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.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Holidays (an update)

I've missed you all!  These last few weeks have been so busy it's unreal and my blogging time has been limited.  To catch you up to speed real quick.  While on maternity leave I decided to close my home daycare - a very hard decision but, it felt right for the entire family.  I'd invested six years into my business, one that I was very proud of but, with Izzy in Kindergarten now my passion to be at home wasn't as strong and I felt it was time to move on.  I was very excited to be hired back at my previous job returning to my position as a dental assistant.  Also during all of this Jason and I came across a house that we fell in love so, we've purchased a new home!  We moved in a few weeks ago and are getting settled day by day.  It's been a crazy few months and then throw in that we were right in the middle of the holidays and ... Yikes!!  Things are all falling into place.  We are adjusting to the new schedules and LOVE the setting of our new home - we've been blessed.

Ryan (L) Mason (R)
As for surro news, things have been fairly quiet.  I stopped pumping for the twins late November which is always bittersweet.  It was the end of me nourishing them and providing for them but, I'm happy to have my body back and be able to focus on me again.  K&S and the boys came out for a visit and final milk run early December and I was able to get in some snuggles.  Ryan and Mason are lil chunky monkeys full of smiles and cooing - just adorable.  (click pic to enlarge)

They all spent their Christmas in Minnesota visiting K's side of the family and made a few stops along the way.  One of those was to the ER, poor lil Ryan wasn't well so they spent the better part of a day in the hospital while the staff observed him and ran some tests.  It turned out to be a UTI, poor guy!  It sounds like after lots of TLC from mom and dad and antibiotics he is doing better.  We'll be seeing on another again in just a couple of weeks when Jason and I head into the city for K's bday - we plan to stay overnight and I can't wait to get in some cuddles with the boys that next morning before we head home.

I've been checking in on Giovanni and family this holiday season as well.  They spent Christmas with family in the area and have headed out to Myrtle Beach for their annual vaca.  They'll only be home for a short while before they travel to France end of January.  I'm hoping we can all connect soon and have them out for a visit after they return.

A year ago this time I was starting meds for the cycle that would bring about the twins - it seems like just yesterday.  This has been an amazing year for many reasons and I feel very blessed to have two beautiful surro-families and so many other loving friends and family.  Thank you all for a beautiful 2012 and can't wait to see what the new year brings!!

Happy Holidays and wishing you all the best in 2013!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thankful for these Little Turkeys

How can Thanksgiving pass us by without a post of how very thankful I am for my surro families.  These lil faces and Mr. G's  are so very special to me and I feel so blessed to have the three boys and their parents in my life.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Catching Up with A&T and Lil G

I had a great visit with A&T and my first lil surro-guy this weekend.  We had a nice warm (although somewhat drizzly) November day to visit the local apple orchard.  I really enjoyed following Lil G around watching him play, climb and explore.  He's full of energy and your typical on-the-go two year old.  We said hello to the animals, snacked on some delicious cider donuts and checked out the big barn full of more yummy treats.  After awhile we headed back to our house for a simple dinner - we ordered pizza since our house is kinda torn apart right now getting ready for our upcoming move.

Giovanni and the girls played well into the night while the adults laughed and enjoyed several bottles of wine. We filled them in on all the latest; the delivery of the twins, our new home and my "new" job back at the dental office I worked at previously.  They've been busy doing some unplanned renovations to their condo, working, gearing up for the holidays and looking forward to a trip to France early next year.

We probably won't see one another again for awhile so I'm glad we snuck in this visit before our schedules got crazy.  It's always such a treat to hang out with my surro-fam.  I can't believe that this past week marked five years since we were matched by the agency and our lives were all forever changed.  A&T, thank you again for the opportunity to help you build your family and for the very special relationship we continue to share. 

Check out the photo album for a few new pics. :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Surro Love

OMG look at this lil chunk!  I just love the full round cheeks and the squishy muffin top (his is much cuter than mine).  This is sweetie pie Mason sporting the onsie I made for the babes at the baby shower.
~ Love ~ 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy "Half" Birthday - 2 1/2 years already!

Can you believe Giovanni is 2 1/2 years old already!  He's a pretty typical 2 year old.   He loves Thomas the Train, Cars and Toy Story and to make daddy proud he'll bust a move to the Eurocup theme song. Some of his favorite activities are playing with the stones at grandmas, watering flowers this summer with mommy, bathtime, and he's enjoying the of the new "Wiggleworms" play and music class he started recently.

He's a hearty eater and some of his favorites are any kind of fruit, pasta, tomatoes, hot dogs, prosciutto, cheeseburgers, and meatballs.  He's not the chunky baby that he once was.  He's sprouted up and is a lean lil man.  He's hit 30lbs and is 36 inches tall.

Giovanni is a smart cookie.  He's got a great vocabulary and is very chatty.  Mom says he's got his numbers 1-10 down and will recite his alphabet but sometimes get stuck on "g" and "p".  He also knows his colors and most of the shapes.

He's recently decided he doesn't want to sleep in a crib so the transition to a "big boy bed" is in progress.  I'm interested to hear from mama how that's going.  He's not a fan of "timeout" but let's be honest, what kid is?

We've got some plans in the works to see one another again but they've been dealing with some home renovations and with our upcoming move ... not quite sure what we plan to do.  Oh did you catch that?  We are moving!  We're pretty excited and can't wait to get settled and enjoy the holiday in our new space.

So that's the update.  I don't have any new pictures but hope to have some to share soon so stay tuned.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

1 Month Old Surro Cuties

The surro cuties are a month old today!!  I got to love on them for a couple of hours while momma was in town getting their birth certificates from the courthouse.  Mason (right) is growing like a weed and chunking up.  Ryan, although the "big" brother is still the lil guy.  Aren't they just the cutest?!?!

My heart is full.

photo by momma K

Monday, October 15, 2012

How am I really. (4 Wks Postpartum)

Our official due date has now come and gone.  Although January when the two lil embryos that would become Ryan and Mason were transferred seems so long ago - the last 40 weeks went by so fast!  I can't believe the boys have been here nearly a month already.

The weeks following the birth of a surrobabe are very different from when you deliver your own child.  I'm having to remind myself constantly that I just gave birth to two babies - by c-section nonetheless.  It's hard to not jump right back into life since I'm not preoccupied with an infant but, I'm still recuperating from major surgery and need to remember to take things slow.  The healing has been delayed due to an infection at the incision site - I'm not 100% back to myself just yet.  Then there is the extra weight to deal with.  I gained only the "allowed" 40 lbs this pregnancy and have shed all but 8 lbs of it but, I'm still feeling rather fluffy.  I have no cute lil baby/ies in tow to take the attention off my extra thick middle and expanded backside so I'm becoming more self conscious about it as the weeks go by.  Hopefully soon, after I've given myself a bit more time to heal, I'll have the motivation to get into a gym routine again.  At least I have a nice set of D-cup boobs thanks to pumping - to bad they are "off limits" along with the rest of me.  My poor husband has been very patiently waiting for some physical attention since well ...  early July.

Emotionally I'm totally fine with the babies being home with mom and dad - that's the goal of the entire process and it's an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and pride to know that I helped create a family!!  Very similar to my first experience, the only tears I've shed are ones of joy.  However, it is an adjustment to go from being very pregnant with twins, gaining the attention of curious strangers and the like and sharing your "story" multiples times in a day, to just being boring ole me again.  I miss it all but, it makes me so happy to know that K&S are being showered with attention from friends and family and I feel so lucky that they continue to include me and frequently reach out to say HI and let me know how they are doing.  I think of them often so it's nice to still have that connection and keep in touch - not all surros I know have been as fortunate.

K shared more pics with friends and family last week and I've uploaded a few of them to the Photo Album (upper right margin).  I just can't get enough of these adorable faces!!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Two Peas in a Pod

K&S and the boys came out for a lil visit last night.  The lil guys arrived hungry so after getting them fed and catching up on how we've all be doing over the last week we welcomed local photographer (Sincerely Me/Erica H.) to do a newborn photo shoot with the babes, part of the baby shower gift I gave K.  We got the boys all stripped down and snuggled them into a lil knitted peapod I had also gifted to IM (SophieChic).  So cute!!!  The boys were fairly cooperative - we got through it all with minimal fussiness and considering the amount of nakedness, the props almost all stayed clean. ;-)  Here is a lil preview.  I can't wait to see what other images she got.

