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.

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!!