Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Surprise- they're here!

Week 34 of twin pregnancy began as normal. I was swollen and miserable, yet full of happiness. I went to the ob on Monday and we were between 2 and 3 centimeters dilated (which means that my body is getting ready to deliver- but can stay that way for a long time). I felt SO full and ready to pop though, I measured 41 weeks- bigger than I had ever been before.

On Tuesday morning, I went to work early for a meeting. I was walking very, very slowly, and felt a little odd. I was leaking a bit of fluid, so I called the nurse and she told me to come in. I told our secretary that I would probably be back by lunch, that I just needed to check on this. Well, I made it to the doctor's office where he determined that one of the bags had ruptured and amniotic fluid was coming out. As we headed to do an ultrasound check, he started talking about the hospital. I said, "you mean, we are delivering today?" And he said, "yes." I called the twins' mom, asked her pull over, and told her she would have babies today!

I drove across the parking lot to the hospital, and by 11:30 I was hooked up and my doctor broke the bag completely on twin A (the one that was closest to the exit). My mom came to the hospital to be with me during this labor and the twins' parents were on their way. I guess since I have had so many babies everything went very quickly. At some point, the anesthesiologist came and gave me an epidural although I wasn't really in pain, just in labor. The epidural was the most painful part of my labor and delivery. It felt like I was being electrocuted down my whole left side. The epidural worked for a while, but then it quit working and I felt my labor the rest of the time. By 3:30, I was ready to deliver. They pushed my whole bed down to the OR (operating room), which is standard protocol for delivering twins. Somehow, they got me onto the evil operating table, made it sit up, and I was able to get myself situated.
When my doctor arrived and realized that the epidural had worn off, he sent for the anesthesiologist. He said that the current epidural wouldn't work and I let them all know that there would be no new epidural!
The doctor told me to push when I had the next contraction. I was so confused, I was not in pain and my contractions didn't seem like they were strong enough yet. However, I said, "okay" and we pushed. Three pushes later, twin A came out. She was making this wonderful grumpy face that made the nurses all smile. They layed her across my chest and wiped her up as she started to whimper. I had two thoughts while they did this: "cry, baby, cry" and "she should be in her mother's arms- not mine". She was beautiful. They took her to the little baby bed to clean her up, and it wasn't until she screamed at them in protest that I cried tears of joy that she was well.
After she was born, I had been told we would take a rest and use the ultrasound machine to see what her brother was doing. Ha, ha, ha! He was anxious to follow his sister into this world, and 7 minutes and four pushes later, twin B was born. He was angry and screaming, and I was overjoyed. He was beautiful. I rested.

The twins were both crying, pink, and healthy. We spent 50 minutes in the OR. The first 20 was setting up. The next 10 were the twins being born. The final 20 was the clean up. Amazing.
The twins were here! I had just had the easiest labor and delivery of my entire life, and I had brought two children into the world. How miraculous!
I spent the next four hours recovering. The twins spent the next four hours being tested, watched, and carefully looked after by the nursery staff. The twins were premature and required extra attention. Their parents spent the next four hours driving to their children.

Finally, that evening, I was able to go into the nursery with their parents. I was able to watch them, for a few minutes, look in wonder at the children their love, sacrifice, and patience had brought to them. I went back to my room completely fulfilled knowing they had their dream before them.

Their parents missed the delivery, and weren't able to hold them that first night in the nursery. I had anticipated the moment of their first meeting of the twins so differently and had planned on that being my beautiful memory of helping them become parents. Life doesn't work out that way- it works out better.
The next afternoon, when the twins were allowed to leave the nursery, C and A brought them to my room- not to theirs- and I was delighted. I was able to sit in my hospital bed and watch them sit on the couch holding their newborn son and daughter. This little girl I had delivered was in the arms of her father, who rocked her and sang to her in French. This little boy that I had delivered nestled in the arms of his mother as she rocked him and smiled the smile of a new mother. I had my moment. I will keep that moment alive in my heart forever, and I will never think of it without tears of joy.

The twins stayed in the hospital for four days. They are not only blessings, but miracles. What a short stay for babies born at only 34 weeks. I was so scared that I would not be giving C and A the healthy children they had longed for, but we did! While they were in the hospital, I was able to see them every day. My children were all able to hold them and kiss them. It was a beautiful gift from their parents to us to allow us to be part of their bonding time.