(click to enlarge)

On another note, I had a two week postpartum check yesterday and my stupid c-section incision is infected in one area. Sorry if this is oversharing but, I'd noticed an odor a couple days ago and it was kinda pink but didn't think infection.  I'd also noticed there was a hard spot in one area.  My OB checked it out and it's basically a  pocket of fluid. She took a culture to rule out MRSA, really hoping that comes back negative. Yikes!  I'm supposed to drain it a couple times a day, keep it dry and covered and she put me on an antibiotic.  I'm hoping this one does the trick because she said if it doesn't she'll have to go with a stronger one and, I'd have to pump and dump while on it.  :-(

Still pumping like crazy but stretching it out to every 4-5 hrs now that I'm busy and away from the house more often.  The boys are piggys and doing well switching between breast milk and formula.  Their official due date is still a week away and despite being "preemies" (born prior to 37 weeks) they are doing great and growing like weeds!

I'd also like to share a link from my agency blog announcing the arrival of these sweet lil guys.  Family Source Consultants Blog

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Our New Normal

Everyone is settling in and getting used to the "new normal" and I'm not talking about the recently released television series. ;-)

K&S are adjusting.  The boys keep them very busy between the feedings and the changing and then all over again, and again, and again.  LOL  Both Ryan and Mason are good eaters, they are getting a combo of formula and the breast milk I'm providing.  As for sleep, they're being a lil more wakeful and everyone is adjusting to the day to day changes that come along with babies who are still working themselves into a good routine.  K&S are juggling the boys with the help of their au pair, who K has said is awesome. She's making the transition to parenthood a lil easier by letting them focus on the babies while she tends to all the "other" tasks that come with two newborns in the house.  As K&S transition into work again she'll be stepping up more and more to help with daily hands on baby stuff of course.

I'm getting back to myself again.  It took a good week and a half after the c-section but I'm feeling ok and mostly pain free.  In retrospect the c/s wasn't that bad but, it did take nearly a week longer to recover than my other deliveries.  Of course I'm not fully healed, that will take some time yet but at least I can move and function and sleep in my own bed again. :-)  I've been very busy pumping round the clock to supply the lil guys with breast milk in hopes of giving them the best start possible.  As of right now, I'm out producing them - they take about 100mL per feeding each (every 3 hours) and I'm pumping 300mL per session (every 3-4 hours).  Not too shabby.  It takes a lot of diligence to take on exclusive pumping - it's time consuming -  but I do love feeling needed and connected.  I've mentally committed to keep pumping until our 1 year transfer anniversary which is late January - so we'll see how it goes and take it a month at a time.  As of right now, since K is on maternity leave, and so am I, we plan to just meet up every couple of weeks for a "delivery".  Yesterday I headed into the city to attend my good friend Daisy's surrotwins 1st birthday so while out that way K met me and took home just over 300 oz that I'd pumped since last Sunday.  She, IF and the boys are visiting on Thursday, we are doing a newborn photo shoot here at our house, and I'll have more to send home with them then.

I have PICTURES!!  K got a lot of great shots at the hospital that tell our story.  Visit the link in the right margin "Surrogacy Photo Album" and enter the password.  Enjoy.

Oh and a quick congrats to K&S's friend Koby - she was the winner of the Baby Pool with super low score for BOTH boys.  Nice job.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

There are few words ...

Two beautiful lil embryos (Jan 2012) and ....

36 weeks 2 days later the very last belly pic ...

 and then 12 hours later - these lil guys arrived.

Ryan Brady & Mason Andrew 
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
5:38 AM ~ 5:41 AM
5lbs 6oz & 5lbs 12oz

This is love!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I was discharged and sent home yesterday and Ryan and Momma went home too.  It sounds like their first night went well.  S stayed behind at the hospital with Mason where he's been working on regulating his body temp so that he could graduate from an isolette to a open bassinet - this is the milestone he needed to meet to get the OK to go home too.  I just heard from IM and Mason is doing great and going home tomorrow (Sunday)! This makes me sooooo happy.

Since IM took the car to get home yesterday she'll be headed back early tomorrow morning to get IF and Mason and, I get to watch Ryan. *love*  Once they get back to my house we all get to see the boys - together - for the first time since the minutes following their birth. I can't wait for that moment, I've hated that Ryan and Mason have been separated since Tuesday.   We are going to get some pics of everyone together finally and I can't wait to share.  Yay!!

I'm so looking forward to seeing them all off tomorrow, headed home to start their life together. It's the moment we've been waiting for since we all first met nearly two years ago.  Tears of joy already!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The First Days

Lil update on me and the boys.  Since several of you have asked, I don't have pics to share just yet but hope to soon. I'll keep you all posted once they've been added to the photo album.

Ryan (Baby A) is doing very good and has been rooming with K&S.  He's just as content and quiet as ever - his personality is the same now as it was in the womb.  He's always been easy going and it takes a lot to get him worked up and when he's upset all you have to do is wrap him up like a burrito to make him content again.  Mason (Baby B) is still in the NICU and since he's been admitted there they probably won't let him "step down" - he'll be discharged directly from their care.  I wish they'd let him join his brother, the two boys have been separated this whole time. :(  Mason is doing really well now and hasn't had any breathing assistance since Tuesday but has been on an antibiotic the last couple of days due to a slight fever.  Right now the "milestones" he needs to meet before going home are to be able to regulate his body temp and to take 25mL minimum at his feedings and of course the fever needs to stay at bay as well.  Ryan is likely to be home as soon as tomorrow where as Mason may need to be here another day or two.  K&S are working on the logistics of all that, it will be a bit tricky for a couple of days - they obviously can't be in two places at once - but looks like it will only be through the weekend at most. **Fingers Crossed**

I went to the NICU to see Mason today and when we got there he was fussing a bit.  K with no hesitation reached in, comforted him and changed his diaper.  This was while he was still in the isolete and looked like it would have been challenging for even me - a seasoned diaper changer.  I was impressed.  She's a natural and will have this baby thing down in no time.  S is jumping in and taking his turn at helping with the boys too and with encouragement he's getting a good feel for the daddy thing.  However, I think I lost points today - apparently I'm not the most attentive babysitter.  K&S left Ryan with me while they went to get a bite to eat and check on Mason.  We enjoyed some snuggle time but then I started to get really tired so I tucked him into his lil bed and closed my eyes for "just a minute".  When I woke up - he was gone!  I panicked for two seconds until I realized the obvious - K&S had come back for him and didn't want to disturb me.  Even still I couldn't help but feel silly for a minute. LOL

I'm staying through the night and will be discharged tomorrow (Friday).  They keep telling me I'm doing great for this being my first c-section.  I've been off IV pain meds since 3am and have been managing my discomfort with the oral meds ok so far today.  My belly is tender of course and now that my meds aren't as strong I've been cramping while pumping and have had some back pain at the spinal site.  It's been a bit of a transition being off the "good stuff" - the Torodol had been keeping me pretty comfortable and masking some of the typical after delivery aches and pains. The incision itself isn't too bad, it's a tad bit numb actually which the OB said may be from nicked nerve endings that need to repair themselves.  As I mentioned, I'm pumping again this time around.  It is a really great way for me to still feel connected and needed, great for weight loss and getting back to myself and excellent for the babies too.  So far Mason's been getting all of the breast milk since he was running a slight fever and there were signs of infection but as my milk comes in and I produce more he'll share with his brother.  I've noticed an increase in supply as the day has gone on and by morning I'm sure I'll be sporting some Dolly Parton worthy tatas.

I want to say thanks to everyone for all the well wishes and congrats we've received over the last few days.  Your love and support mean the world to me.  I feel so blessed that I've been able to help another wonderful couple  create their family and how I've been welcomed into their lives.  I'm excited to watch K&S experience parenthood and watching these lil guys grow - I'm once again amazed at what I've been a part of, truly amazed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Welcome Babies!!! (Birth Story)

K&S and I have welcomed their sweet lil boys!!!  Before I give you all the story, here's what I know you're waiting for.

