Monday, November 3, 2014

William's 1st Birthday!

Wow. It has been a whole year since Baby William was born. Sitting here, reflecting on his birth, I can't believe it has really been a year. Doesn't seem possible.

That tiny baby has grown into a very handsome, now toddler, and he is so very loved.

I thought writing this would be so easy. That the words would just flow out. But. I'm struggling to find the right words for this day. This day is so much bigger than a child's birthday. (not that a child's birthday is a light celebration of course) This day is about a child's birthday that had been years waiting, hoped and prayed for; that one day these wonderful men would get to have a child to celebrate a 1st birthday for. They got it. William was born one year ago and today marks that family being made.

Oh William. You have no idea the impact you have made on so many lives, still in womb. Your fathers, for obvious reasons. Your extended family. They waited right along with your parents, waiting your arrival with much anticipation and love to give you. Years of love built up just for you. Me. I can't even tell you how your birth changed me as a person. It may not seem like it on the outside, but you have changed the way I view the world. Your birth taught me that no matter what is going on in life, no matter what society says, no matter who is out there trying to knock you down for being "different," with love, ambition, persistence, faith, the drive, and supportive people around you, GREAT things will happen, without a doubt. Your birth touched my heart in a place I didn't know existed. In a way, I didn't know was possible.

When I look at pictures of you all together, my heart swells. I just have to sit there for a moment and stare at it; take it in. You are a beautiful family. You have the most amazing parents a kid could ask for. You have the most loving family. You are going to grow into an amazing man full of love and compassion. I am so honored and forever will be, to have been picked to home you for those nine months. Next to my own children's births, yours was the next most amazing thing I have ever done in my life.

This day is all about you little buddy. You. How you touched all of us. How you will continue to touch us. How you will touch the world.

Happy birthday Little William. Your Cooperrider family will always be here for you. We love you.
P.S. Heard you were not feeling well yesterday, hope you are feeling much better today.

The birthday boy!!

Bowing out the candles!

   He does not look so sure about this whole cake thing. lol

   Testing the waters here.

That is a messy birthday boy.

The outfit. Oh that outfit. Love it.

To follow updates on Little William and general surrogacy information please follow here:                                           

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Morning William was Born

*Updated Jan. 4, 2014:  Due to requests; you may follow us on Facebook here.*

WARNING: This is a BIRTH story WITH photos! Some are somewhat graphic and do show a baby being born. If you are not comfortable with this, then do NOT read any further. This is your only warning.

Writing the birth story has not been easy for me. Partly because I didn't know what to write. I mean, obviously I would write about how he was born....but this is so much more than that; the right words to give everyone the full vision of just what baby William's amazing birth was like. Partly because I couldn't type on this without becoming an emotional mess, reliving the overwhelming accomplishments of finally giving Doug and Charles their well deserved baby boy, and the empowerment that came with having my first home and water birth. My doulas have been the biggest part in my emotional healing after the birth, and helping me find myself again, to finish his story. I'm sorry it's taken so long, but without further is his story.

It finally came. William's birth day. It all started the night before his birth, November 2nd. My legs had been bothering me during the last trimester; kind of a burning feeling when I was on them a lot. On this particular night, I asked my husband to rub them, nothing special, just to relax me. So I got in a nice hot bath and after laid on the couch and he rubbed my legs. We went to sleep around 10.

12am. I woke with the need to pee. Nothing unusual for being 39 weeks pregnant, but this time something was different. As soon as I woke up I had a contraction, which I marked as being no different than the contractions I have been having for weeks now. This one did feel stronger, but not enough to really alarm me.
Made it to the bathroom and relieved myself, had another contraction. Suddenly felt the urge to pee again. Inner monologue: "What in the world is going on? Why did that hurt? Why did that make me need to pee again?"
I could only "tinkle." This confusion went on for a while. I mean...this was not something I had experienced prior.

These contractions felt strange. Not like what I had been having before, and not the labor contractions I remember feeling with my own three children's births. I wasn't sure if I was in labor or if this was some weird twist to prodromal contractions.
Then suddenly (TMI warning), I had a contraction that made me have a bowel movement, that I never felt coming. I remember grabbing the counter and the tub and thinking, "What in the hell just happened??? This has GOT to be labor."

But it didn't FEEL like labor. Not as I knew it anyway.
I took me a few minutes to convince myself this was it, and I was timing the contractions. Every 2-5 minutes apart...not typical labor patterns...WHAT is going on...?

I call my midwife Kelly; still on the toilet. I don't remember much of our conversation. I remember her asking me questions, and me having trouble answering. I couldn't process anything to answer her. I remember saying "I don't know" a lot...Kelly knew I was in labor and knew things were happening quick. She's good like that.
Me, a doula, wasn't convinced I was sure it was labor. After all, labor had never felt like this before. This was my first all natural birth, but going into spontaneous labor felt the same every time...right???

Kelly is on her way.

I waddled out of the bathroom out sometime around 12:35ish. Woke my husband who was on the couch to tell him I am in labor and to get the pool ready.

Contractions were coming and getting more painful. I hit my knees and lean on the couch, dialing my doula Gaela. She also being great at what she does, also knew just from talking to me that this was the real deal. I remember telling her I wasn't positive it was labor, but pretty sure and I would rather be safe than sorry.

I was so worried about everyone coming out to my house for false labor. I so badly didn't want that to happen.
Then I called Doug and Charles to let them know it was time. With every phone call came more and more contractions, that got more and more painful. I knew it was time.

Still...these contractions were not totally consistent like labor "should" be. It all still very weird to me.

Finally, I called Rachel, our photographer. I told her much of the same thing I told Gaela. Not sure; better safe than sorry. On her way she came.
I had a thought of another call...I hesitated and called anyway. I called my mother. No this wasn't her grandchild. But I am her child and I was in labor. Having a home birth for the first time. I knew my mom was worried about it so I called to let her know things were happening, but told her since it was the middle of the night, to just wait until morning, then come up to see me if she wanted to. She agreed and we hung up. On to laboring I went.