Ever since the twins' birth, all I have thought when I think of them, surrogacy, this journey, life in general, is- LOVE. Love. Nothing more. Everything good in this world comes from love. These children are love in its purest form.
I have expected sorrow, or grief, or loss since coming home. I have experienced love, and peace, and joy. My heart is simply full of love.
I know I am terrible at getting pictures to organize on here, but....
the reason you have actually opened this blog, PICTURES!!!

Little man- white hat
Little princess- yellow hat

Twins with parents and me
Twins with my kids

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I am feeling so blessed today. I know with Thansgiving coming, everyone is thinking about what they are thankful for. I have so many things that I am thankful for, it takes me all year to think about them- I never have time to stop.
The top of my list includes:
Being a mom
Having whole, healthy, intelligent, amazing children
Having a huge and loving family (Knowing that I will never be alone)
Having a wonderful man who puts up with all my crankiness and still thinks I am wonderful
Carrying these two lovely surro twins as long as I have.

Since I have been pregnant with the twins, I have known three people who have lost twins due to early delivery. I feel so terrible for every complaint I have uttered when I am still carrying healthy and strong children. I am so thankful that I have been blessed to have the ability to carry them this far, keep them strong, and stay healthy myself.

On another note, we had a great conversation in our car on the way to school last week, and I jotted it down. I thought (well, was told by Jason!) that I should post it here since it pertains to this surrogacy journey:

They ask me all the time, "Why are you doing this?" "They" would include perfect strangers, doctors, coworkers, students, my family, and my children. "This" would be the fact that I am a gestational surrogate- I am carrying another couple's children in my womb.

I have thought of and given many answers to this question, but none seem to be sufficient. I have tried to explain this feeling I have that compels me to carry someone else's child under my heart for nine months. I have explained, shared, and pondered this question a million times, yet I never seem to have a clear and understandable answer for anyone other than myself.

Until one day last week, my son asked me for the fourth of fifth time why I wanted to do this. And, finally, the answer that came from my lips seemed to satisfy him. I started like this...
"When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a mommy. There were other things I wanted to be too, but I knew that if I could only have one of those things, I would want to have children. I wanted to be just like my mom and have babies to play with, make cookies for, and snuggle in my arms. As I grew older, this feeling never changed. Even when I talked about going to college and having a career, I always knew I wanted to have you children more than anything else.

"When I had your big sister, I knew that being her mommy was what I was meant to be. It was the best feeling I had ever had to hold my baby in my arms and kiss her soft head. And when you and your brother were born, I had the same feeling. I knew I was very blessed to have all of you."
And then I told my son,
"What would have happened if I couldn't have had babies? That was all I ever wanted. That was my most important dream for this life. I would never have been happy if I hadn't been able to have you.
So, when I see your aunt and uncle, good friends, or perfect strangers who can't have a baby, I think of that feeling I had when I was a little girl- and I know that the woman or man that can't have a baby has the same feeling, the same dream. It makes mommy hurt in her heart to think about not having you as my child. And for me to see somebody else so sad inside makes me want to help mend their broken heart. And I know that a family that wants a baby will never have complete happiness without a baby of their own to love."
And then my son said to me,
"So that's why you're a surrogate?"
And I said,

I hope this helps someone's understanding of why surrogate mothers do what they do. For me, it is a gift of love, the helping of a soul reaching for their dreams be able to achieve them. And isn't that what life is all about? To serve, to aid, to lift one another as high as we are able?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

33 weeks and growing...

This last week has been very exciting. Every single day my belly has grown bigger. It has gone up, over my ribs, and is now sitting at my bra line (this has never happened before). It is peeping over the sides as the twins are running out of room just in front. When one of the kiddos moves, my entire belly moves with it. I am amazed that the twins are thriving and seem to be so content in such a squished up place!
The swelling in my legs seems to be permanent. Every couple days my left ankle will be almost down to normal when I wake up, but mostly I just walk around on my elephant legs. I am so glad this is my biggest complaint. The only other truly distressing event
is when the twins get to shoving
their feet up under my ribs and I can't breathe, move,
and all I feel is "ow"!
Here are pictures of my 33 week belly and me with my son (for comparison of how big the belly is:

My children decided it would be fun to paint my belly for Halloween. We missed Halloween, but yesterday we started to get ready for the upcoming holidays. Here they are:

An Angel turkey A fat Christmas tree Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
by Katie by Triston by Braden
We are enjoying our last 5 (or less) weeks with the twins. We can't wait to be able to send them home to mom and dad and big brother!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

32 weeks!!!

