Wednesday, November 27, 2013

35 week update... Surrogate Side

Date:  November 27th, 2013

How Many Weeks:  35 weeks!

Total Weight Gain:  Well, drum-roll please... officially 20.5lbs as of Monday's OB appointment - woot!  I only gained half a pound since my last visit a week and a half ago!  (*insert happy dance here...)  But, just to ease everyone's fear that the baby isn't growing - he's perfect and measuring right on target.  My belly is measuring at 35.5cm and that is just perfect. Nener, nener, nener!  Lol!

Baby Size:  Coconut!  (A coconut?  Really?  Those just seem really small to me.

What is going on with this baby:

  • Now, his hearing is fully developed, and he responds best to high-pitched noises. (Let's just hope he keeps that fully developed head down!  And, K&J - get ready for all that goo-goo, ga-ga in the "baby voice"...  It can be a beautiful thing, right??) 
  • If it's a boy, his testes have probably fully descended.  (Definitely a BOY.  Clearly a boy...) 

Maternity Clothes:  New trick for me - I have begun to wear my long maternity camisoles underneath my jammie tops.  Good enough - for the time being...  And, I continue to wear my hubby's t-shirts.  He continues to just love  that.  

Sleep:  Not too bad!  I am still able to get relatively comfortable pretty easily.  I toss and turn more often than normal, but that's par for the course at this point!  At least I'm able to get through the night without having to get out of bed to use the potty!!  (Maybe I shouldn't write that - I don't want to jinx myself...)  Oh well.

Movement:  All the time.  Sometimes he really hurts me!  He will tend to really extend his extremities and it stretches my belly lining quite a bit and that sometimes REALLY hurts.  It's not too often, but it happens.  Still preferred to the tap dancing - that's for sure!

Symptoms:  I'm having a hard time catching my breath.  I feel like my lungs are squeezed shut (and they probably are close considering that there isn't much room left) and that makes it pretty difficult to breath.  I get winded easily.  On a very different note (but probably related somehow), I had the most beautiful thing happen to me the other day!  I thought I had seen "stars" before, but obviously I hadn't since I was in awe of the beauty of it when it happened to me in the shower on Sunday!  They were AMAZING!  So stunning!  I know "seeing stars" is not necessarily a good thing, per se, but they were awesome!  Watching the twinkle from one to the next...  Glorious.  Okay, okay - I'm a weirdo, but it was really quite cool.  Getting back on track, my back continues to hurt and the onset is beginning to get earlier and earlier in the day.  Oh well!  All worth it!

Food Cravings/Aversions: Actually (my son's new obsession with that word is obviously rubbing off on me), I haven't been really hungry lately.  That may explain my little weight gain this past week or so.  Don't worry - that'll all change tomorrow!!! 

Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful with persuading my husband to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year.  However, in all honesty, I really don't mind cooking the meal - it's a lot of work, but totally doable.  I would much rather cook Thanksgiving dinner than clean up Thanksgiving dishes; wink, wink.  This mindset only applies to Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.  Any other day of the year, I would much rather CLEAN than cook.  Cooking just isn't my thing.  Never did like it much. 

I'm looking forward to: Thanksgiving tomorrow!  Gobble, gobble!  Although we won't be having any visitors at our home or traveling, we will enjoy the holiday together as our little family - my hubby doesn't have to work!  WooHOO!  We'll be baking our pies tonight (apple and pumpkin) and somehow making a turkey face on them for my son.  My daughter is notorious for "decorating" the pumpkin pie on her own by poking her fingers in it...  This happened last year and was the cutest thing ever!  The look on her face when she was caught will forever be a great memory. 

Happy Thanksgiving!  Love, Butterball...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

34 week update... Surrogate Side

Date:  November 21st, 2013

How Many Weeks:  34 weeks!

Total Weight Gain: 20.5lbs (I'm not saying the full pound since it's not a full pound until Friday.  *insert annoying tongue*)

Baby Size:  Butternut Squash

What is going on with this baby:
  • He's recognizing and reacting to simple songs, if you're singing them. (If you're not, start! He may find them soothing after birth.) -- well, on that note, K&J get a pen and paper...  
    • Row, row, row your boat - courtesy of B
    • Twinkle, twinkle little star - courtesy of C
    • Royals (Lorde) - courtesy of the overplayed nature of the radio.
    • He's also urinating about a pint a day.  Oh, yummy. 