Everything is so fuzzy. It all just went so fast.
I remember being on the floor on my knees, leaning on the couch the entire time. Just swaying front to back, front to back. front to back. (that side to side sway just didn't feel good to me)
I didn't breath through them like I had always heard and was taught in the birth classes I took with my two oldest children. I was moaning. I didn't even think about doing it (even though it was part of my doula training to teach my clients), I just....did it. Man did it feel good. I tried doing the whole controlled breathing thing to see if that would work better to manage the pain...nope...low moans felt soooo much better. I stuck with that. This listening to your body thing is working out pretty well!!!

I remember my husband and our friend Jessie (the one that had been staying with us to help out with my bed rest situation. She was a friend's house and I had called her to come down to be with my children should they wake up, but in the fuzz of my memory I don't remember at what point I called her) going back and forth with water, and there was a hose in the pool....fuzzy memory, but I remember them scrambling trying to get the pool filled up. I think I asked a few times if it was ready yet.

I was dying to get in that water. I don't think I have ever been so anxious to get in water in my entire life. I never had a water birth before, I was just hoping so badly that it would work for my pain as well as all of my research said it would.

Kelly and I were texting. I was trying to keep her up on what was going on with me, because things were really moving quickly.
I began to fear she wouldn't make it in time. I was terrified of having this baby without her there. Terrified.

At 12:39, I text Kelly, "Contractions coming...some are difficult. Had to get on my knees. get worse when I pee."
1:43am, "Definitely getting harder."
1:50am, "They are coming quick."
They were really coming fast, some lasting for a minute or longer, some not quite a minute. Still not real consistent, but man when they hurt, they hurt. It was a hurt I never experienced in my other labors. Not...painful...but intense. That makes no sense to those that haven't experienced it, but it's the best I have for explanation.

1:56am, "water broke." That was different this time than all the others. My others, I had a huge gush. This time, my pants just suddenly felt very wet. I knew what it was.
Kelly then asked if the pool was ready.
It wasn't quite ready yet, but almost. I remember getting up and going to the bathroom to pee again, amniotic fluid continuing to flow. Upon using the restroom, I discovered blood. Normal during labor yes...but a sign that birth was very close. I had a little freak out and let Kelly know. All I got in response to that was, "Call plz."

uh oh. "God PLEASE let Kelly make it in time"

Again, pieces missing of that conversation, but I remember her reassuring me, telling me to calm down and relax, and to get in the water as soon as I possibly could. She knew this baby was coming quick and the water could help slow things down a little, hopefully giving her enough time to get her to catch baby.

I got in the water. My husband said something to me twice about it not being ready yet, but it was darn full enough for me, and I couldn't wait any longer, I remember telling him something along the lines of it was fine and he can keep filling it up with me in it...or something...there was some talk about the temp of the water...but it felt great to me....anyway, I kicked off my pants, leaving on my panties (trust me, this piece of info, comes into play later) I got in the water, got on my knees and it. felt. amazing.

Shortly after getting in the water, I asked my dear Jessie to wake up my daughter Piper so she wouldn't miss the birth. We all wanted her to be present, as well as she did. She comes out and sits in the chair right next to the pool. My poor little girl, didn't of course understand the focus part of what I needed to do, and was trying to talk to me. It was so distracting, but I remember, when I had a break telling her and making every effort I had to make sure I didn't sound harsh, "Please don't talk to mommy when she is making those noises." She very kindly, understandingly said, "oh ok." and she did just that. Only talked when mommy was quiet. She was so great. I'm so proud of her.

I couldn't be straight on my knees like a person normally sits on their knees. Contractions hurt worse that way.
I'm weird like that. I had my left leg in front of me like I was going to sit "Indian Style" and my right leg stretched out behind me like I was trying to do the splits. Rocking front to back. That felt really good.
I even tried floating on my back in the water, being taught birthing on your back is the worst postion for birth, so I thought I would see if it worked for the way was that happening! As soon as I had a contraction while I was floating like that, I came right back up into my original position!

Contractions were coming in waves. Sometimes with a little break, but mostly not. 
Time seemed to be going by so slowly, if felt like forever ago that I had called everyone...where were they???
I expected Doug and Charles to be there first, but they weren't there yet. I was getting worried. I asked out loud for them and my husband informed me it had only been ten minutes since I called them. I checked my phone because I felt like it had to have been much longer than that...nope. It was only ten minutes.

Sometime shortly after that, they arrived. I barely noticed they were there. I asked about Kelly, worrying more and more she wouldn't make it. These contractions were getting more intense, they were on top of each other, and the pain was really kicking in. I was in transition and I knew it. There was talk about calling her to find out where she was, I said out loud, "tell her I feel pushy!" I instantly started feeling like I needed to push.

NO!!!! Not yet baby boy! Not yet!
Is all that going on in my head at that moment.
I hear someone on the phone, Doug or Charles, I'm not sure which, telling her I felt like I needed to push, then immediately following that I heard, "Oh, you're on the back porch?"
Immediate relief!!!! She made it!!!!

I opened my eyes, to see her walking fast in the house, hands full of equipment. Remember earlier I said the tid bit about my panties being on would come up again? As Kelly was getting her supplies out and ready, she says to me while giggling, "You going to have this baby with your panties on?" I completely forgot I still had them on! haha. Here I am about to push out a baby with my underwear still on.

