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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Couch to 5K...

Yep it is time to get moving ... if have had about enough of Sebastian referring to my belly as blubber.     I already walk quite a bit everyday but not enough to burn the extra blubber apparently!  A recent thread on SMO got me thinking about running and a few mentioned using the "couch to 5k" running program.  I did a little bit of reading up on it and it seems doable....even for someone who has not been running for a long time.

Well August 1st seems like a perfect day to start!  Tomorrow morning it is.  I figured that I will need to pump right before running otherwise I will be miserable.   I no longer pump in the middle of the night but pump around 11 PM before going to sleep and then wake up between 4 and 5 AM to do my first pumping session for the day but that is a bit to early for a run!  Tonight I will need to push my last pumping session until about midnight and then the timing should work well for pumping and running before I have to get the kids up and going in the morning.

so that's the plan ... sounds good from the couch!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Upside to pump~n~dump...

Sebastian and I were visiting Peoria, Illinois, this last weekend ... 4 days turned into 5 as we were delayed due to mechanical failure on the plane.  Anyways while I was gone, I had to dump the milk I was pumping ... ughh... it hurts to think about how much milk went down the drain.  Pumping is hard work and to just dump it literally makes my heart ache.... well gotta look at the positive side of things.  Delay in Detroit overnight = a fun dinner out with a great friend I had not seen in 5 years (Sophia ~ I love ya!!!) and the upside to pump~n~dump =  a lovely Asian Pear Ginger Mojito to go along with dinner at PF Changs .... yummy!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Quiet contemplation...

I am 10 weeks out from delivering little N&J.  During this time I have been through an intense range of emotions.  Unhappiness and happiness, sadness and incredible joy, loneliness while not truly alone, grief so intense that I did not feel like I could be breathe and the feeling that no one truly understands what I have gone through....and for sure it is a complicated situation.

Many thoughts have been rumbling around in my mind for so long but it seems like they are finally starting to quiet down and I can see the proverbial sun after the rain.  Awesome little N has gone home and I am incredible thankful that he is growing and doing well.  It has been 10 scary weeks and the NICU reality is something I wish no mother would ever have to experience.  The loss of little J makes me incredible sad and my tears are still here.  He was so wished for and wanted.  Many hopes and dreams came alive with my positive pregnancy test and the excitement and anticipation of two little sweet boys to love grew along with my protruding belly in the ensuing months of my pregnancy.  So many prayers were said for him and N after their early arrival and we all so intensely just wanted them both to breathe, eat and grow.  Sadly like a rainbow after the rain, J only blessed our lives with his presence for very brief period of time  The loss continues to be raw and I miss him and the fact that he will never go home to his family who wanted him so much ... instead little N will always have a guardian angel.

For last many weeks I have been dealing with the reality of a pregnancy gone awry in an instant.  I have questioned myself and been very hard on myself searching for a reason, any reason, and checking and double checking if I did something wrong to cause the outcome of my pregnancy ... but the answer is still the same - I do not know how come it all happen the way it did or why this pregnancy came to an end so abruptly.  While I still feel much regret for not being able to carry and keep L&J's little twin boys safe longer than I did, I am beginning to let go of the guilt and accept that I had no control over what happened.  I will always be sad about little J but I will also be grateful for the experience of carrying those two little sweet boys below my heart.  Now that N is home it seems to be getting easier... I know that I did a good thing helping L&J complete their family.

The last few years of my life have changed me in so many ways.  Being a surrogate has been such blessing to me ~ surrogacy is truly a miraculous thing.  I have had the opportunity to bring the joy of children to two lovely couples, to forge some incredible friendships and to bring three beautiful babies into this world.  Two amazing children are home with their families and one sweet angel soars in heaven.  Giving the gift of life is such an intensely beautiful feeling ... and although sometimes everything does not go as planned, life is a miracle all the same. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Going home...

Adorable little Mr. N was discharged from the NICU today ... woohoo!!!  So exciting to finally be at the point where he is going home.  We have all been waiting for this day to come and I am so glad that it has finally arrived.

Sebastian and I got up early to get ready for a trip back to the Midwest.  Since we are flying out super early tomorrow morning we were going to Portland anyway to spend the night and that worked out perfectly with today being discharge day.  We drove up early enough to see little N one last time before he went home.  I got a great snuggle in with him at the hospital before taking him and L to the airport.  I will miss them both and although I am sad to say goodbye... well ok not really goodbye but more a "hope to see you later" ... I glad to see them go.

It is a great day but still a bit sad.  Little J is missing from this joyful occasion ~ we all miss him.  For now I count my blessings and be grateful that Little N is going home .. I just feel relief - I feel like I can breathe again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mr. Awesome...

Little N is so awesome ... I went to the NICU yesterday and got to sit and hold him for a while.  He is such a little sweetheart.  He has reached 5 lbs and has little rolls under his chin - he is so cute.