Babies were born at 36 weeks 3 days on September 18th 2012 via cesarean section; Ryan Brady entered the world at 5:38 AM weighing 5lbs 6oz and was 18 inches long.  He was followed just two minutes later by Mason Andrew, who was 5lbs 12oz and 19 1/4 inches long.  

The contractions I posted about on Monday evening weren't backing off so at 10 PM I made the decision to come into the hospital to be monitored.  We played the 20 questions game with the nurse, working on getting all my info in the computer, while getting me situated on the monitors.  Both babies were looking great and I was most definitely having contractions. I was checked and she noted being at 2cm which wasn't a whole lotta progress - an hour later still more contractions and maybe 3cm according to the on-call doctor.

The logistics of how it would all happen had been weighing heavily on all our minds the last couple of weeks.  If you remember I was most likely going to have a c-section due to Baby B being breech and I'd been warned that if my water broke we'd be headed straight back to the OR, with or without K&S. We decided it would be best to get them out here, just in case, so they jumped in the car just before midnight to make the 2 hour trip.  Nice thing was, no real traffic to contend with at this time of night.    Thankfully they got here in what would be plenty of time which was a huge relief.  I was checked again - maybe the slightest bit of change but contractions continued so the nurse was off to touch base with the on-call doctor to make a plan of what was next.  The first couple of moments all together were just kinda surreal, wow could it be the real deal?  Then as K&S settled into the little tiny triage room with us we began to chat, relax and just wait. At this point I'm still doing ok, contractions are moderate intensity and a lil more spread out but I was pretty certain this was active labor.  The worst part up until this point was that I hadn't eaten all day and that was causing me some wicked acid reflux.  Thankfully I was being allowed small sips of water and the nurse had brought in a roll of Tums.  Not knowing what the game plan was yet, S began checking area hotels for vacancies thinking they'd just spend the rest of the night here in the area if they kept me for observation or sent me on my way.

Moments later the nurse comes in, "We're taking you back for a c-section".  Wait what?  How soon?  We were told it would be just a matter of prepping us all and the show would begin.  AHHH!!  We'll turns out an emergency case came in and stole our spot away but, it was actually nice to have the extra couple hours to process it all.  My contractions were still there but mild, or at least they seemed that way now that my mind was elsewhere and I wasn't focusing on them anymore.  I was concentrating on this new development and they idea of everything happening so quickly.  So we hung out for a bit and stood our place in line for an operating room.

I was taken back and prepped about 5:00 AM.  I wasn't nervous about the surgery at all but major congestion had settled in and I was super anxious about not being able to breath during the procedure.  The experience was quite different than anything I'd been through before.  The spinal just felt bizarre, the people, the lights, the noise ... Then K&S were brought in to take a seat near my head.  Kristine took my hand and we shared a smile.  Next thing we heard was "Rupture".  HOLY CRAP they'd already made an incision - babies are coming!

First was little Ryan Brady at 5:38 AM.  He wasn't making much of a fuss, no loud sequels just some "kitten" noises as they wisked him over to the incubator.  Just two minutes later a huge amount of pressure was released from my chest and out came Mason Andrew making plenty of noise as he entered the lights and drama of the operating room.  Both boys were cleaned up and roughed up, IM gave my hand a squeeze and tears of happiness began to well up.  K&S were invited over by the NICU team to meet their boys for the very first time.  The next several minutes were the best moments of the journey as far as I'm concerned - witnessing two awesome people who've dreamed of a family for what has been years now experience those first moments of parenthood is absolutely priceless. I was smiling ear to ear just watching them fall in love with their sons.

From there the boys were taken to the nursery to be weighed, measured and cleaned up.  I was finished up in the OR another 20 minutes later and moved to recovery where I spent two hours regaining feeling of my legs and being monitored.  Not long after I was sent off to the Mother & Baby unit where K&S and I have side by side rooms.  We spent the day resting, admiring the babies and soaking in all that had happened.

Mason (Baby B) was eventually moved to the NICU due to some rapid breathing episodes.  He's the bigger of the two babies but has always been the more active busy one so I'm not surprised he's the one  that's a bit feisty and needed the extra attention really.  Ryan (Baby A) was also being monitored for breathing but got to stay with mom and dad in their room.  They've come over to visit several times, Ryan's even spent some time with his favorite babysitter - Me!!! - while K&S have either been visiting Mason together or catching a bite to eat.  Grandparents from both sides have stopped in to give their congratulations and seal of approval.  After getting the A-OK to be up and moving I got to take a lil trip to the NICU last night to see Mason too.  He's off all breathing treatments and just being monitored but still in a closed isolete to block out light and noise so he doesn't get over-stimulated.  They really are the cutest lil guys - such tiny noses and lips, round noggins with some black hair on top.  They are precious.  Two perfect lil miracles.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Week 36 - Any Day Now

36w0d (Saturday) - We made it!  This was my personal goal and now I'm hoping to go longer.  Yep that's right, I'm all for keeping these babies put for another week or even two if it's better for their well being.  (We'll see if I'm still singing that same tune come the end of the week) LOL  It was asked, will we be trying a vaginal delivery and the answer is, as things stand now, no it will be a c-section.  My OB belongs to a very conservative practice with a strict "head down" (vertex) policy and as of now Baby B remains breech.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about this over the last couple of weeks and although I'd prefer not to have a major surgery, I'm totally ok with the decision.  I've known since the moment we found out it was twins it was a good possibility.  I also knew early on my OBs policy and continued care with her vs. finding a different a doctor.  All along I'd hoped things would be favorable for a natural delivery but, it really isn't fair for me to "freak out" and decide all of a sudden I'm not ok with this as a choice.  Having two healthy babies is the outcome that is most important to everyone - including me.

Both of the lil guys have the hiccups right now - it's the weirdest feeling!

36w1d (Sunday) - Miserable (at the moment).  I'm going on week three of not feeling well and this is getting so old.  It started with nasal congestion and headache and I thought it was just good ole pregnancy sinusitis but, then I had some ear pain followed by drainage that gave me a sore throat.  I mentioned it to my OB who said if it was that bad to go to Convenient Care but, within 24 hours most of those symptoms had gone and I had a lil congestion and slight cough - figured it was running it's course and getting better.  Now it's just nasal congestion but that's enough to make me miserable.  The OB I saw this past week recommended Allegra but after five days no difference, I don't think it's allergies.  I resorted to Sudafed and have taken it a few times but only as a last resort.  It helps, but only for 4-6 hours and I don't like taking it that often.  A sinus infection?  I don't know but I'm so worried about feeling like this and going into labor or having a c-section.  Ah, enough whining from me.

36w2d (Monday) - I've had timeable contractions since 2pm.  Started out 15 minutes apart and moderate.  Then 8-10 min and now 8 hours in since the first contractions and they are 8 min or less apart and 1.5 min in duration causing pressure and discomfort but not real "pain".  I called my IPs and put them on standby.  I guess at this point I'm going to go in to be monitored ... not in the mood to have these babies tonight, I never got a nap today but, might not have a choice. LOL  I wanted to make it to 36wks and we are 36w2d so ...


Friday, September 14, 2012

Week 35 - The "Play by Play"

35w0d (Saturday) - I'm hoping to get another week out of this pregnancy and after that - I'm ready!! If I could rewind the clock back to 28 weeks I could stay pregnant forever but, I can't stay this pregnant for much longer!!  A little note from yesterday and sorry if this is TMI but, I've had a slight bit of brown discharge which is possibly part of the "mucus plug".  This doesn't mean much really other than we are close.  I've also been experiencing, as I have in my other pregnancies, an intense stabbing pain at the "exit" - those of you that have felt this before might remember if feeling like the "scrape" of a pap smear.  OUCH!!  It catches me off guard sometimes and I'll even wince or at the very least make an awful face causing those around me a moment of panic wondering if I might have the babies right there in the grocery store! 