I fixed that and got push ready, then she made a comment that is clear in my head..."Why AREN'T you pushing?" Not so much what she said, but how she said it caught my attention despite my inability to process much during contractions. In a hospital, it's very common for the OB/midwife to tell you when and how to push. I even had one tell me with my youngest, not to push, just "to let myself labor down first." It was almost strange to me to have the control over my body and that's what Kelly was reminding me in her question; that *I* have the control and need to listen to what my body is telling me.
Kelly and I briefing went back and forth in conversation about why I wasn't pushing. Partly because I wanted to make sure everyone was there first. Partly because I wasn't sure I was fully dilated enough to push because of an experience I had with my last labor. Kelly asked if I was wanted to check myself or have her do it and I told her "no" to both. I was in enough pain, that would only make it worse and really, I didn't need it, in the next few contractions, I knew it was ok to push.

At some point, I don't know when; after Kelly, but before the pushing, my doula arrived. I remember seeing her walk in, throw her things down and come right to me. She said as soon as she walked in, she heard "my birth song" and knew baby would be here very soon. Gaela was so amazing, I don't know what I would have done without her.

I had a moment right when she got there that I wasn't focusing like I needed to and instead of low moans, my pitch got higher. Gaela told me to look at her, and at first I refused.
"I can't."
"Yes you can."
I did and she just kept telling me how great of job I was doing and that I could do this. She kept telling me what I needed to hear to keep me going through those insanely intense contractions that were pushing baby William down to meet his daddies.

I started feeling nauseous but just a little, it passed just as quickly as it arrived. Then the hot flashes...I knew it was time. They got me a cool rag and a fan and put the hose back in the pool with cold water...oh that felt so amazing, I just grabbed the hose under the water and let the cold flow on my legs.
Moaning and rocking, I start gently pushing with contractions. I couldn't give the full blown pushes at first, that hurt worse. It felt good to just push a little each time. With each contraction, I was able to push harder and harder.
Contractions never did come "consistently," not text book anyway. Some contractions were short, some long, some right on top of each other, some breaks were long, some not long enough. I just went with it. I did what my body told me to do. If it hurt to push hard, I didn't, if it felt good, I did. And boy it felt good to push. Almost like the pain went away when I could really push. Until....

he was crowning. The "ring of fire" started and I backed off of my pushing trying not to tear. I swear as his head was born, I could feel every feature of his chubby little face. I called out Gaela's name and she came closer, touching my arm, speaking encouragement in my ear. It felt like it was taking forever for his head to be born. Obviously it was all happening quickly, but in the moment it didn't feel that way.
I pushed...and something happened...suddenly, it wasn't ME anymore, my BODY took over and bore down, I went completely silent and pushed with everything I had.

Such an incredible feeling. It was so powerful. It was me...but it wasn't. My body was in charge and it knew just what to do.
and did it. At some point, when it felt like it was taking so long, I called out Kelly's name. She touched my back and said "I'm right here" and that's all I needed to calm me. I can't put it into words but there was so much to that moment for was like a mama/midwife moment that I will never forget, and the comfort that I got from it. She knew just what I needed. And with that,
William's head was born.

A moment of relief.

Charles admitted to being a bit queazy at such sites and from statements of Doug's, Charles was standing just around the corner. Doug went to him so excited to tell him he had to come look at his son being born. He did. His face speaks volumes...

This picture brings tears every time. No words needed. The positive shock on Charles and excitement on Doug...

The amazment on his face is clear.

I was so thankful to have a break. I just leaned across the edge of the pool and let my body go limp. I admit if felt kind of awkward to be sitting there with his head out, but thankful nonetheless. A few minutes went by, then something began to feel wrong.

The pressure increased and I prepared for the next contraction...but it didn't come.
More contraction.
I started asking "where is the contraction?!" Kelly kept telling me it was ok, the contraction will come, it will come.
But it didn't. I kept asking where the contraction was. The pressure had gotten so intense, I knew something wasn't right. Kelly knew something was wrong and told me to turn around. Oh god I didn't want to do that! Last time I did that it hurt so bad and now I have a baby head hanging out of me...I am NOT turning around! But I know Kelly and how she practices, if she was telling me to turn around...I needed to turn around. She kept trying to explain to me how she wanted me to turn; she stayed perfectly calm the entire time, never once letting on that something wasn't right; and it was actually quite simple, but my focus was so off, I couldn't process what in the world she was trying to tell me. (after the fact they told me again and I couldn't believe I didn't understand at the time! ha!) Finally Gaela just said, "Kim, just turn over." I responded, "OH!" haha, and turned over. I felt silly.

Oh my goodness that was the worst part about the entire labor...turning over with a human hanging from my body.

Such a powerful picture. Such a powerful moment.

I turned over. Looked for something to grab onto. In my left, I had Gaela's arm while she was holding me up in the water. In my right, my dear husband reached his hand out and held my hand. I was just floating, waiting for the contraction to come.
Baby William's shoulder was a little "sticky." That is what was causing the hold up. Kelly, whom is usually very hands off, with just one finger, very easily and quickly, got his shoulder unstuck, and then came the contraction I was waiting for. With one final, simple push and he joined us earth side!!!

Out of the water and right into his Daddy's hands!!

"It's your baby!!!"

Oh lord the relief!!! It's over! Baby William is here!!!

Oh the look on his Dad's face!!! I LOVE it!!


Doug just held and stared. Charles came over and awed as his baby boy. The moment two men became dads...beautiful.
There was a bit of humor to this all the excitment, they had to remind the guys that baby and I were still attached. Doug offered Charles to hold him and Gaela spoke, telling them "not yet, he is still attached!" haha
They chose to delay his cord clamping, and baby was getting chilly, so they handed him to me in the warm water and for some skin to skin to keep him warm.

I was so tired.

I looked down at him to his face for the first time, and I just started laughing,
"He looks JUST LIKE Charles!"
Man he did (does), looks so much like his Dad.

But oh so happy for the family I helped create. I love Doug's expression here. You can see that fresh born parent happiness.

Dad (Doug) cut the cord.

We all decided that I would nurse Baby William until they went home. Which came in handy because I was hemorrhaging and we needed him to latch to help my uterus contract down.
 This was him getting his first latch.
It felt really good to not only give them the baby they had been waiting for, but to also be able to give him the very best start possible.

