About Me

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Caledonia, Northern Illinois, United States
I am a Thirty-Something mother of four beautiful girls. My love for them, and the joy I've experienced during this crazy ride called motherhood, has inspired me to help make the dream of a family become a reality for couples through gestational surrogacy. I've proudly helped A&T, as their lives were forever changed when they welcomed a son in April 2010 and K&S were blessed as parents in Sept 2012 when we welcomed their twin boys. I completed my final surrogacy journey Nov 2015 when I helped a wonderful local couple J&W and Big Brother add their family with the birth of twin boys. I am so very fortunate to have wonderful relationships with each one of my surro-families and continue to share in their lives.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Nearly a week ...

... has gone by since all the excitement. Wow that went by fast! Here's a little update on how everything is going.

We were all released from the hospital Monday afternoon. A&T and Baby G stopped by our house on their way out of town to drop me off, have a quick bite to eat and prepare for the ride home. We said our goodbyes knowing it wouldn't be for long, but not without a few joyful tears.

I am doing really well. Besides an achy back, which I attribute to readjusting to walking without a bowling ball in front of me, and the swelling I'm still experiencing in my feet my recovery has been quick and easy (thank goodness for no c-section). Emotionally I'm doing great. I am still just in awe at what we all accomplished together. Life is getting back to normal here in our household; time to renew, refresh and refocus.

I've been able to talk/text back and forth with IM a couple times in the last several days. Baby G had his first doctor appointment on Tuesday and all went great. He's dropped a bit of weight, down to 9lbs 6oz, but doing good. IM sent me a pic of him in the outfit I gave them, he was just too cute. IM also emailed me yesterday and thought I'd share a lil excerpt from her message (it made me smile) ....

First few days and nights have been a little tough while we figure everything out - pretty much goes like this...

Baby G cries, he looks hungry, I feed him, he falls asleep while I feed him, I stop feeding him 'cause he's asleep, I burp him, his diaper needs changing, I change it, he wakes up, he looks hungry, and then it all starts over again...there are some variations - sometimes we both fall asleep after I feed him and burp him, sometimes he eats and then looks around, then wants to be held. He mostly wants to be held...he doesn't like being put down in the bassinet unless he's completely out of it. I think that's about how it is with all newborns though, isn't it?

We will be seeing one another again this coming Monday (our original due date). I'm looking forward to a few snuggles and time with the new lil family.

Life is good.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Our Birth Story

The days leading up to delivery day had been full of questions and indecision. As you know our OB had some concerns about baby’s size and was recommending a scheduled c-section. We struggled with this recommendation wanting the vaginal birth that we’d all been planning for. The final decision was to schedule the section but if we went into labor on our own prior to that we’d follow natures cues and go with it.

On Friday morning(38w4d)I woke up to feeling crampy, not much different then how’d felt for the last week or so but I could recognize somewhat of a pattern in the contractions. An unfortunate thing was they were not increasing in duration or intensity. My friend Daisy came over and we walked for a bit around the neighborhood with five kids in tow. Once I returned home I tried not to be idle and got the girls overnight bags packed and finished up some stuff around the house. All the while still feeling contractions but not yet convinced it was time to call in the troops.

A few days prior I broke out the electric breast pump to help “naturally” induce so since I was contracting thought I’d give it a try. I pumped for 10 minutes still feeling some contractions and when I stood up from the chair I heard a “pop” and felt a “gush”. OMG, this was just the sign I was waiting for, my water broke!! (11:40 am) I made the calls and everyone was on high alert and also had to make some quick calls to my childcare backup & daycare parents too (this was supposed to be my last day of work). I had a few last things to take care of, curling my hair was a priority before going to the hospital. LOL I took care of that and grabbed the last items for the suitcase and we were off. (1:15 pm)

We were just getting settled in at the hospital when A&T met us there and not long after that our doula. After getting on the monitors and getting situated they decide to check me and I was already 5cm and in minimal pain. Wow, was I excited … half way there and still “comfortable”. (2:58 pm) About an hour to an hour and a half later I was 7cm so things were progressing at a nice pace. All the while our doula was by my side along with IM & DH keeping me as focused and relaxed as possible. I was working my way through contractions and finding comfortable positions with some success (sitting, dancing, rocking, etc) hoping the intensifying contractions were being productive. The OB came in after awhile and required me to get into the bed and lay flat to do an exam which was nearly unbearable. She was having a hard time getting a good estimate and after 30 minutes in this position I was so uncomfortable. Based on her check there had been no progression even though contractions were getting more intense, to say the least the news was disappointing. The doctor went over some options, one of which was introducing Pitocin which I was hesitant about, so we decided to give it another hour and see. That time passed and she did a recheck ... once again it was intense in the laying down position & still only 7cm. I was very discouraged by this and began to feel emotionally and physically drained. It was decided to help labor along with Oxytocin but I didn’t want any part of that stuff without an epidural so the anesthesiologist was called in. (8:00 pm) An internal monitor was place to measure the power of the contractions and Pitocin upped every 20-30 minutes to keep a regular pattern going. I was very comfortable, the epi was perfect since I still had full movement of my legs/feet but no pain. We all relaxed, the grandparents were all invited to come in and say hello and we sat back for awhile and waited for the show. We began to note that there were more "scratchy lines" on the monitor printout and asked the nurse if baby was tolerating labor ok. She said that the activity on the printout wasn't from contractions but rather the monitor picking up my tummy tightening each time I laughed. Needless to say we were all having a good time while we waited. Everything began to pick up again and I progressed at about 1cm an hour until complete. (11:35 pm) Doctor decided it was time to try some practice pushes which seemed productive so everyone got into position.

