August 31, 2011

18 weeks

Here we are at 18 weeks and one day. It just doesn't seem possible to be this far along already - I say this now, right? Wait until I am 35 weeks and can't move... I'll be singing a different tune.

I have been feeling well. No nausea, energy levels are manageable but heartburn has hit. I've had heartburn with all of my pregnancies. So not fun! I tend to have it early on in pregnancy but it usually goes away fairly quickly until about the 8th month and then returns with a vengeance. This time I may not be so lucky to get a break. I need to get another bump picture up, I just haven't taken the time to take the picture. Soon... I promise! I have gained about 10 pounds since my first appointment which seems to be right on track but a little much to me. The babies don't even weigh a pound together so I can't blame them.

Lately, my cravings have been for sweet and sour... like Sour Patch Kids, Fruit Roll-ups, lemonade. Sometimes I feel the need for a nice home cooked meal but can't quite put my finger on what it is I really want. A few weeks ago, a friend posted a picture on Facebook of an appetizer on a stick (for those that don't know, Minnesota is crazy about putting food on a stick and selling it at state and county fairs, it's generally always deep fried and very healthy, hehe) and I could not stop thinking about it for a week. I've gotten over it now. The last thing that grabbed hold of me was a homemade taquitos recipe I found on-line. I took that bull by the horns and made those on Monday night. I do have to say they were quite good but did not help me in the heartburn department.

The babies are very busy little bees. I am still not feeling them move everyday but once they start moving, they really squirm around. I think they communicate with each other with their kicks and punches. It's such a fun feeling, though.

The babies are about the size of a sweet potato and weigh around 6.5 ounces. Fingerprints and toe prints are developing around this time. They are also beginning to yawn and hiccup. I was thinking the other day that I was feeling some hiccups but I thought it was way too early for that... guess not. While reading about the progress of a 18 week fetus, I was intrigued to learn that more of the complex nerves are forming. Those include the sense of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Interesting, huh?

My last appointment was last week. Everything looked good. Both heartbeats were around 150. Baby A was little higher and Baby B was a little lower. The next appointment is next week along with the anatomy ultrasound. It'll be exciting to see them again. I am guessing they will be flipping and flopping around as usual. I think they really enjoy to be on stage. At the last appointment, the doctor used a portable ultrasound machine to measure the heartbeats (a Doppler can not pick up the separate heartbeats) and the babies once again were on the move while she was trying to get the heartbeats.... cute little buggers.

Kind of a side note... when I was pregnant with Elliott I joined a message board that included other moms having babies the same month Elliott was due. These groups are so nice to have because you can ask questions about anything that may come up and not feel foolish for asking it. I have stopped visiting that message board mainly because we formed a secret group (secret group, that sounds so cheesy) within Facebook and it's much easier to go onto Facebook. Anywho, I shared my surrogacy adventures with this group of ladies even before I shared on my Facebook wall. Most of them have been nothing but supportive. There are only about 35 of us and it seems that half are either pregnant or trying to become pregnant. I recently learned that I have inspired someone else in that group to become a surrogate!! I think that is so terrific. Surrogates are definitely needed. Hats off to you, Ashley! I look forward to hearing about your progress!

Take care my friends!


August 28, 2011

The other night

A week ago, Jeremy and I went to a birthday party for one of his friends. He has been friends with both the husband and wife for many, many years. This couple has been going through infertility issues for quite awhile. I knew they had been trying for a baby but I didn't know the seriousness of it until late last year.

We arrived kind of late to the party. Most of the guests were ready to leave as we were arriving. Remember, we old now so the parties end much sooner. The wife knows I am going through the surrogate process. I had a feeling infertility would come up and it did. She told me she was proud of me for becoming a surrogate. From there we discussed what was going on in their world. I've said this before but it breaks my heart to hear these stories. If it breaks my heart just to hear the story, imagine how the person dealing with infertility must feel. I know the feeling of having a child to love and I believe everyone should have the opportunity to feel this amazing and indescribable love. Now, we all know there are people in this world that should absolutely not be having children. Why can they have children while some good, loving and stable people can not. This will never be explained to us but I would venture to say that most of us wonder.

As she (I did not ask for permission to write about this couple so I will not use names) told us about her and her husband's last three year it just made me want to cry. We talked about the possible solutions they had tried and how she had become pregnant twice, only to miscarry both times. She was diagnosed with having poor quality of eggs. She only blames herself. Logically, she knows she shouldn't blame herself and there is nothing she can do about it. Unfortunately, she was dealt this crappy hand. She feels extremely guilty that she can't produce children for her husband. It's human nature to want to blame someone or something when a problem arises. Sometimes things are just out of our control and no one is to blame.

