July 29, 2011

It's a boy!

I was headed to the county fair with one intention, to see the "Miracle of Birth" exhibit. The exhibit is new to the county fair this year. It has been a huge success at the state fair for years. The exhibit presents animals ready to give birth at any moment. From what I have seen, the animals are usually cows, pigs, ducks, chickens and sheep.

About 5 years ago, I was able to see a momma cow give birth to her calf at the state fair. The calf needed assistance as it was breached. I watched it more for a TV screen because there were so many people, it was hard to see the cow.

Last night, I packed 3 of my kids and myself into our van and headed to the fair. The exhibit had been open since Monday or Tuesday. I heard that most had had their babies, some the night before the exhibit opened. As we walked into the shed holding the pregnant (or new mommas) animals, we were flooded by animals and their babies. There were chicks, ducklings, piglets, calves and lambs. One pig had given birth just hours before we arrived. I would have loved to see that. Another pig had given birth during the early morning hours to 12 piglets!! Can you imagine?!? I was able to pet one of the piglets that was born just hours before we arrived. I wanted to take him home. I admit I would return him as soon as it outgrew that piglet cuteness, though.

As we walked out the back, we noticed quite a few people around a cow that was in a larger fenced in area. Ahhh... the animal birthing center. There had to be something going because you could tell the audience was anxious. We walked over to an open spot. I asked a woman if the cow was close to giving birth and she wasn't sure. After a few moments, a guy walked into the fenced area. He was there to check the cow's progress. To do this, the guy had to gear up... he put on a shoulder length plastic glove (I am glad to not be a cow, haha). The guy put his whole arm into the cow. We assume he broke the water because much fluid gushed from her. He left after that only to return within minutes along with several other workers. He explained that the calf was breach and they would have to assist in the birthing efforts. He said that if they left the calf to come out on its own that it would most likely drown because of being head down in the extra fluid. In fact, he wasn't sure the calf was still alive. They connected some sort of chain contraption to the calf's legs and pulled and pulled and pulled. Soon another worker was helping pull and then a third. Finally, after 5 minutes or so the calf was successfully out. They claimed it to be a bull as they pulled him out so "It's a boy" cigars were handed out (OK, not really). He was very still. They hung him upside down to drain the fluid, it didn't help. They placed the newborn calf on the hay. He was still very still. One of the workers took some hay and poked into his throat. That caused the calf to cough out the fluid. He was going to be just fine. Immediately, he lifted his head and looked around. The momma cow had to be restrained during the assisted delivery so she wasn't able to go to her baby right after birth. After the workers were satisfied with the calf's condition, they returned to the momma cow. They checked her out to be sure all was okay with her insides. Once they were happy with her condition, they released her and she went right to her baby.

Cleaning her newborn calf
A closer view (photo taken by my blackberry... poor quality)

I love babies but it's the actual birth that grabs hold of my heart... animal or human. I wish I could go back in time, I would go to school to be a labor and delivery nurse and then eventually a midwife. I know I could still do it but my family needs me now. Maybe one day I'll go back to school.

Hope you enjoyed my county fair story!


July 27, 2011

Another week down...13 weeks

We have now reached the 13 week mark. At the end of this week, I will be entering the second trimester. Yoo whoo! The babies continue to grow like crazy. Their ears are moving into the proper location. Tiny bones are forming in their legs and arms. Their vocal cords are well under construction and the intestines are moving from the umbilical cord (where they have been growing until now) into the their abdomens. See what I mean, growing like crazy! Their bodies are also catching up to their heads, ever so slightly. They are about the size of a peach. They are almost 3 inches in length and 0.81 oz... almost one full ounce! Within 3 weeks, they will be anywhere from 3 to 5 oz... that's a whole lot of progress!


As for me, I have been feeling better. The nausea is decreasing and the fatigue isn't an all day occurrence. I am optimistic that the second trimester will be great. My belly continues to expand. My lungs are not being pressed on yet but I lose my breathe quite easily, which is just another first trimester symptom. It should go away soon but will return when the babies get bigger and start shoving my organs around.


The gender interest has been in very high demand, people are just itching to know. It's just fun to know, isn't it?? We won't be sure until the anatomy ultrasound which will be around 18-20 weeks (even then we may not know for sure). For today, Twin A is a girl and Twin B is a boy!!! One of each... how prefect!


I had a check-up today. It was just a short visit. The nurse that called me back was super nice and we quickly got on the subject of IVF. She was young, I would say mid to late 20's. When she pulled up my information about the medication I am taking, I told her I was done with all IVF meds. She mentioned that she was thinking about starting IVF. I was kind of taken off guard because from my experience most people don't talk about it openly to strangers. She was very open about the subject or she felt comfortable talking about it with me, either way I am glad she spoke about it. Her trials broke my heart but her spirit was very positive. Can you imagine working around pregnant women and babies all day and not being able to go home to your own?

I have gained almost 5 pounds already... hope some of that is bloating because 5 pounds already is a little much in my opinion. Yes, I realize it's twins and I will gain more weight than a singleton pregnancy. I am not one to be obsessed with my weight but I am very careful to not gain a ton during a pregnancy. Baby weight is hard to lose!


The main thing the doctor and I talked about was the end of the pregnancy. I know, I know... I have plenty of time to talk about that but I want to get my "ducks in a row" and have an understanding of what may be in store for me. Mostly, bedrest and going into early labor. I was told that bedrest is usually not required, whew! Depending on the situation, it could be anything from being restricted from work to admission into the hospital. As for early labor (talking like 32 weeks and after), they won't do much to stop labor. They may try to hold it off a day or two until the steroids for the lungs can take effect but that would depend on dilatation. The hope is that we make it to at least 34 weeks. The good news, they will most likely induce by 38 weeks. Pregnancy is wonderful (with the exception of a few symptoms) until about 36/38 weeks. So 38 weeks sounds good to me. I am really hoping for a scheduled delivery. This will make it so much easier for the guys to plan their travel arrangements. It's important to all of us that they are here for delivery, I am sure you are saying to yourself "duh, obviously". I try to not get anxious about the possibility of them not being here. I push the thought away when it enters my mind... and it enters a lot. There isn't much we can do if it happens and I know all will be fine but I think you know what I mean.

That's all for today. Thanks for checking in!


July 23, 2011

Genetic screening

I recently had some genetic testing done to check for Down's Syndrome and Tricomy 18/13. I met with the counselor first and was given an estimated chance of the odds, which are quite low because of the egg donor's age. To be honest, I was a little nervous. Not because I "felt" there was something wrong but because it's just natural to worry about these things.

After meeting with the counselor, I met with the ultrasound technician. As we entered the room, I told her the intended parents would be on speakerphone throughout the screening, which she was fine with. I hopped up on the table and called the guys. The warm gel was applied to my belly and within seconds the babies were on the screen. It blows my mind how much they have grown since the last u/s. The last u/s was on a portable machine so the quality wasn't top notch. The tech located Twin A (my right side, somewhat under Twin B). Twin A was hanging out on his/her back just chilling when we first peeked but soon was showing us some mad twirling skills. By the time we were done, he/she was face down. At one point, you could see his/her hand up by it's mouth. It's seriously just an amazing thing. I told the tech how lucky she was that this was her job, she agreed. So the measurements were taken and everything is perfect! Heartbeat was around 170. I can quit using he/she because the tech was able to check out the goodies. But I am not sure if the guys are ready to share. Sorry, I won't share here until I know it's okay.

Twin A's profile... he/she was constantly moving the little arms up by the the face so it was hard to get a good image (note: Twin B's head above)

Nice little legs (toes toward the top of image)

On to Twin B (my left side), this one was busy right off the bat! It's was the cutest thing. He/she (nope, I am not telling you the gender) was pushing off my uterus for quite awhile. It was hard for the tech to get a good image at first because this one was just jamming to his/her own drum. This was the most entertaining u/s I have ever had, my own kids were not this busy. Maybe my kids had stage freight or something. Anyway, after the jam session Twin B was feeling sleepy so it relaxed and the tech was able to do her thing. The measurements were taken and everything looks perfect. Yay 2 for 2! Heartbeat was around 160.

Twin B's face... we got a little wave from this one. Notice the hand above it's head.

Beautiful profile picture... after he/she settled down a little. Cracks me up how busy this one was in the beginning.

So all in all the appointment was terrific! 

Thanking for checking in!


July 21, 2011

She said whaaat?

As I walked into the living room this morning a game show was airing on the TV. It caught my attention because the host was asking a question regarding "test-tube" babies. The first successful "test-tube" baby was born in the late 1970's in Great Britain. The host was saying how it just happened so I imagine the show was taped in the late 70's. The contestants playing the game are asked a question that was previously asked to 100 random people (in this case, it was 100 women). This particular question was: "If you were paid $10,000 to carry a "test-tube" baby for an infertile couple, would you?" The host then asks the first contestant "how many women would carry the baby?". The first contestant was male and answered 50 out of 100 women would carry the baby. The second contestant must answer if he or she thinks the correct answer will be more or less than the first contestant's answer. The second contestant was female and she guessed the answer to be less. I would have guessed it to be less than 50 women, as well, even today in 2011. What gets me was her reasoning for this. She explained how she "found it hard to believe women would give up 9 months of their life for such a weary amount of money". What the... "give up"? I was offended by her words.

Maybe I could blame my excessive amount of hormones for feeling offended but here are my thoughts. What is giving up (I would word it "sharing") 9 months of your life for a lifetime of happiness for someone else? In no way do I feel I have given up anything. My life and family has not been put on hold because I am surrogate. I haven't missed out on anything because I am a surrogate. I was given the awesome ability to carry and deliver babies and I find I do it quite well. I know this decision is not for everyone and it's a pretty big deal but I found this woman's response to be so selfish.

As for the "weary amount of money" part, some women are surrogates solely for financial purposes. I find nothing wrong with that. For myself, I have deeper reasons for being a surrogate and it's a bonus to be compensated. I didn't want to go into this process and have it feel like a business deal. My preference was to have a friendship with the couple I was matched with. Luck for me, my relationship with the guys is just that. I can't say where we will be as life passes us by but I hope to remain in touch with them. I mentioned in a previous post how I feel no emotional attachments to the babies I am currently carrying. It would be foolish of me to think that I won't have any feelings toward them by the time I deliver. I will love them, of course. I will not love them as my own, though. I only assume it will be an Aunt kind of love. Not only because of the relationship I am building with Roy and Avner do I want to stay in touch but I will always wonder how the babies are growing and such. I don't plan to be a huge part of their lives as we are a half a world apart, a sliver of a part would be great.

As I reread, I see I took this post in a new direction (no longer talking about the game show) but I guess it felt right to go into more details.

I'll check in again soon. I have an appointment tomorrow for some screening which includes an ultrasound and the possibility of finding out genders is there. Yee haw!


July 20, 2011

July 19, 2011

12 weeks and growing

Sorry for my lack of posting lately! I have no motivation to be on the computer, in fact, it makes me nauseous when I think about going on the computer.

While eating lunch with my husband yesterday, I was promptly notified by my stomach that it was no longer accepting deliveries. Thankfully, I was within 2 feet of the bathroom. The rest of day was spent feeling like poo. This had been my first bad, bad day in almost 2 weeks. I was under the impression that Miss. Nausea had moved on to someone else. I was convinced the extra hormones I was injecting were causing me to feel so horrible. I stopped taking the hormones a week ago... guess my theory was incorrect. Trust me, one day I will not be complaining about feeling ill. It will be all roses and unicorns!

Tomorrow I will be 12 weeks pregnant. The babies are compared to the size of a lime. They have been mucho busy growing since my last post! This puts them at about 2.13 inches and 0.49 oz. From what I have been reading, the most dramatic development this week are the babies reflexes. They are opening and closing their fists and curling their toes. Their eyes are moving from the side of their face to the front of their face. I can feel the babies fluttering about and can actually feel each one separately. Baby right (my right), seems to move more when I am resting in the evening. Baby left moves more in the afternoon. I can't feel them everyday but it's more common than not. Feeling a baby move inside my belly has always been such a bizarre feeling. It's a feeling like no other therefore making it hard to describe. Many women compare it to the "butterflies" feeling. It can also feel sort of like a twitch.

The above was typed yesterday (Monday).

My belly has been expanding these last few weeks. I was able to wear my normal clothes until last week. And so begins the bump watch!

I am anxious to see how big this bump will grow.

And now on to some personal feelings...

I want to word this very carefully because I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression. Lately, I find myself surrounded by pregnant women and they are (from my assumptions) moms-to-be. It is such an incredible 9 months of preparing for a new baby. The anticipation alone can not be compared to anything else. The joy of meeting your baby for the first time is beyond words. Simply said, new life is amazing! Back to these other pregnant women, I would imagine that most are having these overwhelming feelings about meeting their new son or daughter. Let me just say this, in no way do I want anymore children. I have 4 and that is enough for our family. While I am satisfied with our family size, it saddened me that this phase of my life is over. I don't want to scare anyone, I have not grown any emotional attachments to the babies I am carrying. I went into this knowing these babies would not be mine and I am remain that way.

On the flip side, I do have anticipation but obviously it's a little different. It will be such an amazing moment when the guys see their babies for the first time. I am guessing there will be plenty of tears (speaking for myself).  I am sure it will be a truly beautiful moment and one I could never forget.

Thanks for stopping by!


July 07, 2011

10 week mark

It's hard to believe that I am 10 weeks already! It's been an up and down week. I have had a very up close and personal relationship with my toilet. I have also learned to keep (pardon my use of words) barf bags in my vehicle. It can show up anytime and anywhere. I have my fingers crossed that the nausea goes away soon... could you cross your fingers, too??

I had an appointment yesterday. There was another ultrasound and we were able to hear the heartbeats. I say "we" because Roy and Avner were able to be on speakerphone during part of the appointment. They were able to get some questions answered, as well. It was nice to have them "there". The ultrasound pictures are not very clear so I'll explain them as best I can.

Both babies, I believe it to be the tops of their heads. Already showing off their big brains :)

I don't know if this is Baby left or Baby right. It looks to be the frontal view. You can see the little arm poking out.

Again both babies, not sure what kind of view we have here. It looks like you can see the legs of baby left (right side).

The babies will no longer be considered embryos at the end of this week. They will begin their fetus adventures at the end of 10 weeks. Their hands and feet are still webbed but the webbing is slowly disappearing. Their bones are starting to harden and their kidneys are producing urine. They are about the size of a grape according to one website... in my experience, grapes are all different sizes so this was not helpful. Their length should be around 1.22 in and almost 0.14 oz. Heartbeats were good, right around 160 for both. 

I will be able to stop taking the extra hormones this coming Monday. While I know taking the injections has gotten us where we need/want to be, I will be so pleased to be done with the part of the process.

Thank you to everyone that has sent prayers and positive thoughts. They are definitely working so keep them coming!!

Thanks for checking in,