35w1d (Sunday) - Today has been fairly uneventful.  I had my first restful nights sleep in a little while last night and I think that made for good spirits today.  It seemed to help last night that when I woke up, I'd walk around the living room and kitchen for a few laps stretching everything out before climbing back into bed again.  I got two decent 3 hour stretches.  Heaven!  My feet and ankles have been pretty swollen today but elevating them helps.  The lil boys have been active but calm.  My girls snuggled up with me on the couch for story time and Izzy told them, "You get to see your mom & dad soon".  I'm not sure if she's excited for K&S or just ready for these babies to go home. LOL

35w2d (Monday) - Today was not an ordinary Monday.  Typically I start each weekday morning sending my girls out the door to the bus while welcoming several daycare kiddos into my home around the seven o'clock hour but not today.  Knowing that I'm done with work until these lil guys arrive is such a relief both physically and mentally.  I sat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and my laptop browsing Facebook and researching how to get stubborn Baby B to turn from his breech position.  I took advantage of the down time until I figured I'd better get in for a shower.  After being on my feet, slowly getting ready for forty minutes or so, I was already beginning to feel the swelling in my lower legs and headed to the couch to elevate them.  I did decide to run to the grocery store this afternoon but took my mom with to help.  I came home to put my feet up and relax a bit again but these baby boys had something else in mind and became very active as soon as I laid down; stretch, pushing and kicking and causing that awful sharp stabbing pain I referred to back on Saturday.  They did finally settle down so I could get a few moments to recharge before starting our evening activities.  So that's it, nothing exciting and hoping to keep it that way for another several days.  K let me know this morning that the car seats were installed.  I'm sure it's gonna take some getting used to seeing the two of them taking up the entire backseat!

35w3d (Tuesday) - Today was appointment day, pretty uneventful.  Babies looked great on the u/s - good activity, heart rates, fluid, doing practice breathing.  They are still crammed in there in their yin and yang position.  The NST went ok.  As usual Baby A was cooperative, Baby B as you know likes to keep us on our toes.  
I had the Group B Strep test (oh joy!).  Since everything pregnancy-wise is looking good we spent most of our time focusing on this darn head cold I've had the last two weeks.  I so hope I can kick this before D-day! As if it wasn't difficult enough to sleep at night I'm also faced with swollen sinuses and not being able to breath!  I've never been an allergy sufferer but he suggested trying Allegra for a few days ... I hope it helps.
So our next appointment is on Friday with MFM.  It's so weird to be coming up on these appointments that we set a month ago while saying, "If we make it that far ...."

35w4d & 35w5d (Wed/Thurs) - Nothing going on here.  

35w6d (Friday)  - Today we had our final appointment with MFM and all looks great.  Baby A is the "lil guy" and measuring in the 25th percentile, which is smaller but he's still a great weight for being a twin (5lbs+) and he's growing according to his own lil curve which is perfectly normal.   Baby B is measuring a bit ahead and in the 60th percentile.  He's still being super stubborn and despite all the moving and shaking he does hasn't flipped head down and remains breech.  Tomorrow marks 36 weeks and that means two weeks or less according to the OB's 38 week protocol with multiples.

Everyday they stay put they have a better chance at being 100% healthy and mature.  I know K&S are anxious but even though twins generally do well after 35 weeks we really want to avoid NICU time if possible.  If all stays as is I think I could do this for another two weeks but we are going to discuss our options for an induction/schedule section with the OB when we see her next on Tuesday.  Although I love the "surprise" of labor I've become more open to the idea of putting something on the calender.  Waiting on nature makes me a lil nervous since Baby A is the smaller of the two, his head is already super low and  this is my 6th delivery.  Knowing all this lead me to believe I might progress quickly if I were to go into active labor on my own  and K&S are two hours away!  

Just a heads up, I'm locking out the BABY POOL at midnight tomorrow (Saturday).  Get in your final guesses or update them if you'd like ... final chance! 
(Game Name: twinsforkands)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Celebration of Motherhood

Yesterday evening I enjoyed the company of some wonderful ladies as we "celebrated motherhood".  This is a little tradition between my surro friends and I that we enjoy.  Basically it's a casual "baby shower" for the surrogate and her IM.  The recognition is so very appreciated and I love how we can celebrate this amazing journey and I get to share my wonderful IM with my friends and family.  The group included my own mom, my sister, my dear sister-in-law Sara, my BFF and surro-sister Daisy and of course K and myself.  We missed the few of you that weren't able to join us.

We had fun eating, chatting and K and I were both appreciative of the gifts we received.  The boys now have a few new books to add to their library and I got some wonderful pampering items and a Pandora charm for my bracelet to remember this journey - it's actually called the "Journey" bead.  Thank you everyone for your thoughtfulness!  My surro-sister Daisy created a collage of pics for me that included images from not only my journey but pictures of my family and pics of my closest surro-friends and their journeys as well.  I love it.  I've included it here and I'm working on adding photos from our evening to the Surrogacy Album.

Now that we are 35 weeks I'm going to begin journaling everyday but, won't post each days "events" until the weeks end OR until we have other news to share, as in, a birth story - whichever comes first.  Tuesday I have an appointment with the OB and then Friday we have what will be our very last MFM appointment and growth ultrasound.  I'm anxious to hear the predicted weights of these lil guys.  I'll bring you up to speed on the details of these appointments and any other happenings later in the week. :)  I've also asked K to chime in  with some of her thoughts as she awaits the arrival of her two lil bundles - TO BE CONTINUED!

Collage from surro-sister Daisy - Love This!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Week 34

Not much going on this week and I mean that ... not much sleep, not much work, not much of anything. LOL  Let's just say I've hit my wall and it became very obvious to me this past week that I am not Superwoman and not even she could keep up the pace of my everyday while baking two babies.  I've called in reinforcements and am getting the hang of this delegating thing.

I saw the OB on Tuesday and all looks great with the boys.  Baby B in his usual nature was super active during the NST and Baby A was calm and cooperative.  I was contracting as I have been but in comparison to the labor I've experienced in the past it's very different and not real or causing cervical change.  I discussed a "no work order" with Dr.K and she was very supportive of this decision, actually she was surprised I hadn't stopped working sooner.  So, as of Monday I'm officially off work until released postpartum.  This is a huge relief to me.  I'm looking forward to what will hopefully be a couple weeks of downtime and I can enjoy the final bit of this pregnancy, especially knowing this could be the very last time.

Just for fun, I've got a lil comparison photo for you.  This is a 29w4d belly pic vs. today at 34w4d ... a difference of 5 weeks.  Coincidentally we also have 5 weeks until our due date - I can't even imagine how big I'd be if we weren't to deliver until then!!

29w4d vs. 34w4d

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ya know what?

It's September and we're gonna have ourselves some babies this month!!  Squeal!!!  Everyone is nervous, anxious, excited ... OMG can't believe we are here!  Although our official due date isn't till mid October it's my OB practices protocol to not go beyond 38 weeks with twins  (Sept 28th) so, if come the the last week of September we haven't had these lil guys yet a plan will be made to deliver before the months end.

Today marks 34 weeks which is a big milestone for a twin pregnancy.  If labor were to begin and there was progression (cervical change) they wouldn't try to stop it at this point.  Our goal is still to make it to 36+ weeks to give the boys the best chance at having fully developed lungs and bypassing the NICU but, statistically the average gestation for twins is a bit sooner than that - 35 weeks.  That's next week!!!

My hospital bag is packed; pre-birth order - check, birth plan - check, gownies - check, tolietries including my own TP (have you ever tried to use hospital toilet paper after a vaginal delivery?!?!)  - check.  Then there is the list of last minute items to grab too like the laptop and camera of course.  Speaking of taking pics, did I mention yet that as part of my baby shower gift to K&S I booked a photographer to document these lil guys arrival?!?  We are so excited and can't wait to capture their "birth story".

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Week 33

Today K&S, Jason and I all met with the hospital social worker where we were told we'd be their 20th gestational surrogacy case to deliver there.  They have a pretty good handle on the ins and outs of it all and did a wonderful job accommodating not only A&T and me back a couple of years ago but a couple of my local surro-sisters births as well.  I have no reservations and anticipate a great experience for us all.

Following that we had an appointment with the OB.  We first had an u/s and BPP.  Both babies passed with no problems.  Baby A is still vertex (head down), Baby B breech still folded in half.  I'm beginning to have my doubts as to whether he will get with the program and flip to the head down position.  If he stays as is we are an automatic c-section.  There is still plenty of time so I'm not discouraged ... yet.

