January 29, 2012

Another look back...

My last post triggered me to write this post. I thought it would be fun to have a post that included pictures from beginning to now.

Here we go:

Prior to transfer

Measuring 7 weeks

10 weeks

Baby boy @ 13 weeks... his profile is the same today

 Baby girl @ 19 weeks... she still loves her hand by her face

Baby boy @ 19 weeks

Baby boy 3D pictures around 26 weeks

Baby girl @ 3D u/s around 26 weeks
This is probably my favorite u/s pic. I love how the babies are resting their heads together.

Baby boy @ 28 weeks

Baby girl @ 28 weeks

Baby girl @33 weeks

Baby boy @ 33 weeks

 About 5 days old

About 5 days old

I'd say these two little bundles turned out pretty darn great!

January 27, 2012

2 weeks (already!?!)

It's been 2 weeks since the babies made their debut. They are doing remarkable. Getting more beautiful everyday.

I had a moment today where I thought back to the IVF transfer. I remember the transfer so clearly, like it just happened. It actually gives me butterflies when I think about that moment. We had no idea what would happen, if one or both embryos would stick. There was so much anticipation. The next 2 weeks could not go by fast enough. Every little feeling I had would make me wonder if I was or wasn't pregnant. I had strong feelings that I was but I didn't want to set myself or the guys up for disappointment in the event neither embryo stuck. There was worry on my side regarding how it would be if only one embryo stuck. How would the guys feel knowing that only one was getting a biological child? I am sure there would have been some sadness but that's not to say that the baby wouldn't be loved to the fullest by both parents. Thankfully, we didn't have to worry about it.

Let's take a look back....
See those 2 whites dots on the left? That is the twins about 9 months ago.

Even though this was a very scientific procedure with much planning and medication, it's still a beautiful miracle to me.

I am currently speechless. It's not the hormones, I promise! It's that I can't tell you how much this journey has meant to me. Words can not sufficently express my feelings right now.

I will leave you with this YouTube video. The singer is Jack Johnson... one of my favorite singer/songwriters ever.


January 25, 2012

The hospital stay

It has been brought to my attention that I didn't tell you anything about our hospital stay after the babies were born. I'll keep it short and sweet... maybe. I sometimes try to keep some of my posts short but I often end up babbling.

I'll do my best to describe my feelings. I've told you that I have not felt any sort of maternal bond to the babies. Don't get me wrong, I care very much for the babies and have a bond to them but it's not maternal. I didn't have a strong urge to hold them after they were born or to comfort their cries. Geesh... that sounds horrible, I feel a little insensitive saying it but it's true. I didn't have the feelings I had when my kids were born. While I was excited to see them and meet them, I was more excited to see Roy and Avner with their new babies. This is very hard for some people to understand. My husband explains it this way... it's like your best friend's baby. You care for him or her, even love him or her but know it's not your place to care or tend to the child.

After the babies were brought into the recovery room, I didn't get in the way of Roy and Avner. I was extremely tired so I remember dozing off a few times. I had some breakfast and just watched them with their new bundles. I felt lucky to be able to witness the interactions of this new family.

Later in the morning we were moved to seperate rooms. The guys and the babies stayed in the birth center and I was moved to a different area of the hospital (2 floors up). This gave the guys an opportunity to have private moments with Ella and Ely.

I posted on Facebook that the babies were coming and after they arrived posted that all was good but I didn't invite friends and much family to the hospital. The main reason is because I wanted this moment to be special for the guys. I know a lot of people were excited and I hope I didn't offend anyone. The only visitors were my mom, brother, mother-in-law and my son Noah.

After I was released from the hospital, Jeremy and I visited with the guys a little. At this visit, I held the babies for the first time. They were one day old. I know some people thought that to be odd. My explaination is simple. I wanted the babies to know their dads. I wanted them to take in their dads' scents, voices, etc. They had known only my scent and voice (along with my obnoxious family's) for almost 38 weeks. I felt it was important to not give the babies mixed signals and hoped that by me stepping back it would make their adjustments into their new surroundings a little easier.

After our visit, Jeremy and I left the hospital. It did not feel weird to leave without the babies. I knew they were in awesome hands and were surrounded by tons of love.

