Thursday, March 21, 2013

Birth of my Surro Twins - C&L

First of all, I apologize for the lack of updates before now.

I also have to apologize and warn that this is rated PG-13 for adult language, but those who know me, know it's really just part of who I am.

The Birth of my surrogate twins C & L

After almost two week of prodromal labor, constantly thinking “Okay this is it, I just need to wait for these contractions to ramp up” without any actual progress I was exhausted, disappointed, and ready to deliver the twins.
For months I had been dealing with SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) and had been in a great deal of pain.  Walking or standing for more than 15 minutes or so would have me in hours of agony that nothing really helped.  I had basically been on self-imposed modified bed-rest for at least the last 4 weeks.  I’d hit my physical and emotional wall.
These two things in particular had me asking my OB to sweep my membranes on 3/13/13.  I was already dilated to an “almost 3” and over 50% effaced.  He had been telling me for weeks that he kept expecting me to go into labor and was surprised that I hadn’t already.  He agreed that a membrane sweep would be fine as both babies were measuring over 6lbs each according to the latest sonogram and I was 36 weeks already.
That was not a pleasant experience!
After the procedure he said I would be seeing him in 24-48 hours, most likely in the next 12.  I was so excited to be moving forward and my IF was thrilled that he would see his girls in the next day or so.  Just to make sure it worked, I also got an acupressure massage to help bring on labor after the appointment.  
This was Wednesday.
Friday I was still pregnant. 
I called my OB early in the morning and left a message with his nurse that I wanted to schedule an induction.  This was a very tough decision for me because I feel that babies come when babies are ready, but I had hit my wall and was desperate to be out of constant pain.
A few hours later he and I spoke and agreed that I would go into L&D at 7:30 Monday morning.
I took the weekend to get things organized, arranged for my IF, my doula, and close family and friends to show up throughout the day as things were to be progressing.  We were all excited and eager to meet my two belly buddies.
Monday morning I get checked in, I’m fully 3cm and 70% effaced – we looked good to be having babies later that day.  They hooked me up to Pitocin around 10am and were going to bump it up 3ml every 15 minutes with a max of 42ml a minute. 
Contractions started quickly but were light and manageable.
My Doula Dawn showed up at 1:10, my friend Kayla showed up at 1:20, and my IF M. showed up at 1:34.  We were all ready to get this show on the road.  My parents, my IF’s twin sister (whose wife is also pregnant with twins!) and his mom all showed up shortly after as well.
At around 2:30pm my OB came in to check me – I had zero change! 
  As a group, he, my doula, and my DH and I discussed our choices.  After some deliberation we decided that we would break my water after he returned from a late evening meeting – approx. around 9pm. 
After he left my contractions actually picked up quite a bit.  Everyone other than my doula and my DH left the room to let me labor more peacefully and since it appeared it would be a very long day most left to eat or run errands.
I think one of the worst parts of the whole labor was since I was on Pitocin the babies had to be monitored the entire time.  Baby B has been my trouble maker and flip flopping around the whole pregnancy.  She was so difficult to keep on the monitors that at one point I had 5 nurses trying to get her to stay on long enough to run a strip (20 minutes) so they could bump up my pit.  One nurse said, “Look I’ve got two hours left on my shift, I’ll just sit here and hold this.  You can call me if you need me.”  Of course they didn’t do that, but rather spent nearly an hour trying.  When they were finally done, I nearly burst out laughing because at that point I really needed to get up to pee.  I held it for the 20 minutes needed to see if they were tolerating the pit and my nurse bumped it up again before I broke the news to her.  She laughed and told me to go.
This happened over and over and over again throughout the entire day/night I was laboring.  I’d get comfy, they’d spend 20-30 minutes looking for either A or B’s heartbeat, finally find it, and either I would have to get up to pee again or I’d need to change positions because I was uncomfortable.  It was tedious.
At 9:15pm, almost 12 hours after starting the Pitocin, my OB returned to break my water.  I was only 3-4cm and 90%.  I do not exaggerate when I say that I went from, “okay these are mildly painful contractions” to “OMFG I am going to DIE – FUCK EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER – GIVE ME THE DAMN DRUGS” in about 90 seconds.
My doula, who should win “Best Doula of the Year Award” (for many, many reasons) talked me through the most painful hour and a half of my life like a champ.  I think she told me, “Just relax into the bed, deep breaths, low sounds” about 9 million times before I flipped her off.  She suggested trying a new position but every move I made brought on another contraction so I had nearly zero time in between to rest.  They were coming hard, and very fast.  Despite her suggestions I found myself squeezing the rail of the bed and my husband’s arm and tensing up dramatically with everyone.
At 10:15pm I was checked again and I was 5cm and 100%.  I was crazy at this point.  I had literally lost my ever loving mind and just wanted to leave.  I found myself near tears, wanting to scream, or bite someone (weird I know, but I kept having the urge to bite my husband’s arm to work through the pain) and I didn’t care how it happened but I had to get the contractions to stop.  Looking back now, I was probably hitting transition around this time as I had really started to shake as well.
At 10:28 I looked Dawn in the eyes and said, “I can’t do this, I want the epidural.”  It was the first time I had actually asked for meds.  She pushed back and said, “Yes you can do this, let’s get through this next one…”  (At this point I quit listening because I was peaking with another ridiculously hard contraction) “…and…..”  This time I just interrupted her with, “Fuck you, I want the epidural” or something very close to that.