We also checked in on the babies with another NST.  Despite them both being pretty cooperative they left me on the monitors for a long while.  In that time they had great accels/decels in their heartrates and I had a couple of contractions too.  They still aren't painful at all, nothing like labor I've experienced in the past but Dr. K felt they warranted another fFN and a cervical check to be sure.  I haven't gotten a call from the on-call OB yet this evening so I'm going with the assumption that the test was negative and I DON'T have to come back for monitoring tonight.  However, there has been a slight cervical change in the last two weeks - 1cm but long.  This really doesn't mean much ... I could sit at 1cm for weeks but in previous pregnancies I've NEVER dilated prior to the onset of labor so, K&S were gonna go home and pack their bags just in case. LOL

I'm doing ok.  I feel right now at 33 weeks with twins about the same as I have in the final week or two with my previous singleton pregnancies.  Sleep has been alluding me lately so I've been tired.  The pattern has been a restless first couple of hours and up multiple times to use the restroom but then usually I can get into a decent deeper sleep for a stretch of 3 or 4 hours before my alarm goes off at 5:10am.  I've been experiencing pressure that comes and goes with activity, swelling is a daily thing now and by evening my calves and feet are puffy.  Tonight I even had a lil sciatic pain.  To sum it up, I'm feeling very pregnant these days. LOL   Surprisingly though I've had very little back, hip or rib pain and I finally have the acid reflux under control with the help of OTC Pepcid - lifesaver!  I quite honestly thought I'd be worse off by this point.

One thing I can definitely say is different this time around is the movement.  Early on I made lots of comments of how I've carried 10lbs of baby before and I thought I had a good idea of what I was in for carrying two babies but, it's not weight that makes the difference - it's the 32+ inches of baby and having double of everything - four arms, four elbows, four hands, four legs, four knees, four feet ... they are pushing, stretching, punching, rolling, and jabbing ALL of the time.  It's unreal and sometimes I'm not sure whether to be amazed or freaked out. LOL

As for the parents-to-be.  K had another shower this past weekend with family in Minnesota.  She has plans to hit up BuyBuy Baby for the final items she'll need before the babies arrive.  K&S were supposed to do an infant CPR class tonight but weren't going to make it back to the city in time so that's rescheduled for a couple weeks from now and IM has an appointment this weekend to get the carseat bases installed ... getting close!

Here's another pic of this weeks bump.  I think I've reached a "new" pregnant because I am getting lots of comments about when my due date is and how I look ready to pop. LOL


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Week 32 - Counting Down

Not sure to when but we do know to what!  We are looking at 6 weeks or less at this point.

Today I had yet another regular OB appointment and BPP/NST.  We began by getting me on the monitors and finding the baby's heart beats.  Baby A who is always cooperative and easy going was simple to find and such a good lil boy through the whole process.   He stayed put on the monitor with a nice steady heart rate in the 130/140's.  Then there is Baby B, the wild child who is always a lil more difficult and never sits still.  He moves CONSTANTLY!!!  Typically during ultrasounds he's not so cooperative and so far 2 out of 3 NSTs he's been a total lil bugger!  He's almost impossible to keep on the monitor  - kicking and rolling - moving all over the place.  Well he passed the movement & muscle tone part of the BPP with flying colors that's for sure!  Both babies looked great on the u/s so now all that was left was seeing the doctor.

Dr. K was out of the office so for the first time ever I had to see a different OB in the practice.  I'd been warned that this guy, Dr. H, was notorious for making weight comments - like straight up telling patients to "lay off the Little Debbie's".  I was waiting for him to harp on me about my more than 2lb. weight gain in the last week but to my surprise - nothing.  Good for him because K was all for calling "Dr. McTellyouyourafatty" and giving him a piece of her mind!  What we did talk about however was the number of contractions I've been having - all unproductive but notable nonetheless - and my activity level.  He reminded me to take an easy and the more I remember to do that the more "comfortable" these last weeks will be.  I did have kind of a rough day Sunday - lots of pressure in my hips and bottom that made it down right painful to walk so he suggested more frequent rest periods and doing less.

I had all intentions of getting my hospital bag packed this weekend ... gonna have to get on that!  I did however have the chance to touch base with our Doula about the birth plan and next Tuesday K and I are meeting with the hospital social worker to go over details about how things will be handled by the hospital.  How can it nearly be September already?!?!?!

Don't forget to vote in the Baby Pool (right margin) if you haven't already and I'm going to leave you with a couple of images from this past week. Babies sure are looking adorable and although I get comments all the time about my "cute baby bump" I can't help but feel like a beached whale! LOL

32 Week Growth Scan Images

Baby A

Baby B

32W3D with K&S's Lil Boys

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Week 31 - Any Guesses?

It's been another busy week in the world of baby baking.  Tuesday there was the usual weekly visit to the OB.  Everything looked pretty good.  Weight and BP fine, trace amount of protein in my urine but no headaches or other pre-e symptoms so just something to make a note of.  Babies looked great on the u/s - beautiful heart rates, A vertex/B breech, active and moving all about as usual.

After the u/s I did my first NST of the pregnancy.  This test will be preformed twice a week from here on out just to check and see how the babies are tolerating their cozy lil uterine home.  It was such a challenge to keep both babies on the monitor - they were very active -  and during the 30+ minutes of monitoring I had two sizable contractions.  To me they just felt like braxton hicks - tightening of the uterus muscle that's not painful but a little uncomfortable and my whole belly gets very tense.  These concerned Dr. K just a bit so she decided to do an fFN, this is a basic test (like a pap smear) that will help doctors assess the risk of pre-term labor.

If your test result was negative, you can be 99.2% assured that you won't deliver in the next two weeks.1 Your doctor may want to monitor your fetal fibronectin test result at your next visit.
If your test result was positive, listen to your body! Knowing that you may be more likely to have a preterm birth gives you the chance to create an action plan with your doctor, which may include bed rest or medications.

Our results - NEGATIVE.  So, looks like these guys are most likely staying put for two or more weeks. :)  This doesn't mean they absolutely won't be born in the next two weeks but it's a good indication that natural labor will not start on it's one anytime soon.

We also had an appointment with MFM yesterday and I am so very relieved to say that .... the echogenic bowel is no longer an issue!!!  We are so thankful for this news and excited to move forward without this worry on our minds.  All my test results for inter-uterine infection were negative and through u/s monitoring we can see that it is not progressing and may even be resolving.  Both the tech and MFM doctor didn't think the findings were significant enough to indicate a problem.  Yay!!!!

Babies are doing wonderfully.  Baby A is vertex (head down) and tucked way low in my pelvis with his head up against the lower portion of my spine (lovely!).  His heart rate on both the u/s and NST averaged in the lower140's.  He's the smaller of the two guys, weighing in at 3lbs 15oz and in the 33rd percentile.  Baby B (on my right) is still doing flip flops, this week his preferred position is breech and he is folded in half with feet up by his face.  His heart rates tend to be a bit higher in the 140/150's range and his measurements come in at the 58th percentile for an estimated weight of 4lbs 6oz. ... over 8lbs of baby now. :)  My uterus has been 10lbs tested by Mr. G but I think these two are going to exceed that by the end.  We will have one more growth scan at 36wks if we make it that far.

Things are becoming surreal.  I can't believe we are so close to the end now.  Being 32 weeks with multiples is significantly far along - average for twins is 35 weeks.  I can not even imagine them coming in just a few more weeks and neither can K&S. Everyone is working on the final details; packing bags, washing endless baby clothes, setting up the nursery, readying the breast pump, making sure all necessary phone #'s are programmed and all key players are standing by!

I think it's time for a Baby Pool!!!  I hope you'll play along. :)

Now to give everyone a lil advantage, the details we know are ...
  • There are two babies - Baby A & Baby B
  • They are both BOYS
  • Baby A will be born first - he's closest to the exit ;)
  • Baby A is the "lil guy" - Baby B although he'll be younger is the "bigger brother"
  • They will be delivered in August or September prior to the 38th week.

Let the guesses begin!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Baby Shower & Pics

I recently had a wonderful weekend in the city celebrating and anticipating the arrival of these two lil boys!

The fun began Friday night as I joined my IPs K&S, a couple of friends, and K's mom for dinner.

