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Monday, November 30, 2009

Going back to work...

Today was my final day of maternity leave. The last 33 days have passed by so quickly ... time flies and in an instant little babies get big. My "biggest" baby is 10 now and growing so independent...it is hard to believe that 10 years have gone by with Magnus in our lives ... sometimes I wish I could stop time for just a bit and linger in the moment.

My last day at home started out great ... I received an email with new pictures of Baby V. She looks so wide-eyed and alert.....cute as can be. M&M and the babies are planning to come out for a visit next weekend - it will be wonderful to see them and I am really looking forward to the visit.

Tomorrow the challenge of pumping will be increased a bit by going back to work. Luckily my milk supply is good and I consistently pump over 40 ounces of milk per day. For now my output is keeping up with Baby V's intake - hopefully it will stay at the same level even though my pumping schedule will change a little bit. I have had a clogged milk duct the last couple of days but it finally resolved this evening...my boob is feeling so much better...glad that is not an issue to have to deal with tomorrow!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful for baby feet...

I feel so thankful for the four sets of little baby feet that I have brought into this world. Each set of feet has expanded my world in more ways that I could ever have imagined. My own children has brought so much love and joy into my life and my surro babe has equally filled my heart with joy.

My children are healthy and happy ...well maybe this is questionable.. especially as my youngest is currently throwing a gigantic fit as he did not get the last blueberry pancake as of course he rightfully should have ..especially when he clearly did not want it to begin with!! ...oohh the tears, Sebastian's world is just not right this morning. I feel so blessed being able to watch them learn and grow every day.

Baby V is 4 weeks old and cute as can be. I stopped by for a quick visit and a milk drop earlier this week as we headed to OMSI for a fun day with the kids. She and her brother were sleeping like two little peas in the pod. Thinking about V, makes me very thankful for a wonderful and healthy pregnancy...what an amazing experience it was to grow and love on this special little girl. It feels so wonderful knowing that because of something I did, another family have their long wished for little miracle to share this holiday season with.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

3 weeks ...

Today Baby V is 3 weeks old ... which means that in just about a week I will be returning to work. I have enjoyed being home with my children so much that I am not thrilled about going back to work - especially since we are going into December with all the fun of the holidays and Christmas fun. I do like my job and all the challenges that it presents but it is so much more fun to be at home and be able to engage in the children's school and all the activities they like to do.
For now, I will enjoy my last days at home and take advantage of a few more mid-morning naps!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Visit...

I dropped off milk for Baby girl and her brother on Friday. It was really nice to just sit around and watch and hold the babies for a while. Baby V was sleeping in my arms .. and K was sleeping in his bassinet - they are so sweet!

While I was there, both the twins got their first real bath in a nifty new bath tub thingie ... it is like a bucket so the baby can sit up right and be relatively covered with water instead of laying stretched out with only their booty covered. While it did not sound like they enjoyed their first experience in there - I am sure that before long they will both love their baths. After bathing both of them had a good appetite. I got to feed K his bottle while V got her bath - and then I nursed V for her afternoon feeding. Wowsa her little gums are strong!!! It is pretty incredible how my body responded to her nursing - my first 3 pumping session were really high volume after that.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Two weeks old today...


Today Baby V is two weeks old. Her parents have been so wonderful in sending pictures and updates for her.

She looks great and has now passed her birth weight....she is growing well on breast milk...yeah! Grow baby grow.

I feel good ... my body still has some healing to do but in general I think everything is going well. Pumping milk for the sweetie is helping me heal; my tummy has shrunk quite a bit and I am down about 20 lbs from the day of delivery.

Pictures...

Welcome to the world Baby V....Big congratulations to the happy parents!!




I love this picture...everyone looking at sweet baby V. Lots of wishing, planning, and hoping coming to life with the birth of a very special little girl!

Pumpkin...


Here is the "big pumpkin" from the evening before delivery. Baby V seemed very content and we had a great time getting the pumpkins ready for carving with the kids.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Reflections...

