Tuesday, January 7, 2014

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".  

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