Pushing was going ok but my epi was working a little too well and I wasn’t feeling much. I mentioned to the doctor that I might be more efficient if we backed off the epi but she said I wouldn’t like her much then. This is probably true but I was afraid if I couldn’t feel the contractions I’d have a harder time pushing which I knew was time sensitive phase considering his estimated size. I was really concerned about being effective. My body began taking it's sweet time contracting despite the Pitocin so we waited, and waited and waited for each contraction so I could push. Anyway, we kept at it and with lots of positive encouragement, from IM & IF who were on either side of me, baby crowned. Things did get a bit intense for a few moments. He did get a little wedged and had the cord was wrapped around his little neck twice but the doctor handled it with great composure and baby was delivered. (Saturday 4/24 at 12:38 am)

It took him a little time to become fully responsive, but after a moment he was letting out those first cries and scored Apgars of 7 & 9. To everyone’s surprise when it came time to get his measurements he was 10 lbs. and 21 inches long!! Oh my!!! He’s a chunky monkey for sure and so cute too. He did have some bruising on his little nose and one arm but otherwise healthy as can be. A&T were absolutely wonderful through it all as were Jason and the doula too. It was so wonderful having such an amazing support system there for me. The delivery was a little “complicated”, his size did present some real challenges and risks and was likely the reason labor stalled, but I think we all feel it worked out the way it did for a reason and I personally don't regret a moment of our birth experience.

The grandparents were all welcomed back after awhile to meet their handsome grandson. The paternal grandparents F&L were excited that he was delivered not long after midnight, making his appearance on their 45th wedding anniversary. IF opened a bottle of red wine right there in the delivery room and everyone celebrated and became acquainted with him during our two hour recovery time before being moved to the Mom & Baby unit.

IPs and I are in separate rooms but right next door to one another so we are visiting while all still getting time to ourselves to rest. IM is keeping him close and enjoying every moment of motherhood so far, I am so happy for them. It has been an absolutely amazing journey.

 Congratulations to my wonderful IPs and welcome Baby Giovanni!!!

Guess What! ~ He's Here

Baby G was delivered safe & sound (vaginally) into the arms of my wonderful IPs A&T at 12:38 am this morning (4/24) weighing 10lbs even and 21 inches long!!! OMG I can't belive he was that big and 10 days early to boot.

I'm doing great and A&T (and his grandparents) are all over the moon to have him here. It's 5am, I've been up just shy of 24 hours but still doing good. I'm relaxing in my quiet room while Baby G gets his bath next door making a fuss while IPs look on.

I'll post the full birth story soon. A huge congrats to the new Mommy & Daddy!!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

38 weeks ~ The Verdict

Well after today's 38wk appointment and follow up to discuss the suggestion by our OB to do a scheduled c-section I can't really say we left feeling any more "guided" then when we came in.

IM, IF and I spent the weekend perusing information regarding fetal macrosomia (big babies) and the proportion issue that was brought up by our OB. Last weeks u/s indicated that his torso/chest/abdomen was measuring a week ahead of his head presenting the risk that he could get "stuck".

So we asked the OB some specific questions and I think we all kinda got the impression that she was representing the worst case scenario. There was no mention that all could be fine, which we know from reviewing statistics and percentages a positive outcome is very likely. Never once did she say, “These are the risks and what could happen but then again a vaginal delivery could go smoothly as well.” Of course with any birth/delivery there are risks, even with smaller babies there can be complications, but she made it sound like big baby equals some kind of negative outcome whether that be shoulder dystocia or worse.

She did end up doing a cervical check and unfortunately the results didn't help us along in the decision process at all; cervix is still closed and long, baby's head is down and in position but still high. So, that removed the possibility of being induced sometime this week in an effort to not allow him to get much bigger before delivery. If my cervix isn't favorable it's not worth it right now.

We left the OB office still undecided and went back to our house for dinner. We continued to discuss things and over dessert we came to this verdict.

I am calling the OB tomorrow to schedule the c-section for next Tuesday, April 27th (this is her surgical day) but if labor comes on its own before then we're gonna follow natures cues and go with it. So please keep us in your thoughts. I'd love if we could avoid the c-section but I also want us all to be 100% comfortable with the decision that is made. I'm ok with the Cesarean in another week considering the OB is estimating he'll be well over 9lbs by then. My IPs are comfortable with following my body's lead if it happens that way in the upcoming days since we are still probably looking at a baby in the 8lb. range minimizing complications due to his size. What's really most important to us all is that he arrives safe and sound and I cannot wait for him to be in his mom’s arms where he belongs.

A&T are having a baby in a week or less!!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

OB Appointment

I'm gonna keep this kinda simple and try not to go off on tangents. We've got some decisions to make and options to weigh but won't have a final verdict till Monday so here is the gist on our appointment today.

First things first, things are looking ok for me. BP was 114/72, urine a-ok, weight gain up a little but that's expected with the water retention (edema) I'm experiencing. Other than the normal pregnancy woes all is good.

We had a growth ultrasound today, we were all very interested to get an idea of how big this "lil" guy is but were a little surprised by what the doctor had to say. Apparently Baby G is a linebacker, he's measuring in the 90th percentile!! The Dr. brought up a concern, his abdomen is measuring 40wks already but his head isn't measuring that far ahead yet so, that raises a slight problem. Dr. explained that during a vaginal birth the head is typically the biggest part of the baby and "paves the way" for the shoulders/body but in this instance she is afraid he could get stuck in the birth canal since his body is proportionally larger. Considering this a vaginal delivery poses some risks that we need to discuss and then decide if a cesarean section might be the best option.

We all know these u/s are only an estimate. I hesitate having a c-section only to find out in the end he would have fit just fine but I also have to remember my IPs have been waiting 8 years for their baby and the most important thing is a healthy outcome for both myself and their child.

We go back for another appointment on Monday and will make the decision then if we should deliver via c-section in two weeks (39 weeks)or induce next week (38 weeks) to avoid him getting bigger (but this doesn't necessarily change his proportions). Waiting things out and letting him come any later than that doesn't seem like an option right now. Whatever way you look at it he’s a big boy and making an appearance in the next two weeks, the question now is how is he gonna get out of here?!?!

Monday, April 12, 2010

37 weeks ~ Baby Shower & We are FULL TERM!!!

I don't even know where to begin with this weeks update. It was a whirlwind of a weekend! I had the absolute pleasure of attending A&T's baby showers and meeting many of their friends & family.

The first was a couples shower Saturday evening with their friends, all of who where very friendly, inviting and wonderful. Thank you so much to all those who attended and made me feel so welcome and special. It was a beautiful night enjoying every ones company on the patio with cocktails (that is drinks for everyone but me of course). It was amazing watching IM beam as she opened up gifts and imagine all that is to come. Dinner was wonderful, thank you so much to the hostess/host for all you did to make the evening perfect for A&T and opening your home to all of us.

It was early morning before we headed back to A&T's for some rest. Once there we changed into some comfy clothes and visited some more while IF prepared the next mornings breakfast. It was 3:30 am before we all headed off to bed for the night. :)

The ladies shower was the next day. I'll admit, meeting everyone at once (40 women) was a bit overwhelming but it was incredible being introduce to so many wonderful people who were there outpouring their love for A&T and Baby G. We enjoyed some more amazing food (the menu is always important to a pregnant woman). After lunch I think it took well over an hour for A&T to open all the gifts. The job of "card reader" was given to IF - IM just couldn't get through most of them without crying. She was just glowing from all the attention and love, it was very obviously emotional for her to realize their dream of a family was finally coming true. Following the shower we were invited back to "Grandpa & Grandma's" (IF's parents) where we were treated to yet another great meal before heading home at nightfall.

It was just amazing to meet all the friends and family who are anxiously waiting to spoil this baby and love on him. I want to thank everyone again for all your kind comments and for making Jason and I feel welcome. A&T and their son are so very blessed to have you in their lives and again I feel so very honored to be a part of this journey too.

So now that we are in the final weeks the update could be "HE'S HERE" any day now! Until then though, the next appointment is this coming Thursday (4/15). We'll be getting a final u/s and our OB will check to see if I'm making any progress yet and maybe take a guess at when Baby G will arrive. Stay tuned!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

36 weeks

Ok ok as "good" as I am at being pregnant and regardless of how smooth the last several months have gone I think I'm ready to be done. During my own pregnancies by this point there was no doubt but it's a little bittersweet this time around. I'll be totally honest though, I'm getting uncomfortable and ready to have the "old me" back and ready to refocus and renew myself and I can't forget to mention how excited I am for A&T to have their baby boy in their arms!! OMG that moment we have been waiting for is just weeks away!

I'm looking forward to spending time with IPs this weekend. They'll be celebrating the impending arrival of their son with two baby showers and I am so honored to have been invited. Jason and I are staying overnight instead of making two trips into the city, I can't wait to just hang out with IM for a bit, hoping Lil G is cooperative and lets her see/feel how wiggly he is during the evening hours.

I'm also beginning to get anxious and excited about delivery day. It's hard to imagine it is only 3 to 4 weeks away. We've decided to let nature lead the way and wait for labor to come on it's own so it will be a surprise to see when it finally all happens. I've been having frequent Braxton Hicks contractions. They've been a bit more intense too, to the point Saturday night that I almost started watching the clock. After I got up and walked around they tapered off though. Won't be to long and it will be the real deal!