We talked about how it may just happen on it's own. It's a possibility but to live on that cloud of hope would be so emotionally draining. Every month hoping and dreaming that "this might be the month". Jeremy and I tried for almost 9 months before we become pregnant with our second son. I use the word "tried" loosely because while we tried around the time I ovulated, I never charted anything. I still had my fingers crossed that every month I would have a reason to take a pregnancy test. I mentioned this to the wife but once I started I felt like such a fool. How dare I compare my history to hers. I was trying to say that while my story is no where near hers, I know the sadness and disappointment from a negative pregnancy test. It frustrates me to hear or read stories of women that try one or two months and don't become pregnant and they assume it will never happen and go on to throw themselves a pity party. Feeling disappointment is natural but save the pity party until you have tried 1, 2, 3 or many more years of not becoming successful.

Another topic that was brought up was the question they are constantly asked "When are you having kids". When you are not faced with infertility, you don't think about it daily. It's a question people ask every single day. Kind of like "How's the weather". By this, I mean it's conversation starter. Obviously, I am not comparing infertility to the weather. Don't read that the wrong way. I know I have asked it in the past. My eyes are open now to the fact that if a couple has reached a certain age and they don't have kids, there may be something more going on than them just not wanting kids.

I'll leave you with this, be sensitive and think before you ask "So, when are going to pop out some kids". It's not that easy for some. I don't mean that we should silence infertility but we need to respect others enough to not pry and assume that everyone can produce kids. Leave it up to the couple to discuss the topic of having kids. Some couples are more than willing to talk about it but others may want to keep it to themselves. They have their reasons for not wanting to talk about it. Maybe it's too painful or they feel it's more of a private matter.

Take care!


August 20, 2011

A few moments along this journey...

We are almost to the half way point of this pregnancy. So far, I'd say, it has gone by quite fast. On Tuesday, I will be 17 weeks. As my belly grows, it is becoming obvious that I am pregnant. I went through the "well, she looks kind of pregnant but she could just be fat" phase. I guess it depends on my outfit. My belly is a reminder everyday to my kids that there are 2 babies growing in there. There other reminds, too. Like, "Don't jump on me. You might hurt the babies" or when I am puffing for air like a 50 year smoker because I just walked a flight of stairs.

Out of my 4 kids, I worry about the older 2 the most. My 2 younger boys, 3 and 1, don't have vocal opinions. I am certain they have an idea something is going on, more so my 3 year old, but they are still too young to really get it. This doesn't stop us from explaining that the babies are not ours. From the very beginning, we have told the kids about me being a surrogate and the reasons why, how, etc. We have always been very open with them about it. I feel very strong about this.

My 2 older kids, almost 14 and 6, I do worry about attachment issues. My daughter seems very okay with this process but I do pay attention to her actions and words regarding it. So far so good. With all of her brothers, she has been overjoyed even before meeting them. I will never forget the day she came to the hospital to meet her first brother. I could hear her running down the corridor crying while chanting "my brother, my brother" over and over. Her eyes big with tears and her heart exploding with pride as she held Noah for the first time. It was a beautiful family moment. The next 2 brothers weren't quite as dramatic but she was still tearful and so happy to meet them. She knows that these babies are not genetically related to her and I think that will help her to not become attached. She has a good head on her shoulders and while I worry about attachment issues with her, it is a very minimal worry. Plus, I think she is satisfied with the siblings she already has.

My 6 year old is a little different. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He is a sensitive little guy. The first comment he made was early on, I think it was shortly after we received a positive pregnancy result. He asked "will I be able to visit the babies in the hospital when they are born". I told him I thought that would be okay but I would have to ask the parents first. After asking the dads-to-be, I told Noah that it would be okay for him to visit the babies. Along the way, he has made other comments but most are questions about me doing things with him once the babies are born. For example, a waterslide or trampoline. Sometimes he rubs my belly, but not often. One evening, a few weeks ago, he made a comment that after some thought left me feeling a little concerned. He asked "Can't we just keep one of the babies". Now, I don't know if he really meant that or if he was just having an emotional moment. My first thought was "what a sweetheart". The next day, I realized we need to watch him and be careful with him. A friend suggested I get a children's book explaining surrogacy on a child's level. So, I ordered a book called "The Kangaroo Pouch". I read it to all of the kids the evening we received it. It was a good book. Once we were done, Noah was like "Eh, okay". We don't read the book often but we do talk about the babies and how they will go live with their parents once they are born quite a bit. Today, he asked is we could do tricks in the pool once I "get their babies out of my tummy". He even stressed the word "their". That was nice. I think he understands it as much as any 6 year old can but we'll have to keep an eye on him.