It is a bit strange to think of this amazing journey as nearly over for me but truly just beginning for M&M. This journey has been such a big part of my life for a long time and to be winding it down is both joyous and a little sad at the same time.

M&M and Baby V (and her brother) will always hold a very special place in my heart and I trust that I will always have a special place in their hearts as well. For now, I treasure the emails and pictures that I get and hope that the future will bring more chances to see the babies especially while I am pumping milk for them. I know that as time go on, M&M will move forward to new stages of parenthood - lots of exciting experiences are ahead of them as a family. I wish for them all a lifetime of love, joy and happiness together.

I, like them, will move on to new and exciting experiences. Over the last many months there has been a dual focus in my life - surrogacy and my own family. Although, I plan and hope to continue pumping milk for the babies for a good long time, my main focal point will begin to shift back to our family life and the raising of the three wonderful children that Rio and I have.

I feel so proud of what we have accomplished together...bringing Baby V into this world has been the definition of a group effort both before conception, during my pregnancy, and after her birth. Children can never have too much love. Over the course of the last few years (more than that for M&M!), many people have been a part of bringing these two special babies into the world for M&M to love - including M&M, their egg donor, the second surrogate, a host of medical staff, my children and husband, as well as love and care from many people who interact in our daily lives....and even though this special family may not be part of my daily life, I will carry them in my heart every day for the rest of my life...

I hope that even though life will bring many changes, we will continue to stay in touch. To receive an occasional phone calls, emails and picture updates of this beautiful family that I helped create will always be very dear to me. However, regardless of what the future holds...this journey has given me so much more than I ever expected. I went into surrogacy because I wanted to help a couple achieve their dream of a family. My children are the joy in my life and I wanted to give something special of myself to help create that dream for someone else. Little did I realize how much I would get in return. M&M came into my life and can truly say that they are amazing people - so thoughtful, kind and giving.

During this experience many beautiful moments have blessed my life in so many ways. The hope for a successful IVF transfer, the excitement of a positive beta and pregnancy test, the joy of feeling Baby V move for the first time - the feel of M&M hands on my belly as Baby V moved around and kicked back. Her amazing birthday - I could go on..

In the midst of all the excitement, my father's passing during this pregnancy was very difficult for me. However, the joy of carrying new life in my womb was a special reassurance that life always have new beginnings even when some doors close unexpectedly. This experience have taught me about humanity, about hope and loss but also about love and joy. Although I have always thought of myself as a very giving person, this has taught me about what it means to truly give of one self and how that spurs a return beyond measure.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Visit...

On Saturday we went to visit M&M and the twins ... oh what sweetness to see the babes snuggled up next to one another sleeping in the bassinet. K&V are so cute together. They have the loveliest chubby cheeks and the sweetest facial expressions as they laid there sleeping. I remember watching my own babies with amazement when they were that little - it is truly amazing that the human body can grow these perfect little individuals.

I dropped off my first box of milk for the babies too - pumping has gone really well. M&M should have a good milk supply for a few days now:-)

While there I got to hold and love some on Baby V. I got to nurse her as well - it was such a sweet moment to just sit there with her and watch her eat until she was content...at first she did fiddle around for a bit but once she got a taste of milk she seemed to do just fine in knowing how to nurse instead of eating from a bottle. Thank you M&M for allowing me to feed her - your baby is wonderful!

M&M gave Magnus, Olivia & Sebastian a present from them as thanks for letting me help them grow Baby V. Thank you so much!! They were all very delighted! I am so blessed with three wonderful children - they have been so good and very accepting of this journey. We have spent lots of time talking about why Mommy decided to help M&M and although those concepts can be hard for children to understand...they all understand that helping is good and can be very special. They are all curios about the baby and really enjoyed visiting and seeing both the twins. I hope that they have learned something really important during this journey...that amazing things can be achieved when you give something of your self to help others.

