Archive for the ‘Surrogacy’ Category

Weaning, Weight and Wine!

February 1, 2011

My goal was to pump for 6 weeks and go from there. I made it to eight, going with the flow (pun intended). My milk production naturally decreased as I slowly cut out pumping sessions. From weeks six to eight I was averaging about 8 ounces a day pumping for 15 minutes in the morning and again at night. Once I hit eight weeks, I was ready to be finished and my body cooperated wonderfully. Although I occasionally have the feeling of letdown and my breasts still feel full, I didn’t have any engorgement or leaking after stopping. It’s been a week now and I feel great. I was wondering if I’d miss the “happy hormones” from milk production but I haven’t noticed any difference in my mood- I’m still happy! Baby “C” was getting a combination of breast milk and formula since birth so they still have a nice supply of frozen milk to continue giving her for the next couple of months. I’m so glad she’s gotten the benefits of breast milk and that it was such an easy process for me as well. I had multiple bouts with mastitis when nursing both of my children and am so thankful I didn’t have it this time around! The lochia finally stopped at seven weeks. I’d always thought how wonderful it was to not have a period for 9 months while pregnant but after bleeding for seven weeks straight, it kind of cancels that benefit out.

While the weight dropped off quickly after the birth, I have hit a plateau and think I’m now going to have to work at dropping the final pounds. I’ve heard your body stores some fat for milk production, but now that I’m finished I was hoping all of the extra baby weight would disappear overnight. Thankfully, summer is still several months away.

I love wine. I added it to the title because I wanted one more word that started with “W” to make it sound catchy but I could get a second (or fifth) job writing about wine. I love the complexity, differing characteristics, flavors and feeling I get from sitting down with a nice glass of wine. Living on the central coast of California, we are surrounded by many wonderful wineries and are spoiled with our beautiful weather and fabulous wine to accompany it! Cheers to getting to enjoy it once again after a year of growing a baby! Maybe this year I’ll grow grapes.


Happy New Year!

January 4, 2011

I had my check up yesterday at 5 weeks postpartum. Our OB asked if the delivery was really as easy as I made it seem and I replied, “It was really painful at the end but overall, yes.” She jokingly asked (again) if I’d carry a baby for her next. The entire surrogacy was such a wonderful experience and I have the family that is now complete with their little girl to thank. They will forever be friends and this past year they have been like family to us. I have to admit I was very spoiled throughout the pregnancy and greatly appreciated every bit of it. I can’t believe how quickly the last year went and all that it encompassed.

I have lost 27 out of the nearly 40 pounds I gained and am pretty much back to normal other than a little bleeding and the side effects of producing milk. I’ve slowly spaced out pumping sessions and am now only pumping twice a day and will probably finish in the next couple of weeks if my supply continues to decrease as it has. I went from getting around 8 ounces in a session to now averaging 4. I attribute my rapid weight loss, happy hormones and general health to the benefits of pumping and part of me isn’t quite ready to stop completely just yet.

2010 was a fabulous year and I’ve already begun to manifest an amazing 2011. It started off on a good note, with an invitation to use a friend’s beach house for New Year’s weekend. My sister was visiting with her three children and it was such a treat to spend the weekend with the beach as our backyard. Wrapping up 2010 and embracing 2011 in such comfort and beauty was the perfect ending and beginning.


Happy Hormones

December 21, 2010

I can’t believe three weeks have passed since the birth! Other than the abundant supply of milk I am producing and passing along I don’t feel like I just gave birth or remotely wish I had a baby right now. I’ve read that nursing/pumping produces happy hormones and I’m pleased to say I haven’t had any emotional downs. There is a lot of talk about postpartum depression and the baby blues, but some women experience the opposite. I have felt really good since the birth and while I was prescribed Motrin and Vicodin for pain, all I ever needed was the Motrin. I suppose after going through a drug free delivery, pain is all relative. I started pumping every three hours the day she was born and have slowly stretched it out to five or six so I can work, sleep a bit more, and have more freedom throughout the day. I am now getting between 5 to 8 ounces per 15 minute session. Other than having to use heat compresses on a couple of clogged ducts early on, it has been going well and I’m planning on continuing into the new year. I have lost more than 25 pounds and have about 15 to go to get back to my ideal weight.