The next 22 minutes are a bit of a blur because I felt one long giant contraction and wanted to murder everyone responsible for doing this to me.  The nurse told me she had to get me pumped full of an IV before they could do it.  She grabbed the largest bag of saline (or whatever it was) that has ever been made, in fact I think it was a giant balloon and not really an IV bag, and hung it up.  I had a momentary panic attack since she said she had to get ¾ of it in me – that was going to take FOREVER!  She had this plastic sneeze guard thing that she was trying to wrap around it with sloth-like urgency.  She said something like “wrong one” and I responded with ‘Well hurry the fuck up and get the right one, I need my Epidural!”  In my defense, I was still having that giant-never-ending-vagina-splitting contraction.  
Amazingly she got the right sleeve thing on and within minutes the bag was nearly empty.  I think there was more magic involved than science, but at this point I wasn’t going to argue.
(I really was out of my mind in pain with all of this)
So in walks Mr. I think I’m God anesthesiologist who immediately cops an attitude about how only one person is going in the OR when we deliver and how I better follow his instructions.  Seriously, to any men who might be reading this, if you have never gone through labor SHUT THE FUCK UP and just do what you’re asked.  I didn’t want his opinions or a lecture, I just wanted the damn drugs!  Besides, my OB had already cleared my DH, IF, and doula to come in the delivery room.
So at some point he says “I don’t mean to be rude but…” (I can’t remember what he said here ‘cause that really set me off), to which I replied, “I don’t mean to be rude, but don’t take it personally if I tell you to shut the fuck up.”  I was joking, obviously.
Then came the reply – “There is no need for that kind of language and I don’t appreciate it,” said Dr. Dickhead.
“Oh, you’re one of those,” I replied while rolling my eyes all the way to the back of my head in great over dramatic flair.  “I guess you haven’t read recent medical studies showing that cussing during pain actually increases a person’s pain tolerance in general.  You really should read up on it.”
Of course, I said this right before he stuck the giant needle into my spine.  Did I mention that I was insane with pain at this point?
Everyone in a 30 mile radius of the hospital was happy when about 20 minutes later my contractions were back to a manageable point and I was laughing and joking around, this time with much less cussing out of the staff.
At 12:20am Tuesday morning, about an hour and a half after getting my epidural, I thought I felt some pressure to push and mentioned it to Dawn.  It was really gentle so I didn’t worry about it too much but Kayla suggested we go ahead and get checked.  My IF stepped out of the room to give me a little privacy while Nurse Kim checked my dilation.
Moments later Kim removed her gloved hand and said, “It’s time to have babies.”  She rushed out quickly to get my OB any everyone else ready.  Dawn and my DH started suiting up and Kayla stepped outside to find my IF.  He was nowhere to be found.  She rushed back in the room and grabbed her phone and started calling him.  When he finally answered he says “I’m trying to pee.”  All the while they are wheeling me back to the OR.  He gets suited up and a few minutes later all three are brought to the OR.
Things went quickly from this point on.  I was moved to the OR table and my legs strapped up in the giant stirrups.  This was not my ideal labor position, but with the epidural I really couldn’t do much on my own anyway.  My DH sits next to me and Dawn and M. stand near the back wall behind my head.
So it’s time to push, I take a deep breath, curl up and push while the nurse counts to 10.   The only problem is that she is counting SO FREAKING SLOW that I can’t hold it in after about 6, and she tells me to take another deep breath and push again.  I feel C move down and nearly crown.
Push #2 – My OB stops the nurse and tells her that she needs to let me stop and take a breath in between pushes and basically to count faster.  I was a little busy to realize it at the time, but later it cracked me up how he had to teach her how to count.
Before push #3 I could feel C crowning and even asked if that was what I was feeling.  It was a really amazing sensation – not at all painful.  Then moments later I felt my OB clip me twice for an episiotomy.  This wasn’t the plan, but I didn’t have time to ask.  I was pushing again.  At the end of this push, out popped Baby A, born at 12:50am 3/19/13.  She was whisked away to the waiting team.  M. was called over to see his first born for the first time.  I was able to look over and see him tearing up.  My heart filled with pride for what I had done.  It was short lived though as it was time to bring B into the world.
My OB literally reached in, grabbed B’s feet still in her sack, popped her bag and yanked her out feet first.  Three minutes after her sister, B joined us at 12:53am.
Things got really intense here.  She came out blue and not breathing.  I couldn’t see what was going on but I saw M. told he had to back up and come stand back near me.  I could see he was upset and very nervous but he was holding it together.  The room went nearly silent as nurses were aggressively trying to resuscitate her.  Of all people, when I started to panic and no one answered me when I asked what was going on, Mr. Arrogant Anesthesiologist leaned over and explained what was happening.   I hear, a moment later, “Code Blue – Labor & Delivery – OR 1” - Probably the scariest thing you can hear.
(Side Note – I was told later that the code was heard out in the waiting room as well.  My parents, my IF’s parents, sister, and our friends knew that was where we were and they saw over 10 nurses run down the hall to us.  They didn’t know if it was me, the girls, or both.  Very scary.)
I will always be eternally grateful to my Doula who stood next to M. with her arms around him explaining what was going on and that things were going to be okay.  She was a major comfort to him, and to me knowing that someone was there to be with him at that intense moment.  When the extra help rushed into the OR, one of the nurses already in there said, “False Alarm.”  They had meant to call NICU rather than a code blue.
Everything from here on out went okay.  B was taken by the NICU team – she had aspirated and had wet lungs and trouble breathing but would be fine with a little extra care and some extra Oxygen.  As of today (3/21/13) she is still in the NICU but should be going home in the next 48 hours.
Final Stats:
A – Born 12:50 am 3/19/13 6lbs 8oz 19 ½” long
B – Born 12:53 am 3/19/19 6lbs 2oz 18” long

