Tuesday, January 28, 2014

After Delivery.....PARENT Side!!

The morning after the delivery I woke and texted G to see how she was feeling and asked if we could visit after she was awake. J had stopped at the hotel to pick up his parents and grab a few things and I was excited for G to 'stop by.' The night before was a blur of pure excitement and happiness, not to mention I kept waking up every 5 minutes to make sure the baby was breathing, which I have been told is somewhat normal for new parents. G stopped by that morning and explained she received very little sleep since they kept stopping in her room every 10 minutes all night and took until 1:00 a.m. to remove the lovely catheter, so not fair! Hospitals don't create the best sleeping or resting environment, ironic as it is.
G quickly sat down and held baby Charlie. Watching G hold baby Charlie made me so happy, she laughed and said she would 'baby sit' a minute while I went and grabbed us a drink. As I peaked through the door on the way out, I snapped this photo, and it may be one of my favorite photos ever.

A few hours later, G's hubby and kids came to visit her and meet the baby. Her gorgeous kids had a present for the baby and the bear that they picked out is proudly placed in his room. Someday he will learn the story of how he came to be born and the miracle of this crazy journey. I knew that G was anxious to go home to her own family, and although we completely understood, we were sad to see her go. Although the journey had been filled with ups and downs, I was in a sense a little sad it was over. We were on cloud nine to have Charlie in our arms, but also truly enjoyed our journey with G. As she stopped in our room to say goodbye, I knew we would be forever linked, and even more than a friend, she had become family.

Postpartum recovery… Surrogate Side

Well, ain't that the truth!

I have to say, the boobies were probably the WORST part of this recovery.  Some had told me that it is worse than the actual delivery.  I quickly shot that down since my experience delivering this precious gift to K&J was nothing short of excruciating.  Boobie engorgement, although extremely painful and uncomfortable, will never come close to what I experienced during this last childbirth. 

I thought that I was going to get away with not having any boobie complications because 3 days postpartum, my milk still hadn't come in.  I mean, they were heavy and larger, but my milk hadn't "dropped" -- you know, the tingly, awkward, "vibrating" sensation that indicates that the liquid gold is ready for consumption.  I was a googling maniac trying to find out if one could get through having a baby and her milk not coming in.  Nothing I read could ascertain my inquiry...this may be because IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY!

In my own opinion (and take this for what it's worth), I think it is your body's way of torturing you for not breastfeeding.  They're saying, "look lady, use them for what they're for and because you're not, we're gonna cause pain and agony to teach you a lesson".  I have to say, the pain was pretty incredible the very first day my milk came in.  I had done some research beforehand so I would be prepared and was told that wearing two sports bras and/or binding your breasts with an ace-bandage helps a lot.  So, that I did.  Okay, it helped, but I was looking for more relief.  I was also told to buy cabbage and put the leaves into the bra.  I got mixed reviews on this one.  Googling told me it worked, but a close friend of mine said it was a waste of time.  Geesh, I should have listened to my friend...

I stuck those things in my bra and prayed for the best.  Yeah, that was the worst idea ever.  As soon as I put those suckers in my bra, I had my very first "let down"...  WTF?  I decided to ride it out for a bit to see if any magic happened.  Bad idea.  I continued to have about 2 more "let downs" in a matter of 30 minutes.  At that point, I matter-of-factly got up and removed those torture devices from my bra and threw them into the trash along with the rest of the head of cabbage.  Thump -- into the trash it went.

Over the next few days, the pain and engorgement ceased.  My husband was astounded by how rock-hard they were (and loved their new size).  I was shocked that they held their "smushed" shape when I took my bras off.  I wondered if they would ever be the same.  Come to find out, they are.  I was actually hoping that they would get a tad bit smaller, but they didn't......

As far as healing "down there" is concerned, I really cannot complain!  I healed so fast!  I want to attribute it to the lack of meds I had during delivery, but who knows?  (Still doesn't make it worth it...I would SOOO get an epidural again.)  I was back to work a week and a half after delivery.  No swelling, minimal bleeding and almost "back to normal" boobies.  Wowza!

K&J and I have kept in touch.  I really cannot imagine not having them in my life.  They are such sweet people and they really have become family.  I will always think of them often -- just can't help it; they are just that awesome!  They update me with how their butterball (aka: Charlie) is doing pretty regularly and I really love it.  My children adore seeing pictures of him and often ask about him.  My daughter is constantly saying, "Momma, pick me up...  because Charlie is not in your belly anymore".  I think she missed that.  LOL!  My son can't wait for "Charlie to be 2 because he can talk to me".

Love, Science, a Surrogate Body SuitK&J have received Charlie's birth certificate which names the rightful parents.  I nearly cried when I saw the picture of the document that K sent me.  We worked so hard for that.  We worked so hard to get them their child.  We worked so hard and it all worked out perfectly.

I couldn't be happier with this journey; the different avenues we crossed, the many ups and downs we faced, and most importantly, the relationship that bloomed throughout.  Forever a family. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

The big day.......IP Side

Well, the day had finally come (we hope) for the induction. After the first induction had been cancelled, we were disappointed to say the least. We decided to stay about 2 hours away the night before, and we enjoyed the day visiting with family. We knew that a blizzard was starting throughout the area and it was scheduled to be a horrible next few day of whiteouts and fast accumulating snow. We got up early and prayed that my phone didn't ring. As soon as we got on the road, we quickly realized that the conditions were awful, and getting worse by the hour. We texted G and told her due to the weather and heavy traffic we would be a tiny bit late, but she assured me it was okay and we was going to be given an antibiotic before her other medication was started anyway. When we arrived at the hospital, we poked our head in the door and were greeted with big hugs from G and her hubby.
Have we mentioned what an amazing hubby he is, he was so thoughtful that he brought the family camera to take pictures of our exciting day for us, what a great person. We started to walk the halls with G, who was having contractions, I could tell that she was anxious to get the show on the road, yet we all knew that his process could take quite some time. After walking the halls for a while and chatting back in her room, we decided to all eat some lunch. J and I went downstairs to grab a bite to eat and get some coffee. We also phoned his parents who were planning on heading down for the night, and told them they better leave quickly because the roads were getting pretty dangerous, and we knew that they may not be able to get there for a few days after the storm, if it became worse. When we headed back up to the room, we realized that G's contractions were getting worse, and the nurse (who we couldn't have loved more) pushed that lovely button and increased her Pitocin again.
Before we knew it, G's water broke and from there, it was just a blur of excitement, or pain from G's perspective. The anesthesiologist FINALLY came to the room and at one point, it was only me, G, and the nurse and doctor in the room, because the two men were both getting a little dizzy. Well, I found this doctor to be a little bit on the annoying side. The last thing we wanted was for the epidural to not work, in fact I had experienced that myself several years ago, and lets just say it wasn't my fondest memory. J and I stood off to the side and our hearts sank, we knew that the baby was coming quickly but we also knew she was in a lot of pain. To be a surrogate is incredible enough, and after all she has done for us, now the epidural didn't work. YIKES......Before we knew it, she began pushing and several residents and physicians starting filling the room. Now, I still can't believe it only took a few pushes and before we knew it, the baby had arrived. He let out a HUGE cry, which was definitely the best sound we had ever heard. He was beautiful, absolutely perfect. While they were cleaning off Charlie, I kept walking over to G, and making sure she was okay. After they told us his weight (8 lbs 14 oz), we laughed and G's hubby also laughed and mentioned that they are often a little 'off' on the measurements right before birth, I guess so! She assured me she was. J and I were both positive that she was not only super woman but an angel. As the nurse was doing basic vitals and cleaning off Charlie, J and I looked over at G, with tears in our eyes and whispered thank you. We looked around and the nurses were crying, as well as the 3 of us. It was amazing. Our dream had become a reality, and then watching my hubby pick up the baby and hold him in his arms, was the best feeling in the world. We had become parents.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The legal stuff… Surrogate Side

Our post-birth order hearing was scheduled for Monday, January 6th, 2014 at 8:15am.  It was a super-rainy morning which created highly icy road conditions.  Again, I would be traveling in nasty weather.  Can a girl catch a break??  Geesh.  

Because I wanted to allow myself enough cushion to be on time in case anything happened, I arrived early to the District Court.  I parked in a nearly empty parking lot.  I wondered to myself if the court had closed due to the weather.  As I sat in my car, another car pulled alongside of me.  I looked over to see a well-dressed man and wondered if he was my attorney.  (We had only spoken to one another over the phone.)  Hmm, lol!

I waited until 8am to head into the building.  The man who parked next to me also began walking toward the doors at that time.  I asked if he happened to be Chris and he said that he was.  We introduced ourselves as we made our way to the front door.  When we finally reach the door to go inside and get out of the rain, the door is locked.  

Did I mention that it was torrential downpours with heavy wind?