The end! Ok, a failure in the short post attempt... hope you enjoyed it though.


January 22, 2012

A big fat THANK YOU!

To the staff at IARC - THANK YOU for giving me the opportunity of becoming a surrogate. You have made my dream come true. Thank you for making it such an amazing and rewarding experience.

A special thank you to Keely and Kim P, you ladies are true rockstars! You are genuine, sweet, fun and just down right great people! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The last thank you is for sending this awesome fat free, no calorie basket of chocolate. This will surely help me lose the baby weight!!

Rocky Mountain Chocolate basket

January 20, 2012

One week later...

It's been one week since the little ones arrived. The babies have adjusted wonderfully to the outside world. They are doing everything new babies should do... eating, pooping, sleeping and being adorable. I have had a few chances to see them since being released from the hospital. They are definitely keepers!

I spent 3 hours with the new family on Monday night and the babies didn't cry once. They were sleepy little creatures. I held baby Ella for quite some time. Wouldn't it be nice to snuggle a baby everyday? I think we could have world peace if everyone snuggled a baby for at least 10 minutes everyday. Okay, that's wishful thinking. Baby Ely slept the entire time, even while he ate.

The guys have started a nice routine with the babies and seem to be sticking to it very well. With twins, I imagine routine and structure are key to staying sane through the first year. I am very proud of how well they are handling parenthood.

As for me, I am doing well. Physically speaking, I have good days and bad days, mostly good though. I had some side effects from that dirty (not literally dirty) epidural. That epidural gave me a bad vibe for good reason. Not only did my body freak out after getting it but I ended up having a spinal fluid leak (I think that's what it is called). While I could function just fine it was an annoyance. Avner gave me some good tips to relieve the pain... caffeine, which I love so that was a win for me. The headache and neck pain still creep a little but it is much better. I promise I am done complaining about the epidural now. I just had to get that last jab in. I have had some body aches along the way, too. Wednesday being the worse. I spent some one on one time with the heating pad and felt much better yesterday.

I must say I have some pretty great people in my life! I have received a lot of questions and concerns on how I am doing emotionally. I'll have to keep taking things day by day. I won't hide or deny the fact that it will be super tough when the guys and babies go home. They will be here for about 2 more weeks. I already know I will be sad and probably will be on and off sad for awhile. I venture to say this is normal. If I didn't feel this way then I didn't do this for the right reasons. The bond I have with this new family is very special. It isn't just a casual encounter and we won't say goodbye easily. We will go about our lives but I can guarantee you that they will cross my mind everyday. This will probably be true for the rest of my life.

I have had some sad moments already. I get teary eyed when I think about them leaving. I have cried for selfish reasons but I have also cried for extremely happy reasons. My main selfish reason is because I feel this journey is done for me. My role in this production is over. Other than bringing my own kids into this world, this has been one of the best experiences of my life. As for the happy reasons, I played a part in changing two lives in such a remarkable way. I helped them experience the kind of love that only a parent can know. And that's a pretty awesome feeling!

I am going to be taking this blog in a different direction here and there. Since we all know pregnancy doesn't come without weight issues, I am going to blog about my attempts at losing weight. Last night, I couldn't sleep so I decided to weigh myself after using the bathroom. That's normal, right? The day before delivery I weighed in at (wait for it...) 198lbs *and the crowd goes wild*. Before becoming pregnant I weighed about 150lbs. I was really hoping to not hit the 200lbs mark. Which I did (202lbs) the week prior to delivery. I am a petite person and should weigh around 120lbs. So last night when I weighed myself I was pleasantly surprised to see about 170lbs on the scale. One week later and I am down almost 30lbs... I'll take that! I did tempt fate yesterday afternoon and tried on a pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans... they fit but I have an overflowing "muffin top". I was not disappointed at all because I wasn't even expecting to be able to button them. That is where I stand today. I won't be starting a workout plan until 4 weeks postpartum but I am looking forward to getting back to the gym.


January 18, 2012

To breastfeed or not to breastfeed

I struggled with this topic the closer we got to delivery. In the beginning, I was all for it. I nursed all of my children and find that breastfeeding is a healthy choice for both babies and moms. For me, I nursed for bonding reasons as well as for health.

As the the due date approached, I started questioning if nursing was a good idea and if it was something I could really manage. By good idea, I mean would this cause a bond that would make things complicated for me and possibly the babies. I am guessing probably not because I wouldn't have actually breastfed, I would have pumped only. But the question still remained. By manage, I mean would I have enough time to pump for two babies while tending to my own family.

I was never worried much about having a maternal bond to the babies. My mentality going into this journey and throughout the pregnancy has always been exactly where and what it needed to be. When I think about it now I do wish I would have trusted myself and went forth with pumping for the babies. It would have only been for a couple weeks and I would have managed just fine.

I am posting this because I know other surrogates read my blog and possibly my thoughts will help them.


January 16, 2012

Two beautiful babies for two beautiful people

They are here! The babies have arrived!

And here is the story of how they arrived...

As I mentioned in my last post, I was called in for an induction on January 12 because of some not so ideal lab results. Jeremy and I arrived at the hospital around 10am and was shown to the room where this life changing day would begin. I changed into the hospital gown and took my place in the hospital bed. The guys arrived a few minutes later. Our nurse came in and introduced herself. She told us that their monitors were down for awhile and we would begin once they were up. The plan was to have the OB come in and check how dilated I was. Once they had that information they would decide which induction med to use.

The morning slowly passed while we waited and waited and waited. Finally in the late morning, I was hooked up to the monitors. The doctor and his 2 residents were not able to come in and check my progress because of an urgent C-section. I am not exactly sure what time they finally came in. In fact, I'll do my best throughout this post to remember correct times but the day was long and my memory is a little fuzzy. When the resident OB was finally in the room they did an ultrasound and checked dilation. I was dilated to a 4! What a surprise... a good surprise... almost half way dilated! I think it was around 1pm at this point. I remember looking at the clock and thinking... if we would have started earlier we would be so much closer to delivery. This thought would cross my mind several times throughout the day and night. About this time, the anesthesiologist came in and we discussed the dreaded epidural. Another blood draw was done to check my platelet levels. One of the reasons I was called in for an induction was because my labs showed low platelets. If platelets are too low an epidural can not be done.

I was asked if I wanted to start the epidural before the Pitocin. I said yes just so we could get it done and over with. I wouldn't have to think about it anymore. Bad idea? Probably! The nurse came back and told we would need to wait until the blood draw results came back before they would start the epidural. Now that I think about it I am not sure why I didn't suggest we just start the Pitocin anyway. So we waited until about 3pm before starting the epidural. If you recall I was concerned about getting it. The actual process was not a big deal. It feels odd but not painful. My memory goes really fuzzy here. I remember not feeling well and feeling like I was going to pass out. My blood pressure dipped low and my heart rate went way up. The OB had come in around 4pm to break my water and get the Pitocin going but since I wasn't feeling right they decided against doing any of that. It took about 3 hours to get my levels where they needed to be.

At 6pm we started the Pitocin... finally! Throughout the day I was having contractions and although they weren't very consistent (about 6-10 minutes apart) I was hopeful they were doing some good. When I was checked again around 6pm I was still at 4cm. This was disappointing! The good news was the Pitocin was started and now we would get things going fast. They still had not broken my water so around 8pm (?I could be way off on time here?) they came in to do that. I was checked again and I had moved to 5cm. Again... disappointing.

I was still feeling sick and so tired. I asked the nurse if I decided to have a C-section would the OB allow it? A C-section was not what I wanted. I know this will sound ridiculous but I was feeling so disappointed in myself. Here I was through this entire pregnancy singing a tale of how fast I labor and how easy it had been for me. I wasn't performing at my best. I knew my body could do better than this. I am not sure if it was the epidural that seemed to slow things down or if my body just wasn't ready. I have to think it was the epidural. That poor epidural sure has a bad rap. Okay let's get back on track here... the nurse said she would "feel out" the OB for his thoughts. A bit later the OB came in to discuss the options. He told me to not feel so discouraged and that it was common to labor longer with a twin pregnancy. He said I had the option to choose a C-section but he encouraged me to wait it out and be patient. So that is what we did. 10pm turned into 11pm, 11pm turned into 12am... you get it. I think around 12am/1am I was checked again and was only at 7 cm. There was improvement but I knew it was going to be awhile because I was dilating so slow.

We all slept on and off. I would sleep for 20 minutes here and there but was awake for good at about 2am. I knew it would be happening soon. I was feeling much pressure but I decided to wait awhile longer before calling the nurse in. I was hoping they would come in and decide to check me on their own but that didn't happen. So I waited. Contractions were constant and the pressure was getting stronger and stronger. I called the nurse in at about 4am. They came in to check me and said we were ready to go.

Earlier in the evening, my regular OB had stopped by to see how everything was going. She told us she had given the staff instructions to be called if things started after 4am. She really wanted to be at the delivery. I learned she was on her way and perhaps they were waiting on her. The nurse finally asked if I could start pushing. Thank you, Julie! I was given the go ahead. I took a few moments and got down to business. I would say she was born with 3 -5 pushes. I heard someone say "look at all that dark hair" and out she came. I heard her first cries and then my world was rocked! Remember baby boy was breech? Well, he did not turn on his own. The chief OB went in after him. I recommend talking with your baby if he or she is breech and coming to an agreement that he or she will turn head down before delivery. This was not fun! I was taken off guard. First, I am hearing a sweet newborn's first cries and the next thing I know I am in a very uncomfortable state. I pleaded with them to stop but they did not. Hindsight, I am very happy they didn't stop. Baby boy was welcomed into the world 4 minutes after his sister. The relief is instant once a baby is out! It amazes me!

I haven't told you anything about the dads, have I? Well, they were great... like I knew they would be. Roy stood by my side and held my hand and Anver stood behind me. I am sure Avner would have held my other hand but the nurse was there. I think he had his hands on my shoulders but I am not certain. After both babies were born I told them to go to their babies and off they went. I wish I could have seen them set eyes on their little ones. Someone brought the babies over for me to see. They were as beautiful as I knew they would be. The guys came to me and quickly expressed their feelings in words and hugs and kisses. I could see tears in their eyes. They were finally dads, something they had longed to be.

Babies were born at 37 weeks and 4 days. Both are healthy and strong. We have all been released from the hospital and are doing very well.

Here are the little sweethearts:

Baby Ella born 4:45am 6.3lbs

Baby Ely born 4:49am 6.4lbs

ETA: I wasn't very specific about how Ely was born. He never did turn and was born feet first ;)

Thanks for checking in!


January 14, 2012

Appointments and more

So..... we went in for the appointment. All started out fairly normal. The nurse took my blood pressure which showed up a little high. Pretty abnormal for me. She decided she would check it again after I was done with my OB. My OB came in and was introduced to the guys. We went over the normal things. I asked if there was any chance of an earlier induction. She thought no but spoke to her colleagues about it. My main argument was because of my speed in labor and needing the epidural. I didn't want to go into labor on my own. Her colleagues were not on board with my thoughts. I get it, they have rules and regulations they need to follow.

My blood pressure was taken again and again it was high. I provided a urine sample that came back with protein traces. Not really the results they want to see. The traces were low but my OB ordered a few labs and she would call later with results.

After the labs, the guys and I spent a little more time together talking over coffee. It was nice to sit back, chat and relax with them. Later they dropped me off at home and we went about our evening.

The following morning went a bit different then I had planned it to go. That is very common in my house due to having 4 kids but this wasn't because of my kids. At 8:00 am I received a message saying I need to call my OB because they were ready to induce............ THAT DAY! My labs showed results that weren't ideal making my new plans for the day an induction. So I had less than 2 hours to get things in order. I called the guys and asked if they were ready to have babies. Of course they were! I imagine their heads went a little crazy as none of us were expecting our day to include an induction. Next, I called my mother-in-law with the induction news. She made arrangements to watch my boys along with my father-in-law. Bless their giving hearts. They are such wonderful, helpful people.

After my kids were packed and ready to go with grandma and grandpa, my husband and I hopped in the car. We were about to make dreams come true for two very special people.

