Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The big 4-0...

I turned 40 the other day .... "mom you are so old" said Olivia "are you sure you can blow out ALL those candles?"  ... yup because there were only 2 candles - one with a 4 and one with a 0 ... blowing them out on my cake went just fine ;-)

Two of my friends from nursing school came to visit on my birthday.  It was fun catching up with each of them and lamenting the joys of studying for our final licensing exam.  I feel ready and then I do not feel ready to take it.  I have my appointment scheduled but am debating if I should move it further out to have a bit more time to get ready.  Part of me says NO let's just get it done with and another part of me is worried about not being truly ready and not passing .. I have not have nearly enough study time to get ready as I have spent my time enjoying being back home full time, getting ready for Zola's birth and just having her in our lives.  Sleep deprivation surely is no help either....decisions decisions.

This picture is from my birthday .. this little beauty is keeping me young at heart and my 3 older kiddos sure keeps me running too.  I love all of them so much.  It is very fascinating to observe the bigger children's approach and beginning relationship with Zola.  They are all so different but they all love her in their own way - it is very sweet and endearing.

 Then again how can you not just love this little face - I just want to squeeze and love her .. and take naps with her ... LOL

Thursday, September 18, 2014

2 weeks check-ups...

Two weeks of feeling absolutely blessed by our sweet little miracle.  Zola is such a joy to me and I just love her so much.

She had her 2-week pediatrician appointment today to make sure she is growing well and to complete the second blood draw for the newborn screening panel.  I hate that they had to poke her little heel but at least I could nurse her before the poke and right after to minimize her pain.  She cried a little bit ... but she was much more mad about getting undressed for her trip to the scale.

I know that my sweet little baby is gonna grow and pack on the jelly rolls before we know it!  She was 6 lbs 5 oz at birth and at her first pediatrician appointment at 4 days of age she was down to 5 lbs 12 oz ... well today she is back above birth weight at at whopping 6 lbs 14 oz.  That is just over a pound in 10 days ... that is crazy!!!  And she has grown 1 1/4 inch since birth too.  I love that she is doing well .. but she can slow down just a little as I am not done with my newborn snuggles just yet!

I had my 2-week post c-section check-up yesterday.  Thankfully I was able to schedule an appointment with a clinic here in Eugene as opposed to having to drive all the way to Portland for my postpartum check ups.  I made sure that they clinic had forwarded my records from this pregnancy and from my last delivery .. the new OB was a bit overwhelmed with the 1 inch stack of paperwork that came in!!!  I am wondering what exactly they sent down. 

Anyway my check-up was good as well.  My incision is healing nicely although I still have some burning pain on the side of the internal suture line.  The OB said it is likely to be nerve pain and it will take a bit for it to away.

Two great two week follow-ups ... we are happy and doing really well :-)

Keeping fingers crossed for weight gain...

My baby girl is two weeks old today .. two weeks ago at this time we were checking into the hospital with such sweet anticipation of meeting our precious little girl.  I am just loving every moment of having her - she is so sweet and wonderful and the perfect addition to our family.

Zola has her 2-week pediatrician visit today and I am excited to see how much weight she has gained.  She is a really good eater but does not always want to eat a whole lot in one setting ... rather do small meals more frequently!  It have been following her feeding cues completely during these first few weeks as I want to make sure to build a good milk supply for her and be certain that she is satisfied.  With her being born at 37 weeks, I know it will take a bit longer than usually to get her feedings spaced more out time wise.  If she is gaining a good amount of weight, I am going to start trying to hold her off about 3 hours in between feedings where right now it is every 2-3 hours that she eats.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Feeling very alone...

I miss my momma ... she left too early.  She got angry, got her feelings hurt...and we got into a conflict that was just not solvable.  Sitting here I just do not understand how this situation could unravel as quickly as it did. 

My mother, who I love dearly, has a temper (...and yes I have inherited part of that lovely temper along with a good portion of stubbornness as well) and at times she can be a bit difficult to deal with.  Most of the time, I feel pretty capable of diffusing situations as they occur...but this time I have been under an extreme amount of stress and pressure from being in school for the last 15 months, living away from home most of the time, being pregnant, and then just recently having gone through my c-section birth and still being on pain medications .. I guess being sleep deprived by being up with a newborn at all times of the night just did not leave a lot of left over in my patience for dealing with nonsense and silliness. I know she is under a level of stress when she is here visiting as she is not in her home controlled environment and do not always understand everything that goes on...still I guess I expected a little more acceptance of my stress and tiredness in terms of her unspoken needs and demands.