Saturday AM we got up early for a 3D u/s at GoldenView. We've of course had many u/s this pregnancy - over 20 and several of them 3D - but this one was special since both grandmas were able to join us.  At this point they are too big to get more than just head shots and they constantly have their own hands/feet covering their faces or the other twins so, it's hard to get good images but the tech got a few.  I think the most entertaining part for K&S was my fully exposed bare belly that kept moving and shifting - the babies were very active during the appointment.  Afterwards we went out to brunch ... mmm more good food.

We went back to the house for a couple of hours for some downtime and decided to watch the end of the National Geographic documentary "In the Womb - Multiples" that I gave my IPs back when we had our first confirmation u/s in Feb.  They've been watching it bit by bit throughout the pregnancy.  Since we have reached 30wks we watched development from the third trimester all the way up to delivery ... my poor IF is praying I have a c/s after watching the vaginal delivery of twins!! LOL  He doesn't believe me when I tell him he'll view it totally different when it's the birth of his twins.  I remember when Giovanni was born and T having his reservations about the delivery room but, when it came down to it he was right there beside me to witness childbirth in all it's glory.

We then went to the baby shower hosted by four of her best friends.  It was at the house of one of the friends on her beautiful roof top patio in downtown Chicago.  Besides a lil glitch in the weather - massive thunderstorm moved in that brought us indoors for awhile - it was perfect.  We decorated onsies, enjoyed apptizers, opened gifts all in the company of a couple dozen friends and the two grandmas.  I'd met most everyone that was there along the way at some point or another so it was great to see them again.  They were all too kind with their compliments and always so appreciative and of course very excited for K&S to soon have the family they've been dreaming of.

After all that Daisy and I headed home while K and several of her friends went out for drinks and a "last hurrah" night so to speak.  Although we aren't quite in "countdown mode" just yet, it's time for my IPs to lay low just in case they have to make an unexpected trip to Rockford which is over an hour north of the city - longer if there is traffic.

Best friend and surro-sis Daisy and I at the shower.

The pictures have been added to the Surrogacy Photo Album in the upper right margin (contact me for the password if you don't have it already).  You can either view them individually or I've put them into a slideshow format.  Enjoy!!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Week 30 - Reassurance & Ramblings

We've been anticipating getting the lab results back all week and finally yesterday, at my weekly OB visit, I was able to go over everything with the doctor.  The verdict is, I DO NOT have an inter-uterine infection.  **Sigh of relief**.  The four tests showed that although I'd previously been exposed to Parvovirus, HSV(1) and CMV and have antibodies for these viruses - I do not have an active infection. I tested negative for Toxoplasmosis and HSV (2).  This is all good news.

So as of now we know; the echogenic bowel is not due to an active inter-uterine infection, it is not cystic fibrosis and it's very unlikely it's another chromosomal abnormality based on the results of the early genetic testing that was done. So we've eliminated or reduced the likely hood that it's a "complicated" issue and are leaning towards one of the "simple" scenarios I referred to previously that will just require monitoring to ensure it doesn't progressively get worse.  As of now it's unchanged which is good - hopefully when we go back next Friday it will have either resolved itself or at the very least not be any worse.  **Fingers crossed**

Everything else is going well.  I'm still feeling pretty good however, sleep is starting to become an issue.  I'm fortunate that I haven't had any real back pain but the size of my belly makes it hard to get comfortable at night.  That and the fact that I'm up 2-3 times to use the bathroom and also woken nearly every night from acid reflux symptoms - it's not often very restful sleep.  I'm really beginning to appreciate the hour or two of downtime I get each afternoon that I'm able to put up my feet and rest my eyes while my assistant looks after the daycare kiddos.

I've also noticed more in this pregnancy than in any other, circulation issues.  I have to be sure and alternate sitting and standing because if I do either for too long - my legs get tingly and my feet feel numb.  Not alternating between the two can also causes swelling and not just in my feet but my entire leg.  This is again where the mid day rest and opportunity to put my feet up is much needed.

Overall I feel I'm doing quite well for being this far along in a twin pregnancy.  It's overwhelming to think we have only 6-7 weeks left and, that's if I carry up until eviction time (38wks) !!  Many twins are delivered around 35-36wks - that'only a month away!!!  I know K&S are anxious to meet their lil boys and I can't wait for that moment but, I'm beginning to reach the bittersweet phase of this surrogate pregnancy - I'm just not ready for it to be over.  How can we possibly be this close to the end?!?!

**There are just a few pics from the baby shower weekend in the photo album.  I'm still waiting on more.  K took a TON but has to go through them and do some editing, a big task I'm sure!  I'll share them and some more details about our weekend as soon as I can. :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thank You!!!!

I had a wonderful weekend with K&S and some very special ladies. Thank you everyone for your welcoming smiles, kind compliments and undue appreciation. I've been blessed beyond words to have the opportunity to meet you all and share this experience with such wonderful people - all of you. ♥

More details and pics from the baby shower coming soon.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Week 29 - T&P's

I'm going to try and avoid rambling in this post because I don't have much concrete information right now and I'm trying hard not to cause myself or K&S additional stress by dwelling on "what ifs".  I went in for the follow up u/s to recheck the echogenic bowel in Baby A (initial post) and it's unresolved. :(  We were really hoping for better news.  They will continue to monitor the bowel and also look for answers as to why this lil guys small intestines are showing up as dense on the u/s.  There are a number of things that could cause this ranging from very very minor to much more involved.  Some possibilities; it could simply be that the fetus ingested blood that was in the amnio fluid or that meconium is beginning to form in the bowel or something more serious like an intra-uterine infection or a chromosomal abnormality.  More info on all that can be found here.

We had several test early in the pregnancy already to check for chromosomal abnormalities and all were negative which reduces the risk that it is due to that and cystic fibrosis has been eliminated as a possibility.  So, the first step is going to be ruling out infection. I was sent to the lab today for blood work to see if I test positive for one of a few different viruses that I might have unknowingly been exposed to or I may be a carrier for .  I'll be very honest, it makes me incredibly emotional to think that something I came into contact with could be the cause for these issues.  We won't know the results till sometime next week.  The info we are receiving right now is so vague - all we can do at this point is try not to worry until we have a clearer picture and hopefully some answers.  Prayers appreciated for this lil guys health.

I also had a regular OB appointment this week and all is well; BP good, urine fine, even down 2lbs from a week ago which my doctor didn't like but, just last time she made mention of too much of a gain so in my opinion they balance one another out.  **shrug**

And to end this post on a happy note.  It's baby shower weekend!!!  I can't wait to see IM surrounded with love from her friends and family as we all celebrate these two little lives.  Can't wait!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

As Promised - Belly Pic

I've been terrible with these this pregnancy.  I always plan to snap a pic when I'm dressed nice for this or that, going somewhere that will provide a nice background or when we reach a specific milestone and never do.  So, here ya go -  a pic without any special consideration for how I look ... this is my everyday.  No really, I wear this ensemble ALL the time.  K (IM) bought me the tank I'm wearing a couple months back and I LOVED it.  I loved it so much that I went back for several more all in different colors.  The skirt is my substitute for yoga pants in this summer heat - I own three of them. LOL  It's my go-to outfit nearly every day. :)

29w4d with K&S's twins

Friday, July 27, 2012

Week 28

We started off this week enjoying the company of K&S and several of their friends at an annual BBQ that they hold.  It was great chatting with everyone, what a fun night.  After all the guests left we continued to visit into the early hours of the AM.  Both IM and IF got to feel the lil guys move and we had fun poking around my belly to find "baby bits" (elbows, knees, feet).  It's such a crazy sensation to push here and there and find "knots" where these parts are and to then have those "knots" push back!  Jason and I headed home the next morning, it was a nice lil slumber party.

Late last week I got the results from my GTT (glucose tolerance test).  I failed - kinda.  Typically 140 is the cut off but my OB likes it to be 135 or under for multiples - my results 136.  1 POINT !!!  I tried to talk the OB out of a doing a repeat but no such luck so Wednesday I went in and took the 3hr test.   This requires 4 blood draws.  The first is a baseline after fasting from midnight on and then repeated every hour.  Results are in and I PASSED!  I wasn't sweating it considering I really didn't even technically fail the 1hr but, it was a sigh of relief to know I'm not at risk for gestational diabetes. 