This is all I will post for today. I need some rest and I know you all love a good suspense story.

I'll post again soon... promise.


January 12, 2012

37 weeks and one day

We have reached 37 weeks and 1 day. I have to say that I thought the babies would be born by now. I guess that's because of the stereotype twins are given... they are usually born early. I am not complaining though. I am happy to have them cook as long as they can so they are healthy little beings when they are born.

Today we have an appointment and the guys are able to join me this time! It's exciting even though the appointment will probably be short and sweet. I am happy they get to meet my OB. Unfortunately, we will not have an ultrasound. My OB explained that one week isn't enough to measure the babies' growth progress. It would have been nice to have one just so the guys could witness one. We are currently scheduled for induction on Jan 17. I am going to ask if we can bump it up to tomorrow or Friday. We'll see what she says. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

The guys arrived Monday evening but we didn't plan to meet up until Tuesday. We planned a lunch date. I was excited and a little nervous to see them again. As my boys and I pulled into the parking lot, we saw the guys right away. It seemed as though no time had passed since I last saw them. We chatted and ate. It was hard to focus because my boys were fairly busy. Goofing off, spilling things, you know boys just being boys. My husband was able to join us so that was helpful. It was the first time he had met the daddies to be. All went well as expected. We invited the guys over for dinner that evening and they accepted. Before we left the guys gave us some gifts. The kids got some yummy chocolate treats. The guys gave me a beautiful bracelet and earrings.

The bracelet has 4 pendants. A boy, a girl, a heart and "the tree of life". It's great and I will definitely treasure it always.

The guys will be here in a bit to take me to our last doctor's appointment. I'll update later.


January 09, 2012

Guess who's here??

The daddies!! Probably tricked you, huh? It's so exciting and so official. We are definitely reaching the end of the line with this pregnancy. For me, it's bittersweet. I am physically ready to be done with the pregnancy but I am sad to see this journey come to an end. I have loved this experience. I enjoy talking about it with others but most of all I love seeing/hearing how happy I am making not just the daddies but everyone involved in their lives. They are surrounded by so many people that support and love them to no end. You can't ask for a better scenario to bring children into.

I am having some signs that labor is right around the corner but as we all know true labor is always unpredictable. Signs of labor could go on for days or weeks. However, we do know for sure the babies will be here at the latest next Tuesday.

I'm off to bed soon. Tomorrow we will be meeting up for lunch! I can't wait to see them again. Maybe I'll even blog about it :)

Thanks for checking in!


January 05, 2012

36 week update - so close!

I am now 36 weeks and 2 days. We had an ultrasound on Monday which informed us that both babies are about 6 1/2 pounds!!! Baby boy gained 2 lbs in 2 weeks... what the heck!?! Baby girl gained about 1 lbs. Both babies are looking terrific!

I had a tour of the birth center because I have never had a baby at this hospital. It will be a bit different than what I am accustomed to. In my past experience, I labored, delivered and did my postpartum recovery all in the same room. This time around I will have 3 different rooms. I will labor in one room, deliver in another and recover in another. Seems wild to me. I would much rather have the show go down in one room. I told you how I am once it's time to push... I have something like an out of body experience and can't stop myself from pushing. I can foresee a hallway delivery here! Oh the drama will be had. I'll give those nurses something to talk about.

Since my appointments were setup a little goofy, I met with my OB yesterday instead of right after the ultrasound. She did a Strep B test and for fun I asked her to check my cervix. She seemed surprised that I was about 50% effaced and two fingertips (she didn't translate to cm) dilated. The show is beginning! Her reaction makes me think that I could go sooner than Jan 17. I usually do an eye roll when hear pregnant women say "I just know I'll go early". I don't want to be that pregnant woman so I am not confidently saying I will go into labor early. It's the feeling I got from my OB's check. The guys have rearranged their travel plans and are arriving earlier. I really hope I am not "crying wolf" and that I don't make them sit around and wait too long!

I don't have any ultrasound pictures to show you because they didn't turn out very well. Here is a belly bump picture though. I even included my head this time.  :)

Thanks for checking in - this may be the last post from me as a pregnant lady!!