M&M have also given me a wonderful birth present - I thank you both from the bottom of my heart. You will always be very very special to me.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Baby V is 1 week today...

At this time last week, I was in the hospital talking to M&M and Rio - we were all excitedly anticipating Baby V's birth. I was almost ready to push and everyone was very excited...it was great day!

HAPPY 1-week BIRTHDAY Baby V...

I feel great and very happy today. My healing is going well and I am down about 13 lbs from before delivery. That means about 10 more to go .... and maybe just a few more that than to reach my goal of 130! I am in no rush to loose the weight though and I know my body will hold on to part of this as I am pumping milk for the sweet babe.

I got on our Wii Fit today ... well my character is no longer plumb and my BMI is back in the normal range...however, I am apparently still not very coordinated!!! Oh well as I slowly ease back into exercising, I forsee lots of balance training and walking....woohoo..hoping too that my ab muscles will soon meet back in the middle so I can tackle my jiggly belly.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Got Milk???

Today is day 3 at home and 3rd full day of pumping. I think it is going well and so far I have managed to freeze down over 36 ounces of colostrum and milk for Baby V. and her brother

It is time consuming to pump and getting my supply established but it is worth all the time and effort. In my opinion breast milk is best for babies. Thankfully it is going and I feel like I am getting a good start. Hopefully my body will continue to increase supply so I can keep Baby V's cheeks as wonderfully chubby as they were at birth!!!

Tears...

My body is a jumbled mess of hormones. These first postpartum days makes me feel very vulnerable and lots of thoughts and feelings are racing through my mind and body.. I continue to feel really really good about this surrogacy journey. I am so happy about what I have done for M&M and it makes me very proud to have helped create their family. I feel elated when I think about all the wonderful experiences they have ahead of them as a family and I know in my heart that M&M will truly treasure their beautiful and amazing little girl along with her brother.

Feeling great about what I have done does not always stop my tears. I knew all along that at some point my emotions would catch up with me and all I can do is to let my tears flow. My tears are not of those of sadness or longing for a baby...but I think of them more as a reflection of the joy in my heart. Baby V grew in my womb for many months and she will always own a piece of my heart. I cherished her kicks and movements every day during my pregnancy and I loved feeling her inside of me. Now that she has arrived to join her wonderful family, I will always treasure the memories of my time with her in my belly as well as the time I spent with her at the hospital.

I thank M&M from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to spend so much time with Baby V while we stayed in the hospital. Nursing her was my special "welcome" gift to her. I believe that breast milk is the best start possible in this world and I am so fortunate that M&M feel this way too. I hope that I can continue to pump milk for her for a long time to come...and keep those sweet chubby checks looking wonderful.

Spending time alone with her, holding her, watching all her funny movements and sweet facial expressions, having her sleep on my chest, taking in her sweet smell, and caring for her allowed me to say goodbye to this special little person who has been such a big part of my life for the last many months. My hope is that I will get many updates on her life in the years to come, not just for me but also for my children who have been such a big part of growing this special little person.

I wish only the best for this new family. I hope that having children will bring so much love and joy into M&M's lives. There is nothing better in this world than experiencing life through the eyes of your children.

Going home...

During the hospital stay, M&M took such good care of me - they brought me delicious treats every day and a lovely dinner...yummy!! Best of all, I got to spend a lot of time with Baby V - that was so special to me. I nursed her until were were released on Saturday. She is such a good little eater and she helped me get a good start on my recovery. She will always own a place in my heart and I am just so grateful for the time I spent with both her and with M&M during our hospital stay. I was wonderful just having time to sit and talk about many things but also this wonderful journey.

Magnus, Olivia and Sebastian came to visit me on Thursday evening ... it is always amazing to me how much bigger them seem after holding a new born - especially Sebastian. M&M brought in Baby V for them to see - I am so glad they did. They have been such a big part of this pregnancy and have been so good and understanding and happy about helping M&M to have a baby of their own. I am so proud of them.