Doug was never far away. :) I didn't mind at all. I liked that he always stayed close by, no matter where baby William was in the first few hours of his life. It was so sweet.
I love my daughter's expression's saying, "He's here and he's amazing!"

See all the love just floating around here. Happy dads right there, no doubt about it.

There he is: William Nathan Jacobson-Lynch. The most precious thing that happened in 2013.
Born November 3, 2013 @ 1:39am. 7lbs 6oz. 20in.
labor only lasted 1hr 39min.
I am incredibly honored I was chosen to birth this handsome little being.

My heart runneth over.

The Jacobson-Lynch family.
This is what it is all about. Every needle stick, blood draw, appointment, sleepless night, chiro visit, painful pelvis and back, lack of breath, you name it...was all worth it when I look at this picture.
Making families. Next to birthing my own children, this is the most amazing thing I have done with my life.

Congratulations Doug and Charles! Welcome to earth side baby William!

I want to give a special thank you from all of us to our amazing photographer Rachel Tripp of Tripp Over Love Photography.
She did not just take birth photos. Her photos tell a story. Rachel is gifted with the camera and I am so glad she made it in time to capture this day for all of us.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Baby Blues

It's been 4 days since Baby William's birth. And I'm blue.

There is so much I have been trying to process in these last four days. It's kind of overwhelming.

I haven't written his birth story yet. It all happened so quickly, the memory of it for me is all jumbled. So I'm waiting for the written accounts of everyone's experience that was there, to help me put it all together a little better before I write it.

It was a beautiful experience, beautiful birth, and William deserves a beautiful, detailed story about the day he was born.
I know that's contributing to my blueness...

(That was what I started 2 days ago.) Here I am now, at 12:36am, one hour short of it being exactly one week since his birth, finishing it...

It has already been one week since Baby William was born. This week has really flown. Really. flown.
The end came so incredibly quick. I kind of feel like I almost missed it.

This past week has been one of miracles, amazement, wonder, beauty, sadness, and disappointment.
The birth of Baby William...oh what a beautiful birth it was....details on that in his birth story.

For the first few days, I was really surprised; I felt so wonderful. I really did.

Then 4 days after his birth... happened.

The post-partum blues.
I just felt...I don't even know...
I found myself just blankly wandering around my house. I didn't even realize it at first. I felt like I wanted to do something; clean, organize, anything. But I just felt lost on how to start, like...I didn't know what to do and all I wanted to do was clean.

It was the sound. The house was suddenly so quiet. For weeks it had not been so quiet. There were appointments, and my friend staying with us to help me out, Doug and Charles were there, then the birth, and the house was full of people. So full of kind hearted people that I loved.

they were all gone.
and the house was quiet.
I didn't know what to do with it.
I broke.
I just cried. and cried. and cried. Without even knowing why. I just. cried.

Was I sad? Not really. Not for the reasons I know people will think anyway. Seeing Doug and Charles with their new baby boy in their arms...made me so happy, at times I just sat and watched them interact together, with their son; with a stuck on smile on my face.

Yes, I was sad because I missed them.
Doug. Charles. Baby William.
We had a mini tradition if you will of them coming over every Sunday to watch football and do their laundry. That wasn't happening this coming Sunday.
I missed them. All. three. of them.

But mostly, what was getting to me, was the adjustment of everything.
I was really enjoying not having an infant to look after! (That hasn't changed! haha) But it was just the adjustment to that fact. My doula put it well, my mind was well prepared for that, but my body wasn't. A woman's body is engineered to gear up through hormones, for the care of the infant after birth. My body did not know (or care) that the baby wasn't meant for me, no matter how much I knew that in my head and was prepared for it. She explained it like this: it's like the day after Christmas. You are so excited and spend so much time and effort for that one day, and then it's Done.

I felt like...I wasn't doing something important that I should be doing. That is the best way I can figure out to explain it. I was ok with that of course, but it almost felt like I was doing something wrong.
It really is difficult to explain to those who have never experienced it.

Through talking it out, mostly with my wonderful doula, I came to the realization that, no matter what people tell me, I am NOT superwoman ;) and that my sudden set of the blues was a mixture of normal after baby blues, the unique adjustment I was making, missing the guys, and feeling disappointed in myself for how I was feeling. Like somehow, I was bad for feeling so down. Even for a moment.

I didn't want to feel badly, in any way, shape, or form. I had myself blinded and completely disregarded the fact that no matter how I felt about the journey ending, that normal post-partum blues could still happen, and probably would still happen. The fact that I didn't prepare myself for that, I think exacerbated the rest of it.

I'm better now. I talked about it with my doula. I had my placenta encapsulated (I hadn't taken it like I was supposed to that day either) and made sure to take it on schedule to see if that would help (it totally did), and I Skyped with the guys and Baby William (and Tivo!).

I have said it before, I will say it a million times more...I am so lucky to have the IPs that I do. They are amazing people. We really do have a great friendship. Charles messaged me to make sure I was ok. He offered to Skype with me, so we could talk and I could see them and Baby William, thinking that would help me feel better. I was a mess, and really wasn't sure if that was the best idea, but accepted his offer. I'm glad I did. We had a nice little talk and I got updates and little stories about how they were doing and the little things they had already experienced in their new parenthood. I got to see little Baby William...he is so cute!!!
Having that time on Skype really helped. Just talking to Charles really helped. He offered for us to Skype on a regular basis, saying that he thought it would be good for all of us to do.

I was really disappointed in myself for feeling so down. But I came to realize that I am feeling what I'm feeling, and I can't change it. I accepted that for a moment, I wasn't "superwoman", but a normal, feeling, human.

Just like that, I felt better.

