Thursday, April 17, 2014

2 weeks.

As of today, I'm officially 2 weeks post-partum. I'm also many, many weeks behind on posting here. While Oliver's due date was April 8th, he decided that April 3rd would be his birthday. Thankfully, he arrived just in time to meet the timeline that my family had for our move to Okinawa.

For a few weeks leading up to his arrival, I was doing everything known to man to jump start labor. I frequently used a yoga ball to prepare my body. I walked everyday. Often times, I was walking about 5 miles a day. I was doing squats, taking the stairs 2 at a time during every commercial break. Trying foods that are supposed to help. You name it, I tried it! It really is true though, the baby is not going to come until your body and the baby are ready.
 At my 38 week appointment, my midwife was able to strip my membranes since I was dilated to 3cm. With my son, this brought labor on within less than 2 days, so we were hopeful that something would happen quickly. My mom came down so she wouldn't have to drive down in the middle of the night, in a rush. Ali's mom also came down that day, and....nothing happened!
On the afternoon of the 3rd, Carlos was home, so I decided to take a walk along my normal route. I didn't have a single contraction the entire time, and as I was coming down the home stretch of the walk, I was starting to get more and more upset that he just wouldn't come. Then, I felt something I wasn't expecting and I became even more upset. I was pretty much 100% sure I had peed my pants! Considering this hadn't been an issue throughout the pregnancy, I was not very happy that it was something I could add to my list of different things that happened this time around. Now, I was officially more pregnant than I ever had been, and I was going to start peeing myself. Great!

When I got home, I went straight upstairs to change and take a bath to relax. When I changed, I noticed that I didn't smell urine at all. That's when I decided that maybe I didn't have a disgusting symptom to add to the pregnancy, maybe my water was leaking instead. I took my bath, waiting hopefully, for contractions to start. Nothing happened. After my bath, I texted the amazing doula that was going to be encapsulating my placenta, and let her know what happened. She recommended I rest, work the yoga ball, and if I continued to have increased leakage to eventually go in. I then texted Ali and let her know what was going on. Together, we decided that it'd be best to go ahead and get checked out after we had a chance to eat dinner.

Sometime around 6:30, Ali picked me up and we headed over to the Naval Hospital. They got me checked in, and hooked me up to the monitor and said they wanted to monitor me for at least 20 minutes. I was having occasional contractions, but nothing painful, and they were relatively far apart. Around 7:45, they finally checked me to see if it was actually my water and to see how far dilated I was. I was dilated to a "tight" 4cm and 75% effaced at that time. When he realized Lt. Dell had already stripped my membranes once, the doctor decided to try again. He was unable to get his fingers between Olivers head and my cervix, so he was unable to strip them well. A few minutes later they came back and stated that it sounded like I probably had a "pin hole" leak that had sealed itself off, because there was no ferning on the slide to indicate that amniotic fluid was leaking at that time. They also let us know that the baby had experienced a few late decelerations in his heart rate when we first got there, so they wanted to continue to monitor for another hour.

By 8:30, the contractions were really starting to hurt. They also were much more regular and coming closer and closer together. At 9, they came in to pull the strips off the monitor and stated they would most likely be sending me home. I was in a lot of pain with each contraction at that point, so we made sure they knew that. At 9:10, they decided to keep me...Oliver was officially on his way! For probably the 10th time, I asked if they had called Lt. Dell yet, since she said she would come in for my delivery, even though she was on leave. Luckily, they had. Ali called Brian right away so he could get there, and I let Carlos know they were keeping me so he could get someone to the house to stay with the kids and get down there. I really thought that with how things were going, labor was not going to move as quickly as it did with my last pregnancy, so I didn't tell Carlos to hurry...I was wrong!

They asked me about pain medication as soon as we got into the room. I told them I hadn't anticipated being able to get an epidural, so I guess I might as well take one! I also asked for something IV to help out while I waited for the anesthesiologist. During this time, they were hooking me back up to the monitor, starting an IV, etc. The nurse told me I had to be checked again to get IV medications, and she went to get the doctor for me. They want to insure that you aren't progressing too quickly before they give you IV medications, if the baby is born too soon after the medications, he would be too sleepy to respond appropriately to the outside world. The doctor checked me at about 9:50 and I was at 8cm and in a lot of pain by then, and guess what, because I had progressed so quickly, no IV pain medications for me. Plus, the anesthesiologist was still in the next room over, and the contractions were so painful, I wasn't going to be able to sit up to get the epidural anyway. So, another natural labor for me. I have to admit, I was not happy about that. Even though I had expected to not get pain medications, I really, really wanted it.

Again, I asked if Lt. Dell had been contacted and if she was on her way, they called her again to let her know how much I had progressed. I was experiencing back labor again, so I was incredibly uncomfortable. I was already feeling the need to push, but couldn't because I wasn't completely dilated yet. Carlos finally got to the hospital sometime after 10. Brian was already there at that point as well. Once I knew Lt. Dell was on her way, I asked (not so nicely) for them to please check me again because I really, really wanted to push to make the pain stop. When they checked again, the lip of my cervix was still over Oliver's head, so I wasn't quite ready to push yet. I asked (again probably not so nicely) for them to PLEASE break my water so that things would go faster. Within a few minutes of them breaking my water, I was ready to push, and Lt. Dell still wasn't there. I got through my first contraction of pushing, and she finally walked in. I was so happy! I don't know why, but I really wanted her there. After a few more contractions, Ali and Brian finally got to hold their son! It was amazing to see them with him, and I was beyond happy that labor was finally over!

My first time seeing Oliver!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

36 weeks.

Say what!? 36 weeks, already? How is that even possible?

We are now only 4 weeks (or less) away from welcoming Oliver to the world, and seeing Ali and Brian finally get to have their baby in their arms. Today, the legal paperwork arrived at Ali's house. That makes it all SO much more official, and we are now ready for Oliver to show up.

This weekend, we took some maternity pictures. I can't wait to see all of them, but the sneaks so far are great. Ali wanted to be sure to include my kids in the photos, and they really enjoyed it.

Tomorrow is my last day of work. I'm so happy to finally have a bit more time off. I have a swollen ankle, and am just tired in general when I'm on my feet all day at work.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

30 weeks.

Holy Cow!

How have 30 weeks already passed. This pregnancy is FLYING by! Considering we've known I was pregnant since long before you would typically know, I assumed the pregnancy would drag on forever. I've truly been blessed with a great pregnancy. I didn't feel great at the beginning, but once I was able to stop taking all the hormones, things turned around.

The entire second trimester was great. I had a decent amount of energy. I wasn't sick at all. As a whole, I felt great. The baby is growing perfectly, and everything is great. Then, I hit the third trimester. It was a rocky start. I started having dizzy spells and almost passed out at work one morning.

After 4 days of continued light-headedness and dizzy spells, I finally went in to the hospital to get checked out. Oliver, that's what Ali and Brian have decided to name him in case you didn't know, was moving around as he should be. His heart rate was steady and my vitals were fine. They drew blood and I'm pretty anemic. Anemia is common for me, but my hemoglobin has gone down by about 2 grams since becoming pregnant. So, the anemia is most likely the cause of my continued foggy/light-headed feelings. They also believe I'm having post-prandial hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar after meals. I'm not 100% sure this is what's happening, but I have seen some improvement since adjusting my eating habits a bit. I really just had to cut out juice in the morning and make sure I'm eating small, frequent meals. One bonus of working at a hospital is my many connections. I have a dietician that I've been able to talk to frequently about what would be best for me, and the diabetic educator gave me a glucometer so I can check my blood sugar when I'm not feeling well.

I continue to feel light-headed, but I honestly can't really complain. I'm not in pain. I am able to take care of my kids, play with them, keep the house picked up, and work without too much difficulty. I'm not going to lie, I'm tired, but that is to be expected at this point. Thankfully, Ali helps out a lot by picking the kids up from school sometimes, helping me with bath time, and giving me a break whenever she can.

Oliver is incredibly active. I know we tend to forget a lot about our pregnancies, but I honestly can't remember my kids being this active in the womb! I remember worrying if they were moving often enough or not. With Oliver, I definitely don't have that problem. This little guy is on the move ALL the time. My kids love seeing my belly move. They especially love stacking things on my belly and waiting for him to kick them off or at least make them move around. They love snuggling up to the belly so he can kick them too! As he gets bigger, he's also getting stronger. Some of his kicks, punches, movements can really hurt. But, it is fun, and at least I know he's a healthy, growing boy!

10 more weeks, maybe less, and Ali and Brian will finally be able to hold onto their little man!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Half baked.

20 weeks! We are half way there! 

I'm so amazed that the time has gone by so quickly. I feel like just yesterday we were in Arizona for the transfer. Now, I'm already half way through the pregnancy. Where have the past 5 months gone?