I am so excited that we have made 32 weeks. I no longer have any fear of the twins being born too early because we have passed the "danger" zone. It makes me feel soooo calm.
Our 32 week doctor's visit was well attended. The twins' mom came with me (as she does to all our ultrasounds to see her little ones and I love her for it!), as well as my mom and Jason.
The twins are getting so big now that it is difficult to see which parts go to which baby- so I didn't see too much from my perspective. What we learned is this: Baby A (boy) is about 4 lb 14 oz, head down, facing my back so we still haven't seen his face, and has finally given his sister some room in there. Baby B (girl) is about 4 1/2 lb, head down, still turned in profile, pulled her thumb out of her mouth and swallowed while we were watching, and is taking up more of the room now. We were able to see healthy pulsating umbilical cord and lots of fluid pockets around them. They still have their heads smooshed right together, then come apart, and their feet come together under my right ribs. So, they are kind of in a diamond shape, with my bladder and right side ribs taking the full brunt of their movements. The doctor says everything looks great and that he thinks it is very possible they will come around 36 weeks (Thanksgiving). If they are not out by 38 weeks (Dec 13 ish), we will talk about inducing. They are already measuring big for their gestation, and I don't want 8 or 9 pounds per baby!
Super fun pregnant lady things: I am swollen up to my knees and my right leg NEVER unswells, my stomach muscles feel like they are ripping apart, I can hardly get in and out of the car, if I sit too long my legs go kind of numb, and, of course, I am super cranky and emotional. My belly has grown immensely since 30 weeks (scroll down to compare), and my clothes are ceasing to fit. My back started to hurt (I was expecting it to start a month ago), and I am still on my super fun diabetic diet. I can't go grocery shopping anymore, so Jason, bless him, goes for me or with me when I can. I just don't love it when they start kicking- four feet in one side of the ribs is a bit more than my body can handle- and I think this and the swelling of my feet is what will finally make me stop working.

Super fun surrogate things: I am so excited to see my IPs with their babies. I feel that the further this journey progresses, the more people seem to be supportive of it. I am enjoying this journey so very much, and I love to see my belly bumping and jumping around and know that I have successfully kept these children safe and strong for so long.

All is well, I am just tired and have no energy past the necessary tasks of life, and even those tend to fall by the wayside.
Here is 32 week pic: And 32 week cankles with cankles:

30 weeks and a baby shower

Well, I know I am not 30 weeks anymore, but I wanted to share some of the fun from 30 weeks. At 30 weeks I took my last road trip- a three hour trip to the twins' grandma's house for their baby shower. I was surprised at how much the trip exhausted me, but was so happy to be there.

The baby shower was lovely and I was able to meet some more of the twins' relatives and close family friends. It was wonderful to be invited to share in such an intimate moment that is reserved for families and dear friends. I enjoyed immensely the smiles and joy I saw in the faces of the twins' grandparents, great aunt, cousins, aunts and uncles, and everyone else who was there. The greatest joy of all was watching their parents open their gifts and see their reactions to all the little baby things that they have never had before.
Here is me with two little onesies:
I had been at the mall the week before the shower and found this shirt with the "Special Delivery" message- and knew it would be perfect for the shower.
I wish I could share the pictures of me with the twins' family, of their huge stack of baby supplies and diapers, and of theirbrother in my lap the next morning while we tried to get him to pat or kiss my belly (he wasn't very agreeable).
I think the moment I will always remember is their great aunt racing up to me at putting her hands on my belly before I even knew who she was. I think that her actions just made me feel that she realized my purpose there was to provide "the belly" holding the children that were being celebrated.

Our 30 week appointment: I gained about 2 or 3 pounds (can't remember now), and measured 35 weeks- 5 weeks bigger than I actually am (hmm, I guess it's that extra baby in there). I think I didn't gain as much weight since I began my super fun gestational diabetes diet. So, for the first time in my life, I am on a diet-grr!
Here is my 30 week belly: And my 30 week feet and cankles: