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So for the past month or so my back has just been aching non-stop..my feet have been swollen and cramping, and last night I woke up with a horrible leg cramp. Funny how it reminded me of basic training. I had never gotten a Charlie horse before basic training but seemed to get them a few times a week (and sometimes a night) during that time. Anyhow, to the hubby part 🙂 My ever thoughtful husband went ahead and set me up with a message with his massage therapist so I am super excited for that. My body really needs a good working on. I have a suspicion I may need to get on-going appointments because the back/feet/leg pain has been a lot stronger this time and effects my day-to-day a lot more this time around. Interesting how different each pregnancy can be.
Did I say already or not that baby has gotten strong enough to see my tummy moving when she starts to get active? Now that my stomach is growing, and hard to miss, I went back over the topic of surrogacy with my soon-to-be 5 yr old son. He said he already knew because we had talked about it “the last day” which was actually well before we agreed to be a surrogate..but that he didn’t want to mention to me that my belly was getting big because he thought it was a surprise. Haha. On the other hand, my two year old girl (who I have now been having to join in the tub to avoid water getting on the cast on her little arm) has grown fond of rubbing my belly. She hasn’t been told there is a baby in there..and we are going to avoid that if we can since she is so young and very baby crazy right now.
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So I’ve been a bit wrapped up lately with the birthing plan thoughts but I don’t want to neglect a few words about the baby’s changes. I’m a little over 25wks now and baby is definitely growing stronger by the day…movements are no longer guesses between gas or baby movement. As I mentioned before, each trimester has things that take your sleep away. Right now one of those things is a strong healthy baby who wakes up when I go down 🙂 haha. I remember someone telling me (when I was pregnant with one of my babies) that babies woke up when we lay down to sleep because our movement through out the day rocks the baby to sleep..once that rocking is gone baby wakes up.
This portion of the pregnancy is a bit different from what I am used to. I’m starting to run low on energy again (mix between pregnancy and stress I’m sure) and my body is aching much more this time around. My poor back and feet seem to be in constant need of relief. Haha, speaking of feet. I’m starting to have trouble reaching my feet (and legs for shaving) which I noticed today when I went to clip my nails. Contemplated asking my son to do the job for me :).
Anyhow, I just wanted to do a quick update to share how active and strong baby girl has grown to be. There has been a lot of stress around the topic of a social induction of labor lately but I’m looking forward to the possibility of a group get together with my surrogacy counselor (who also specializes in fertility issues) soon. I’m really hoping we will all be able to leave that talk on the same page..everyone feeling less anxious about what the next few months will hold and knowing that each person involved also has the interests of the others in mind. My goal is for everyone to be more relaxed with the idea that pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood altogether tend to be unpredictable in nature…that however unpleasant this may seem, we all have the same ends in mind. No one involved wants anyone else to miss this childbirth and we will do anything we can (short of putting my own health and body at more of a risk than is expected during a natural labor) to make sure this goal is met. But another thing that I want everyone to take from the upcoming meeting is that no matter what happens (as far as who makes it to the hospital and when) the complete joy of holding a new baby in their arms will hopefully over-ride any sadness about missed moments. Hopefully that wont be an issue but that is the nature of the beast..all we can do is prepare the best we can and have some hope. Each childbirth is different so I do hope that the 45minutes-1hr 45minutes it’ll take me to get to the hospital will still leave us with several hours of laboring at the hospital before baby girl decides to show her lil face. But I hope that my experience will reflect this one in that no matter what else happens along the way, once she does show her lil face nothing else will matter.
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One thing about being pregnant is how each trimester has something special about it that can keep you up tossing and turning or maybe just laying there waiting for sleep. Either way it leaves this open space for your brain to just keep running through things that are going on in your life. For me there are several things my mind has picked to dwell on…the recent passing of my step-Mom and topic of inducing labor/delivery are the top two last night. Since one of those topics is clearly not surrogacy related I will try to stay clear of it in this blog, outside of that my step-Mom supported me in my decision to be a surrogate in any way she could. I could talk about her for a long time so like I said..I’ll stop myself here and move on to what this blog is all about: the dynamics of surrogacy.
