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". 


Carla said...

wonderful post. I too get an allergic reaction to the tape they use. I HATE it!

Jesse said...

Oh man...those emotions just came back to me full force and I admit, I might have just shed a tear or two while reading that.

Beautiful birth story and "after the birth" story. Truly amazing. Wonderful and awesome.

You are part of a truly remarkable surrogate family and I'm so proud to call you a surro sister :)

Congrats to you and the guys!! Good job, mama!!

Melissa said...

Aww... these stories always make me tear up, especially when you have to say goodbye. It's the saddest thing. Sounds like you've grown an amazing relationship though and that is an awesome thing!

Michael said...

I love your story. Sorry to hear that it has been a little rough getting used to your "retirement." But it also sounds like you are well on your way to feeling like yourself again. By the way, that picture of you holding Peanut for the first time is fantastic!

pbc said...

Thank you for sharing...I'm soooo glad I didn't bombard you with my 50 questions...Reading your blog has answered a bunch of questions I had...I totally teared up reading your story...Thank you!

Ashley said...

Oh wow!!! What a beautiful story. I loved every moment of it. You have been through so much in the past couple years and I can't believe the time has already come where you delivered your surro baby (who is absolutely perfect!!). I know how much you have worked towards this and I am so proud of you.

Yes, those first few weeks are going to be challenging- so many unexplainable emotions. But that's why only the strongest can call themselves "surrogates".

So happy for you!!! Congratulations!!!

Babydreams2011 said...

Beautiful birth story and "after" story.. I cried reading it too! You are such an amazing person. A, M and Ari are so lucky to call you "theirs"!! You did such an amazing job Andrea!! So blessed to call you my friend! xoxo

Tiffany said...

Congratulations Andrea. Wow, what an emotional rollercoaster that must have been with the onset of labor and then the decision to go ahead with the c/s must have brought. I can only imagine. A healthy baby and happy surro are what are important and from the looks of your gorgeous smile in the OR there is no doubt you had both.

I never had the "blues" afterwards or any sadness about baby/ies but so remember, especially after this c/s, how I wanted to jump back in with my family but at the same time was not physically ready and just wanted to be alone. I felt really guilty about that. I cried a lot that first day home but it got better as I healed and was able to refocus my attention on my girls.

You did an amazingly wonderful thing. Creating a family for someone else is so very rewarding and I'm proud to call you my surro-sister. XOXO

Peg Davis said...

AS one of "M's" OLDEST and CLOSEST friends--reading about your journey literally brought tears to my eyes!!! I am so in awe of you!!!!! Thank you so much for giving people I love someone that they have wanted for so long--You gave M his FONDEST wish EVER and I love you for it!!!!! Happy Recovery and God Bless!!!!

greatdana said...

Thank you for sharing this. I really enjoyed reading it.