March 29, 2014

Alma and Leo

This pregnancy took a surprising twist 1 month ago. The road was full of speed bumps, questions, and decision making. On March 10 we made the decision to move forward with delivery. It was scheduled for 8:00am the following day.

At 6:45am on delivery day, I was escorted to labor and delivery. Guy and Dror by my side. After being in the hospital for 3 weeks, we were a popular trio. While the clock ticked its way to 8:00am, we had a lot of doctors and nurses coming in to greet us.

I was prepped for the OR and wheeled off. I have never had a csection, and surprisingly I wasn't all that nervous. I was in very good hands. The spinal made my blood pressure all wonky which made me feel nauseous. The anesthesiologist did an amazing job getting things under control though. The guys were brought back just as the first cut was made. I have no idea what time it was, I'm guessing it was somewhere around 8:50am. After a few intense minutes, Leo was born at 8:55am and Alma followed just 2 minutes later. The best part... they both came out crying right away. What a beautiful sound!! I think we all breathed a sigh of relief. Leo was taken immediately to the neonatal room just off of the OR and Alma, after a very quick viewing by us, followed her brother. Leo weighed 3.8 lbs and Alma was 5.8 lbs.

We were extremely excited to meet these babies, but we had no idea how they would accept being outside of the womb at just 31 weeks and 4 days. Because of their gestational age we knew without a doubt they would be headed to the NICU. I am happy to report that both Alma and Leo are superbabies. They are doing amazing. I'll write another post about their progress.

As I was getting stitched up, the new dads went off to meet their babies. I wasn't able to witness the moment they first set eyes on Alma and Leo. They stopped back to see me a few times, and gave me updates. The updates I was getting was all positive. I was the first to hear the names chosen for the babies. To see how proud Guy and Dror were of their new daddy status was incredible. These moments are truly indescribable to a surrogate.

We seriously had the best team of MFM doctors. We can not thank them enough for the care and kindness they gave us. A few attended the birth even though it wasn't necessary for them to be there, and they stopped by my postpartum room occasionally just ask how I was doing.

I was moved to a recovery room at some point that morning. This is where I would spend the next 24 hours hooked up to magnesium. I told you about the last time I had magnesium. This stuff is mean and nasty! It's used to reduce the risk of stokes and seizures in women with pre-eclampsia. I'm not being dramatic in saying that I threw up in front of every nurse, doctor and visitor (except one) that entered my room that day. Some of the lucky ones actually witnessed more than one throw up party. It would happen so suddenly I barely had time to react. Thank goodness I received a heavy duty painkiller prior to the csection. I can't imagine how painful that would have been. Another thing was I could not keep my eyes open. Not so much because I was tired, but because they were super sensitive to light, and my lids felt like they weighed about a million pounds. To my visitors that day... I'm sorry. Apparently, I was living on a completely different planet :)

Shortly after getting settled into my recovery room, I had a short visit from the babies before they were transported to the NICU. Unfortunately the visit was cut very short because of how the magnesium was affecting me, but from what I could see they looked perfect.

Healing from a csection is much different then healing from a vaginal delivery. I have never felt so much pain. The first few days were crazy painful even with medication. The best way to describe the incision is a feeling of deep burning from within the belly. It's the nerves fusing back together and it's completely normal. At first I thought I had ripped open part of the incision. Some people elect to have csections. I call these people... insane. Why would anyone put themselves through this pain if it's not necessary.

The thing about pre-eclampsia is that the only cure is delivery. Some women, like myself, are not cured right away. My blood pressure still played games with me. At 2:30am the day I was set to be discharged I was wheeled back to l&d because I needed IV meds to lower my bp. I felt so discouraged and had a mini meltdown. After almost one month in the hospital I was more than ready to go home. I knew this stunt would cause me to stay longer. After getting to l&d and getting hooked up to the IV, it took almost 3 hours to get my bp under control. I stayed in l&d until late afternoon before they allowed me to return to my postpartum room. Finally two days after my initial discharge date I was able to go home.

It's been 2 1/2 weeks since Alma and Leo were born. Life is slowly returning to normal for me. My incision can still be unpleasant at times, I'm still on meds for my bp issues, my body is still adjusting to life after surgery, and I'm doing my best at keeping up with producing breastmilk for the babies.

At the wishes of Guy and Dror, I won't be posting any pictures of Alma and Leo today. Once they are released from the NICU, I hope to post a picture or two. As you can imagine, they are little sweethearts and if given the opportunity, you could totally stare at them for hours.

Welcome to our lives, Alma and Leo!