    Maternity Clothes: I'm still looking into whether or not they make maternity jammies.  I have found that my t-shirts no longer cover my belly.  I have since resorted to my hubby's t-shirts.  He loves this. 

    Sleep:  Okay.  I really can't complain.  I'm able to get comfortable pretty easily, but staying comfortable is the real adventure.  Sometimes when sleeping on my side, I feel like I am sleeping right on top of him!  I, obviously, don't sleep on my belly, but he slides really low into the side on which I'm sleeping at that moment.  It's kinda cute - he gets all cozy in there.  And then, when I flip sides, he slides into that cozy crevice. 

    Movement:  Still moving quite a bit. BUT, he's not tap dancing on my goodies anymore!!! WooHOO!  He's head down and now I get kicks to the ribcage.  NOT COMPLAINING!  I'd much rather spit up the food I just ate than do the awkward girlie part dance.  Hiccups, however, in this general vicinity can get weird.  Can a girl catch a break?!  (wink, wink)

    Symptoms:  My back hurts.  A lot.  But, that symptom really only begins to surface toward the end of the day.  Yeah, too bad tubby time isn't in the mornings...  And holy leg/calf cramps!!!  Those can stop at any time now.  Horrible!

    Food Cravings/Aversions:  (I added a drizzle of Hershey's syrup to my favorite PB ice cream and I liked it.)

    I'm looking forward to:  weekly OB appointments??  Omigoodness!  What a countdown!

    I think I popped more...  Just my opinion.

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    Getting Closer.....Intended Parents Side

    You know we are getting closer when you start noticing expiration dates at the store.
    The baby is coming before this product expires!! Sounds funny, but it's the truth.
    Happy, happy day!

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    33 week update... Surrogate Side

    Date:  November 12th, 2013

    How Many Weeks:  33 weeks!

    Total Weight Gain:  20lbs??  Have I really hit the twenties?  We shall see for sure at my OB appointment on Friday morning, but I'm assuming that we have since the pound-a-week has been relatively true for a few weeks now.  I really don't like tracking my weight gain - so not fun for me.  But, I take it for the team. 

    Baby Size:  Durian??  (whatever that is... I guess I'll have to do another google search for that one - certainly doesn't look appetizing.)

    What is going on with this baby:
    • He's keeping his eyes open while awake.
    • He's also starting to coordinate breathing with sucking and swallowing.
    • His bones are hardening.
    • And he going through (more) major brain development -- that's one smart baby!
    Maternity Clothes:  Okay, so I'm not THAT big, right???  Geesh.  My maternity shirt this morning didn't fit.  Every time I moved, walked or raised an arm even the slightest, my shirt rose to show my bare belly.  This top is retired for the duration of this pregnancy.  See below:

    Sleep:  Weird dreams.  

    Movement:  He's still moving a good amount, but has calmed a bit.  Maybe he's growing and running out of room?  I'm still not sure if he's flipped.  Sometimes I think he has since I'm not really feeling the tap dance on my most sensitive parts, but then there's other times when I think that he can't have possibly flipped - unless he's keeping his hands at his head (which could certainly be the case)...  Only time will tell.  Maybe my OB can feel my belly and be able to tell.  Some docs are good like that. 

    Symptoms:  I have a very strange symptom these days.  It feels as though I have a pinched/stretched nerve right on the surface of my stretched belly near my belly button.  It's the strangest feeling.  It doesn't "hurt", but it certainly doesn't feel good!  It's a very different, bothersome, sporadic and uncomfortable feeling until I apply pressure to that area.  I think my belly is just stretching - hopefully, this isn't going to tag along for the long haul.  Another symptom beginning to surface is periodic dizzy spells.  They come on suddenly and I almost have this delirious feeling.  They don't last long, but are scary when I'm driving...   Something I'm definitely bringing up to the doctor on Friday!