Two separate security guards saw us standing outside waiting to be let in.  They clearly knew the weather outside.  Chris and I (and another woman) stood out in the rain for nearly 10 minutes before they opened the doors for us. (I know what you're all thinking;  why didn't you just go back to your car?  In our defense, the parking lot was pretty far out and our cars were not nearby.)  So, here I am, heading into court looking like a hot mess.  Good thing I took the time to straighten my hair……

When we were let inside, my attorney reviewed some questions that he would ask me in an effort to plead my case to not be listed as Charlie's mother on his birth certificate.  He also took a minute to explain what could possibly happen in there.  Best case scenario: the Judge smiles at us and asks where to sign.  Worst case scenario: the Judge denies our request again and we appeal (again) and request another hearing that could potentially take a year to get through.  Chris was pretty confident that we wouldn't have to do that.  

The Judge that originally stalled our attempts at getting a pre-birth order has since retired.  (Just goes to show you that he was not up-to-date with modern medical technology and, not to mention, most likely a stubborn old grump.)  My attorney, however, was unsure of whether or not he would be finishing out his cases before he officially retired.  There was still a chance that this Judge could deny our request again.

When we were invited into the courtroom, I could sense that both my attorney and the attorney representing K&J (who wouldn't be in attendance) were anxious to find out who the Judge would be.  I was just a little bit nervous.  

Because we were not the only ones in the courtroom, Chris got the bailiff's attention to remind her that our case was "sealed"; meaning that it was not public and no other individuals could be in the courtroom during our case.  The bailiff had the other case go first as we sat there in the "audience".  I listened to what was going on and then turned to my attorney to ask if this was a divorce??  He said that it was.  I was baffled!  I felt like I was intruding on their privacy!!  I felt horrible.

When they left the courtroom, we were called up to the Judge.  He told us his name and he was not the Judge who kept denying our requests -- WooHOO!  He asked us a few questions and my attorney explained the situation.  Chris thought it would be a good idea to go through our statement and questions just to have it on record.  This judge turned out to be very open and supportive of modern technology.  He told me that what I did was a beautiful thing and shared that his grandchildren are adopted and they were all at the hospital for the birth.  

He signed our paperwork and granted our request for the post-birth order.  Hallelujah!  Charlie's birth certificate would have the rightful parents listed the first time; just like it should be.

After delivery… Surrogate Side

When the blessed moment was over, there was a lot of excitement, love and happiness.  K&J were in heaven with their precious bundle, J's parents were head-over-heels in love with their very first grandchild and my husband was so loving and supportive of me - he was sure to let our family know that all was well and everyone was healthy and was even K&J's personal photographer!  I don't think I could have been happier.  I don't think I could have felt anymore complete. 

Charlie checked out perfectly by the nurses and doctors and ate his very first bottle really well.  I think I had the pleasure of giving him his very first burp -- he was making a very unsettled face while I was holding him after he had his bottle so I gave a little pat and out it came.  Everything was copacetic in his world after that!  He even slept peacefully through his blood-draw to check his blood sugars.  That was quite the process; one drip at a time!

The anesthesiologist returned at some point (when it was all over, of course) and began to explain his thoughts as to why the epidural did not work.  My husband thinks he was trying to avoid a lawsuit with the way he approached things -- LOL!  Not that I would ever even think to do something like that.  What he does is hit or miss.  I was just unfortunate to get a miss this time around.  I told him that I didn't hate him…anymore…  He laughed.  

During the time when the pediatric nurse was working with Charlie, my nurse, Michelle, came to my side where she became very emotional.  She expressed her sincere appreciation for what I had just given that family and shared that this will be her most memorable and favorite delivery of her entire career.  She even shed a few tears.  She even made me cry.  

When they were done getting Charlie's blood, K&J were brought up to their room on the recovery floor with Charlie.  We were told that our rooms would be right next to each other - how sweet!  

After everyone left, Michelle helped me to the restroom to clean up and try to urinate before going to the recovery floor.  At that time, she noticed that the anesthesiologist did not remove the epidural catheter from my back when he returned.  She called him a "ding-a-ling" and asked what the heck he was doing when he came back down??  I told him he was "covering his ass."  

I ended up losing a lot of blood while in the bathroom and got VERY dizzy and heard ringing in my ears.  She immediately had me sit down and applied cold compresses.  The shakiness and dizziness didn't last long and I was able to go to my new room, but not before my husband loaded up my lap with all of our belongings.  He simply carried the camera and his hat.  Good man. 

