Thursday, August 21, 2014

ConceiveAbilities - Egg Donation & Surrogacy Agency

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Monday, August 18, 2014

My Postpartum Body... Stretchmarks And All

This might not be society's idea of beautiful, but I'm proud of the miracles my body has created.
I started this post a few days ago and I'll admit that it ended up on the bitter side of things.  I'm now 6 weeks postpartum and if I leave the house, it's almost certain that someone will ask me when I'm due.  With no baby in sight, I suppose that's to be expected.  Their question isn't what bothers me most of the time (though I'll admit it's getting a bit old).  What bothers me is the look on their faces after I say I already had the baby.  It's not a look of apology, or a look of understanding because they know the hardship my body has endured or the time it takes to recover.  I always expect them to say something like, "Oh!  That totally makes sense.  Congrats on having the baby!  You're looking great for only being a month past the birth."  Yep, a response like that would make me feel a lot better and good about myself and the progress I've made.  But no.  That's not the response I get.  Instead I get a look of surprise, shock, or sometimes even disgust.  They look back at my stomach and their eyes bug out.  I can see what they're thinking.  "Whoa!  And you still look like that?"  The first lady I got this response from actually said this out loud.  It wasn't quite the response I was expecting.

I've given birth 4 times now (three of my own and one surrogate baby).  Each time I gained 45 - 55 pounds, and only about 20 pounds of that comes off right after I give birth.  I've always gotten back down to pre-pregnancy weight, but it takes a bit of time.  A lot more time than 6 weeks.  Never the less, even though I know all of this in my head, my feelings were still hurt, and I've been feeling down.  I mourn my nice pre-pregnancy belly.  I miss it's smooth texture, muscles that meet in the middle, and a belly button ... that well ... looks like a belly button.  After the birth of my first daughter I could barely look at my new tummy in the mirror, let alone let my husband see it, and anyone else ... forget about it!  This wasn't what my friends looked like after childbirth.  They all eventually went back to "normal".  Maybe a stretch mark here and there, but nothing like the pounded meat flesh that I was left with.  I felt alone and cheated.  As the years passed and my other children were born, I got used to my new skin.  I don't feel the need to cover up in my own home and can be intimate with my husband without a shirt on, yet you still won't find me on the beach in a bikini.  No, I haven't gotten that comfortable yet.    

Then I saw a post from another woman who had felt the same way as me;  Someone who had the same post pregnancy belly look as me;  Someone who had decided to bare her skin to show others that yes, we're not alone.  There are many women that don't come out of pregnancy with perfect bellies, and nice smooth skin.  Just because we don't see them on TV, in magazines, on the beach, or within our peers, doesn't mean they aren't out there.  I believe they're all around, hiding for fear that they too are the only one.  Now I'm not saying that I don't miss my old body, or that I'm going to wear a bikini from now on.  I'm also not the type to say "I love my tiger stripes so hear me roar."  What I am saying is that I am proud of what my body has done and for the children it has given me, and the child it let me carry for a friend.  I am saying that I know I'm not alone, and you are not alone.  Today I bear my post pregnancy body to show that a mom comes in many different packages: skinny, curvy, smooth, stretched, tight, sagging, squishy, or firm... We are all NORMAL, and nobody should tell you otherwise.

My postpartum belly ... stretchmarks and all
My 6 week postpartum belly.  Still 15 pounds to lose so my skin still looks fairly filled out and smooth.  Maybe I should post an updated picture this winter to show my true updated look.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Surro Files - Life After Surrogacy

It's been 3 weeks since Baby P was born.  Wow!  Is that it?  For some reason it feels like it has been way longer than that.  Maybe it is because I'm always busy and don't have time to think about the time that has passed.  I've never been one for sitting around and doing nothing.  There's always a project to be done!  

So other than busy, how has my life been?  That's actually the number one question I've received lately... "How are you doing Chana?"  The funny thing is, I've realized that I've taken this question the wrong way most of the time.  When people ask me how I'm doing I automatically think they mean physically.  "I'm doing great!" I say.  Despite this being the biggest baby I've birthed, I think I bounced back to my old self the fastest out of any birth that I've had.  I don't feel swollen, I feel bright and awake, I didn't tear... what more could I ask for?  Well, I do have a swollen gland that's slightly annoying, and I did have to go through a week of engorged breasts with no baby to relieve them, but overall I feel really great!

That's not what people were asking though.  They were asking how I "feel".  Like really feel... emotionally after this birth.  I know that's been the concern with most people from the beginning.  They didn't understand how someone could not get attached to a baby they've carried for 9 months.  "Won't you be sad?"  "Won't the kids be confused?"  "I could never do that."  I've heard so many things over this year and a half, but it's hard to understand until you've been there.  

From the beginning I knew I would not become attached.  This was not my baby.  I'm just the babysitter, helping a baby grow till they could finally meet their parents.  I knew that the birth and that moment when Belle & Adam were joined with Baby P for the first time would be the most amazing moment ever!  What could be more amazing than knowing that you helped give a gift to a couple that has been waiting for this gift for so long?  Yes, I always knew that moment would be amazing, and it was!

That being said, I did have fears.  Although I always knew that I would not grow attached to Baby P, I did know I would grow attached to Belle, and them as a family in general.  How could I not?  When you talk to someone everyday for so long, you're bound to get attached, and I feared that would all end when Baby P was born.  Not only that, but after putting all my energy and time into this surrogacy for a year and a half, I feared what I would do when it ended.  Like I said before, I always have to be doing something, and what would I do when such a big part of this time in my life was over?  Last, but certainly not least, I feared I would not see the beautiful family that I helped come together after the birth.  You can never predict how one will feel in the moment, and I would have totally understood if after waiting so long to be a family, Belle and Adam decided to bond alone as a family.  But I knew in my heart that I really needed to see their bond to feel complete about our journey together.  It's hard to explain, but I knew that it was really important to see that bond right away.

From the moment Baby P was born I felt amazing.  I will always treasure those first moments I saw them together in the delivery room; skin to skin with big smiles and an instant bond.  We spent nearly an hour in that room before being separated.  It was a perfect ending and beginning all in one.  Belle and I still text almost everyday and she sends pictures full of adorable squishiness all the time.  So although the pregnancy is over, our journey continues on and I can't wait for their trip back to California next winter.  I'm sure it'll be here in the blink of an eye.  I'm also staying very busy.  During the pregnancy I decided to start my own business as a doula.  Thus Love & Labor was born, and getting this business off the ground has definitely kept me busy!  The kids and Brian are also doing great.  They love seeing pictures and hearing updates.  "Sooooo cute!"  That's what the girls think of Baby P.    

So back to the original question, "How am I doing?"  I'm doing great!!!  I feel nothing but joy thinking about these past 9 months and the happy family that is now together.  Lots of love to Belle & Adam, and lots of love to Baby P!!!

Don't forget to check out my "Surrogacy" tab at the top of this page to catch up on any posts you might have missed

*Some of the names in this post have been changed and faces blocked out to protect the identities of those involved in this journey*

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Surro Files - Looking Back and Looking Forward...

On October 23rd, 2012, I received an e-mail from a friend that I hadn't heard from in awhile.  Belle let me know that she was on her 5th round of IVF and looking into surrogacy as an option to start a family with her husband.  She had great faith that this road would lead them to the child that they so much desired and I just knew that she was right.

On December 25th, 2012, I decided that I wanted to be that surrogate.  Now to convince my husband that this was the right path for us.

On January 26th, 2013, it was decided.  I applied to Circle Surrogacy, and ...

On March 1st, 2013, I was officially matched with Belle and Adam, and our journey had begun.

Our first cycle was cancelled in June.

On August 6th, 2013, We had our first transfer, but it was not successful.

Our third cycle was cancelled in September.

On October 25th, 2013, We had our second transfer, and ...

Fingers Crossed!!!  Babies Are In!!!

On October 29th, 2013, We got our first positive pregnancy test!!!!

Which led to our first positive blood test on November 5th, 2013.

On November 19th, 2013, We found out at our first ultrasound that one baby had hung on and was going strong!

On January 9th, 2014, Belle and I found out Baby P was going to be a girl!  Shhhh!!!  No telling.

Shhhhh!!!!  It's A Girl and She Needs Her Beauty Sleep

Which was later confirmed again at our Gender Ultrasound on January 30th, 2014, and the Anatomy Scan on February 20th, 2014

On May 1st, 2014, I threw Belle a baby shower and then we headed off to Disneyland.

Mickey/Minnie Baby Shower & A Trip To Disneyland

On June 25th, 2014, Belle got here to start the wait for Baby P; On July 2nd, 2014, Adam got here to start the wait...

And On July 8th, 2014, Baby P was born!!!!!!

Baby P Is Here!!!!  She shot right into this world.
July 8th, 2014 @ 8:15pm
9lbs 13.6oz    /    21 in

Now here we are on July 15th, 2014, and Belle, Adam, & Baby P are heading home.  I can't believe how fast this past year and a half has went by.  It seems like only yesterday that I was filling out paperwork and meeting up with Belle and Adam for the first time in person talking about their baby to be.  Now their family of two has become a family of three and they've added tons of lifetime friends along the way.  I know we will always consider them an extension of our family that we will never forget and I know they think of us the same.  They've forever changed our lives for the better and I can never thank them enough for that.  I know I've said it several times, but I'll say it again... Thanks so much Belle and Adam for trusting me with the life of your child as she grew and developed into the beautiful little girl that she is today in your arms.  It truly was an honor and I can never thank you enough for that.

And then there were three...

And so now it starts.  First baths, first smiles, her first laugh.  Then she'll be sitting up, crawling, walking, and her first birthday!  Wow!  So many things to look forward to, and I'm so excited that it's all starting for you.  It may have taken awhile to get there, but I know that will only make these moments all the more special and you will cherish each and every one.  I wish I lived closer so I could see your beautiful family grow and grow, but I know you'll send pictures and I can't wait to see you next winter when you visit!!!  Lots of love headed your way and wishing you all the best.  It may be the end of our journey, but it's only the beginning for you three.  Congrats, Congrats, Congrats!!!!  ~ Chana Putnam (the tummy mummy)

Don't forget to check out my "Surrogacy" tab at the top of this page to catch up on any posts you might have missed

*Some of the names in this post have been changed and faces blocked out to protect the identities of those involved in this journey*

Monday, July 14, 2014

Surro Files - Baby P Is Here !!!!

Baby P is Here!!!!!

What a week this has been.  It started off with a bang and it's been great ever since.  Due to all the events that have occurred, I'm going to forgo my usual blog template and just dive into the story of how this week went down.  When I left you last we were 39 weeks along with a baby the size of a watermelon.  We had just went to our OB appointment on Monday, found out I was 4-5cm dilated, and had decided to set an induction date so that Adam would have plenty of bonding time and they would have time to file legal paperwork before Adam had to leave.  At the same time, I started to freak out about having an induction instead of going naturally, so I was contemplating my last resort to try and get labor started.  Yep, I went to the store and bought castor oil just in case I got desperate enough to get this party started.

And so that brings us to Tuesday.  I woke up hoping to be in labor.  A twinge, a cramp, anything... nothing.  Oh well.  I knew I couldn't stay pregnant forever.  But I was stressed.  I didn't realize how much differently a surrogacy pregnancy would feel.  You not only have to think about your feelings, fears, and excitement, but you also have those of the parents.  Normally I would anxiously await to go into labor, but as a whole not stress about the big day, knowing that it would eventually come.  It was just a matter of time.  This time however, we had a deadline.  The dad, Adam, was going to need to fly home to take care of a family emergency on our due date (5 days from now).  I was stressed.  Of course the mother would still be here, but I really wanted them both to be here for the birth of their child.  That being said, we had requested just the day before at our OB appointment to schedule an induction as soon as possible.  This would allow the father to be there, and enough bonding time before leaving.  Luckily I was already 4-5 cm dilated with a very soft cervix, so my body was a prime candidate for induction.  So this morning I called the OB's office to get an update on the induction.  Did we have a date set?  Yes!  We did.  It would be the morning of the 9th at 6am.  Eeeeeek!  So soon!!!!!  Excited, but stressed.  Oh so stressed...

Heading out to find mommy and daddy after the birth of surro baby
Love those baby cheeks!  Heading out to find mommy and daddy.
I soon realized I didn't really want an induction.  Of course they only planned to break my water which is a very non-invasive procedure, but what if that didn't work?  What if I had to have Pitocin?  I didn't want that.  I didn't even want an IV.  I just wanted to give birth as naturally as possible.  And I was scared this wouldn't happen.  Plus I was looking forward to laboring at home for awhile and just working with my doula while relaxing... as much as one can relax while in labor.  It's just not the same when you're hooked up to monitors in a cold sterile hospital.  It just doesn't feel the same.  I read up on alternatives.  I talked with the mother to be.  I talked with my nurse midwife.  I talked with my doula.  She talked with some other midwives.  The consensus was that it couldn't hurt and it's been noted to work with many other women.  It might not be pleasant, but it would probably do the trick.  Hmmm... lots to think about.

Waiting to deliver the placenta
Waiting to deliver the placenta.
Later that day I met up with Belle and Adam at the hospital.  We had our last NST and ultrasound scheduled to check on the baby and the fluid that surrounded them.  The ultrasound went great.  We didn't actually get to see the baby, but the fluid was right about where it had been before, and actually went down just a bit to 28.  The NST also went well.  Baby was a bit hard to keep on the monitor, but they sounded strong and healthy, so were were able to leave after about 20 minutes on the monitor.  So weird that we would be back here so soon.  They said the hospital was packed, but since we were the first induction scheduled the next day, we shouldn't have a problem getting a room.  On our way out the parents and I talked about the castor oil again.  We all agreed that it wouldn't hurt to try.  Either we went in tonight if it worked, or we went in tomorrow morning if it didn't.  It was worth a shot!  We'd also decided to have a celebratory dinner.  All of us together one last time before their family grew from 2 to 3.  Eeeeek!  Exciting!

So I made a decision.  I was going to try castor oil to get this labor started before the induction.  It actually didn't taste bad at all.  I made a little smoothie out of it with orange juice, yogurt, and berries; and at 2pm I drank it down.  Yum!  Let's hope it works.  Well, it did work... in the evacuation sense, but I didn't feel anything that would tell me that labor was coming.  Boo!  At least I tried.  At 4:30 I informed the doula that it was not going to work and to just proceed with our induction plans.  She had a few meetings planned for that evening, and I didn't want her to worry about me going into labor.  Brian, the kids, and I all got ready for our dinner date with Belle & Adam, and then headed out.  But then things started to change...

Parents of surrogacy pregnancy admiring their baby.
Mommy & Daddy admiring their little girl.
At 5:30, just as we were pulling up to the restaurant, I started getting a dull ache in my back.  Oh no!  I know this dull ache all too well.  I had it with all of my kids when I went into labor.  But maybe I was wrong.  It could just be castor oil after effects.  No need to get all worked up just yet.  So we went in to have dinner.  I did inform the doula and the parents that we might not make it to the induction though.  I wanted us all to be prepared just in case.  We had a nice dinner... still slightly cramping and aching in my back area... plus more evacuation in the restroom (good times), and then we all headed home.  "I'll see you bright and early in the morning" we all said... unless I see you sooner.

All fresh & dressed up for the day
At 7:10 on the car ride home the low back ache continued in a pattern.  I was sure at this point that this was the start of labor and it wasn't going to go away.  So I text the parents and let them know.  I was pretty sure that tonight was going to be the night.  So they said they would get the car seat installed just in case, as soon as they got back to the hotel.  At 7:20 I text again saying that I was still trying to figure out if this was it or not.  At this point I was back on my toilette feeling the effects of the castor oil... and then it happened.  I felt a pop in my stomach and a small gush of fluid.  Did my water just break?  I wasn't sure since I had a VERY high level of amniotic fluid and they warned me it would be a lake, but this was no lake.  Maybe I just pee'd.  But as soon as I stood up, the flow started.  Ok, It definitely broke.  So at 7:25 I text the parents once again to let them know, and they jumped in their car to head to the hospital.  I also informed my doula that my water had broken and we were heading to the hospital.  Now I just needed to figure out how to get off this toilette.

I called out to my husband to help me out and let him know my water had just broken.  Of course he freaked out and instantly wanted to call an ambulance.  "No", I told him.  We can do this.  We just need to get to the hospital which was only 5 minutes down the road.  At this point contractions had come on strong and I didn't know how I would do this, but I worked with my breathing and kept telling myself we could do this.  I just needed to breathe.  At first I tried to use one of my son's diapers to hold the fluid in, but as soon as I stood up it was soaked like I wasn't wearing it at all.  Then my girls brought me a beach towel.  They were very excited that I was in labor.  That is until I had my first contraction in front of them.  My oldest daughter who was keeping me company freaked out and ran to the bathroom that my husband was in telling him he needed to get out here right now.  Haha!  I think I scared her a bit.  But I assured her everything was ok.  My husband loaded up the car, I jumped in (in between contractions), and we sped off to the hospital.  I still hadn't started timing contractions, but I would say they were about 1-2 min apart at this point and very strong.