It's ok to miss them. Because we ARE are FAMILY. (I remember Doug saying that the day they left in between streams of tears).
Our family was extended by 3 wonderful people. (and Tivo)

Enough with the heavy. I'm feeling much better now. I am still emotional. (Hell I have always been an emotional person) But for all good reasons. I'm still kind of in awe that I had a home water birth. That alone gives me such a sense of accomplishment, on top of being a surrogate, that I get teary. But it's all good. :)

I'm getting back to my life slowly. The week of recovery I had to take slowed me down a bit, but I'm healing so well, I feel great! And I'm back to being able to clean my own house, and chase (ok, walk) after my kids. I can walk and not hurt! haha.
It feels good to have my body back. (No offense Baby William! I loved carrying you, but man did you do a number to my pelvis and ribs! haha)
It feels good to be able to easily bend and put my shoes on!
Oh it's the simple joys in life. :-D

Don't worry, Baby William's birth story IS coming soon! As soon as I get the personal accounts of the others that were there to help me piece it all together. I have it started, but there are holes. :-/ I don't like holes.

We had a birth photographer there also, and she took some amazing photos! Rachel at Tripp Over Love Photography did such an amazing job! I'm so glad she was there to capture these precious moments for both the guys (becoming parents) and myself (first home/water birth). So much accomplishment all the way around to capture on film. :)

So what am I doing now? Well, now my time is filled with pumping! Yay boobie juice! This milk was made for Baby William. I am a passionate advocate for breast feeding/breast milk. So I'm pumping for as long as I can, and sending the milk to Baby William. It was kind of a slow start. I have never exclusively pumped before, (I nursed my kids and pumped, but never just pumped...that is whole different ball game) so I wasn't sure what to expect. I went to visit a lactation consultant and got some great tips and advice. Now one week after the birth, I am pumping a good amount and damn proud of it!!! I just hope I can keep pumping this amount for a good while. I'm already stocked up with lactation cookies, lactation tincture, and lactation tea to help keep my supply up, should it start to drop before we are ready for it to.

I got this! Boobie power!!!
Ok, ok, now I'm just being my defense, it's almost two in the morning. :)

Hopefully the next update will be the birth those I'm waiting on. ;)

Happy one week Baby William!!! One week old and already changed so many lives!

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37 weeks!!

This is me at 36 weeks. (This is the last belly shot I took. Kind of sad about that)

A good friend of mine made this shirt for me! I love it.

Well, bed rest still sucks. Stir crazy does not even begin to describe how I feel. I'm not on complete rest anymore, now that I am 37 weeks, we are considered full term, so the worry really isn't there anymore if he was born now. But, still would like him to stay in as long as he needs too, so I still have to be careful about things I do.
My friend that has been helping out is still here and still helping.
Man oh man am I grateful for having such a good friend that is able and willing to stay with us to help out like this. She even drives with me to class because I live 30min away from home, just in case I go into labor while in class, she can drive me home. She has truly been a Godsend to me during these last couple of weeks. Don't know what I would do without her help.

Doug and Charles are here, just about 15 minutes up the road. I really like having them so close. We get to spend more time together. They get to come to the check-ups, and they WILL be there for the chance of them missing it. It really has eased a lot from my shoulders having them so close.

Nothing else has changed. Baby boy is still doing well. I'm still uncomfortable, haha
I have been having prodromal labor. Not exactly what I call fun. It really keeps me on my toes.

I have never experienced prodromal labor before, so this is completely new to me. As a doula, I have had clients that had this, but I myself...had no clue what it felt like. I do now and I can't say that I like it. Though, my midwife keeps telling me that typically, women that have prodromal labor, have shorter deliveries. We shall see if that rings true with me.

That's it for this tale. Every day we get through is a day closer to baby boy arriving earth side. We continue to wait patiently. (mostly) :)

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Pre-term Labor & Bed Rest

This was me at 35 weeks.

Today, I am 35wks, 5ds.

This last month there have been a lot of changes. First for the boring stuff. We got the birth certificate stuff worked out finally! We made a court date finally, and my attorney spoke with the judge to prepare. The judge informed her he was happy with the documents we had submitted and was not going to require us to appear in court!
So that stress is done with.

Baby boy has continued to grow well. I have been seeing my Midwife on a weekly basis for a while now. We are pretty sure he is a decent sized baby. His head is in my pelvis, butt just under my breasts, legs folded, feet in ribs. When he moves, I'm always having to move around and lean to one side; do whatever I can to accommodate his position to give myself some relief. It's pretty uncomfortable most of the time. haha. But I'm used to it by now. Just one of the things we women deal with for those amazing tiny people. :) So I really don't mind.

As for baby boy, he has been trying to make his appearance too early. At 35wks, 1dy I was having some very strange pains in my pelvis and cervix and lots of pressure. After going in to see my Midwife because of that, we found out that I was 100% effaced (cervix completely thinned out ready for labor) and 2cm dilated. I had already lost my mucus plug, and my Midwife was able to feel the amniotic sac.
Thinning and dilating weeks before labor is common the more pregnancies you have, and this is my fourth delivery, but I just can't get mentally comfortable with being completely effaced already at only 35 weeks. I won't lie, it is weighing on me and keeping me worried. I'm very careful about the movements I make, making sure not to put additional pressure on my pelvis. I was put on partial bed rest with some very specific instructions until I saw my Midwife again for a check. That bed rest thing isn't easy for me...

Two days later, at 35wks, 3ds I saw my Midwife again and she checked me again, there was ZERO cervical change. GOOD NEWS!!! So I was no longer confined to my bed, but still had some instructions just to be safe. Light activity, no stairs.
We can do this, everything is going to be ok.

So here I was last night (Thursday) and suddenly started having contractions that were averaging 5 minutes apart, lasting for an average of 1 minute.
not. good.

Especially this being the second time this has happened. (I don't remember if I posted about that last time, but this happened several weeks ago). It went on for a couple of hours. I followed my Midwife's protocol to attempt to stop the contractions and they finally slowed down enough that we figured I would be ok for the night. They never did STOP, but they slowed down. Scary stuff I tell ya.