It was wonderful having my mom and grandma here following the birth. While I wasn’t lying around being doted upon, we did have a lot of fun and managed to get a lot accomplished over the course of a week. It was wonderful having someone to take my daughter to school and my little boy got to spend a lot of quality time with his grandma and great-grandma while I worked a bit. We all went to dinner at baby “C’s” grandparent’s house while they were here and had a great time with our two families (three generations of theirs and four of mine) together.

I am just about ready for Christmas and looking forward to what is in store for 2011. All of last year seemed to revolve around the surrogacy- from doctor’s appointments to medications, pregnancy and finally the delivery. It was an incredible experience and I’m so happy it ended with the birth of a healthy, beautiful little girl. I hope 2011 brings joy and love for all!

Our Hospital Stay

December 10, 2010

Our doctor has been fabulous from the beginning and our hospital experience with her was no different. We brought up getting a room that mom to be could stay in as well at one of our checkups and she recommended waiting until we were there at the hospital to make the request based on her past experiences with those in charge. After the delivery, we spoke to the nurses about the mom getting to room in with her new baby. They said they’d recently had a similar situation and it wasn’t approved so they suggested our OB make the request. She came back once to give us the options and we were soon all resting up in a huge ward room with four beds and plenty of space for all of us. Mom, baby and I shared a room, which worked out nicely as we had nurses coming in throughout the night to check temperatures, blood pressure and the baby’s eating and wet diapers. I started pumping and did so every three hours and managed to get a bit of colostrum which was bottle fed to “C”.

My kids came to visit around 7:30 pm and were so nonchalant about the entire experience. They awed over the baby and said how cute she was but were more interested in seeing me and checking out my wristbands and IV. They had been playing with the presents they opened up after nap time and were fine with having me away for the night as they were in good hands with a close family friend. They had picked out their gifts months ago, a big Tonka helicopter for my little boy and a huge set of Littlest Pet Shop animals for my daughter. We wrapped them up together, decorated the packages and they had been excitedly awaiting the birth ever since so they could open them up. My grandma had left Idaho early that morning, before I even started having contractions. We figured she’d be here with plenty of time to spare and we’d be waiting around for labor to start since I was still two weeks from our due date. She was just outside of Portland when the baby was born and had another day and a half of driving to go.

It was so sweet seeing the little girl that I carried finally with her parents. Holding her when she was just hours old didn’t feel like she was in any way “my” baby. It was weird to think that I had just gone from pregnant to not pregnant but I wasn’t missing having a baby. The next morning, the doctor on call who delivered my daughter five years prior came in to check me and okay my release, followed by the lactation consultant, nurse for a final check and lastly the hospital social worker. He was so kind and thanked us all for allowing the hospital to be a part of such a wonderful experience. I was packed and ready to go around one o’clock and “C’s” dad offered to drop me off at home as he was on his way out to pick up a few things they needed. We stopped at the grocery store on our way so I could pick up my prescription for pain medication and he stocked up on diapers and formula. It was a bit surreal as I was there at the same store the day before grocery shopping with my kids and had since had a baby and was already heading home. The girl that rang us up at the pharmacy counter asked if someone just had a baby. I smiled and said, “He did”.

Welcome to the World Miss “C”!

November 29, 2010

*This post contains details of labor and birth.

On Saturday morning, I woke up and didn’t think “today is the day”. I made breakfast and started a load of laundry and was getting things in order for the week ahead. When I went to the bathroom, I noticed my mucus plug was starting to come out and there was even a slight tinge of blood in it. This is a sign that the cervix is ripening but this is a process that can happen over days or even weeks. I called the mom to be and let her know we’re getting close and I thought she’d be here early in the week. I took the kids grocery shopping around 11 am to stock up the fridge and starting having contractions (they felt like painful pressure on my cervix). I had a couple at the store and still didn’t think much of it. When we got home, I made lunch for the kids and did another load of laundry. The contractions kept up though I wasn’t timing them because I couldn’t REALLY be in labor.