Yummm!!!  So hungry!!!
We got to the hospital at 8pm and pulled up to the front of the emergency room.  Brian grabbed me a wheelchair and we rolled in to meet up with the parents.  Now I honestly don't know why I even pre-register if they're still going to ask for my ID and ask me to sign papers when I'm sitting there having contractions every minute.  In the end I just couldn't take it anymore and I yelled at them to take me to my room which they finally did.  Of course I had to pass another minor detail though.  They were taking me to triage to make sure I was actually in labor before taking me to a real room.  They asked me to get on a bed and get into a gown, which was easier said than done when I was now having contractions 30 seconds apart.  At that point they asked the parents to leave which we tried to fight, but hospital policy said they couldn't be there till we got to our room.  I was able to get my pants off and lay in the bed, but that's about as far as we got.  I left my tank top on, and just laid the gown over my legs.  They checked my dilation and I was complete.  Then the urge to push came.  As much as they told me to hold it till we got to a room, this baby would not wait.  I yelled for them to get the parents, but they said they couldn't.  I pushed out the baby's head as I slowly guided her out with my hand, and then the nurses all piled on top of me to try and get the shoulders out.  She was a large baby and was not coming out easily, and no doctors were around to assist.  Luckily all went well though.  At 8:15, Baby P was born measuring in at 9lbs 13.6oz and 21 in long.  Wow!  That was a whole lot of baby for me!!!!  Within minutes we were rolling back out of the triage room and down the hall to our room where the parents met up with us and got to meet their baby.  The proud mommy got to do skin to skin time and start breastfeeding the baby right away.  It was an amazing end to an amazing journey.  Well, almost over...

My doula did make it after the baby was born.  I was sad that we didn't get to have the labor that we had planned together, but so happy that she was there for me afterwards.  Because the doctor was not there yet, I had to hold the placenta in for a half hour till she got there.  I wasn't having contractions, but there was a lot of pressure, so the guidance of my doula really helped me to breathe through the pressure.  Finally the doctor arrived and we got all set up, birthed the placenta around 8:45, checked me for tears which I had none, and we were done!  Completely natural without so much as an IV or line put in my arm... just the way I wanted it.  My doula was great and massaged my back to ease the after pains, while my husband took some photos of the happy new parents and then my doula took some photos too.  She was also able to help Belle and Baby P get started with breastfeeding.  It was perfect!  After about an hour, the happy new family moved onto the nursery to continue bonding, while I got started on healing and resting in my room.  It was quite a different experience not having a baby to take care of, but I think I rather liked all the rest and relaxation that I got.

Fresno Surrogate Recovery Room Party
The first hours were a bit uncomfortable though.  The hospital was completely packed with women giving birth, so there were no rooms open for me to move on to recovery.  That meant I got to stay in labor and delivery.  Nice big rooms, but the beds aren't the best for an overnight stay.  That being said, it was a bit of a rocky night with an hour of sleep here and there.  My uterus hurt, my back hurt, and my pelvic bone hurt (same pain from before the birth).  But as the night wore on it seemed to get better and better and by 4am I was knocked out in a pretty good sleep.  Ahhhhhh!  Oh sweet sleep.  The next morning I was able to take a shower, put makeup on, and blow dry my hair all nice and curly.  Wow!  That was a first in all births.  Normally I'm so tired and out of it that I just wait till I get home... or a week after that even.  Haha!  I will say that I flooded out the whole bathroom taking my shower though.  Hmmmm... someone needs to talk to the architect about that one.  I even got to put on that super cute hospital gown I got from Birth Day Suit Maternity.  I may not have been able to wear it for the birth, but at least I looked great for the day after!  Belle and Adam came to visit me in my room a few times that day.  They even brought me a cute little hospital goodie bag full of yummy treats, champagne, and relaxing body products.  Thanks Belle & Adam!  My family and in-laws also came to visit me, as well as another friend, and a group of surrogates that were so sweet to come by and say hi.  My stay wasn't long though.  The hospital needed the bed, so I was released a good 5 hours early.  Yay!  Time to relax at home.