I saw my OB for a regular office visit this week too.  Nothing much to report.  Babies were head down (vertex) once again with nice heart rates.  My BP and urine were ok.  My weight gain is "average" - they say a pound a week.  I barely gained in the beginning but since about 16wks the numbers on the scale have been consistently climbing.  I'm 28wks and up 26-28lbs (depending on the scale and time of day) so I'm "ok" but, that means only another 12lbs till I reach the suggested weight gain of 40lbs maximum. These babies have a lot of growing yet to do - hopefully at least another 6-8lbs in baby weight alone so ... that doesn't leave much that I can/should put on.  Gah.  Here's a lil diagram of where all this extra weight goes but remember with twins a few of these numbers are doubled.

My OB went over the usual stuff and also refreshed me on the appointment schedule that now goes into effect seeing as we've reached the 3rd trimester.  Up until now I've been seeing the doctor every 10-14 days but that's changing to every 4-5 days!!  Holy Cow!  I'm on weekly OB visits, NSTs twice a week and we are still seeing MFM every 4wks.  My appt schedule for this week through the end of August looks like this ....

7/24 (Tues) - OB
7/25 (Wed) - 3HR GTT
7/31 (Tues) - OB
8/2 (Thurs) - Follow-up with MFM
8/9 (Thurs) - OB
8/14 (Tues) - OB w/ NST
8/17 (Fri) - MFM growth u/s w/NST
8/21 (Tues)  - OB w/ NST
8/24 (Fri) - NST
8/28 (Tues) - OB w/ NST
8/31 (Fri) - NST


This is assuming all continues to go well and only brings us to 34 weeks so we'll hopefully have a couple weeks of appointments yet after these.  That's a lot of appointments!

P.S. I know I've been slacking and owe everyone a belly pic.  I promise to post one separately in the coming days.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Week 27 - Third Trimester Here We Come!!!!

We are coming up on the 3rd trimester!!!  By definition the third trimester starts at 28 weeks and ends with delivery ... did I just say DELIVERY?!?!  Is that really our next major milestone?  OMG!!!!  Ok, no panicking just yet ... let's take this a week at a time.  Seeing as this is a multiples pregnancy that is exactly what we'll be doing.  We've arrived safely in the third trimester and every week from here on out is an opportunity for these lil guys to put on weight and allow their lungs to mature.  Thirty-two is my next personal goal but, that just doesn't seem far enough away.  I hope they stay put till at least thirty-six and even that seems too soon but, I'm sure by then I'll be begging for signs of labor.

Today I went in and had the glucose screen done.  As the nurse came out with my oh so lovely cocktail and prior to giving the instructions she asked, "Have you done this before?".  Of course the answer is yes but as I sat there and thought about it, this was the 9th time I'd taken this test.  I've taken it routinely around 26-28wks in all six pregnancies but had to do the repeat 3hr screen the last two times (and passed).  I've also actually already taken the test at 16wks with this pregnancy, since it's multiples (and passed), so that's 9 times overall - 13 hours of my life.  LOL!  I'm hoping and praying the results are good but honestly seeing as I've just been over what's consider acceptable for the 1hr the last two pregnancies, I won't be surprised if I have to go in for the 3hr. Wish me luck!

After the lab work I headed over to MFM to meet K&S for our 28wk growth ultrasound.  To my surprise Baby A is transverse AND so is Baby B!  Stinkers!  They are now both lying across my abdomen stacked on top of one another.  They obviously still have plenty of room to "goof around" in there!  Heart rates were quite different from one another, one in the 130's the other in the 150's but still within normal range.  Perhaps Baby A was crashing from his sugar high after the glucose screen and settling in for a nap while Baby B was still feeling the effects. LOL  Baby A is is the smaller of the two coming in at the 40th percentile and Baby B the 50th percentile.  Both have gained a pound over the last 4 weeks and growth is right on target.  I have 5lbs of baby chill'n out in my belly now, the same size as a tiny full-term singleton but still only half as much as my first surroguy who was 10lbs at birth!  Sometimes I feel huge already but I know they have A LOT of growing to do yet.

A few weeks back while doing our 24 wk growth scan the doctor made note of some "fluid" on both babies kidneys.  The darkened areas on the u/s were measured and recorded as possible cysts.  We were told not to worry about it, it would just be something to monitor the next time around and that these types of things usually resolve themselves.  Thankfully today's u/s showed these areas to be fine.  However, as they continued the scan the Peri saw "bright bowel" on Baby A's images.  This is another thing they will want to watch closely and monitor.  It's not necessarily abnormal but also not considered normal at 28 weeks either.  The Peri said in an average 32 week old fetus the bowels begin to function and produce meconium so they'd expect to see this "brightness" but since we are at only 27/28wks they are approaching it cautiously and will have me back in two weeks to monitor the area.  We hope to see no change or that the, echogenic bowel as the doctor called it, has gone away.  What we don't want to see is dark areas of "gas" develop around the bowel as this would indicate an obstruction.  So for now, we wait and see but the Peri assured everyone, it was worth monitoring but not worth worrying about.  We parted ways today with all that on our minds, waiting things out is never fun but what can you do?  We are just praying it resolves itself like the kidney issue did.  The babies are both looking really good overall and we can't let negative thoughts get in the way.  There is so much to be excited about and thankful for at this point.

Before K&S headed home they handed off a book to me that I purchased them awhile back.  It's one of those recordable storybooks so I had them record themselves reading it to the babies and, my girls and I will be sure to "introduce" these lil guys to their parents voices and make it a part of our evening routine in the weeks to come.

I'll leave you with one cute image from today.  This would be Baby A sticking out his tongue. LOL

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Week 26

Well after the last lengthy update I now find myself with little to say.  Things have been quiet and typical which is great at this point in the pregnancy.

I had a routine appointment with the OB on Tuesday.  BP was great, urine fine, weight well ... let's just say the babies like to keep me hungry. We had a quick u/s to monitor heart rates and both A & B are vertex (head down) again and looking great.  The OB and I discussed the precautionary modified bedrest orders that are right around the corner.  She would like me to take an easy in the coming weeks.  The idea here is that the period from 28-34 weeks is very crucial in a multiples pregnancy, they are now viable but every day counts as their lungs mature and they put on that precious baby fat.  Our goal is to get to at least 34 weeks but we are all praying for mid September (36wks) at the earliest.  I'm to make sure I'm alternating sitting/standing to promote circulation, elevate feet and drink plenty of water to keep swelling at bay, avoid some of the more taxing daily tasks (i.e. deep cleaning, lifting kiddos, etc), keep travel times to a minimum, and allow for plenty of breaks in my work day to rest (5 hours a day average).  It's important not to aggravate my body so these babies can stay in their cozy uterine home where they can continue to grow.  Although the pregnancy is going great I am starting to feel cumbersome so the idea of being told I need to slow down and allow others to help when they can is slightly welcome.

Later this week we have another growth u/s with MFM and then weekend plans include Jason and I going to  a BBQ at K&S's house with all their friends - can't wait!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Week 25 (cont.) - The Planning Phase Has Begun

Not that K&S haven't been planning for this for years but we are now to a point where it's time to get some details worked out.  Since there was so much going on last week that was not appointment related thought I'd do a separate entry with those details and to share about the other plans being made.  Warning, this one's a bit long too.

On Friday we saw the high-risk OB for a fetal heart study.  This is an appointment (ultrasound) where the sonographer concentrates on just the heart and how it is functioning.  It's a "newer" thing that they are recommending for both multiples and IVF patients since these variables show a higher incident of abnormalities.  So, seeing as this is a multiples pregnancy via IVF we were scheduled for one.  Good news, the boys hearts look perfect.  They are only about the size of a quarter right now so they can't detect the smallest of abnormalities like a pin size hole between chambers but, overall everything looks just as it should.