The pregnancy has gone so smoothly. I'm feeling great. I'm finally starting to really show. I'm feeling the baby moving all the time. In fact, 4am seems to be the favorite time of day for a dance party. My husband has also just started to be able to feel the baby from the outside. Ali hasn't gotten to yet, but it's so hit and miss when you can feel it, it might just be another week or so. I can still sleep on my stomach (sort of). Everything is great.

Tonight however, was fabulous. Tonight, Ali, Brian and I went to get a 3d/4d ultrasound together. Brian has to work tomorrow and will miss the anatomy scan, so friends and family all got together to fund this ultrasound for them, so Brian wouldn't have to miss out. Thankfully, the baby was very cooperative and was not afraid to show his goods! In fact, he was far from shy and made it to where we are 100% confident that he is in fact a boy. He has some mile long legs...he was pretty much folded in half with his feet up over his head. His femur was measuring 6 days ahead of schedule. Thankfully for me, his head is measuring right on! I'll take long legs over a big head any day!

Here are his precious pictures!

Tomorrow Ali and I are lucky enough that we get to see him again tomorrow. 
We can't wait!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

18 weeks.

Today, I am officially 18 weeks through the pregnancy...only 22 more to go. That sure seems like a lot, but I can't believe we are already half way done. It has literally flown by! I'm feeling the little baby moving more and more all the time, and I love it. It has to be the best part of being pregnant. I can't wait until the movements are strong enough to be felt from the outside...I want Ali, and my kiddos, to be able to feel it! I'm sure Ali is dieing to feel it too. My kids are loving seeing the belly grow. Olyvia will notice it and say, "your belly is just popping out mom, it's so cute!" She always makes this statement complete with huge arm movements and jumping!

The most exciting this about being this far along is that the time for the gender ultrasound is almost here! On November 20th at 8:45 in the morning, we will get to have another peak at the baby...hopefully, the baby will cooperate and we can finally know if there is a boy, or a girl growing in there! I'm voting boy. Just a feeling that I have!

So far, the pregnancy is going great. Aside from being a little extra tired, I feel perfectly fine. I was having some issues with restless leg syndrome, but those seem to have subsided for now. The belly is growing, and being in maternity clothes has been a huge relief. They are SO comfortable. I don't remember being this comfy with my own kids. I also don't remember having such cute clothes. Hopefully, things will continue to go smoothly from here on out.

Here is a picture from 16 weeks, since I haven't posted it yet and haven't taken a new picture yet today:

Now, to veer off topic a tiny bit, but not much...this whole journey has been incredible. It definitely is not something I every thought I would have been involved it, but I am so happy to have stepped out of my comfort zone and done something so amazing. While it isn't everyone's cup of tea, there are SO many Intended Parents out there looking to be matched with their very own surrogate. Right now, Extraordinary Conceptions has far more parents out there than they do surrogates. These parents have been struggling with infertility and loss, most likely for years, and are ready to move forward and complete their family. This is not something to jump into lightly, but if it something you have felt tugging on your heart, let me know and I can connect you with the agency...there is even a signing bonus once a surrogate is matched with Intended Parents!

Friday, September 13, 2013


One perfect little baby. One healthy beating heart.

Ali and I made the trip out to Arizona one last time on August 28th. This was the big day. The day we finally found out just how many of those embryos decided to hold on. It was a long trip, and for the first time ever, we were actually late! They were ready for us though, and I think they were just as anxious as we were.
Head is to the right in all ultrasound pics!

Right away, we could see it. One little "gummy bear" as they called it. They showed us all the parts, the head, arms, legs, and the beating heart. It had a nice strong heart beat and was beating a 178 times per minute, high but perfect. They allowed us SO much time to look at everything and really enjoy seeing the baby. Then, Gina got serious. She wanted to find baby number two as she was certain that there had to be a second one. She searched around for quite a while, but there was only one. One is all they needed!

We had a great plan for finding out the sex if both embryos had taken. We were going to have them write it in an envelope and seal it. Then, Ali and Brian were going to decide how and when they really wanted to find out. Since there's only one, we asked them to tell us if they put in one of each, or both the same, without giving it away. I guess God's plan is for Ali and Brian to get to experience a little bit of a normal pregnancy. They put in one of each, so now we all have to wait...just like every other pregnant person out there!!