I have never had to worry about pre term labor before. I have never been this close to labor before 36wks before. I tell ya, I don't like it. I'm still having these contractions today, but they are not at all consistent, which is a good sign.
Inconsistent = no baby.

However, I am now on full bed rest. No classes. No walking. No standing. No nothing. Butt on couch or in tub only. I have never had to be on bed rest before in my life. This is a new experience for me. I have come to the conclusion:


But it's for a worthy cause, so I'm ok with it. I may be going stir crazy (STIR. CRAZY. I tell ya), but I'm ok with it. All for the sake of this little baby boy. I will do anything to keep him in as long as I can. I want to do everything I can to make sure Doug and Charles get a beautiful healthy baby boy, and don't have to go through the agony of having a newborn in NICU.

Doug and Charles will be here tomorrow. They are driving down in the morning to be here just in case their son decides to go ahead and quit teasing us and makes his appearance. With the way this little guy has been going, we just can't feel confident one way or another; if he will stay in long enough or not!

But I am excited they will finally be down here really soon!
I'm so excited for them to finally be able to feel him move in my belly!!!

I have been so fortunate to have a good friend of mine stay with us, to help me since being put on bed rest. With 3 children to care for, one being only 2 years old, bed rest isn't exactly doable. But having my friend here has been SO INCREDIBLY helpful!!! She is helping with my housework, caring for my kids, helping with shopping....just being so amazing! As hard as this is for me, being on bed rest (I am SO NOT a couch loafing kind of person), I appreciate her so much for all she is doing for me and my family right now. Seriously an amazing person to devote so much time and effort to us. Huge heart, great woman.

So I'm here, hanging out on the couch, keeping the legs crossed super tight, hoping he stays in, watching my 2yr old wrestle around with my helpful friend. :-D

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chugging on through the 3rd Trimester!

Please forgive me!!! I know it has been over 2 months since my last post, lots of folks have been reminding me. :) Life is just so busy! I need an assistant...any takers?!

This is my most recent belly picture. 29 weeks, 2 days! Hubby and I were getting ready to go out for our anniversary dinner.

Lots has happened. Let's see if I can remember to add everything...probably not. Thanks pregnancy brain. haha

Ok, well for the most part, nothing major has happened. The pregnancy has continued to be smooth sailing.

In July, I took a trip for a class to Jamaica to teach underprivileged youth. We were there in a local town, getting a local experience for one week. It was quite the experience I have to say. I had to be very careful because of the heat. We were there, living in local homes, with no air conditioning or hot water. We lived in Jamaica for a week without any air conditioning at all, and outside most of the time. Which was actually better than being inside with all the homes and buildings being made of steel and concrete. I kept a cool rag on my neck ALL THE TIME, and never went without ice water. I managed though, with the help of my midwife (via phone) and the family I stayed with, and the community we were in. They were so great at making sure I had what I needed, and that I was taken care of. :)

This is me at 23 weeks in Jamaica! It was a little awkward at first to have my belly being bared for all to see, but the Jamaicans loved it! haha. They definitely made a very pregnant white girl feel comfortable. :)

The worst thing that has happened, is I ended up having an extremely bad urinary tract infection. Something I am not new to, but was new to this level of infection; it was by far the worst I have ever had. So much so, it had us all thinking something else was going on. After a very overly, unnecessary, dramatic trip to the ER (driven by worried mother, speeding, pulled over, cop overreacting to situation, ambulance was called, treatment as I was in preterm labor)we found that it was in fact, just a UTI, nothing more. It was just at a higher level of infection in my body than I have experienced before. I was taken care of very well and the infection was treated and everything went right back to normal. :)

I will tell you though! That was one ER trip I will never forget! haha. At least the cop was very concerned and understood the importance of the situation, had it been to the extreme he treated it as it was.

While at the hospital, I had an ultrasound done of baby boy, just to make sure he was ok in there. The technician was able to get a great picture of his face! So cute, you can see those little chubby cheeks already!

That's about all the excitement we have had so far. :)
Still so incredibly fortunate that nothing has actually been SERIOUS. All still minor little bumps that just happen in life. I continue feeling blessed to have such a great journey. I'm pretty sure there is a surrogacy angel in control somewhere. :)

The third trimester has been pretty typical. So much movement!!! This is little guy is STRONG! My placenta is anterior...

To help those that do know the significance of that, it can make it difficult to hear the
baby's heart beat early in pregnancy (which is was), and baby movements are not near as
easily felt. Typically. This baby boy is the exception to that.

I have had absolutely NO problems feeling him at all! lol. No decrease in the ability to feel him move. He kicks and punches, and jabs, and lets himself be known in there for sure! Strong baby boy. :)
I have to say, the third trimester is my favorite. So much activity, and you can "play" with the baby. Lol.
My hubby is so sweet, and rubs my belly for me. It feels soooooooo good, not really sure why, but it does. One night while he was doing this, baby boy started kicking his hands. So my hubby began to "play" by putting his hand on my belly, and baby would kick. Hubby moved his hand to another location...kick. Move it again....kick. No matter where he moved his hand, baby boy would kick it. It was funny!

I felt sad that Doug and Charles couldn't be there to experience that, but I shared the fun story with them! They were tickled by it. :) When they finally get to come down, they get to experience some of this fun part....I can't wait to see them interact with their baby inutero.

I love watching my belly. When he is active, it is incredibly entertaining! I have taken a few videos for Doug and Charles to see it, (having trouble sending it to them, technology is not always my friend). I can't wait to hear their reactions!
The last week or so, movement has slowed down. I am now at 31 weeks, 3 days, and baby boy is head down, and running out of room.

Our long-term followers may remember us finding out that I have a unicornate uterus. For those that do not, that means I am missing a lobe of my uterus. The upper left lobe that connects with the fallopian tube to be exact. So baby boy doesn't have quite as much room as he really should have, so it gets a little tighter in there a little quicker than normal. We are both fine, I just get uncomfortable quicker. haha.