Flower Gifts
Being home has been so nice.  The first few days were a bit achy, but relaxing on my couch and bed was so much better than in a hospital.  I've been enjoying all the well wishes from friends and family, and even got flowers from Brian's boss and from Circle Surrogacy.  Belle, Adam, & Baby P on the other hand, had to stay one more night.  Poor them.  They didn't get a room, so they had to stay in the nursery.  Unfortunately there is no sleeping or eating in the nursery so needless to say, I'm sure they were VERY tired by the time they got to leave, and probably a bit hungry too.  I don't think they left Baby P's side very often.  Finally Thursday evening they too got to head home... or rather back to the hotel.  Oh sweet bed!  I'm sure they crashed pretty darn fast... before Baby P woke them up again.  Haha!  And so it begins.

On Saturday Brian, the kids, and I all went to visit the happy new family at their hotel.  Of course we came bearing food and couldn't wait to see how they were all doing.  Besides being extremely sleep deprived (aren't all new parents), it looked like they were doing great.  The whole room was set up like a home away from home, and Baby P was sleeping so soundly the whole time we were there.  Such a cutie!!!!!  We even got some great group pictures before heading out to let the new family rest some more.  I wish I could post them here for you all to see, but for now, I know that I'll hold them in my heart forever.

Visiting Belle, Adam, & Baby P
Sunday I made another stop by to see Belle, Adam, & Baby P with my mother in-law.  I must have been totally not paying attention when they talked about this week, because I didn't realize that it would be the last day I would see them.  Today they're heading out to San Francisco to finalize some legal work and hop on their flights.  Is it really over?  Has this journey really come and gone?  Oddly enough I'm not a sobbing mess like I thought I would be, but I'm sure when the hormones start kicking in, the realization that it's over will kick in.  I know it's not goodbye forever though.  They've already planned a trip back to California next February to visit us in Fresno, and then make a trip to Disneyland.  Oddly enough, we'd already planned a trip to Disneyland around the same time.  So funny!  I'm sure time will fly by and well see them once again, but till then... It's been a perfect ending with a perfect little family.  Congrats Belle, Adam, and Baby P!!!!!  I love you all!!!!  

I was going to post my belly progression on this post, but YouTube isn't liking my music selection.  I still need to wait for them to approve my using a song that I did not create.  Believe me, you don't want me to sing the song for you.  I guarantee that it won't sound as pretty.  Haha!  I'll post it soon.

Don't forget to check out my "Surrogacy" tab at the top of this page to catch up on any posts you might have missed

*Some of the names in this post have been changed and faces blocked out to protect the identities of those involved in this journey*

Monday, July 7, 2014

Surro Files - 39 Weeks & Waiting, Waiting, Waiting...

The Bun
This week the baby is about the size of a watermelon (20 inches) and 7.25 pounds.  Ack!!!!  That's way too big for my belly.  Haha!  As baby prepares to join the outside world, they are continuing to build a layer of fat and slough off the outer layers of skin.  The vernix and lanugo are nearly completely gone although you may see some traces of it after birth.  The placenta is also still hard at work providing critical antibodies to help protect the baby from infections in the outside world.  Although, if breastfed, the baby will get many of his needed antibodies from breastmilk.

The Oven
This oven is about to burst, but the door doesn't seem to want to open.  Sheesh!  Someone call a locksmith!!!  I know we're still 6 days away from our due date, but everyone swore I would not last this long.  Guess I showed them unfortunately.  Haha!  I'm trying to cook the perfect souffle, and you just can't rush perfection.  Well, that's normally my motto anyways, but more about that in just a minute.  First I'd like to talk feet.  Yes, those babies are more like tanks right now.  Gah!  I hope they don't take long to go back to normal after the birth.  It's actually getting a bit uncomfortable to walk at times.  I can feel the pressure building up slowly and by the end of the day they are done.

The Happenings In the Kitchen
Lots going on this week!!!!  Or should I say not going on this week.  Depends on how you look at it.  Haha!  Well, Adam headed out on a flight to California on Wednesday while I had my next OB appointment and NST to monitor the baby.  Belle wasn't able to make it this time because she fell victim to the horrible heat of Fresno, CA.  Yep, she got heat stroke walking around town.  Boo!  She's feeling better now, but I'm sure that was no fun.  So I trekked it to the appointment alone.  I was a good solid 4 cm dilated at that point!!  Ack!  This baby is going to just fall out!!!  They're doing great though.  The NST went well and baby is tolerating life on the inside just fine, even with the three contractions I had during that time span.  At this point I just wanted to speed up the process a bit.  I figured Adam would be here in a few hours, so we might as well give nature a push.  I had my nurse midwife sweep my membranes.  Not so bad.  It hurt just a little.  Then I was on my way.