New Daddy, Baby A, and I were all taken back to my L&D room and were quickly joined by all of our friends and family.   M.’s family was so gracious to share the exciting first moments with my family as well.  We were one big happy unconventional family at this point.
I got into surrogacy to share what my husband and I have with our love for our son.  Seeing M.’s immediate bond, gushing pride, and overwhelming love for his new babies was exactly the moment I did this for.  I have such pride in myself for what I accomplished and how I helped create a new family.
Wednesday my IF, Kayla (who is going to be the girls nanny as well), and myself spent most of the day together in my hospital room with baby A, just talking and passing the baby around.  It was wonderful to spend that quiet time together bonding and reminiscing about the process and where it would go in the future.  M., wants to wait 18 months or so and do another journey for a son.  I said we’d talk in six months and see if he feels the same way, but I’d be honored to do it again.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Crunchy Granola

I’m too crunchy for some people (to the tune of “I’m too sexy”)

I am one of those people who has to know everything about something before I do it.  I’ve read countless pregnancy books, I’m a member of at least 5 different surrogacy and/or pregnancy forums online and on Facebook.  I’ve talked to OB’s, doula’s, labor instructors etc. about pregnancy, labor, and birth and I’ve watched a few documentaries about the whole process as well.  I feel like I am well informed. 

I’ve chosen a natural route for this pregnancy, as I did with my own son 8 ½ years ago. 

Back story – On my husband’s 28th birthday we went to my OB for my 39 week check-up.  According to the sonogram, the baby (we didn’t know if it was a boy or girl yet) was measuring 12-13 lbs. and would surely add another half to full pound in the next week if given the time.  My OB strongly suggested a c-section concerned that the baby would be too large and get stuck.  Being a young, naive, first-time mom I relented and the next day my son was born. 

While the C/S was uneventful and my recovery went smoothly, I was disappointed for weeks that I didn’t get to experience any of the feelings of labor.  My water never broke, I never once had a contraction, I had no idea what any of that was like.  I felt I missed out on a huge part of being a woman and creating life.  Of course, having a healthy baby was paramount, but it didn’t alleviate my sadness and feelings of failure.

Fast forward to over a year ago – I decided that I wanted to try again.  My husband and I are totally happy with our family the way it is and do not wish to have more children of our own, thus why I decided to become a surrogate.

So now I’m just over 12 weeks with twins and have been doing my homework and finding an OB who is more than willing to help me have the birth that I want.  The babies intended father is also on board, knowing that a vaginal birth is easier for me and better for the babies.

Being that I am on so many forums with so many other women going through similar situations I find it so difficult to read when a woman just accepts that what her OB says is law, and ends up having a c/s because it’s easier to schedule, or because she had one last time, or whatever.  I also find it really hard to read about health issues like pre-ecclampsia as a given.  I wonder how many babies would have been able to go full term if the mother/surrogate knew that a proper diet could almost 100% prevent it in the first place. 

I’m also learning more and more about how chiropractic alignments (something I’ve never given much thought about) could seriously help ease labor by aligning the pelvis and ligaments. 

No, I don’t think crystals or “healing light” waved over me is going to make the pain disappear, but I do think that more women should advocate for their own health during pregnancy by learning more.  I have friends who never even went to a birth class, they just showed up to the hospital the day the OB scheduled their c/s for and that was that.  I find the whole thing disturbing.

So yeah, it appears that I am “crunchy” according to current definitions and I think I like it that way J

Monday, September 24, 2012

12 Weeks

12 weeks already!

Wow!  It’s amazing how fast things are going. 
This is the last week of my first trimester, and other than a tough start this morning (I don’t think the babies like Monday’s either) things seem to be getting a little easier.  I’m less tired and less sick to my stomach in the mornings.  I can also tell that my body is changing.  My waist line is quickly disappearing.  I also felt a flutter last week – it was small and quick, but it was a flutter.  It’s still kind of early for that, so I am going to say it was the perfect storm of right position at the right moment that I felt it.  I should be starting to feel them more and more often over the next couple of weeks.

I am also, ALWAYS HUNGRY!  It’s getting kind of ridiculous.. I can eat a half a sandwich before I feel totally full, then two hours later I’m starving again.  It’s not just an, “Oh I’m hungry again” , kind of feeling either… it’s full on-gonna-eat-the-next-thing-I-see kind of starving.  I’m still craving spicy food too.  That doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

In other news, I have decided to switch OB’s.  While I love my OB, she is not a supporter of VBAC’s (vaginal birth after cesarean) and definitely not with twins.   I found an OB only about 30 minutes from my house that is very pro-VBAC even with twins.  His demeanor was so wonderful when I went for the consult – he’ll even delivery breach.  He said, “I’m old school, we learned to catch them anyway they come out!” 

I’ve also enlisted the help of a doula.  She is the friend of a friend of mine and I know she is going to be an amazing resource and source of support and help for all of us.  For those not familiar, a doula is basically a labor coach.  They are trained and certified in the labor process.  She knows what to look for as far as trouble, and is there to keep me comfortable, make suggestions to ease labor, and to reassure both my husband and M. that everything is okay and normal.  She’s also a wealth of information as far as diet, health, and overall wellbeing and comfort during the pregnancy goes.  Dawn ( will be on hand while I labor at home, and help us know when it’s really time to head to the hospital.

So, yes, I’m kind of a crunchy mom, even though these aren’t my babies, and I would really like to have a natural birth with no meds and no c-section.  M. is in complete agreement and trusts my judgement because he knows that I have the babies health at heart.  I’m only semi-crunchy though and will leave options of vaccinations etc. to M., since they will be his kids after all.