One of my biggest problems is that I have this innocent until proven guilty way of thinking in that I assume people will be of a similar way of thinking. That for the most part I will share the same basic assumptions as the people I form relationships with (not necessarily long-term or intimate, depending on how you define intimate I assume..this is and is not an intimate process). One common theme people seem to have (husbands, family, childbirth classes, doula’s) is that a woman should feel supported during childbirth and know that the people around her are concerned with her comfort, wanting to remove any stressors possible. This is one of the basic assumptions I thought I shared with the general population, including the baby’s parents. I assumed this to be true since baby’s mom had talked about how she wanted this to be more like family than business, she plans on taking a doula class and other smaller things that showed she was interested in understanding how to make me feel supported, cared for, and comfortable throughout the the process of birthing her child. *sigh* At that point things were looking up. I felt like I could depend on all the people around me (I have no doubt in my ability to depend on my husband) to keep my interests in mind. So going back to the concept of keeping a laboring woman comfortable…one thing you surely want to try to decrease as much as possible is the presence of stress in a labor room. That is, of course, only if you are at all concerned with the well-being/interests of the woman and child going through labor. Negative stress during such a high intensity event will do nothing but make the situation more tense..to me this means taking away from the laboring woman’s ability to focus on what is important, making the process more difficult, not something you want for someone who is pushing a child out…that is already difficult enough of it’s own accord, doesn’t need anyone to help make it worse. Or at least that was a basic assumption I had…”people involved will want to remove as much unnecessary stressors from the laboring room”. *another sigh* I didn’t realize I was so wrong or I wouldn’t be so surprised right now. It seems I am not only wrong about assuming the intended parents would want to make sure I was as comfortable and stress free as is possible but it seems I should have been bracing myself for them to be intent on adding stressors and neglecting the idea of my comfort/interests all together during the childbirth process. Possibly even wanting to force added stressors on me even when I’m making it clear I want to avoid them. For example, if a woman who is carrying your child tells you that after thinking something through she is very uncomfortable with the idea of medical intervention that is not medically necessary, why would you even consider pushing it on her? My basic assumption that I thought was shared here is something along the lines of “you are having my baby for me, I will support you through childbirth by not trying to force you into doing something you are uncomfortable with-granted it is medically sound”. Wrong. The topic was even brought up of bringing lawyers into the conversation of will we/wont we induce labor as well as the intended parents “right” to decide what social (for convenience, not medical necessity) medical intervention I will have. Those of you who are reading this already know that I had both of my children naturally and that natural childbirth is very important to me as long granted I am having a healthy pregnancy/childbirth. This is something I had made clear very early on in the surrogacy arrangement. To me it simply doesn’t make sense that you would want to put your child and surrogate ( a woman who has decided to carry and deliver someone else’s child so they could enjoy the journey of parenthood) at risk by adding unnecessary stress or to make the surrogate feel uncared for (to put it lightly because it borders more on disrespected and, oh I wish I had the right words but it feels just like…maybe a good way to explain it is as if I’m being looked at as less than a person even) by suggesting your “rights” as parents is to force anything she doesn’t want on her. It had just never crossed my mind that someone would want to do that..say “Hey I know you are having my kid for me but I don’t care if you don’t want us to force your body into labor to fit before it’s saying it’s ready because our schedule matters more than your health and wishes. We are willing to risk your health, fetal distress, and at the best just spit in the face of your gift. And no it isn’t because it is medically necessary, it’s because we aren’t comfortable with the idea of not having an exact date of childbirth.” And you know what the funny thing is?! I thought about this after my last doctor’s appointment. The flight (quickest way from their home to the hospital we chose) is ~50minutes long. Add in another 30-60 minutes for driving depending on traffic and it’s barely longer than it takes me to actually drive to the hospital! My drive will take between 45m-1 1/2 hrs to get to the hospital. So if to-go bags are already packed and ready, anyone flying in should be able to get to the hospital shortly after I got there. And granted that we already know the date of conception, the timeline for when the baby is born is drastically more specific than it is for any other person who conceived naturally…so it seems a little much to expect (or desire) to control something that is naturally unpredictable anymore than it already has been. It leads me to wonder how concerned baby’s parents would be with the timing if she were having this baby, would they still be so eager to narrow down the timing that they would use medical intervention to force labor..would they opt for a c-section to be sure of timing?
