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, November 24, 2015

Babies Are Here !!! (Birth Story)

Not sure how it's possible but the last couple of days have been a whirlwind, yet also the longest ever at the same time.  I'm going to tell about the day leading up to their arrival as well as their birth story here now, and share separately my experience in the moments and hours after delivery in another entry.  So, first I'll start with the important details ....

On November 21st, 2015, Emmett Gregory (Baby A) entered the world and was 6lbs 5 oz and 19 1/2 inches at 2:00 pm.  Just moments later at 2:02 pm Archer Timothy (Baby B) who was 7lbs 4oz and also 19 1/2 inches joined us.  Babies were born at 37w1d via cesarean section healthy and alert making J&W the very happy proud parents of twin BOYS!  Congratulations!!! 

As I shared in my last post, on Friday (37w0d) I was admitted to the hospital for observation.  We were all very hopeful that it would be "baby day" as I called IM and then both my husband Jason and IF out of work. After getting up to the hospital they ran labs and decided to start a 24 hour urine collection and monitor for pre-eclampsia.  Throughout the day there were mild signs that my my BP was rising but nothing definitive enough to warrant immediate delivery - so we waited.  Around 9 PM on Friday we were told since I was stable nothing was going to happen overnight so, I sent everyone home for a good nights sleep while outside the skies were heavy with the snowflakes of the years first winter storm.

I had a very long night; hospital bed + round the clock monitoring + being very uncomfortably pregnant with twins = no sleep.

Just after sunrise on Saturday morning, blood work was run and before the 24 hr urine collection/results were processed it was obvious my condition was going to get worse before it got better so, since the only cure for pre-eclampsiais is delivery -  it was go time.  I excitedly called everyone to let them know we were being put on the OR schedule and to get everything in order and head up to the hospital. I was oblivious to the winter wonderland outside but after digging their way out and making their way down the slippery streets as the snow continued to fall, Jason as well as J&W all arrived at the hospital around 10:30 am.

A lot of excitement and silliness was in the air as we waited for the next instructions.  Members of J&W's families came into say HI and wish us all the very best of luck and then made their way to the family waiting area, all very anxious and excited.   Finally around 1:00 pm doctors and nurses stopped in my room to give instructions and answer any questions, shortly after I was taken back while J&W suited up in scrubs.

This was my second c/s so I was a bit more prepared for what was ahead.  As I plopped my backside up on the operating table waiting for my spinal I looked around and took everything in.  They kept reassuring me it was all going to be ok, when really I was just curious - not nervous.  The spinal went in and within moments my feet, legs and all the up to my chest went numb.  I was draped and readied as J&W were brought in and given their place to stand.

The OR and NICU teams were great explaining at each step what was happening.  It only took a few moments and then - the world around us all changed as the first baby was delivered.  Mind you IPs did not know the gender of either so, when the doctor presented them with baby and announced, "It's a BOY!" there were squeals and tears of happiness.  The next baby was ready to be delivered and the OB thought it would be fun to have the team bring baby over to the warmer where J&W got to look and announce to everyone the gender of the second baby, "Another BOY!".

I loved watching and hearing all this unfold there in front of me - it's the moment we surrogates look forward to the most.  The moment that truly makes them a family - finally all together - falling in love with precious little people that seemed like only a dream when this journey began for J&W over 3 years ago.  And also in those same few moments, my beautiful journey as a surrogate was complete.  It's bittersweet but I know it doesn't end here, because from these experiences I have gained lifelong enduring friendships with the three families I've helped.  I can't wait to explore the next chapter as these precious baby boys grow in the arms and hearts of their parents, family, and friends -  just as Giovanni and Ryan and Mason have.

IPs and babies - 2 days old

Love you all  ~

Friday, November 20, 2015

Com'n Babies

Week 37

37w0d (Friday) - Spent the day with J&W being monitored at the hospital.  BP has been elevated but not high enough to warrant delivery.  I've been admitted and likely here for the duration but since all is stable for now, everybody else has gone home on this snowy night in hopes to get a good nights sleep.  Night, night .... keep ya posted.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Countdown Continues

36 weeks

36w0d (Friday) - Wow, I can't believe we made it to 36 weeks!  I was convinced these babies would be here earlier than my last surro-twins yet here we are just a couple days away from that.  Of course things could change quickly so IPs are still on high alert and we are all ready come go time.  I'm going to get a pedicure over the weekend to give some attention to these tired swollen feet - maybe a little layman's reflexology will do the trick to get things going if my body is ready.