I made “just in case” arrangements with one of my friends to be on standby for the weekend to help with the kids since my grandma wasn’t arriving until Monday. I finished packing my hospital bag and sterilized the breast pump accessories. The contractions kept coming and were getting more painful. I sent a text to mom to be at 1:45 pm saying, “This could be the first of many false alarms but I’m having lots of painful pressure/contractions! I’m lying down and going to time them for a bit .” I got a big glass of ice water, laid down on my left side on the couch and within ten minutes had another. Because of my history of fast labors, I thought I should check in with the doctor. I called her on her cell, let her know what was happening and she said to go in and the hospital would her call if she was needed. I called my friend and asked her to come over so I could go in to get checked and called the parents to be just after 2 pm. They were doing the finishing touches on the nursery and said they’d be right over. Mom, dad, grandma and grandpa to be of baby girl picked me up and we headed to the hospital, which is only five minutes away. The contractions kept coming but I was able to talk through them and still wasn’t convinced this was really it.

We checked into labor and delivery at 2:40 pm and I let them know my history of fast labors. The nurse asked if I was this relaxed during my other two, which I was. They got us into a room right away; I put on a gown and left a urine sample. The nurse came right in and hooked me up to the monitors and checked my cervix to see if I’d been progressing. By the expression on her face, I knew I was far along and was in shock. Active labor begins at 4cm and 10 cm is fully dilated. It was now 3:00 pm and I was already at 8 cm. The contractions were minutes apart and very strong. They called my doctor right away and got busy preparing for the delivery. They put in an IV and I sent a couple quick text messages. Mom, dad and grandma to be were all in the room this entire time and were busy sending updates as well and making sure I was taken care of. Our doctor arrived at 3:20 and checked me again and I was complete at 10 cm. She was very relaxed and telling stories and I said, “Are you going to change?” She had me push with the next contraction then got herself ready for the delivery. The bed got broken down, mom to be put on a gown and the doctor asked her if she wanted to help deliver. She said “Sure!”, put on a gown and booties and was next to the doctor for the delivery. Dad and Grandma to be stayed up by my right side and kept me cooled off with a damp washcloth. I was incredibly hot and the ice chips and cold towel felt wonderful. I breathed slowly through the pain and kept reminding myself that the pain would be over soon and the harder I worked the quicker it would be. Within 5 contractions and some cord untangling, baby girl was born right into the arms of her mother at 3:47 pm. Dad cut the cord and she was wrapped and cleaned in her mom’s arms where she happily remained for the next hour.

The placenta was delivered and I finally felt relief. Seeing the immediate love and adoration for the newest addition to their family was incredible to witness. I couldn’t have dreamt of a better delivery experience- the team of nurses and our doctor were amazing. Having the parents and grandma there to welcome their daughter and granddaughter into the world and see her take her first breaths was a moment I will never forget.

Happy Birthday “C”! She was born Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 3:47 p.m. At exactly 38 weeks gestation, she weighed in at 7 pounds, 5 ounces and is 20 inches long.

Miss “C” is here!

November 28, 2010

Miss “C” arrived yesterday at exactly 38 weeks. It was a fast, easy delivery. She weighed in at 7 lbs 5 oz and is 20 inches long. Everyone is doing well and she is a beautiful, mellow little girl. A more detailed birth story coming soon!

Giving Thanks

November 26, 2010

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, spent with the family of this baby baking away (the baby was baking, not me – I got to relax all day!). They are an amazing family and I feel blessed to have gotten to know them so much better over this past year and felt like we were with family over this holiday. I am also thankful for my family, many of whom we’ll get to see over the next month and all of our friends who have been so supportive throughout this experience. It’s hard to believe I’m going to not be pregnant very soon!