At first, I was slightly disappointed that they hadn't both taken. I had been imagining how exciting it would be to carry twins. I've carried one baby before, two babies would have been a whole new experience and so exciting. But, the more I thought about it, the more relief I felt. While tons of twins are born these days, perfectly healthy, and with perfectly healthy pregnancies, they still present a lot of risks. Twin pregnancies typically experience more morning sickness, greater chance at periods of bedrest, greater chance of c-section, and just a greater chance of getting huge! I'm not a very big person and like Lisa (one of our favorite nurses at the clinic) said, if it had been two, I probably would have been sticking out almost as far as I am tall. That would not be good for my little body.

Gina was kind enough to print tons of pictures for Ali and Brian, and she even allowed us to record the entire ultrasound. So, even though Brian wasn't able to be there, he was able to see the baby move and watch the fluttering of the baby's heart. One our way out, Dr. Nemiro happened to walk out to the front desk. Ali and I were both so happy to be able to see him one last time, and to thank him. He looked over all the pictures and was thrilled with the results. They made their predictions on girl or boy, and reminded us that we have to send them pictures when we find out and when the baby arrives! We said our goodbyes and left the office for the last time. It was actually a little sad. We have come to know so many of them over the past year and a half.

The drive home seemed SO long. Mainly because we both wanted to be home. Ali wanted to be able to talk to Brian and her family, and I was just ready to be home and in bed. We talked about all sorts of exciting things, how we felt since both hadn't taken, etc. I will let Ali share those feelings herself, when she's ready or when she wants to.

I'm currently 10 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Next week, we have our first OB appointment here and will get another ultrasound. My goal now is to try to stay healthy this pregnancy. I am finally feeling much better, so I'm working on getting back to eating well. I kind of let myself have whatever I wanted the past few weeks just to keep the nausea under control. Ali and I are walking three miles on the days I don't work. I drop off the kids at school, and then we go...up hills, down hills, all around. It's a great route and a reasonable workout.

So many people have asked me over the past year and a half how I could carry someone else's baby. I will tell you this, I have read many stories from surrogates stating that it just felt different from the beginning, and it really does. I don't know how to explain it, but it's not the same as when I was pregnant with my own children. I'm beyond thrilled for Ali and Brian. I'm incredibly happy to be able to give this gift to them. I love knowing that in a few months I'll be able to feel that little baby moving around. I love knowing what body parts are being formed this week, but there is a disconnect somewhere in there. I know I will always have a special bond with this baby, but I also know it isn't mine and seeing Ali and Brian hold their baby for the first time is going to be the most amazing thing ever. I just can't wait!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

7 weeks

Now, you can ask me if I feel pregnant. You know why? Because I am, and I do feel pregnant! I am officially 7 weeks pregnant today!

Eight days after the transfer, I woke up and I was spotting. I panicked and emailed the clinic right away. I was so scared that something terrible was happening. I took a shower, relaxed a little, and started looking things up online. (Something I always tell my patients not to do.) Upon doing some research, I discovered that this actually might be a good thing, it might be implantation bleeding. When I realized this, I let Ali know what was happening. She gave me permission to to get a pregnancy test, and to find out the initial HCG results when I heard back from the clinic. After dropping off the kids, I stopped at the dollar store to get some tests. Then, I heard from the clinic. They ran off a list of a million things that could be happening, and what to do if it got worse. They also asked if I wanted to know the results from the blood test. Of course, I said yes, and 4 days after the transfer, my HCG was 16! They would have been happy with anything over 2 and I was a 16!!! This was fabulous news, so I called Ali right away and told her. After 2 days, I no longer had any spotting. That Friday, I was scheduled for my "official" HCG.

Friday morning, I went in to the lab first thing in the morning. The phlebotomist told me that stat results take about 45 minutes to be reported. She lied. It was tragic. It took 4 hours to get our results, but when we finally did, it was fabulous. My HCG was 964, again much higher than they even expected it to bed! Ali was thrilled! I was SO happy that it finally worked, I was pregnant!!

High numbers aren't always indicative of twins, but the clinic is relatively confident that both embryos took. They stated that in an IVF situation, when two perfect embryos are placed, and then high numbers are found later, it usually does mean that both embryos took. I'm scared and excited that I'm possibly carrying twins right now. It was be fantastic for Ali and Brian. This is probably the only child/children they will get to have, so if they can get a two-fer, that would be awesome! On the 28th, we make our last trip to Arizona for our first ultrasound. Then, we will finally get to know if it's one or two!! The very next day, I have my first OB appointment at the Naval Hospital!

Exciting things are happening here! I will do my best to keep this updated!! Pray for healthy babies!!