36w1d (Saturday) - Woke up this morning feeling pretty rested despite spending a good portion of the night on the couch.  The girls and I headed out to run around to morning activities (piano & gymnastics) and then home to do some light housework.  After all that I was exhausted and ready for a nap.  Later in the day bestie Daisy came and picked me up, she was my chauffeur for errands and then out to dinner.  It was nice to get some of my running done that I'd been putting off and wasn't sure I'd get in before babies arrived.

Nothing new on the baby front.  Tomorrow will mark the same gestation that I went into spontaneous labor with last surro-twins.  However, there was one big difference about that pregnancy. Last time, Baby A was vertex or directly head down putting pressure on my cervix whereas this time, Baby A is more transverse, laying across the bottom of my uterus and Baby B is breech similar to shown here in the picture.  This could very well be what keeps them in longer than I expected and really at this point there is no chance in them changing position.  As long as they're comfy we'll just keep on going taking it one day at a time.

36w2d (Sunday) - Hi!  Still here. That's all I gotta say about that.

36w3d (Monday) - Never in a million years did I think I'd carry these babies longer than last surro-twins but I have.  I had an NST today and after getting stubborn Baby B on the monitor all went well.  Good accel/decel episodes and a couple small inconsistent contractions.  My BP has been elevated for what's normal for me the last two appointments so I'm supposed to keep a close eye on any possible Pre-E symptoms that could come up like headache, seeing spots, pain in my chest etc.  Besides the annoying headache that lasted a few days back two weeks ago now, I haven't had any of those issues.

My days are good, I do what I can and rest when I want, but the nights are long.  It's hard when you have a 6-8 hr stretch in front of ya where you know you should be sleeping, but just can't and you're up every 1-2 hours for this or that.  Sometimes I'll get up and use the bathroom, then head back to bed - fall asleep - but when I get back up again I realize only about 15-20 minute have actually passed.  I'm still dealing with the all over body itch I mentioned a few weeks back, it's enough to drive ya crazy!!! Soon, very soon.

36w4d (Tuesday) - I posted this on my Facebook page, thought I'd share it here too.  I can't wait to experience these emotions again and share them with J&W as they welcome their lil ones.

36w5d (Wednesday) - This about sums it up ...

36w6d (Thursday) - I had another long night of contractions last night, but again they fizzled out.  Started around 11pm, at 1am I decided to shower and try and get some rest which didn't work out too well - contractions were causing round ligament pain so I was having a hard time getting comfortable.  My plan was to time contractions and not wake the "team" until 5am as long as they reminded mild.  They were about 8-10 min apart from about 3-4am but I was so tired I found myself falling asleep in between them .... eventually they must have went away because I was woken up at 6am by my alarm clock.  Although frustrating that they went away, going up to L&D in the middle of the night was not really ideal either.

Today I had an OB appointment and J&W were able to join me.  I was glad we were all able to meet up face to face with the doctor before the big day arrived.  Babies looked beautiful on the NST as well as the BPP u/s.  They were doing some great practice breathing and fluid levels were within the norm.  They are hanging in there and apparently nice and comfy.

My weight has been fluctuating a lot lately due to water retention/edema.  The other thing my OB has been noticing is my BP creeping up over the last couple of weeks.  I usually sit around 110/70 and today's BP was 138/88, anything 140/90 is considered pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) and reason for concern.  I also had +1 protein in my urine.  Initially Dr. K mentioned doing 24 hour urine collection to monitor but decided to go right to blood work that will check for liver & kidney function as well as platelet levels - all indicators of the severity of PIH.  Depending on results, our c/s could get moved up without hesitation.  Preeclampsia is not something to mess around with and can have a negative effect on both babies and my health.  I'm not showing any other symptoms (blurred vision, headaches, etc) which is good but that doesn't mean the risk isn't there.  I'm anticipating getting results tomorrow and we'll know more about the timeline then.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Countdown

I think it's safe to say, we have arrived to the Final Countdown.  Breaking things down day by day until babies come ....