We were brought to our room and I was introduced to my new nurse.  Michelle let her know that the ding-a-ling anesthesiologist (yes, she said it again, lol) did not remove my catheter and that she'd be calling to see when someone can come take it out for me.  Michelle said her goodbyes and promised to come see me again the next day -- she wanted to meet my children.

As I looked around the room, I saw that the hospital staff got it right this time; they removed the baby bassinet before I was brought into the room -- something that they had forgotten to do with the birth of my daughter nearly 3 years ago when she had to be in the NICU for emergency abdominal surgery (she's fine now).  I don't think it would have bothered me as much this time around as it did when I delivered my daughter, but that was the first thing I looked for.  Weird of me, yes, but couldn't help it.  I still have slight PTSD of that day… 

Moving on… LOL!  

K had come in to see how I was doing and give me an update on Charlie - he was/is doing fabulously!  She is such a sweet and caring person.  She was always asking if I needed anything; anything at all.  She told me that she was just a text away if I needed anything or someone to talk to.  I am so fortunate to have made lifelong friends of K&J.  

Since it was getting late, my husband had to prepare for his treacherous drive home in the nasty weather to get our children.  He mentioned that it is a night like this that he would much rather sleep in a hospital than drive home.  He made sure that I had everything I needed and that I was comfortable.  As much as I wanted him to stay with me, I knew he had to go to be with our children.  When he left, I remember thinking, "let the relaxation begin!"

Boy, was I wrong.

I was checked on quite a bit:  uterus check, bleeding check, vitals check, had to be escorted to the restroom to pee the first time so the nurse could determine for herself that I was capable of doing so without passing out, another uterus check, more vitals…  During one of these checks, the nurse informed me that an anesthesiologist would not be able to remove my catheter "for a while" because they were really busy right now in surgery.  Woo freakin' hoo.  I asked if I could at least get my IV out of my elbow crevice.  "Sorry, not until tomorrow."

In between all of these checks, I would doze off and on.  I had never been so tired in my life.  (I think I can attribute it to the lack of pain meds during the most intense and painful delivery of my life and all the excitement of accomplishing one of my lifetime goals.)  I felt like I was deliriously tired, but not able to sleep.  Actually, I had the hardest time staying asleep.  I am certain the constant check-ins didn't really help at all.  The only one that didn't bother me was the 1am check from the anesthesiologist!  A different guy from the one who put it in came to remove my catheter from my back -- thank you, Jesus!  His words, "let's take this out of you to help you forget that it didn't work…"  LOL!  I was hopeful that having it removed from my back that I would be able to sleep.  And, I was right; until the next round of "checks", of course.

The next day was eventful.  We had to have a notary present to sign a Power of Attorney affidavit so that K&J had all parental rights.  The birth certificate office placed a call to my room to get that process started and wound up getting thoroughly confused over the phone due to the circumstances of the delivery.  When I got off the phone with her, I immediately called my lawyer to explain what just happened:  the hospital staff told me that I would have to be named "mother" on the birth certificate because I gave birth to Charlie.  Oh, no I'm not!  

My attorney reassured me that what they pull together for birth certificate purposes at the hospital level will be overridden by the courts when we get our "post-birth order" signed by the Judge on Monday morning.  Phew!  The State will then process the birth certificate with the Judge's ruling of K&J being the biological parents and my name will be nowhere near that thing!  Just as I would like it -- I am NOT the momma.  K&J rightfully deserve that title.

The birth certificate office called me back a while later and said that she had it figured out and between K, J and myself, we gave her the answers that she was looking for.

As I was packing things up to go home, K stopped in with a couple gifts.  She knows my love for comfy jammies and got me a very nice set!  The next gift really touched my heart.  She and J got me a Pandora bracelet with the most thoughtful charms possible: a wishbone to represent the miracle created, a heart to represent our forever friendship and my favorite, a kangaroo with baby in the pouch to represent our surrogacy journey -- as J calls it, the "tummy mummy".  

Later in the morning, my husband brought our children to come pick me up and to meet the new little family.  I could hear their clunky snow boots trekking down the hall and I felt my heart swell.  I couldn't wait to see them.  As they entered my room, their first words were, "where's Charlie??!?!?!!"  I guess K heard them and brought him into my room for the visit!  My children were so excited to meet him.  They gave him the build-a-bear that they both made for him and I gave her the gift that my husband and I pulled together for them (helpful gadgets, necessities, a cute outfit, of course, and a gift card for later).