    Food Cravings/Aversions: No real cravings.  This past week has been pretty good.  I did indulge and bought a gallon of my favorite chocolate peanut butter ice cream.  It was delightful.  I even thought about drizzling a bit of the Hershey's syrup that we just recently got (for a relatively odd reason; to hide my son's medicine in...).  But, I used great self-control and refrained from the drizzle.  We don't usually have that in our house and I just thought I'd get some use out of it...  Everything is better with a little Hershey's syrup on top, right?!  Well, I wouldn't know.  Not that time at least. 

    I'm looking forward to:  the holiday season!  We've begun shopping!  (No.  Not just for Christmas, but for our Thanksgiving meal, too!)  I came home from work yesterday with kids in tow and my hubby was home (cooking dinner!) and had Christmas music going.  I told him he was crazy and that he's rushing the season, but I secretly enjoyed it, too -- not that I'd ever divulge that to him or anything.


    Thursday, November 7, 2013

    Questions, questions, questions... Surrogate Side

    What a great idea for a post by my IPs, huh?  Thought I'd do one of my own...

    Like K&J, I have also endured many questions from a wide variety of avenues -- family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, neighbors, community members, hospital staff and even strangers.  Many of these questions are all along the same spectrum. 

    Here are just a few:

    Q: Did you know the couple you are carrying for beforehand?  Are they family?
    A:  No.  We both found one another through our agency who diligently listened to our wishes and delivered a perfect match.  Couldn't be happier!  They certainly feel like family now!

    Q: Aren't you afraid that you won't be able to give the baby away?
    A:  No!  Not at all.  You have to go into this journey with the right mindset and know WHY you want to do this in the first place.  This baby is not mine; not in any way.  I am simply growing their child for them.  I understand that this is not for everyone, but it is for me.  I can't wait to give this baby to them! 

    Q: Why? Why would you want to do this? Why go through the discomfort of pregnancy for a stranger?
    A:  Everyone has their own reason for wanting to become a gestational carrier and there is not just one correct answer.  My reason was to be able to provide a deserving couple with the greatest blessing ever: a child.  I know how happy I felt becoming a parent and why not try to share the love?  Becoming a parent is the greatest gift from God.  By doing this, I am allowing another family the ability to witness the sheer joy of having a family of their own. My own pregnancies hadn't been bad and I actually enjoy being pregnant.  My question to them: why the heck not?? 

    Q: Aren't you going to develop a bond with the baby and become attached?
    A:  Well, yes.  But, not the way you would typically think of a bond.  The bond that I have with this baby is more of a "best friend" vibe.  You know, the one where you offer support, love, encouragement?  I am rooting for this baby so he can unite with his parents.  I am doing all that I can so he can be a healthy baby for his parents.  

    Q: Will you treat this pregnancy any different than you did your own?
    A:  Not one bit.  I would never be able to bring myself to do anything I wouldn't have done for my own babies.  If anything, I feel a little bit MORE of a responsibility to be good since this isn't my own child!  Lol!  But, like with my own children, I don't do what I'm not supposed to do.  (Apart from the occasional hot pastrami sandwich, but you get my drift.)  I also don't do some of the things that are totally acceptable in pregnancy; such as caffeine, artificial sugars, etc.  Those are just my own preferences.  I didn't do them for my own and I wouldn't think of doing them with this butterball.  

    Q: Will you want to have a relationship with the baby after he's born?
    A:  This is probably the hardest question I am asked.  I don't want any "special" relationship with him, but I also don't want to just let this family go away and never be heard from again.  I think I have developed more of a bond with K&J at this point as great friends than anything.  Just to be able to see their family grow together.  That is what I'd like most.

    Our happy, little surrogate family...

    Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    Top 8 Most Common Questions....Intended Parents Side

    Over the course of the last year my hubby and I have received many of the same questions over and over.

    These include:

    Q: Why did you choose surrogacy?
    A: After years of infertility treatments and several losses we were told that not only becoming pregnant but staying pregnant were extremely difficult. Therefore we looked into other options, including surrogacy and decided together that this was a great choice for us.

    Q: How did you choose your surrogate?
    A: We submitted our profile to our agency (Circle) and they were worked very hard on finding what they felt was a very good fit. For us it's been a perfect fit and we couldn't be happier.

     Q: Isn't it strange to have your baby be carried by someone other than you?
     A: Well....Depends how you look at it. To be honest, no we are extremely grateful for this opportunity and consider it a pretty sweet miracle. At times we both do really wish that we could have done this the 'old fashioned way.'  As of course we are only human, BUT we are so happy and grateful how could you feel sad?!

    Q: Do you plan on telling your child about your surrogacy experience?
    A: Yes. We will be open and honest from the beginning when it's age appropriate.

    Q: Why didn't you just adopt?
    A: We love adoption and have close family members who did just that, but for us we wanted to try this journey and are open to many things in the future as well.

    Q: Do you think God was trying to tell you you weren't meant to have children?
    A: No, I think he was just saying the best things come to those who have faith and are a little bit stubborn.

    Q: What part of this journey has been the hardest?
    A: The hardest part was the beginning of the pregnancy making sure we got through the first few months. Also, living a bit of a distance has been challenging at times because we wish we both could have attended all appointments but technology and our carrier have been amazing!

    Q: Do you plan on keeping in touch with your surrogate or ever talking to her after the baby is born?
    A:  YES! Our surrogate will always be a friend to our family,  we can't imagine anything else! It's been a pretty fantastic journey so far and the best part is yet to come.

    31 week VISIT.......Intended Parents Side

    Recently I flew out to meet with our amazing gestational carrier and visit our new doctor's office. In addition, have an ultrasound and view the hospital where she will be delivering. We decided to switch to another doctor's office that would deliver at a larger hospital on the very unlikely chance that we would need the NICU. We loved our last OB as well and hoped that the next transition would be a good one for everyone. My hubby was unable to attend which made me sad, as his uncle had planned to visit him for a few days from New York, and we didn't want to cancel his trip since he was coming to speak at a conference nearby as well. But I was able to go and I was thankful for that. Since my in laws don't live too far from our carrier, my mother in law asked if I wanted to have the extra company and I told her that G said that was fine which was incredibly sweet of her. We left Friday a.m. for the 2 hour drive to the new hospital to meet G.
    I was so excited and couldn't wait to see our little man in bright lights. At first glance we couldn't believe how AMAZING G looked! She is one of those people who looks even more beautiful when she is pregnant. She was also excited to see us. She will be a forever friend to us, she's amazing. We quickly were brought into the ultrasound room and we were able to get some pretty incredible views of the baby. Thankfully everything looked perfect and he's measuring right on track.
    It was a special treat for everyone. We also were able to meet with the NP and do a short visit to review the next few weeks. We talked about how we will handle the time when G gets closer to delivery. One of our concerns is that we REALLY don't want to miss the delivery, but we also realize staying nearby and 'waiting' for a few weeks is not too feasible either, so we will play everything by ear and as we get closer we will have a much better idea of how things will progress. We were unable to meet the new doctor but everyone felt very comfortable with the new practice and G had worked with them in the past as well. Next, she had set up a private (short) tour of the labor and delivery suite. It was incredible thoughtful of her to do this and we were so excited. The unit looks like the 'Four Seasons' and had really beautiful facilities. I'm glad that we were able to see exactly where we need to go in advance. Following our tour we all parted ways and we gave G a huge hug. The little man didn't want to make any sudden movements too much while we were there but it's okay, soon enough he will be here and the party will begin! We are getting ready for his arrival and having fun getting the nursery ready. Look at this face!!! Isn't he adorable......

    32 week update... Surrogate Side

    Date: November 5th, 2013 (Happy birthday, J!!!)

    How Many Weeks:  32 weeks!

    Total Weight Gain:  19lbs.  We are consistently gaining a pound a week.  Not sure how I feel about that, but I'm not sure what I can do about it...  Maybe cut out my sweets?!  LOL!  Well, K&J will have to stop giving/sending me all the pastries and cookies!!!  Just last Friday when we met up for our ultrasound and OB appointment, K gave me a huge box of Halloween/Thanksgiving sugar cookies!  What sweet people...  I'm so lucky. However, my waistline may disagree...  (wink,wink)

    Baby Size:  Squash

    What is going on with this baby:
    • He's getting ready for his descent -- he's likely in the head-down position now.  NOPE!  The ultrasound confirmed that he is, in fact, BREECH; which explains my newly revisited kicks to the awkward girlie regions.  I think he had flipped, though, because there was a period of time that I wasn't being bombarded with his tap dancing routines on my goodies.  That said, I am hoping that he flips again soon.  We don't want to deliver a breech baby!!!  I wonder if we can still deliver vaginally if he is breech?  I'll have to do some google research.  
    • And he's probably feeling a even more cramped.  Yes, definitely more cramped.  Poor guy!  But, ultrasound also indicated that he was a "normal" sized child.  I say "normal" because in comparison to my own 2 previous monstrous deliveries, this child will not be an above-average far at least! 
    Maternity Clothes:  I don't wanna wear these anymore.  Can I just wear my comfy jammies from now on?  Actually, we just had spirit week at my job and I couldn't bring myself to participate in Pajama day...  What if something crazy happened?  I'd be in my jammies and looking like a fool.  But, I would have been very comfortable and nothing crazy happened.  I have no school spirit.

    Sleep:  Still going really well.  The leg cramps really flourish during this time.  It's like they are conniving little bastards who conspire to get me at my most relaxing time.  They plot their attacks just when I'm most comfortable.  Otherwise, blissful! 

    Movement:  Okay, you know I tell you all the time that little man moves regularly, right?  Well, this baby refused to perform on demand for his Momma and Grandma on Friday afternoon!  I even tried jiggling him around, drank a cup of water and ate one of the sugar cookies that K brought for me and my family.  All this effort to no avail.  Dang boy!!  I felt so bad. 

    Symptoms:  My back hurts towards the end of the day.  I'm having some Braxton Hicks contractions periodically throughout the day.  Some days he feels like he's very heavy on my cervix and that is kinda painful.  The leg cramps at night are no fun, either.  On a positive note, the boobies feel a lot less painful!  (Or, I have just gotten use to the pain?!?)  They are still ginormous, though.  (*Funny that "ginormous" is considered a real word now -- it doesn't come up with a red misspelling squiggly underneath it...  Hmm.  I'll have to google that one, too.  Is it a real word???)
    Yep, it's a word!  But, it's not NEW?!  1940s?  Geez, and here I was thinking I'm a genius...

    Food Cravings/Aversions:  I still love me some applesauce!  I've told the hubby that we need to make a stop at BJ's to get a 5-gallon bucket of the stuff.  Okay, I know this next loved food product I mention isn't considered "healthy" for pregnant women, but I have enjoyed a hot pastrami sandwich and LOVED EVERY BITE.  So, there. 

    I'm looking forward to:  maybe eating another hot pastrami sandwich...  maybe with a side of applesauce...  (I think it's time for lunch.)


    Friday, November 1, 2013

    Like it or not... Surrogate Side

    Well, there goes that.

    So, it turns out that the new motion to encourage the Judge to "reconsider" his decision about the pre-birth order was again denied.  But, the court didn't exactly write "denied", instead rather politely stated that a post-birth hearing was "granted".  Sly little devils.  I guess we'll be doing this post-delivery whether we like it or not...

    They scheduled the hearing within 5 days of giving birth so it is very likely that we will get K&J's names on the birth certificate the first time around.  Yay!

    My attorney expressed that this isn't the end of the world, but makes things a bit more hectic after the baby is born (which is during a pretty hectic time of year)...  With it being the holiday season (umm, Christmas/Hanuukah/Kwanzaa and New Years - crazy!) and people taking time off, this is not ideal, but totally doable.  Here's  a direct quote from him:
    • The good news is that he will allow an emergency hearing within five days of the birth, which should be sufficient to get the first birth certificate correctly issued.
    • The bad news is more work for us immediately after the birth. 
    Oh goodie, we like more work.  He did go on to say that should I require a c-section (and God willing I DO NOT), he will attend the hearing on my behalf with my telephone number handy...  Good man.

    Although much of this seems overwhelming, stressful and chaotic, I actually am okay with things.  As much as I would have loved having the birth order taken care of prior to having this baby, I am confident with our efforts thus far and have complete trust in our legal staff.  I leave this in the hands of the man above -- He's gotten us this far!!