I am so excited that he is leaving soon .... I will miss seeing them all but yeah they are going home!!!

The last ten weeks has been very hard emotionally and also physically draining.  A premature delivery via c-section was NO fun but my scars have healed nicely and my stomach muscles have come back together ... so now I just need to work on my "blubber" as Sebastian calls it :-)  I want to get back to working out but will be going slowly as I do not want it to impact my milk supply. 

Little N has been exclusively on fortified breast milk since birth.  I love that his parents want my milk for him.  Pumping for him is one way that I can still do something good to help him grow.  Being a long term pumper does have its challenges and keeping up a good milk supply takes both a lot of work and time commitment.   Many things can cause your milk supply to drop and mine already took a bit of a nose dive when we lost little J.  I have been able to get some of the volume back but I do not think I will get back to where I was.  Some key factors for a good supply are a healthy diet, lots of fluids and a consistent pumping schedule is vital.  I have now pumped for almost 10 weeks and although I have adjusted my schedule to get a longer stretch of sleep overnight, it is seldom that I get more than 5 hours in a row and slight sleep deprivation is a constant state of being.  I pump about 5-6 times a day for a minimum of 1/2 hour at the time .. so you do the math - my pump is my best friend these days!  Moo ... but I gotta say seeing my handsome surro-babe get little rolls on his arms, legs and under his little tiny chin makes all the effort worth it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ditching the tube...

Way to go Little N ... he has ditched the feeding tube and going it free style.  Another big step towards getting to go home.  You rock little boy :-)

NICU escape planning...

Little N will be going home soon!!!  Yeah ... I am happy that the end of a long NICU stay is in sight.  I cannot wait to get the news that he is ready to leave and can travel home with his mom and dad.

I have prayed so many times for this day to come and I am so excited that it is almost here.  I plan to drive back to Portland early next week for a visit ... I do hope I get to see him a couple of more times before they head home.

L send me the cutest pictures of him the other day taken on his 2 month birthday.  He is growing and getting such charming chubby cheeks .. so cute and pinchable!  He is such a little trooper and I know he will bring so much joy and happiness to his family and them to him...he is such a lucky little boy.

It makes me sad that J will not be making the trip along with them .. it is heartbreaking because I know how much he is missed by his family and how loved he would have been.  I miss him too .. it is hard to explain but I miss him because I wanted so much for him to grow up and have a beautiful life with his brother and the rest of his family.  Instead he will live in the hearts of all of us. 

Life is so precious and I try not to take it for granted ... I feel so grateful for my children.  These days I am missing Magnus and Olivia as they are off in Denmark having a fun with cousins and friends.  However, as I am sitting here on my bed watching Sebastian give me sleepy smiles with his toothless grin, I am reminded how lucky I am to be able to reach out and hold my child.

No parent should ever have to loose their little one ... I will always be keeping L&J close in my prayers and little J close in my heart.

Monday, July 11, 2011

NICU visit...

I went to the NICU today to visit with L and see little N ... N is looking SO good. He is growing and got cute little chubby cheeks and is just so adorable. I even got to hold him today - what an amazing feeling. He is still so little and at the same time he is so big! He is such a sweetheart. He was laying in my arms content as can be and I was just marveling over his cute little grimaces and smirks and the occasional peek of the eye.

I also dropped off two coolers filled with milk...I have pumped about 15 gallons of milk since I delivered ~ such perfect food for a hungry babe... eat up little guy!

Sixty days have gone by since I delivered N&J and it is still so hard to think of Little J ... I miss him. ~ Little J - I can no longer touch you and I cannot see where you gone or where you are .. but I know you are still here with me. I carry you in my heart and you are cradled in my memory .. your brother is doing fantastic and I know you must be watching over him. Keep him safe!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

N is a growing boy...

Today has been a good day with news and pictures from the NICU. N has hit 4 1/2 lbs ... yeah! He is growing and recently "graduated" to a feeding tube through his nose which allows him to get better suction when bottle feeding. He is taking some bottle feeds every day .. soon I hope that is all he will get but for now the feeding tube helps out so he does not get too tired out from eating on his own. That is all great news! Hopefully he will be a super champ at eating soon - I know is Mama is loving every moment that she gets to snuggle her sweet little boy close.

The pain of loosing little J is still so raw and it stings my heart thinking about it all. It is just so hard to understand why his story had to be written this way and not wish for it all to be so very different. I pray that in time the heart ache will lessen for all of us ... but I know that even time it will never make it completely go away. Hearing news about little N does soothe the pain and definitely brings lots of joy.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New York ~ Round 2...