Our appointment on Wednesday went well. Weight and blood pressure were fine and I had just a little protein in my urine. My feet are still fluctuating with the swelling but no headaches, blurred vision or other indicators of pre-eclampsia. Our ob starts checking for dilation at thirty eight weeks, which we hit tomorrow. So at our appointment on Wednesday we’ll see if these contractions are producing any signs of impending labor. We asked our doctor her guess as to when she thought the baby would arrive and she said twelve days. That puts us on December 6th, my daughters’ birthday.

My soon to be five year old has wanted a hamster for months now and after a lot of consideration, I gave in. We took regular trips to the pet store, checking them out, figuring out what we’d need and getting tips on picking out the right one. The pet store we decided on had just put out weaned teddy bear hamsters last week so she ended up with an early birthday present. I let her unwrap the cage on Wednesday morning (she freaked out and was beyond excited) and we got it all ready with bedding and water then we went out to pick up her new baby “Teddy”. She wants to hold him all the time and has been very good about cleaning up after him, feeding him and can’t wait to get home when we are out to play with little Teddy.

Any guesses as to when baby girl will arrive? Let’s guess weight and length too. Here’s mine, please leave a guess in the comments!

DOB-   December 8th, 10:10 pm

Weight-   8 lbs 6 oz

Length-  20 inches

Full Term!

November 21, 2010

Baby girl is now fully developed and considered full term as of yesterday. Anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks is full term, prior is premature and past 42 weeks (which I couldn’t imagine) is post-term. Our due date is only 20 days away but we all seem to think she might be a little early. She’s been measuring ahead in size and I’ve seemed to drop a little. It’s so exciting to have no idea when labor will come on but at the same time it makes planning things like my daughter’s birthday a challenge. For all I know, they could end up with the same birthday! Thankfully I will have family in town over her birthday weekend and it will be special no matter what we end up doing.

I’m trying to figure out my water retention mystery. I drink water all day long and don’t urinate as frequently as you’d think with how much fluid I consume. Then I get up about three times during the night with a full bladder. These last couple nights when I wake, I’ve had strong Braxton Hicks contractions, which makes the bathroom trips even more undesirable. I’ve weighed myself before bed and in the morning several nights in a row and it’s been a consistent 5 pound loss from night to morning, which is then replaced again the next day when the water cycle repeats. My feet are still a little swollen and they go up and down as well. Other than that I’m feeling great and can handle a couple more weeks of toting this little girl around.


Fat Feet!

November 5, 2010

It was in the eighties today. We had virtually no summer this year, just lots of fog and now the weather is gorgeous. My feet however, are not enjoying this. I don’t remember swelling with my previous pregnancies, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. That’s one of the benefits of journaling this pregnancy experience, I’ll be able to look back and see that I had cankles (where the calf and ankle become one) at 34 weeks along. Other than having hobbit feet, I’m feeling fine. The baby’s activity is the same, very mellow throughout the day and then she does her water aerobics after dinner and into the late evening. I just put together an info sheet about my children’s schedules for while I’m in the hospital and have my hospital checklist ready to go. We’re only a month away!

This was last night, before the swelling. From this perspective, my feet look small.

The most glorious sunset.

Good Girl!

October 26, 2010

I wish I were talking about me, but nope. I’ve been indulging myself with long naps that I just cannot escape from and have had frozen yogurt and chocolate mousse this week…and it’s only Tuesday. We had a check up yesterday and our wonderful OB did an ultrasound so we could get a peak at baby girl. Baby’s mom, auntie and grandma were all at the appointment and got to see her which is way more exciting than the typical measuring of the belly and listening to the heart beat. She is head down (yay!!) and estimated to weigh between 4 lbs 15 oz and 5 lbs 5 oz. Babies usually gain an average of a half a pound a week in utero so I’m guessing she’ll be around eight and a half pounds if she arrives near her due date. My daughter was 7 lbs 4 oz (my birth weight as well) and my son was 8 lbs 8 oz born two weeks before his due date. Her size seems just perfect. We have another appointment in two weeks, and then they are weekly until she’s born. I can’t believe how close we are to the end of this journey. I haven’t reached the “I’m over being pregnant” stage yet but I am so excited to see this little girl with her family. She has been very well behaved thus far and I hope that she cooperates with a nice, easy birth.