The night before, while visiting with my IPs in their home, we were discussing names and they've pretty much narrowed it down but, hadn't decided who would be who.  I asked what kinda personality traits they associated with each name and the feelings the names evoked and recommended that we see if they showed any of these traits at the next days u/s.  So, after the u/s tech was done with all her measurements we played around a bit and got to know these two a little better.  Baby A seems to be the passive peaceful baby.  He was snuggled into the placenta and a little camera shy when trying to get pics of of sweet lil face.  Even in utero he's the less active baby, I don't feel him as much and movements on that side seem more subtle.  However, Baby B was a ball of energy.  He's active, moves around all the time and the movements are sometimes quite dramatic from him - lots of kicks and jabs.  He's shown us this on the u/s a few times too.  Last week he clocked himself in the nose and then at this appointment he was folded in half with a foot in his brothers face at all times.  The tech had a harder time getting measurements on him because he didn't want to stay still and unlike his shy brother was all about showing off his handsome face to the paparazzi.  They definitely have individual personalities and the name assignment was obvious.  I imagine now you want to know what their names are and who is who right?  Well sorry ... that's for their mama to announce. ;)  You'll have to wait that one out. :)

After the appointment we did a tour of the hospital.  We viewed the High Risk Moms wing, which we hope I don't spend anytime in, then L&D, the OR area and the recovery room, and the Mom/Baby unit. Funny story, IF isn't a big fan of hospitals.  As we are walking down the hall of L&D he commented something about not feeling well.  So K asks, "Do you have many dads pass out?" to which the nurse replies, "Yes, it happens occasionally."  Then I pat S on the back sympathetically and say, "But on the hospital tour!?!?"  We all had a good laugh at his expense.  Moving on, we also got a peek at their Level 3 NICU.  We hope these guys don't have any NICU time but it's something to be prepared for - even full-term singletons sometimes require NICU time, you just never know.  The hospital we will be delivering at has had a lot of experience with surrogacy situations and did a wonderful job handling everything when I delivered there my first journey so I don't have reservations going in this time around and anticipate everything to go smoothly.

Following the tour we headed to a coffee shop to meet with Amanda, the Doula I used for Giovanni's birth, to  introduce her to K&S and discuss using her for this delivery as well.  I'm so excited to have her as a support person for labor and delivery again.  Jason's already said he's not all that interested in being in the OR should we need a c-section so, K&S would be present on behalf of the babies and Amanda as my support person - she makes a better photographer than Jason anyways. ;)

Now that we've wrapped up a few of those things we can start working on the Birth Plan and will make an appointment with the social worker/coordinator at the hospital to go over all of our wishes and expectations.  The Pre-Birth Order is being finalized, K has started shopping and decorating the nursery, shower invitations are out ... WOW planning is in full swing now!  We have less than 100 days to go!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Week 25 - What a week!

I'm not even sure where to begin this entry.  Should I start with mentioning the few minor contractions I had last weekend scaring poor IM to death?   Or perhaps by telling about a wonderful day spent in Chicago with some of the most amazing women surrogacy has brought me in contact with.  Or maybe all the details of our most recent appointment with MFM and hospital tour.  Yep, all that in the last week.  That doesn't even include the day and half I spent laid up unable to walk thanks to spraining my ankle.  Good thing the daycare was closed and my kids were all out of town this week so I was able to get in some R&R among all that.

So, last weekend Jason and I traveled to southeast Iowa to take our two youngest to spend a week with the in-laws.  A couple of hours into our trip I started feeling some cramping which I later noted was coming and going somewhat regularly.  These were unlike braxton hicks which are usually just annoying, they were more menstrual like and uncomfortable.  Seeing as this is my 6th pregnancy I'm not a stranger to contractions that turn out to be nothing but, since we were only 25 weeks they were worthy of my attention.  I know from experience that the recommended thing to do is usually - the opposite of what you are doing so, seeing as I had been sitting for awhile we stopped so I could walk around, use the restroom and rehydrate with water.  They'd tapper off but return again awhile later, never too intense or long but noticeable so I gave Jason the warning that if they didn't disappear once we got to our destination we'd drop the girls off and head right back home.  Perhaps they were due to the inactivity, a full bladder, the simple fact that I have two babies in my belly who knows but, thankfully after getting to Iowa and settling in they went away.  I talked to my OB after returning home and she recommended doing all the things I had if they were to come again and to call her office.  She also commented that she would have advised against me traveling, which took me off guard seeing as she'd never mentioned this restriction before.  I'm still unsure if that would have been her recommendation a week ago had I asked her or if it was just in retrospect that she made this decision.  None the less, I've been told to stay closer to home and no long distances (more than 2 hours from our hospital) from here on out despite no real complications.  A week later they haven't returned and I hope to not experience any real contractions for quite some time.  We want these babies to stay put for another 10 weeks if possible.

This almost interfered with some mid week plans to go visit IM in Chicago.  It's within the radius but, she was pretty freaked out by the whole contraction episode and wasn't sure about the trip.  All was quiet from Saturday when I felt these contractions until Thursday when we were going to meet up so, we went ahead with everything and I'm so glad because it was a great night I wouldn't have wanted to miss. IM K, my FIM A, my surrosister Daisy, her FIM A and I all went to dinner at RMP Italian.  For those of you who don't know, this is Bill and Guiliana Rancic's new restaurant in Chicago.  They are a high profile couple that have shared their story of infertility on their reality television show on the Style Network and who after several disappointments and health issues pursued surrogacy to build their family.  They are excitedly expecting a baby boy later this summer thanks to their gestational carrier.   It was such a treat to spend the evening with these four ladies, I am so blessed to have all of them in my life.  Afterwards we returned back to K&S's home and got to visit with IF for a bit before heading out.  I added a pic of us all to the PHOTO ALBUM here on the blog.

I'm going to do a separate entry about our appointment with MFM, the hospital tour and meeting with the Doula all of which we squeezed in yesterday wrapping up our 25th week ... told you it was a busy week!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Week 24 - Twin Infused

My IPs joined us for a BBQ at our house yesterday and I think I described everything on the menu as being "infused" with something (yes, I've been watching a lot of Food Network lately,  what can I say I'm pregnant and always hungry).  Jason commented, "Tiffany is "twin infused" and for whatever reason I thought it was hilarious and therefor this blog has earned it's title describing the state of my growing belly.  More about our visit later.

The day started out with lunch.  K and I joined my bestie (and fellow surro) Daisy as well as another surro friend Melissa (who is 13wks w/ a singleton) and her IM.  It was a quick visit that we squeezed in between Melissa's appointment and our own.  It was great to chat and hang out for a bit discussing all the plans both IMs were making for their new little ones on the way.  I wish we had had longer but K and I had to head out for our appointment after only an hour.  Hopefully we'll have a chance to do it again.

We made our way over to the hospital to be seen by the MFM department for our monthly visit with the high-risk OB to monitor the babies growth.  All looked perfect.  The boys were a little excitable and very active which would account for their speedy lil heart rates of 158 (A) and 161 (B).  The growth measurements were all right on track.  Both are in the 50th percentile (based on a singleton) and have managed to go from 12oz. each at the 20wk anatomy scan up to 1.8lbs (A) & 1.9lbs (B).  Right now the 6% discrepancy in overall size between the babies is well within the acceptable range - anything more than 20% becomes a concern.  Amniotic fluid looked great and the pockets depths were both in the 5 range (ideal is 3-8).  We love these MFM appointments because we always get 3D glimpses of the lil guys.  It's neat to see all their cute little facial features and expressions.  Babies were both breech (still doing flip flops) and one of them was literally folded in half with feet up by his head. LOL They are getting a bit more squished which you can see on the u/s - space is getting tighter.  So, once again all is looking good and I will see the OB on Tuesday for a cervical length check and regular visit.

We've been trying for awhile now to plan a time when K&S could linger in the area and come back to the house to hang out and be introduced to our girls.  They had met before, over a year ago at a BBQ we hosted, but since we weren't pregnant yet at the time Jason and I choose not to introduce them to our youngest girls as "the couple we were working with" at that time.  On that first initial visit K&S brought their adorably sweet dog Tucker along and the girls TOTALLY remembered him but, not K&S. ;)  They brought him along on this visit too and the girls LOVED seeing him and were happy to formally meet K&S as well.  We had a very nice dinner together and afterwards we chatted and laughed over a campfire and s'mores.  It was great to just sit back and relax and enjoy each others company.

Image 1: Baby A (squished into Baby B's shoulder)
 Image 2: Baby A (slightly less squished)
Image 3: Baby B