I was wrong I guess, I should somehow have paid more attention to her needs and feelings but I just did not have the extra capacity to do so.  I wish I had had more foresight to diffuse this situation, to somehow have made her stay.  To make her un-angry and stay here if not for me then for her grandchildren who were so confused about her sudden departure.  It all makes me sad - she was supposed to be here with me but instead she left with her pride held high and determined that I should get no satisfaction from having her stay here with us.

I sought no satisfaction from winning an argument with her and her words of anger burn my heart as I am sure some of the things that I said must burn in hers.  I do no know what the future holds for our relationship and I sit here with a broken heart over her leaving and just wished she would have stayed.

Instead I sit here alone and she has returned back home at a great added expense.  It makes me so incredibly sad and so very upset that I was not worth enough to her to set aside her pride and work through our misunderstanding and differences.  At least I know that she is home safe and that provides some comfort...still I would prefer that she was here with me instead of half the world away.

Zola Simone...

We had a heck of a time coming up with just the right name this time.  As time has gone by many suggestions were made and many names considered but they were not quite right.  I love the name Zola Simone ~ Zola means peaceful and quiet in Zulu and my sweet girl has brought both peacefulness and quietness to my heart.  

Zola Simone
 6 lbs 5 oz
18 inches tall

This pregnancy was a surprise to us but turned out to be such a source of comfort, love and a very healing journey for me.  Zola is just the sweetest baby and I just cannot get enough of looking at her and snuggling with her.

I knew from the very beginning that I would need a c-section due to my last delivery with the twins and I knew that it was likely to be scheduled on the earlier side to prevent me from going into normal labor.

As each week of the pregnancy progressed I fell more and more in love with my sweet little princess.  As we reached the halfway point I was nervous especially up to the 26-week point when I delivered last time.  But sweet Zola stayed put and continued to grow.  I then prayed like crazy for her to stay put all the way through my summer clinical rotation … and she did – she is so amazing!

On 8/29 I finished my nursing school program and must say that I looked mighty pregnant crossing that stage and I felt elated listening to my name be called and so proud to have completed the program despite many odds and challenges.

On 9/4 ~ 37 weeks on the nose ~ hubby and I checked into the hospital just before 8:00 AM and got all settled in.  Most of the paperwork had been completed at my pre-admission appointment so it was all settled and ready to go.  The nurse who placed my IV was a bit messy and I ended up with blood everywhere.  She then hung my IV fluids that were cold – in minutes I was totally freezing and chilled as the fluids were running at a pretty high flow.  She then did my cleaning prep with COLD cloths chilling me down even further – I swear if I ever work in L&D, pre-warming is going to be part of my practice.  Anyways at around 10:30 I walked over to the OR and got my spinal.  It went well and I went numb and tingly from my ribcage down – it is such a weird feeling.  You go numb but do not loose the sensation of movement and tugging and I could see some of what the docs were doing in the light above the bed.  Rio then joined me in the operating room.  It was so wonderful having him present with me - last time with the twins I was all alone and scared.  This time was so different and having him with me to hold my hand was just what I needed.

Upon cutting me open, they found quite a few adhesions which is fairly typical when you have had prior abdominal surgery.  It took a little time to cut through to my uterus and required extra care-taking on behalf of the surgeon especially as some were attached to my bladder.  As I was laying there nervously awaiting the birth and wishing to hear her cries, I felt the tugging feeling of getting sweet Zola out of me and I completely teared up when I heard her little cries ~ it was music to my ears. 

The baby was handed to the recess nurse and I could see her from the OR table.  She was so greasy and covered in a thick layer of vernix.  She had to be suctioned a few times but did overall very well and within 7 or so minutes she was on my chest.  I got to hold her and breastfeed her right there on the OR table which was just wonderful.

Zola was born at 11:13 AM and within the hour I was back in recovery.  Everyone kept asking about her name but we had yet to decide!  So she was baby girl for most of my hospital stay.  I really wanted to name her Zola Simone.  We both agreed on Simone but Rio still needed some time to think.  Zola means peaceful and quiet in Zulu and for me she and this pregnancy has brought peace and quiet to my heart and has helped me heal some wound that I never thought would.  She is such a blessing and my love for her is just indescribable.  She is the perfect compliment to our wonderful bigger children.

