth Story - The Recovery, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Welcome to the world, Peanut!


Ari Isaac
Born Saturday, November 17th @ 11:48am.
He was 8lbs, 5oz and 21 inches of perfection!

Birth story coming soon....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

41w5d - Cesarean Section Scheduled

I had a non-stress test, ultrasound, and OB appointment this morning. Everything still looks great with Lil Peanut. His heart rate is beautiful (140s). He's head down, but floating high (-3 station). I still have a ton of fluid (18cm+ as of today). I think at this point in the pregnancy all that fluid is working against us and not allowing Peanut to engage into my pelvis.

My OB checked me today as well. I am approximately 60% effaced but my cervix is still closed, high, and tilted back. Not really what we want to see at this point in the game, but from all of my research I do know things can change at a moments notice.

Since we are approaching 42 weeks, we had to talk about plans for a cesarean section if I don't end up going into labor on my own before this weekend. I am at peace with a c-section now. I know that I have done my very best in trying for a VBA2C and have exhausted all options to induce labor naturally. So, I can't say that I didn't try. I am proud with all that I've accomplished thus far and the best accomplishment is yet to come--delivering Peanut and creating a family!!

The date we've set for the c-section is this Saturday, November 17th @ 10:30am. 

I still have a few more days to see if my body will go into labor on its own, though. Good news is that for the past day and a half I have been experiencing a lot of contractions. I know things are brewing up in the ol' uterus so i'm excited to see what these next few days brings.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

41w3d - Where's the baby at?

Well...our due date of 11/1/12 has long come and gone. As of today, I am 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant.

Everyone who participated in the Guessing Game has lost.

The pregnancy ticker to the right of this page no longer has a baby floating around. It makes me sad to look at. What does that stupid thing know anyways?

Now that I'm 41 weeks, my OB has me coming in for non-stress tests to check on baby and ultrasounds to measure fluid levels. This past Friday (11/9) I went in for my first monitoring appointment and we passed with flying colors. My fluid levels are great (16cm+). Peanut is still high and head down, but has not descended into my pelvis yet. I'm thinking he is just too comfy cozy so he has no reason to leave yet.

Playing around at the park one night. Hoping to get labor started. 

Laura (36 weeks with surro babe), Amy (my BSSF), and Me (41 weeks with Peanut)
and hey look!! I cut about 9 inches of my hair off.

A surro-sis of mine made this the other day. Love it! 

How am I feeling? I'm tired. More mentally and emotionally tired though. My body itself feels great.....almost too great and I wish something anything would I would just go into labor already. 

Doctor appointments: I have a non-stress test, ultrasound, and OB appointment this Tuesday. Followed by my last non-stress test Friday (which puts us at 42 weeks). If labor doesn't start on its own this coming week then talks of a c-section will take place. 

I've been asked numerous times, "Why don't you just get induced?" 
My OB will not induce me because of my two prior c-sections and the risk of uterine rupture. I have to go into labor on my own and with no complications to be successful at this VBA2C. 

Weight gain: Holding steady at 22 pounds gained for this pregnancy. 

Sleep: Sleep has been OK this past week. I haven't been getting up to pee as much this week. Weird. 

Mood: As we are nearing 42 weeks, I'm starting to feel defeated with this pregnancy. I've planned and prepped for the most amazing VBA2C and now as each day passes with no signs of labor i'm starting to lose hope. There's a little piece of me holding on to that VBA2C...but it's quickly fading...

Exciting moment: My BSSF--best surro sister forever, Amy (pictured above), came into town last Tuesday. The plan was to have her here with me for labor and delivery and to photograph the birth. This morning I dropped her off at the airport so she can return home to her family in Minnesota. She was here for 6 days. During her stay we worked our butts off to send my body into labor and although we were unsuccessful I am thankful for the time that we had together.