I also have a condition with my pelvis. I had it with my youngest child, and so of course, it is present now as well. It is quite common actually, symphysis pubis dysfunction. Not fun. With my last pregnancy, I was so incredibly miserable, I could barely move, it killed me to was just horrible. Mainly because I was never told there were ways to manage the condition and the pain. This time, I have a great provider and more knowledge myself. I have been seeing a chiropractor the entire pregnancy, and it has helped SO MUCH!!
With classes being back in session, I am walking all over campus so it can get kind of painful sometimes. But that chiro really helps and wrapping my hips really helps too. So it's not nearly as inconvenient as my last pregnancy.

When you know better, you do better. :) (love that phrase)

Seriously ladies, if you get pregnant in the future, or are now, and aren't doing so already, SEE A CHIROPRACTOR DURING PREGNANCY!!! You will NOT regret it! It makes late pregnancy so much more comfortable and tolerable. Seriously.

So other than the stiff rib kicks, bladder jabs, and the day or two before I see the chiropractor, I'm not THAT uncomfortable. Definitely a plus I would say! :)

The downfall if you will, with surrogacy, is all the legal stuff. No one likes the legal stuff. It gives ya a headache. Right now, it seems like we are rushing the labor clock. Because of the difference in laws in Missouri and Illinois, concerning both surrogacy, and same-sex parenting, we all have to sign court documents stating every little detail about the surrogacy, how the baby came to be alive and everyone's involvement, in addition to the fact of me signing over my "parental rights" once baby is born, so that Charles can be on the birth certificate, and then Doug can adopt baby boy when they return home.
Understandable right? Right. The problem has been...the attorneys. *sigh* This all started in June. We were under the impression we would have this court date done and everything ready for birth by August at the latest. Well here we are, nearing the middle of September, still with no court date. grrrrr......this MUST be done before baby boy arrives. Which is only 9 weeks away by EDD, but in my case, may very well be only 6 weeks away, and in the legal world, 6 weeks is not very long at all!!! If this is not done before he arrives, it can still be done of course, but it will make the process more difficult, and take much longer, which could potentially keep the guys from taking their precious baby home. I don't want to see that happen. These attorney's better hurry up!! haha

It is what it is, it's out of our hands. All we can do is wait. And so we wait...

On a better note, the guys will be coming down soon, and we should be doing a maternity photo shoot. Just because they are using a surrogate, doesn't mean they don't deserve to have those shots too. So we are going to get creative and have some fun getting some photos of us together and this big 'ol belly that homes their unborn son. :)

As we draw nearer to baby boy's day of arrival, we have finalized the birth plans and making sure we are prepared with all the tools necessary.
Baby boy will be born at my home. Ideally in water (unless I decide in labor I don't like the water). I'm very excited for their baby to be born in that kind of calming, quiet, soothing atmosphere, vs the high energy, bright light, anxiety filled atmosphere of a hospital.
The birth kit has arrived and I have everything ready at home for the big day (minus the birth pool which will be coming soon). Doug and Charles were so sweet to make sure I have everything I feel I will need for my post partum healing, and I now have all of that as well. They take such good care of me. :)

They are going to be GREAT parents.

Right now at this very moment, I'm battling allergies (hate you ragweed) but enjoying these last few weeks of pregnancy. I keep getting questions about if I'm ready for it to be over.


It's bittersweet actually. At times I am ready to be done with pregnancy. But most of the time, I'm not. Because I know I will never get to experience this again. And again, depending on the day, depends on how Ok with that I am. The miracle of pregnancy never fails to amaze me, and I never get tired of it.

But at the same time, I am so anxious to see Doug and Charles holding their baby finally!!!! Sometimes I try to imagine what their reactions are going to be to him finally coming earth side. Oh it's going to be so amazing to watch that.
I'm so glad we are going to have a photographer there to capture that moment for them. It is definitely going to be priceless. :)

I will be updating more often. Making sure to document as much during these last few weeks, since things will be changing somewhat rapidly from here on out.

P.S. I have created a FB page specially for our surrogacy journey. I never, ever, thought we would gain such a volume of readers and followers. That was never my intention in starting this blog and sharing my journey. I just wanted to document the pregnancy for the guys and myself, and maybe help some others understand what we are doing. But our story really soared into the public. I was becoming too overwhelmed with trying to keep everyone updated with everything. I had to post to several different places, and the guys had to post, and it was just chaotic. Lol. So I thought having ONE central location for info and updates would make it easier for us all, and be able to allow people to interact with us if they chose. (so many questions to be asked) :)
This blog will not end at baby boy's arrival. My journey will continue as I exclusively pump for him and that alone comes with it's own challenges. I will be giving updates on his well being and his (I know will be) wonderful life with his daddies.

So if you haven't already, and would like to follow us on our new Facebook page and so you don't miss baby boy's arrival: here is the link:

"like" the page, so you get the updates in your news feed.

Thank you to everyone that follows our journey. Friends. Family. Strangers. Whether you know it or not, you all have provided so much support for us (especially me) and I can't tell you thank you enough or how much I know we all appreciate it.

Much love.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Half-way There and Gender Update!!!

Whoo! 20 weeks and 1 day, we are half way there!!!
I actually have a feeling we hit our half-way mark a few weeks ago, but for the purpose of calculation... :)

How have things been this last month? Pretty great!!
Sickness is COOOMPLEEEETELY gone! Not even a little here or there. So happy about that.
I feel more energetic, but do get fatigued easily if I don't watch myself. The only thing I have to really complain about, is that my appetite hasn't come back yet. Not really sure what that is about. I'm not *worried* yet, but I would like to have a normal pregnant appetite, so I can make sure I gain the amount of weight I need. I'm gaining, just very slowly. Midwife isn't worried, we still have about 20 weeks to go. Plenty of time to gain what I need, but...I would like to WANT to eat.

Other than that, everything is pretty boring around here. Which is a great thing as far as pregnancy is concerned! This has been the best pregnancy I have had. When carrying my children, each pregnancy I had something happen to cause a scare at one point or another. Everything always turned out ok, but there were scares along the way. There hasn't been any of that with this one, and I'm not complaining one bit! haha

I have been able to feel little bean moving around for a little while, but it was never hard enough to feel on the outside. Not quite a week ago, I started to be able to feel little "bumps" on the outside. :) Go figure it would start when the guys weren't here. :-/ But it's pretty cool the little bean can be felt on the outside now!

So far, this journey has been so amazing. I really consider us to be very lucky. We haven't heard of a lot of first time surrogacy journeys going as great and smooth as ours. Now we have had our bumps along the way, but they haven't been major and they haven't been among each other. I'm just so continually grateful for matching with Doug and Charles, and for them being as great as they are. This journey wouldn't be the same with another couple. I'm a lucky surrogate!!

Speaking of those wonderful dads-to-be. We had our ultrasound on the 17th of this month. They came down and stayed for a few days so we all could spend some time together. It really was a wonderful visit!!

The ultrasound itself was fantastic!! I wish I would have known about this option a long time ago! We went to a private practice Sonographer that my Midwife recommended. It was such a different experience than having them with ultrasound techs at the Dr office or hospital. She didn't rush at all, we were there for almost an hour! She was so incredibly sweet and patient. She kept encouraging the guys to ask whatever questions they had, and she explained everything we were looking at, very thoroughly. You could tell she cared. Plus, she not only gave us a FULL report of how everything looked, she even SHOWED the guys the report! I have never seen that happen before. It always has to be reviewed by the care provider, then the care provider will give the report to the patient, leaving parents to wait and wonder how their baby is doing. If I every have to have ultrasounds again in the future...I will be going there! OH! AND she put the entire thing on DVD for them, and gave them a TON of pictures!! I mean a ton! The room was huge, with several chairs, and two large flat screen TV's; it was pretty cool! My husband and our 3 children all went, so there was plenty room for all of us. My kids (especially) my daughter, are very interested in pregnancy and how the baby grows, so I was very glad they got to attend, and the Sonographer was so great; they got to really get a good understanding of what was going on in my belly. It was a great experience for all of us.

Later after the ultrasound, we met up with both of my doulas. This was the guys first meeting with them. That was a fantastic meeting. Full of many laughs and lots of great info and learning. You could really tell the guys were really interested in the labor process and what the doulas could do for all of us, including once the baby is born. Of course, this being a surrogacy, things will be slightly different than with traditional couples at birth. So we had discussions about how everything would be handled with baby at birth; ex: where baby would be placed immediately straight from the womb, immediate skin-to-skin, how THEY could bond with baby right after birth with skin-to-skin, nursing/immediate nursing after birth, etc. The doulas were so great at providing them with evidence based info about the options and we all were talking openly about what we all thought was best for baby and myself for recovery after birth. Conversations like that are so great. (just another reason I'm so lucky to have these guys for IPs)

This baby is going to have such a great start at a great life! We have so many wonderful people supporting all of us and we all have great communication!

So blessed.

Doug and Q hanging out waiting for time to meet the doulas.


Ok, moving on to what I know lots of people are so anxious to hear. (Many of you that are close with us have already heard)
We had planned to find out what the guys were having. At the beginning of the ultrasound, the Sonographer told us she was going to start at the head and work down the body, checking out everything she needed to check and what we were interested in. Well, this little bean was just making it way too hard to wait for the gender reveal! lol. I believe the Sonographer's words were, "Well I was going to wait, but he's just making it too easy!" haha!!

That's right, Doug and Charles are having a BOY!!!!!!!!! Let me tell you what, this little boy was very proud to show it too! I saw his little penis before she announced it! She was trying to go around it, but he just wasn't having it! haha I think he wanted his daddies to know they are having a boy. :)

I'm so excited for them!!!

Such a sweet little profile.

His little arm rest on his head.

His little legs. He was sitting with his ankles crossed and his hands behind his head, like he was reclined back relaxing. It was so cute!!!! (she couldn't get the whole thing on the picture)

A boy. Doug and Charles are having a boy. A son! Aaaaaaaaaah!!! :-D

So for the rest of our weekend, we had an appointment with my Midwife, they got to hear the heart beat and talk to her about what they had on their minds. We went out to dinner...Charles mentioned wanting Red Lobster...that was music to this pregnant lady's ears!! I had been wanting crab so bad for the past month! haha I definitely had an appetite then! I stuffed myself on a pound of snow was I miserable afterwards...but it was worth it! Thanks for that Charles!!! :) A preggo and her food = pure happiness. ;)

Then Saturday we all went and spent a day at Worlds and Oceans of fun on Saturday! It was a blast!! Doug really wanted to visit Planet Snoopy (he loves Peanuts). It was really neat!! They had a little boutique and the guys did their first bit of baby shopping! LOL Oh that was funny! Charles came out of there carrying 5 big bags of cool Peanut baby stuff! haha They got a great start! I love seeing their excitement, and I'm so glad we get to be a part of it. :)

This is where Doug and Charles bought the baby stuff.

Snoopy's #1 fan!

Had to get one of the hubby...he always tries to hide from the camera. :)

Doug, Charles, hubby, and the two oldest kiddos getting wet!

All in all, it was a fabulous time, I'm glad they were able to stay for a few days.
They will be down again in August. I'm already excited for that visit!! We will be doing the maternity shoot at that visit also.
By then, they will be able to feel the baby move! I can't wait for them to feel their son kicking around. Every little thing they can experience, helps it be more real to them, and helps them be more of a part of their son growing and developing. It is so important to me they get as much of that as they can. So much exciting stuff coming up!!!