My nurse from delivery made her way to see us again before we left and she met my children - they adored her!  She shared again that she was proud to have been a part of this journey and will never forget this experience.  She told me that I am a special person.  I told her that I was just doing something that I had wanted to do for a very long time -- everyone deserves to have a child of their own.

We were all able to get everything done that needed to be done.  K&J would be staying at the hospital for a couple more days to be sure Charlie was healthy and eating well.  I, however, was able to be discharged early.  I was ready.  As much as I kinda wanted to stay to be with K, J and Charlie, I really felt ready to go home to finish recovering there and spend time with my own family.  

When it was time to go, we went to K&J's room to say goodbye.  I saw that K had begun to cry.  Her compassion was undeniable.  She had me shedding a few more tears.  I told her that she and her new family will always be a part of my life.  She said, "ok good".  

The big day… Surrogate Side

The Big Day finally arrived on Thursday, January 2nd, 2014!  It was a scheduled induction and we were hoping and praying that it did not get bumped again.

When I woke up in the morning, I did my normal routine and hoped that my phone did not ring.  I got everything ready for our big morning and as I was in the shower, low and behold, I get a phone call.  (No, I didn't jump out of the shower to get the phone - I was  VERY pregnant…  I did hurry the shower up a bit, though.)  As soon as I was out, I immediately checked my phone.  PHEW!  It was not the hospital; only a friend who was coordinating our morning arrangements for childcare since the weather was not at all good and we were pretty much in the middle of a blizzard here in the northeast.  

After everyone was packed up and ready to go, we headed out the door and on our way to the hospital.  The roads were pretty tricky so we decided that we would leave relatively early so we wouldn't be late.  Good thing, too, because there were several cars off the road and a couple of accidents.  My husband and I joked that we were lucky to not actually be in labor and have to drive "faster" to the hospital in the yucky weather.  We also agreed that it was a bit weird to be driving to the hospital to have a baby, but not be in labor yet.  This is something that we had never experienced before -- and during the day, too!  A friend joked that it's not a typical G labor story if it doesn't start super early in the morning!  Always happened in the middle of the night… 

Anyway, back to the good stuff.

We arrived at the hospital a little bit early, but were taken into Labor and Delivery right away. Our nurse, Michelle, got us settled into our room and had me change up and get "comfy".  She put my IV in (right in the crevice of my elbow - YUCK) to start my antibiotic drip for the GBS.  I asked if they would be starting the Pitocin at that time, too, and she said that it would also start then, but a very low dose.  I asked how long it will take to start taking affect and the nurse said, "well…it can take up to 3 days."  Umm…WHAT?!  I looked at my husband at that time and all he could do was laugh at me.  Blatantly laugh.  Right in my face.  What a guy!  Okay…  All for a great cause.  I was ready.  

I was determined that this induction was not going to take 3 days.  The nurse left the room to get the bags for my IV drip.  She was gone for what felt like a very long time.  I'm not kidding; I think it was like an hour.  LOL!  When she returned, she had my bags of meds and got me all hooked up.  After I was hooked up, I asked what I could do to potentially greaten the odds that I will be in labor that day.  Michelle said that walking around helps a lot.  So, that is what I was going to do.

Before I could begin my trek around the Labor and Delivery floor, a doctor came in to give me a cervical exam.  She was very gentle, but seemed very nervous.  She left to have my nurse double-check and verify her findings.  Michelle came in and I asked if that doctor was new.  She explained that she was a 1st-year resident doctor and is still learning.  Oh joy.  The perks of delivering at a teaching hospital -- if one cervical exam wasn't bad enough, I was lucky enough to have two every time!  The nurse did warn me that she would not be as gentle as the doctor.  And, she was right!  Holy hang on for dear life Batman!!  Results turned out to be the same as my exam the Friday before: 2+cm, 50% effaced.

As I was getting up to begin my attempt at kickstarting labor, K&J arrived!!  They had quite the drive up from Boston.  The weather was terrible.  As I was standing there talking with them and giving them hugs, I had several contractions; not painful contractions, but contractions nonetheless!  I attributed them to the massive cervical exam I just experienced.  I told K&J my plan to walk until I could walk no more and they were right there with me.  K even offered to walk the IV pole for me!  I stopped only for pee breaks and lunch.  