I took my 2 older boys for haircuts last week. I was standing by while the stylist did her work. She asked Noah if he was ready to be a big brother again. He didn't say anything and I quickly said that I am a surrogate. I felt terrible that he was put in that situation without knowing how to answer. I realized that was one thing we hadn't discussed with him.

After stating to the stylist I was a surrogate, that was the only subject we talked about. Before leaving, she asked if I felt weird talking about it. The answer is yes and no. I feel I can read people fairly well but it's never a for sure thing. It could be a hit or miss. Some people feel fertility help is a way of playing God. Some of those same people have negative thoughts about same sex relationships. Fortunately, I have only encountered positive people. It overwhelms me when I hear comments about how selfless I am or what an awesome thing I am doing. The attention embarrasses me and swells my heart all at the same time. I am so thankful to be surrounded by many kind and thoughtful people. In the beginning, I only shared with my family and a few close friends. Since "coming out", I have received so many kind words and positive encouragement.

I remember the first time I told a stranger about me becoming a surrogate. It was a few days before going to CA for the embryo transfer. I was shopping in a store that sold only Minnesota related merchandise. I was looking for something for the guys. I wanted them to have something from Minnesota but had no idea what to get. My daughter and I spent a lot of time searching for a nice gift. Once we decided on the gift, we finally checked out. The cashier was friendly and asked if we were from out of state. I replied that we were not and that I was buying a gift for some friends that I was meeting for the first time. I ended up telling her that we were pen pals. She was more interested than I expected her to be and asked more questions. "How long have you been pen pals? How did you get started? I didn't think people really did that anymore". After her questions, which were one right after another, I said that I was actually going to be a surrogate for them. I felt I had misled her by referring to the dads-to-be as pen pals. She was intrigued by the surrogacy but honestly, I think the pen pal idea excited her more (lol).

To all of my family, friends and those I do not know that enjoy reading my blog, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your support. We all make the world go round and in a lot ways, we all need each other. Be kind and do something special for someone else, no matter how big or small your giving task may be.

Take care my friends!


August 09, 2011

August 08, 2011

15 weeks

I am feeling more and more like myself everyday. I haven't been sick in over 2 weeks and my energy levels are way up. By no means am I running marathons but I can make it through the day without daydreaming about how good a nap would feel. I have the "nesting" bug already. That is normal for me, it comes and goes throughout the pregnancy. I admit to liking that very much. With a family of six, our house is in constant clutter mode. My cravings are still all over the board, this makes me believe there really is one girl and one boy. I am naturally a coffee drinker but when I become pregnant the thought of hot coffee is not appealing but a White Mocha blended from Caribou Coffee is very delish. While I could drink it all day long, I only have them on the weekend and keep the size to a double (20 oz). I shouldn't have thought about this because now I want one.

The babies are once again very busy. Their Lanugo, which is ultra fine, downy hair, covers their back, shoulders, ears, and forehead. This will help them retain body heat, but once they gain enough fat to do the job, this hair will fall off -- probably before birth. How cute is this, the babies are frowning, squinting and making other facial expressions. While their eyelids are still fused shut, they can sense light. If I were to put a flashlight to my belly, the babies would probably try to move away from it. Tastebuds are forming, however the babies are not able to taste yet. They are about 4 in long and 2.5 oz. I read that the estimated weight gain is about 5 pounds (for a singleton) so I am not feeling as bad as I was in my prior post.

Up until now I have only been feeling "butterflies". Today, I was able to feel actual movement not just the "butterfly" feeling. I have been feeling them even as I type this. What an incredible feeling.

I took maternity pictures of my pregnant friend this past weekend. She is 35 weeks pregnant with her second daughter. So she is 20 weeks further along than I am and not much bigger than me. Maybe it was all in my head but I will be comparing pictures. I will take a picture of my bump tomorrow and post it.

Thanks for checking in!!


August 06, 2011

So sorry

Just popping on quick to say that I am sorry for not posting recently! Everything is a-okay, I have been busy with other things. I promise to update this week along with a baby bump picture!