During the initial hours of recovery I got quite a bit of fluids.  I was moved to the mother baby unit mid-afternoon and stayed there through Sunday.  Recovery was pretty good overall.  Friday afternoon was the worst.  My lunch did not agree with me and I needed IV anti nausea meds and IV morphine to stop my vomiting and get pain back under control.

Rio stayed with me through Friday evening and then went back home to get a good night sleep.  He brought the big kids and my mom to visit on Saturday and then he returned again Sunday for my discharge.  In addition I had a few other visitors during my stay and it was just lovely to see familiar faces spread throughout the days in the hospital. 

Zola Simone is now 9 days old and she is doing fantastic.  She is a great eater and my milk supply is sufficient to keep her happy.  I am starting to pump a bit during a few feedings a day to get some milk supply build up in the freezer.  I am feeling pretty good too.  My pain is decreasing and I have started to cut down on the pain meds and the stretch between needing to take them is getting longer.  The scale is also finally starting to reflect a weight loss.  When I left the hospital I was only down a couple of pounds which seems impossible considering she was a 5 + pound baby and adding in the loss of placenta and blood etc my loss seemingly should be more.  However, I received quite a bit of fluids and I can tell that now a week later my body is starting to let go of some of the excess and as of today I am down about 10 lbs from delivery.

I am totally in love and enjoy every moment that I spent with her.  I love watching the big kids beginning their relationship with her – it will be such a special bond for each of them.  It was also wonderful to have my mother here with me during this time.  She took great care of the big children while I was in the hospital and she was wonderful during my first few days at home.  Unfortunately, she decided to leave early – but that is a whole different story.

For now I am just grateful for the miracle of life that Zola is.  I am soaking up her sweet baby features and plan to enjoy every moment fully before I have to return to work.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A visit cut short...

Way back when we first found out we were expecting I learned that my due date was on my mother's birthday.  It was such a sweet thing to share with tell her that I had a great present for her but that she would need to come here to enjoy it.

She planned a trip to come and stay for both graduation, Zola's birth and both of our birthdays.  I was so excited to have her come and celebrate some life changing moments with me.  A new career, a new baby and turning 40 ~ lots of changes all in one month.

She arrived a few days before graduation and well today she left.  Way short of her expected stay date.  Her anger and discontentment had been brewing for a few days and I got mad too and was unable to rectify the situation.  So she simply packed her suitcase and walked out the door and left.  She was supposed to be here with me and instead she left....with the words that she was never ever ever coming back to visit me again.

I am heart broken - I really wanted to share this time in my life with her but I guess it was just not meant to be.  I feel like I have lost again .. and this time it was someone very very dear to me.  I am just not sure how it all happened so fast and why she could not see through her anger and stay.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I am so completely in love...

Our little girl is so amazing and wonderful.  I just cannot get tired of looking at and holding her.  She is so sweet.

We were not planning to expand our family post surrogacy and when baby girl surprised us, it took a little time for the news to settle in but once it did, joy has permeated my heart, mind and soul.

My pregnancy has been wonderful but the fear of an early delivery and another loss crossed my mind many many times. Some of these thoughts were especially present as I passed through June and July and all the marking days for N&J's delivery and litte J's passing.   The last several weeks leading up to 26 weeks +3 days were a little nerve wrecking as all the "what if's" were lurking in the back of my head .. each day past that point was a gift of growth for our little baby girl.  

In addition, every day she stayed put below my heart while I finished nursing school was a victory.  I did worry that she would come early and somehow different plans would need to be made with respect to finishing school.  But she did it - she stayed put!!!  Graduation date was 8/29 and she was delivered at 37 weeks just a week later.  

Every day of this pregnancy I was thinking of my sweet twinkie surro boys and little N's early gathering of angel wings.  I will always be grateful for surrogacy and I will always be grateful for having felt the extra love of three sweet babies below my heart ... even as one is soaring with angels.  With that said, Baby girl has healed my heart in so many ways and the amazing joy that I feel in my heart is amplified by the gratitude I feel for this pregnancy and the blessing that true surprises can bring along.  I am just beyond grateful for having her come into our lives.

Having baby girl has given me a closure that I did not realize I needed.  Being a gestational surrogate will always be a big part of me and something that I am proud off.  Life is not perfect but the miracle of life even when held briefly within our hands is pure perfection. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

She is here...

Baby girl is here and I am so utterly in love ... more details to follow: