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.

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