35 Weeks

35w0d (Friday) - I thought maybe, just maybe today was the day but, after several hours of mild contractions - a lil over a minute long each that started at 20 min apart and got as close as 10 min apart - they fizzled out.  This delivery will be a repeat c/s, however it won't be schedule until we've reached 38 wks and I'm convinced I'll go into labor before then.  Now that we're past 34 weeks, if contractions kick in that start to make cervical change (dilation) or my water breaks they'll take babies right away but otherwise - we wait.  We very well could have a few of these false starts over the next few days, or weeks.

Last night we had made plans to go towards the suburbs for my best friend and fellow surro-sister Daisy's birthday, but decided after a day of contractions it was best to stay local.  We had a nice dinner downtown to celebrate.  I'm lucky to have such a great friend who's always there either for a laugh or to lean on.  I couldn't imagine this journey through motherhood, surrogacy, and just life in general without her.  Happy Birthday Daisy!!

Surro-sister Bump Pic

35w1d (Saturday) - I started the morning off talking to IM on the phone and checking in for the day.  It's been quiet and uneventful.  There have only been a few random BH like contractions here and there.  For not doing much today I'm feeling pretty swollen though - face, feet and everything in between.  I'm keeping my legs elevated and drinking tons of water but the swelling is inevitable at this point.  I did fit in a nap while watching a movie with the girls so I'm feeling rested.  It's about that time of day when babies get really active and then once they settle down for the night I'll hopefully get in a couple of good stretches of sleep.

35w2d (Sunday) - Another day down.  All was pretty quiet, I had a very low key day and trying not to antagonize my achey body.  The girls and I went to my parents house for dinner and it was so nice to not have to worry about a meal for the night.  I'm so very lucky to have a great support system to help in these final weeks/days.

I just wanted to share this picture that IM posted.  This is their lil guy doing some driveway art - a pic of their family.  I can't wait for these babies to be in their arms. 

35w3d (Monday) - I think my status has officially become human incubator.  LOL  I'm not able to do much else right now other than grow babies - I remember reaching this point last time as well. I did get adventurous and walked to the mailbox at the end of our circle driveway today.

35w4d (Tuesday) - Well, looks like another uneventful day.  My feet started to swell in the last week or two when I'd be on them for long but now it doesn't make a difference, they're swollen all the time.  It looks worse than it is, they just feel a little tight and itchy.  Hey, at least now I have a good excuse to wear my beloved flip flops into fall.  Overall not a bad day but, so very ready at the same time though.

35w5d (Wednesday) -  Today I saw my OB and , nothing too exciting happening unfortunately.  First I had u/s and babies looked good.  Racked up all their BPP points.  Then it was on to NST and OB. BP & urine ok, my weight was up significantly from last week thanks to water retention. I had two mild and one decent contraction while on the monitor  - Baby B didn't like the strong one and had a decel in HR setting off the alarm, but recovered quickly - so Dr. K wasn't concerned.  Since we were doing the GBS test today and she was gonna be down there anyway she went ahead and checked me and I'm sitting at 1 cm and Baby A is high yet.  I've never been one to dilate much before labor starts so not surprised.  Next week I have an NST Monday and OB with u/s and NST on Thurs ... assuming babies aren't here before then.

35w6d (Thursday) - Nothing much happening here.  I've been laying low the last couple of weeks to ensure babies made it to at least 35/36 weeks but I think it's time to get moving as much as I can again to convince them they should come out.  Based on my history, I'd assume something would happen on it's own here soon but, we do have an official c-section date if not.  Babies will be joining mom, dad and big brother at the latest Friday 11/27 at 7:30 AM.  Two for one special on Black Friday!!  I'm very hopeful however that these lil turkeys are here, and even possibly home already, for the Thanksgiving holiday and don't make us wait that long.

Just Hanging in There

It's 3:00 AM and I can't sleep, seems like a good time for some Law & Order and an update right?

Yesterday we had what will likely be our final MFM appointment.  It started with an NST which babies were very cooperative for and both looked lovely.  We then made our way to u/s to get a peek at how these two "lil" ones are growing.  Unfortunately babies weren't very photogenic, their position prevented us from getting any great pics but the tech was able to get all the necessary measurements to make an estimate on their size.  As of now (34w6d) Baby A is estimated to be 5lbs 13oz and Baby B 6lbs 2oz - and they may have more time to grow yet!  Of course these late term u/s can sometimes be off by a pound or more either way but since they've consistently been in the upper percentiles, I'm guessing they'll both be good sized.

My very good friend Daisy, who sees IM on a regular basis, outed me and told her how miserable I've been.  It's true, it's been a little rough these last few days.  I actually text IM the other night and told her that her babies wanted to come home. LOL  Besides just being very pregnant, I've been super itchy these last couple of weeks.  My OB ran some additional labs to rule out something such as chlolestasis - which thankfully checked out ok.  I'm thinking it may be an allergic reaction to the new acid reflux med I'm on so I'm going to try eliminating that and see if it helps.  I also had a headache that's not intense but has lingered for a few days and Tylenol hasn't helped much.  It's not that it's all that bad but in addition to everything else it's been frustrating.  Yesterday was a pretty good day though and that's all I can do, take it one day at a time.

In promising news ... in the last 12 hours I've had my first timeable contractions of the pregnancy.  Mild contractions are a good sign that my body is getting ready.  The ones from last night fizzled out and went away but reappeared just a bit ago (could've been what woke me up in the first place). So, for now we just keep an eye on them and if they kick in and get stronger or become more frequent, we'll head in for some monitoring.  Today (Friday) marks 35 weeks, which is average gestation for twins, and although I'm willing to keep them in here longer if needed - I'm ready when they are!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

It's November!!! (34 Weeks)

Hello November, we've been waiting for you.  Our "twin due date" month has arrived which makes everything that much more real - OMG babies are going to be here soon!!!

I'm feeling good, just very cumbersome and ready for Mom and Dad to take over the sleepless nights.  Besides slowing down a lot these last couple of weeks, my nights are pretty restless as I'm up every 2 hours or so to either change positions (which is no small task), use the bathroom, make a lap around the house to stretch out my hips or change things up by moving to the couch - where I can sleep a bit more upright.  Most nights I can fall right back to sleep but I've had a few insomnia episodes where I find myself watching AFV at 3:00 am.  Acid reflux had gotten bad at night again so I'm on a new medication to keep that in check.  Babies are VERY active - the movement in a twin pregnancy is crazy -  and I'm feeling lots of pressure, even pain at times at the "exit".  I keep reminding these babes they'll be using the trap door so to please be kind and knock it off. LOL  No real signs that labor is near.  Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions have been frequent but rarely intense unless I have a full bladder.  I had some minimal spotting the other day, may or may not mean anything though.  I am noticing a bit more swelling in my hands and feet, but that's expected as we near the end.  Besides the fact that some days - just based on my size -  I'm convinced I'm about to burst, I think these babies are pretty comfortable in their cozy little rental space.

Our appointments are becoming very frequent, I'm being seen by the OB twice weekly now and we have what will probably be our last MFM appointment coming up on Thursday to check babies growth.  They are still measuring big - as in big enough for the doctor to question whether or not my GDM was being well controlled.  My sugars have been in check and pretty easy to manage with diet, as long as I pass on sweets and don't over indulge in carbs.  However, she thought maybe my glucose monitor, which I'm still using 4x per day, was giving inaccurate readings because these lil ones are still in the upper percentiles.  We ran some additional blood work and my A1C levels were within normal range - as I've said all along J&W just gave me big babies to grow. My OB would like to see us get as close to 38 wks as possible, lung maturity is the biggest concern right now, and each day they stay put the better for them.  However, based on my history (delivered previous surrotwins at 36w4d) I'm not sure that that's gonna happen. ;)   They'll continue to monitor me closely with the frequent appointments and weekly NST (non-stress tests) but there is no plan to schedule a c-section until we reach 38 wks.

Jason and I had the pleasure of spending an impromptu evening with J&W at their home last night.  We stopped in briefly to get some paperwork squared away and ended up staying into the early morning hours just chatting and enjoy one another's company.  The lower level of their house has been under full remodel for several months and now it's all finally coming together - just in time.  The nursery has fresh paint and carpet and the crib is going together today.  I love seeing their excitement as they get ready to welcome these two little ones.

You all have a little more time to get your guesses in for the baby pool, I'll close it out after Friday (11/6) which puts us at 35 wks (average twin gestation).  Still hopeful to keep them baking another week or two, or possibly three but it's definitely just a matter of time now!

I'll update again later this week after our appointments. :)