Here is a quick snip-it from World Health Organization: “Induction of labour should be performed only when there is a clear medical indication for it and the expected benefits outweigh its potential harms…Although currently available guidelines do not recommend this, induction of labour is being used more and more at the request of pregnant women to shorten the duration of pregnancy or to time the birth of the baby according to the convenience of the mother and/or health-care workers(6, 7). During induction of labour, the woman has restricted mobility and the procedure itself can cause discomfort to her. To avoid potential risks associated with the procedure, the woman and her baby need to be monitored closely. This can strain the limited health-care resources in under-resourced settings. In addition, the intervention affects the natural process of pregnancy and labour and may be associated with increased risks of complications, especially bleeding, caesarean section, uterine hyperstimulation and rupture and other adverse outcomes(2, 8).”
When you are aware that there are recommendations, like the one above, against using induction of labor that is not medically necessary…why be so selfish and uncaring as to try to push it on someone who is doing something so amazingly wonderful for you. Push it on someone who is used to and comfortable with natural delivery knowing that being induced will wash all chance of that way given there will be restricted mobility, constant monitoring, increased (can you imagine increased from the norm?!) pain, and so on. And it isn’t even just a comfort thing..there are medical communities recommending against it for health reasons for the woman giving birth and the child…so really? Really? It makes sense to still try to force it given there are possible adverse outcomes? Isn’t that completely against the best interests of the surrogate and the baby?
Overall…as I sit and write my thoughts down the one thing that overrides everything else is how thankful I am for my husband and the support he gives me. I know a lot of women who decide to be a surrogate are single women and I’m so very thankful that through this I have my husband by my side, to know that I have at least one person who is truly sees the sacrifice I am making to help someone else have their dream, to know that I have at least one other person who cares about how I am going through all of this.
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Where to start..it’s been awhile since I posted last and all the exciting things about pregnancy are beginning. About a month ago I started to feel baby move. As some of you mother’s might understand, it took me a bit to decide if it was little baby kicks or run of the mill gas..which by the way this baby is no stranger to, unfortunately for me and my family. It is easy for me to see all the little things that happened during my pregnancies with my babies and how they relate to how the kids are now (or were as babies)…and I’m so interested in seeing/hearing about some of the connections here. I have a hunch that this will be a gassy little baby. In the evenings we eat dinner, put the kids down to bed then retire ourselves to the living room to watch a show and chat about the day…around that time I normally have an after dinner snack. It doesn’t take much to make me feel like I’m overfull (despite still having the urge to keep eating)..like food has piled up into my throat and is ready to come out if I dare move my tongue. Anyhow, while we watch our show I normally lay down on the couch and as soon as I sit up I always have the most embarrassingly huge burp. So, mommy/daddy, if baby is crying and you go through the list…my guess is gas! Haha.
Back to baby moving. A month later and I’m starting to feel the baby moving when I put my hand over my stomach. It is really faint on my hand still but I’m hoping that by the time of our next apt. with the midwife the baby’s movements will be stronger and mommy can feel her baby play with her. 🙂 About 2 weeks ago we had the big ultrasound, too! And although I keep saying baby, we know now that baby is GIRL! My hubby and I had been feeling like baby was either a girl or a sensitive boy. It was funny this time around…with our babies we felt like we knew right away what the gender would be. And both times we were right. This time I felt like I had no clue. Just one of the many things that make carrying someone else’s baby different from carrying your own. I feel very disconnected overall. Of course I do all the normal things to promote the health of baby just like I did with my own…but the emotions involved are very different. I’m happy about this though, it’s how I thought I would feel before I made the decision to go down this road.
I just finished reading a book and one of the characters was a surrogate but she had a hard time emotionally separating herself from the baby. I’m very glad that I’m on the other side of that spectrum. Like babysitting…I want to take good care of baby while it is with me but will be very glad to see mommy/daddy pick baby up (sticking with the babysitting concept). Another example of the disconnect lies in my growing belly. I obviously understand I am pregnant but for some reason when I see myself in a picture or in the mirror my first thought is along the lines of “oh man I need to do something about that muffin top”. And then one part of my mind tells the other to not forget there is a baby growing in there and everything is just fine. Part of it, too, or at least I think, is that I am gaining weight differently than I did with my kids. Maybe it’s just the 3rd pregnancy, dk. I feel like my body is much more sloppy this time around. During my pregnancies my belly grew but the rest of me stayed firm. So even though I know I’m pregnant..I feel like I’m hitting a bit of a late-20’s crisis, haha. Like I’m having to accept that my body is no longer going to be the young toned and firm body it used to be. I know I’m probably sounding melodramatic, that is what my husband says just not in those words. It does help to have a husband who is so amazingly supportive. I could go on and on about the ways he keeps this pregnant hormonal mind of mine at ease but that would take a whole blog of it’s own :P. A few weeks ago he took me to get a mani-pedi (which isn’t something I normally do) which was much appreciated since my feet have already start to swell a little and even though I am not huge on the whole grooming part of a pedi. I very much enjoy the massaging, hot wax (is that right?) that they soaked my feet in..all that jazz. Thinking that with all the changes in my body and the pregnancy aches that have started it wont be long from now and I’ll be treating myself to a pregnancy massage…rub the tension out of my back and the pressure out of my feet. Little nervous though. My husband sent me for a spa day when I was pregnant with our second baby and even though it was one of the best places on the island I left with a knot rubbed into my back! Normally works the other way around. Anyhow, every now and then I still get pain in the area they hurt during that massage.