The nurses and staff at the hospital were great. They were all so excited about this surrogacy and were wonderful supportive of our wishes the entire stay. M&M got to stay at the hospital as well and it was great having them right next door. Dr. E came to check up on me on Friday morning. We had a nice visit. She is so sweet and has been an amazing doctor to have. I truly am so glad that she was the one to deliver Baby V. Thank You!

Saturday morning came around very quickly. The nurses had brought Baby V to me about 4 AM for her feeding. After I feed her, I just sat with her and looked at her - her sweet chubby cheeks and little fingers and toes. She slept on my chest and I kissed her little head - M&M you have such a sweet little girl to love and cherish. Around 7:30 AM I changed her and feed again. I put lotion on her little skin cracks on her legs and wrists and just held her close for a little while. Then I wrapped her up and brought her back to M&M's room around 9 AM.

Afterwards I took a shower and began getting ready to leave the hospital. As I was in the shower my tears were flowing - what an emotional and amazing journey this has been. These tears were filled with so many hopes for this sweet little girl who will now go home with some very very special people who I know without a doubt will love, cherish and care for her. I got to nurse V one more time as she laid wrapped in only her going home blanket - I cherished holding this sweet little bundle as she ate up til she was content. Then M (IM) dressed her in her going home outfit and the nurses took her off for pictures. Both M&M went to pack their things and I was getting my stuff ready and called Rio to come and get me.

I got to help M (IF) put Baby V in her car seat and she sat there just snoozing and snug as a bug. Before I left, M&M gave me the sweetest present ever....a violet. And a paper violet and a little birds nest - thanking me for their little "hatching Violet" - it truly touched my heart. The violet is on my night stand and I look at it often. Rio then came to get me along with Magnus, Olivia and Sebastian - I went home with my three incredible wonderful children...and M&M went home with their sweet baby girl - life is good!

This surrogacy journey has blessed me in so many ways. What a treasure it has been to help create a new family and to see the joy in their eyes....I will never forget how good this made me feel.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Baby V...

Happy Happy Birthday Baby V - born on Thursday October 29 at 1:47 PM!!! Welcome to the world sweet girl

Wednesday night after my OB appointment I was having a few contractions but nothing usual. As the evening went along, I did have more discharge. I figured that I was loosing my plug especially given the fact that I had my cervix checked in the afternoon and I was dilated to about 5 cm. We enjoyed our evening and got pumpkins ready for carving with the kids - we took a cute couple of "pumpkin pictures" of my belly and as it turns out - these were the last pictures to be taken of my belly....so really nothing unusual happened that evening....well that is until about 2 -3 AM

I woke up and could not go back to sleep. My contractions were not consistent but definitely getting stronger. By 4 AM, I could not longer stay in bed. I got up and took a shower and sent out a text message to M&M. Rio got up too and we started timing my contractions. At this time they were about 5 minutes apart and were clearly getting stronger. I went downstairs to get some toast and a banana - I am always starving in the mornings and I needed just a bit of food in my stomach. Next I called the hospital to get their thoughts on coming in. Since my water was still intact, they thought I could wait a bit longer... however, as I gave the phone to my hubby (while having a contraction) he pointed out to them that this was baby #4 for me, and they said that "right away" was probably a good time to come in. I called and left messages for M&M and then I called a friend who came to watch our children and off we went to the hospital.

The drive to the hospital is not that far and we got there quick - I think I counted at least 5 or 6 contractions during the short drive. I am very glad that we had called ahead - the maternity unit was very busy and our call ahead had allowed the nurses to pull out our legal information and get prepared. Upon arrival, I was checked into the triage room for observation. My weight upon check-in was 158 lbs...I got changed into a gown and was very quickly put on the monitors. My nurse checked me and I was about 7 cm dilated and having very regular contractions. I asked for an epidural in hopes of getting some pain relief but also slowing down labor just a bit as M&M was not yet at the hospital. The anesthesiologist R did a great job putting in the epi - it thnakfully went very smooth. The OB on call checked my cervix once the epi was in - the timew as about 7:20 AM and I was dilated to about 9 cm. He then broke my water - clear fluids and baby V was a station 0 - so very good progress. M&M called to say that they were on their way....yeah I was praying that they would arrive in time for Baby V to be born.

At about 7:30 AM the nurse mid-wife came in to say hello. She was on call for deliveries that day along with my regular OB. I was so happy that Dr. E was on call - it seems so right that she was there to deliver Baby V as she was the one who initially approved me to be a surrogate and she was the one I have seen for most appointments throughout my pregnancy.

The epi slowed my labor down a bit and I stayed dilated to 9 cm for quite some time. This was great as it allowed M&M plenty of time to the hospital. The arrived at about 10:30 AM and we enjoyed some time just sitting around talking and getting some breakfast ... well not me but the rest of them!!! At about 11:45 AM, Dr. E came over from the clinic and I was ready to push. Baby K was at station +1 when I started but I did not seem to make much progress. I asked Dr. E if she wanted to revise her size guesstimate....lol...After about 20 minutes, she still had not moved down in the birth canal and although I had some feeling I asked to have the epi was turned off so I could get more feeling and be better direct my pushing. We all thought that this was going to be an easy birth especially since this is baby #4 for me. However, it turned out to be pretty difficult. Baby V presented acyclitic (meaning her head was tilted and she was coming out at an angle kind of with the side of the head & shoulder at the same time) this made her journey through the birth canal difficult. Dr. E and Melanie was watching her and could see her wiggle back and forth in there. This is also the first time I remember the baby being very active in the womb in between contractions. I could feel her kicking my belly a lot - she sure is going to be a lively little girl. I had a really hard time pushing her out - the anesthesiologist came into help push down on my belly to help her along. Finally her head was out but ouch....we ran into a bit of an issue with the shoulder getting stuck under my pubic bone...ouch!! Shoulder dystocia can cause issues for the baby but luckily Dr. E did an amazing job of getting her out. It felt like forever but it was only about 40 seconds that she was stuck - but without an pain relief at this time, I just went into my own little world and focused on pushing her out. Finally after about 2 hours of pushing - Baby V was born at 1:47 PM....yeah After she was out, Dr. E quickly clamped and cut the cord to hand of the baby to the nurse - I got a quick look at her and she looked so sweet and very big to me! She was quickly moved to the baby warmer to get suctioned right away and make sure that she was ok given the difficulty of the birth. Baby V was wonderful and she cried before she made it to the baby varmer....hearing her little voice was the sweetest sound ever. Seeing M&M looking at their little girl for the first time was incredible and seeing the joy in their faces will be a memory chiseled in my heart forever.

Rio was a great comfort and he stayed right by my side for the whole thing - I am so thankful that he was there. I could see him mentally taking notes of everything that was happening .. always learning - I think he will be a great PA once he gets done with school!! Melanie watched the entire delivery - her amazement was apparent and I remember hearing her voice and some commentary. At one point I reached down and felt Baby V's little head - it just melted my heart. Through out the delivery I know everyone was talking but I cannot remember very much of what was said. I was in my own little zone listening to Dr. E's directions and the encouragement of everyone. Michael stood behind my head and I could feel his presence and excitement. At one point he did look down to get a peak at V as she was coming into the world...yeah.

As for size....well as my OB delicately put it - "you can never know"!!! Baby V weighed in at 9 lbs 6.3 oz....what a pumpkin!! She is sweet as can be and has the most wonderful chubby checks. I could hear her cries and M&M loving on her. Her APGAR score was a 9 for 5 minutes past birth so that was great. The placenta was delivered rather quickly and then Dr. E had a lot of repair work to do.....I got another does of medication through the epi catheter and then the stitching went on for some time - Rio said he gave up counting the number of sticthes...!!! The birth was difficult but what an amazing experience. I am just so thankful that baby girl is healthy and here!!!