We have our next appointment with Dr. C (the new OB) on 10/5 – hopefully we’ll get another sono done and I can post pics. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

10 Weeks

A total of 65 shots in my rear end. 

It’s been tough to be committed every night to bruises, lumps, and soreness.  I’m so glad it’s over.

At this point, I’m officially off all of my IVF medications and only required to take my pre-natal vitamins.  It’s so nice not to have to remember to take a pill three times a day as well as being ready for a shot every night.

Next Wednesday, 7/19 I have an appointment with a doctor who is pro-VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) with twins.  He’s about the only doctor in the DFW metroplex who is not only comfortable but advocates for natural births.  I’d really like the opportunity to try for a natural birth and I know that my current OB, though I really like her, is not as supportive. 

On 9/25 we have an appointment with a Perinatalogist.  She will do more in-depth measurements as time goes on to make sure that both the babies are growing at close to the same rate.  It’s very important that we keep an eye on that just in case one twin starts to lag behind.  M. is planning on being at this appt. so he can help fill in questions about genetics that I don’t have answers for.  It should be a very interesting appointment and we should get another ultrasound.

We’ll be 12 weeks (3 months) on the 24th so the babies should actually kind of look more like babies and not like gummy bear aliens.

Friday, September 7, 2012

9 Weeks

So I am a little late in updating…

I’m about 9 ½ weeks today and feel pretty good.  My biggest complaint now is just being exhausted all the time. 
Not sure if it’s from getting up at least once a night to use the restroom or just in general, but I don’t feel like I am getting enough sleep.  I’ve been known to take a nap so I am well rested for bed J

The babies are doing great.  I had my first OB appointment on Wednesday and both were measuring right along where they should be, baby A is about 2 days ahead in growth than baby B but they are still close enough together that there is nothing to worry about.

Best news yet – I only have 4 more progesterone shots to go!!  My butt and I are going to have a party on Tuesday around 7pm when I would normally be headed into the bathroom for our nightly ritual.  Seriously, the bruises are pretty bad and I’m really sore but at least it will be over soon.

Monday, August 27, 2012

8 weeks today!  I honestly don’t feel that pregnant – in fact when we went in for the ultrasound on the 17th I had been concerned that I didn’t feel pregnant enough and was worried something had happened.  Other than just being really tired and a little bit of morning sickness, this has been a breeze so far!

I hate to jinx it though as I know it’s going to be much harder the further along we go.

I’m having a lot of heartburn and indigestion lately.  I read that it happens more frequently and earlier (as in the 7th – 8th weeks) with multiples.  I’ve just gotten used to carrying Tums around with me everywhere.  I’ve also noticed a decrease in my appetite.  While I’m really hungry often, a few bites in and I’m totally full.  It took me 8 hours and 3 separate attempts but I conquered a whole entrĂ©e from Olive Garden yesterday!

Friday we have our second ultrasound – the babies should be the size of gummy bears around then.  Very exciting!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On Friday 8/17 we went to our sonogram appointment.  M. got to be there with us, which was really great.

As we were waiting for the doctor to come in and get to business the three of us, Josh, M. and myself were talking about how easy M. has it.  He only has to show up to appointments – he doesn’t have to deal with the day to day of taking care of a pregnant woman. (Not that it’s that hard though)  No running out in the middle of the night to satiate a cupcake craving.  (Josh did that a few times when I was pregnant with Ben)

The doctor came in and within a few minutes we saw two black blobs on the screen.  In each one was a tiny grey little bean with a beating heart.

That’s right folks, it’s TWINS!

M. was elated.  I know that I felt it was going to be twins before we even did the transfer, but seeing it on the screen made it much more real, especially since my symptoms have been fairly easy to deal with.  I actually told the doctor I didn’t feel pregnant enough and had worried something had changed since the beta tests.

As we were leaving M. insisted that I call him if I needed anything.  Of course, I wouldn’t call him for anything simple like needing a maternity bra now or a belly band because my pants are uncomfortable.  I have a monthly allowance that provides for those kinds of things.  So, Friday evening we were texting about the due date and again he insisted I tell him if I needed anything.  I replied with, “I promise to let you know if I need anything other than cupcakes.” 

Saturday morning there was a knock on my door and a cupcake delivery!

I have the best IF!

We have our next sonogram appointment on the 31st.