Well, I figure this is update enough for now and I will be back to ramble on some more in a few weeks.
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16wks,4 months! Time is moving right along and in 3wks baby’s parents, both of them (yay!) will be able to meet me for the next ultrasound…see their lil baby in action and hopefully see boy/girl. I’m not sure if I mentioned this last ultrasound but when I say “in action” I mean it. I’ve decided I’m going to enjoy this time before I can start feeling baby moving around bc during the last ultrasound we saw baby just a moving away so I’m sure once baby does start to move I’m going to feel it all the time. Excited for that next part of the journey..for baby’s parents to be able to feel the movement, maybe even see it later on.
Anyhow, 16wks. All is well. I am the same weight as I was a month ago but I can tell that the weight is redistributing. I think this may be the pregnancy that does my body in. Hopefully I’ll be motivated enough to stay working out afterward and build some muscle back up. This apt. went wonderfully. I got to see baby’s mom again which is always a good thing. Any issues that might work up in the month between visits are always very easy to work through and seem to be a bit more of a nonissue than anything else…face time is a must with us! 🙂 She took a flight down this time, the whole time with a new body pillow for me as a carry on..sweet of her!
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So yesterday after I go on about what baby likes…I get a small break from nausea, long enough to think I can eat what I want. HAH! I decided on fettuccine and the baby decided strongly against it. Within a half hour it all came right back up. And to and insult to injury, toilet water splashed up into my eyes! Obviously ruling that one out of my diet for the next year-ish.
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I was telling these stories to a friend today and thought it was blog worthy. I think I already wrote about how my 4yr old son drew me a picture of him in my belly, yes, in. Then the other day as he was going down for bed he called me back to his room to tell me that I am “the best baby in the belly maker ever”!! And yesterday we were sitting watching cartoons and out of nowhere I get “Are you making milk in your boobies?” haha. All this before the baby is actually even showing.
On another note, I’ve been working on a balance between my wants and the (so far not so clear) wants of the baby’s parents about who/where/when of the birthing process. Mixed thoughts about men (outside of the laboring womans husband) being in the birthing room. Could write forever about my thoughts on birthing here but for times sake I’ll just leave it at that for now. One thing that I think I’m going to enjoy is that the midwife told me I could go home after 6hrs as long as everything is okay. That is surely better than the 2 nights I spent with both my kids. We are hoping to be able to get some family to cross an ocean for us (literally) to spend some time with us after the baby is born…much needed visit time and some help with the kids while I’m healing.
Baby stuff..so baby has been enjoyed a good array of home-made muffins lately. Seems to be one of the few things baby likes. Muffins…other grain foods are good, too, like toast, bagels and pancakes. I’ve been a bit anti-veggies which isn’t normal for me. Other things are day-to-day…one day greek yogurt with raspberries mixed in was wonderful so I tried it again a few days later and had to toss it in the trash (and I hate wasting food) it tasted so bad to me. Been doing a lot of fruits and that has been going over relatively well. I did myself out on fish n chips bc those where working well for me for a bit. Oh, haha..last night I had several dreams about getting a shopping spree in a fine choco. shop! Woke up almost drooling over the thought of having myself mailed some See’s candy with fruit cream middles or…oh the list goes on. Hm..I craved choco. when I was pregnant with my girl, is this a clue? About a month and a half to go for that one though. Speaking of food…It’s about time for me to switch to maternity clothes. We had a little bit of a warmer day the other day and I pulled out some of my old maternity capri’s. I only saved 2 pairs of maternity pants (both capri’s) from my kids and def. need to restock. Today I’m wearing my pj’s through the day for comforts sake.
Til next time~