After lunch, I had an increase in Pitocin and yet another wonderfully pleasant cervical exam.  Hey, 3cm and 70% effaced?  Okay, a little progress!!  I'll take it.  From there, I was right back to trekking the halls.  This time, however, my walking was at a slower pace with some stronger contractions.  K&J returned from lunch as well and then joined our race around the halls.  Some time later, I decided that I needed a little break.  The nurse came in and we chatted about how I was feeling.  I explained that my contractions were, in fact, the real deal contractions and that I know there has been more progress.  She asked if I wanted her to check my cervix and I said, "yes please!" -- 6cm!  Woot!  

At that time, I requested the epidural.  I was in a lot of pain.  (Or, I thought I was at that point…)  I had every intention of getting the epidural as soon as I needed it.  I needed it then. I patiently  waited for the anesthesiologist to make his way to my room to give me the drugs.

*Side note:  why is it that every anesthesiologist that I have had has been a man who thinks that holding a conversation while prepping for the procedure is okay?  This guy was asking questions that he actually wanted answers to (okay, I know he needs to, but when the pain is bad enough for the epidural, can't you just look at my chart?  It's hard enough to concentrate on sitting up, never mind actually THINK). He was commenting on the music playing in the background (at which point I could no longer even hear because of the pain) and other irrelevant stuff.  Come on, guy!  Just do your job and make the pain go away!!

The epidural was finally in.  I asked him when it would start to work.  (I hadn't remembered it ever really needing "some time" to kick in…  I was worried.)  He said to give it a couple contractions to work it's way to where it needed to be.  He asked where the pain was located.  (It was hard for me to answer -- umm, everywhere??)  I told him that it was primarily in the lower back, but also in the front and mostly to the left.  He then had the nerve to say, "I don't want you to make things up, I just need to know where the pain is located because that will indicate what I need to do next."  I told him that I was not making it up and that is where the dang pain was!  Jerk.

He had me flip to one side and he moved the catheter a little bit.  He asked if that made a difference.  I said, "no."  He then informed me that back labor was tricky and that he had to go, but he'd be back to fix it and tapped my foot apologetically as he left.

I continued to cringe through the contractions as everyone around me was doing what they had to do.  At one point, I opened my eyes (because having them closed "helped" me for some reason??) to see if anyone was in the room with me - it was so quiet that I thought everyone had left me to wither away all by myself!  Haha!  

After more excruciatingly intense contractions, I felt a big, warm gush.  I told them, "I think my water just broke."  Again, something I had never experienced spontaneously before.  From there, the contractions gained intensity and seemed to never end.  I don't think people expected things to progress as quickly as they did because I was like, "umm…I think I need to start pushing……." 

Well, that seemed to get their attention because a doctor immediately checked my cervix and said, "yep, you're at 10!  You need to start pushing at your next contraction!  Do you remember how to push?"  Umm, yeah, I do.  Thanks.

I pull my legs back and try to push the baby out as hard as I can.  This is the worst pain ever.
     Push contraction 1:  not completely successful, but progress made.

I prepare for the next contraction.  PUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSHHHHHH!  Puuusshh! 
     Push contraction 2:  more progress, but he's still not out.  Half of his face and arm 
     are stuck there.  I ask them to "please just take him out!  It hurts so bad!"  They tell 
     me that they can't right now and that I will need to push more.  So, I did.  I just kept 
     pushing.  And pushing.  They told me to wait for the next contraction.  LOL!

The next contraction comes.  PUSH!  PUSH!  The pain subsided.  The boy was out.  He was perfect.  Gorgeous.  I looked at K&J.  They were crying.  The doctors asked who was cutting the cord.  It was the plan for J to do it, but he was just a bit queasy so K stepped up.  (The doctors explained that J would have an opportunity to cut the cord shorter afterwards.)  

Charlie was born at 4:26pm.  He was 8lbs, 14oz and 20.5 inches long.  (WHAT?! Another 9lb baby?  What the heck?  The ultrasound 2 days before said he would be 6lbs, 13oz.  LIES!)

I looked over to where the nursing staff was working on him and that is where I got emotional.  I saw the brand-new parents with their brand-new baby.  I saw the love in their eyes.  I saw their appreciation.  K kept coming over to me to see how I was doing. I kept telling her to go be with her baby -- I was fine!!  Although I'm not entirely sure who held Charlie first, I think it may have been J.  He was in his element!  Charlie is the luckiest baby boy in the world to have such loving, kind, gentle and amazing parents.  A perfect family.

When everyone was done fixing things up on me down below (it again took about 30 minutes…), I was able to hold the precious miracle.  What a blessing he is.  

And now onto the next chapter of this journey… The legal and postpartum stuff.  Stay tuned!