Ok ... this post is way over due .. but it has been a little difficult for me to get my thought together as Little J's passing happened at the same time as the excitement of New York was going on. Also it has been very busy around here as Rio has been home for a week, I needed to get Magnus and Olivia ready for their big trip, the 4th of July and all the excitement that comes along.

Anyways... The wonderful story of the Twiblings was recently featured on The View. Michael, Melanie, Melissa, the twiblings and I were all invited to come on the show. It was such an exciting experience to meet the women of the View .. and yes I got my photo with Whoopie!!!

The show brought focus on infertility and surrogacy. I really thought is was a great show and such a wonderful opportunity to bring out a very positive side of surrogacy.

The show was co-hosted by Guiliana Rancic .. she is a sweet heart. I love her show - Guiliana & Bill - and it was just great to meet her in person. The first section featured Alexis Stewart. I did not personally care for her very much and do not agree with her approach to surrogacy...but her story did provide a more "business" side of surrogacy and not all people prefer to have lots of contact during and after their journey. I am so thankful for the relationship I have with M&M .. it truly has enriched my life.

The second section featured a Grandmother who carried her triplet grandchildren. Such an inspiring story and such sweet people. I spent some time talking to them after the show and they have a great mission in life with their foundation helping provide financial support to families affected by infertility. Read more about them at www.cadefoundation.org

During the trip I got to spend a good amount time with the twiblings as well as Melanie & Michael and it was just so nice ... the kids are getting so big and independent and just love to explore. We spent some time hanging out in Central Park and went for dinner at a great Italian place on the upper East side of Manhatten.

The day I left for New York was the day that Little J made a turn for the worse. It was so difficult for me to leave the hospital and fly to New York knowing that this beautiful little boy was fighting for his life. It took everything I had to leave the hospital that night but I had made a prior commitment and I am truly happy to share my wonderful surrogacy story. Spending time with Violet and her family was a bringht spot during some difficult days. Sadly the news of J did not get better and I learned of his passing right after we finished taping the show....I was so hard to hear that news and it made me so incredible sad. It still makes me sad and I think about him every day. Little J was not my child to loose ... but a little bit he was mine too ... he came to early from my womb .. was to briefly in our lives ... but he will live in my heart forever.

Grow Baby N...

This morning came WAY to early...at 3:10 AM to be exact...which was very early indeed considering that I did not get Magnus and Olivia chased to bed until after midnight as they were so excited about the 4th of July fireworks - and a bit upset about saying goodbye to all their friends. We had to get up really early as today M&O is heading off to Denmark for their first summer adventure alone. Rio was flying with them to Chicago and from there they were flying alone to Copenhagen....I am a bit nervous but I am sure they will have a fantastic trip and a great summer with family and friends.

After dropping Rio and the kids off at the airport, I went to the hospital to visit Little N. Today I would have been 34 weeks along in my pregnancy... and yeah yeah yeah .... as of last night, Baby N has doubled his birth weight! Way to go N .. eat and grow little boy ~ you are looking so good. I enjoyed just sitting and watching him in the quiet morning hours today and I got to change his little diaper too ... he is so cute. I am so glad that he is doing well and growing and progressing ... we are all still very worried about him. Loosing little J makes it so hard not to be scared for him as well. The nurses assured me that he is doing really wonderful and he is now beginning to take bottle feedings as well ... yeah! I hope that very soon he will be able to going home.

Just as I was leaving the NICU, L send me a text message to let me know they were up and would come over to meet up for a bit. It is always good to see them and spent time together. I like to share news of our other children. L showed me some cute stuff they bought for N ... he is going to be such a spoiled little boy....just as he should be :-)

I know this is such a difficult time for them. The loss of little J is just so heartbreaking and he will always be missed. I know that he will always live in my heart and I hope that time will heal their hearts and give them peace. Loosing a child is something no parent should ever have to endure.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Thoughts and an update...

On Friday morning after Little Js passing, I got a call from J...I could hear the heartbreak in his voice and it makes me so incredibly sad to know what they are going through. Loosing a child must be the hardest thing in the world to endure. Little J was not my child but he was still part of me and knowing that he is no longer with us is just so hard. I hate it! I hate the he was taken from us way way to soon.

While I could not attend the grave site memorial for their sweet little boy, I promised to go and visit with Little N while they were gone. Sitting with him and watching him was good for me and it gave me an opportunity to snap some photos and send to L&J while they were away. I got to changes his little diaper a couple of times and all I could think about was how much I wish that he will hurry up and grow so he can go home.

It is still so unreal that he is really gone - it is just so hard to understand. I know his little memory will live on in our hearts .. but we all really just wanted him with us to love and hold. I pray that he is looking down on us from above and that he is keeping a tight watch over his brother.

N is doing well and gaining ... he is just short of 4 lbs now which is incredible - he has almost doubled his birth weight. Way to go! He is also off his CPAP and I just can't wait to go visit again soon.