March 10, 2014

No more waiting

After three weeks of hospitalized bedrest we've decided to move forward with delivery.

This decision is not something we took lightly. We are only at 31 1/2 weeks. Since we discovered baby boy's growth restriction and my pre-eclampsia, we've been standing and staring at a gray line. Crossing that gray line means we have reached a level where the pregnancy is dangerous to me, and is no longer beneficial to baby boy.

Over the weekend, my blood pressure began to creep up and my meds were increased, my platelets dropped again, and today's growth ultrasound wasn't as promising as we hoped it might be. All of these conditions on their own would not be cause of great concern. All of these conditions together are signs we could be, at any time, jumping over that gray line.

After much much talk with the MFM OBs, we have decided to be proactive, and deliver these sweet bundles tomorrow. The delivery will be via c-section. Am I excited about that? Nope, not really. But I am a big girl and I can handle it. It's not my ideal delivery method, but I've accepted it. I've known for quite awhile this is how it would go down so I've had time to deal with it. I am sure tomorrow morning on the OR table I will be a ball of nerves, but I have two great men by my side. I have no doubt they will be a great support to me.

These last few weeks on bedrest have given me good memories. I have experienced a ton of love and support from friends and family and also from people I have never even met. Lots of visitors (and most brought food... can't go wrong bringing this girl food), an invaluable amount of quality time with Guy and Dror, wheelchair rides through the subway, beautiful flowers, great nurses and personal housekeepers and chefs.

I will get a better picture tomorrow morning but for now here's a 31 weeks pic:

In less than 12 hours we'll be heading in for surgery. 
The world will be blessed with two sweethearts. 
A couple will become a family of four. 
It's going to be an awesome day.

March 02, 2014

I'm still baking babies

After almost two weeks, I am still on hospitalized bedrest. I was admitted into the hospital for Pre-eclampsia with severe features, and I'll be here until the babies are born. For the first week, it felt like we were walking around with blindfolds on. We just didn't know what to expect, and the situation was making us very antsy. We still don't really know what to expect but I think we've accepted that. We are living in a world of the unknown for now. We've decided to let the pregnancy play out, and wait until something pushes us to deliver.

In the beginning of my bedrest, I worried a lot about my husband and kids. I stay at home with my kids so my husband isn't use to handling the kids' day to day stuff. The routine had completed changed for everyone. It's hard being here when I know I am needed at home. Thankfully, we have family that can help us out.

The hardest part of being on bedrest in the hospital is not being with my kids . They are my life. They are my 24/7 job. It's weird going from being needed by 4 amazing creatures to being taken care of by the nursing staff here.

The good news is that my levels are staying stable. I haven't had any high pressure readings that have landed me back in labor and delivery. I take pills to control my high blood pressure twice a day. I almost feel like I shouldn't be here, but whenever I tell my doctors they say "but you really do need to be here."

We had a growth ultrasound last Monday where we discovered that baby boy has a intrauterine growth restriction. If I understand it correctly, it means that his placenta isn't functioning at 100%. We will have weekly ultrasounds to watch his progress.

The babies are monitored every morning. I usually have it done right after breakfast. I laugh every time with the nurses because baby girl plays hide & seek and dance party USA every single day. Baby boy is such a good little guy. He can be found right away, but we all know his current living quarters don't let him go too far since his sister is taking up much of the space. We joke that when he is born he is going to go into full on stretch out mode. After the nurse finally finds baby girl, monitoring goes well, and the babies do great.

There are good and bad things about being on bedrest in the hospital.

Some of the bad: getting wake-up calls at 5am for blood draws, having to sit in a bed most of the day, having an IV at all times...

I've had four different IV's since I've been here.
Some of the good: someone cooks for me, I'm spoiled by Guy and Dror (they have brought me coffee, chocolate, and a new book), my daughter paints my toenails...

Such a sweet girl
Last Tuesday I was given a walking pass. We have a great pedestrian subway that connects the hospital to many places to eat and shop at. Guy and Dror have been kind enough to take me out of my room most days. I have to ride in a wheelchair, which feels odd. It's so great to bust out of my room though.

Yesterday my daughter came to hang out with me. She pushed me in my wheelchair. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure how she would do but she didn't complain once, and only banged into the wall, door frame and elevator a few times.We visited the public library, a few stores, ate pizza, and then had coffee and dessert. Then we came back to my room and watched a movie. It was an excellent day. I miss her so much and I'm pretty sure she misses me too.

On Friday we reached a big milestone... 30 weeks! Please keep saying a prayer for us and sending positive thoughts. I think it's working!!