Well, contractions picked up pretty quickly after that and I freaked out.  Ack!!!!  Adam's still in the air and my doctor isn't on call till this weekend.  Maybe the sweep was a bad idea.  So I went to pick up the girls, went shopping at Target, picked up my hospital gown, and then went straight home to relax.  I didn't want this to happen today.  Took me the whole rest of the day to get the contractions to slow down to a halt.  I just basically vegged on the couch.  Now I'm thinking that was a mistake...

The next day I woke up to bloody show and lots of mucus plus all day (sorry if you didn't want to know that).  I thought for sure today was the day!!!!  I was having some contractions as well, but not a ton.  But Thursday came and went... and so did the 4th of July... and so did Saturday... and so did Sunday...  Yep, we're still here waiting.  Maybe I should have walked it out on Wednesday.  Oh well.  No looking back now.
4th of July with my Kiddos
Saturday night my doula came over to my house.  OMG!  It was heaven!!!!  We talked for awhile about the birth first.  My fears, concerns, how I saw things going, and things like that.  Then she gave me a massage with some essential oils, did lots of acupressure, worked some rebozo magic on me, and left me feeling refreshed and relaxed.  Oh so nice!!!!!!  I can't wait to pamper other mommies to be like this.  Did I tell you all that I opened up my own doula business this past week???  Yes!!!!  It's officially open.  You can check out my Love & Labor Birth Services web page or "like" Love & Labor on Facebook.  I'm so excited about it!!!!!

My doula and I doing rebozo work.
But back to waiting for baby.  Bell, Adam, and I went to see the movie "Tammy" on Sunday.  It was so funny.  I think baby thought they were missing out because I had a lot of contractions during it.  They wanted to burst out so they could see what was going on.  Haha!  Contractions stopped after the movie though.  Boo!!!

This morning we had another OB appointment.  Bell, Adam, and I all went to this one.  We got to listen to the heartbeat (sounded great!!), measured my belly (2 weeks ahead at 41 weeks), checked dilation (4-5 cm), and did another membrane sweep.  We also talked induction.  Adam needs to head home for a bit on Sunday and we don't want him to miss the birth or not get much time to bond with baby.  Now when I say head home for a bit... I mean all the way back to the UK.  Not just down the street.  So we scheduled to be induced on Saturday.  My doctor will be there and Adam will be there.  Then we got home and realized this just won't work.  Adam would only get a day to bond, plus my doula's husband is flying in that day after not seeing him for months.  If we're going to schedule this, might as well make it work for everyone.  So I just called back and hopefully they can get us in on Wednesday or Thursday.  Eeeeek!!!!!  So soon!!!!  Now normally I'm totally against induction for scheduling purposes.  I strongly believe that a baby will come when they are meant to and I think that induction just leads to problems in labor... but at the same time, I can't imagine a daddy not being there when their baby is born or having to leave so soon afterwards.  So we'll break my water and hope that gets things moving.

To tell you the truth, I'm trying really hard to get things going before then.  I went to the store and bought an enema.  Yep, more horrible information for you all.  I've never done one before and let me tell you, it's not an awesome experience.  Not horrible, but definitely different.  Unfortunately I still don't feel like anything is happening, so I might make another trip to the store for castor oil.  Yep, I'm that desperate at this point.  I guess we'll see what happens.

The Chefs
Belle and Adam are waiting patiently for the big day.  They're getting things prepared, legal work squared away, and just trying to enjoy their days together before 2 becomes 3.  Unfortunately they ran into a little stress along the way.  Their poor dog is having problems.  He can't walk well, and has a lump that might be cancer.  That's why Adam needs to head back.  He needs to get his dog in to get an MRI to check things out and then he'll be back to help with the baby.  Belle will be staying here though and they've been trying to set up for her sister to join her during Adam's leave.  So much to think about!  Who knew this would all come down at the same time.

Coming Soon !!!
July 8th - Monitoring Appt. - NST & Ultrasound to measure amniotic fluid.
July 9th-12th - Induction - It's not set in stone yet, but we will be inducing this week.
July 13th - DUE DATE!!!! - Adam heads back home

Don't forget to check out my "Surrogacy" tab at the top of this page to catch up on any posts you might have missed

*Some of the names in this post have been changed and faces blocked out to protect the identities of those involved in this journey*