Tag Archives: Pregnancy

Here I Grow Again

Just over 7 years ago, I had some friends and family over for a cookie exchange before Christmas. During the course of the afternoon, my mom questioned what I did around the house, because my awesome husband takes care of so many things for us. I was about 4 months pregnant with “Baby Mort” at the time, so I told her that I grow babies.

Two successful pregnancies and two adorable kids later, I’ve decided to give the whole “growing babies” thing another shot. Before anyone gets too excited, I am not pregnant. Aaron and I will not be having any more babies of our own, despite the fact that we make good kids. 🙂

So now you might be wondering what in the world I AM talking about. Well, I am going to be a surrogate. Technically, I will be a gestational surrogate. Alternatively, there are traditional surrogates who provide the egg as well as the womb. My egg will not be a part of this equation and I will have no genetic tie to the baby.

Having seen various family members and friends struggle with infertility, I’ve thought of egg donation or surrogacy in the past. For a variety of reasons, I never took too much time to explore it in the past. However, last fall I happened to meet someone who had been a gestational surrogate. She was someone I’ll probably never see again, but she gave me the name of the agency she had used – just in case.

I started thinking about it more and the reasons that held me back in the past were gone. I talked to my husband. We thought about it, talked to each other and talked it over with close friends. Then we decided to go for it. And I do mean we. This is not something I could ever do without the full support of my previously mentioned awesome husband!

This all started back in September. Since then, we’ve accomplished a lot to move forward with the process. I contacted the agency and filled out a pre-screening application.  They answered my questions. I filled out a lengthy application, provided them with my medical history, had a phone interview and filled out an initial agreement. Fairly quickly, I was provided with the profile of a couple who needed a surrogate, often referred to as Intended Parents (IPs.) Aaron and I agreed this was a couple we wanted to work with. The IPs received my profile and they decided they liked us enough to “meet” via Skype. After chatting, we all agreed this would be a good match and decided to move forward.

After being officially matched, there was even more to do. First I had to receive psychological clearance. After over 3 hours of talking and testing, it was officially determined that I’m not crazy (Ha! Take that Aaron! ;-)) Once we had received the psych clearance, it was time to schedule a medical screening. For this, we had to travel to Chicago to the fertility clinic the IPs are using. I had 7 vials of blood drawn, they checked out my uterus – which is “perfect” by the way – and a nurse talked to us about the medications I’ll have to take before the transfer. When all the results came back and I was medically cleared, we moved on to the legal stage. At this point, the IPs and I each had a lawyer and worked out an agreement that covers all aspects of the upcoming journey – financial, health insurance, legal guardianship, travel, etc…

This is my pile of actual paperwork, so far. This pile includes, among other things, my application, information from the clinic, health insurance information and contract.

Well, legal is done and I am scheduled to start meds. Despite the fact that my feelings on needles haven’t changed much since I was 6 years-old and screamed (like, really, really screamed according to my mom!) at a nurse to “get that thing out of me!!!” during a vaccination, I am confident that I’ve gained enough maturity to handle the daily shots coming my way. My super awesome husband might even be a little excited to stick me with a needle 🙂

So now it’s officially official. I am officially on my way to becoming a surrogate. Officially on my way to growing another baby. Officially on my way to helping a couple create a family.

**I’ll probably post occasional updates throughout the process, but nothing like I did with my own kiddos. I’m fully aware that not everyone shares as much as I do and I want to respect the privacy of the IPs and their future little one.**

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Five Little Monkeys & 14 Weeks

I think Chloe first sang this song with her wonderful sitter.  Then we heard it on the kids music channel on our TV and she was dancing along with the actions.  Finally, one night when we were having trouble convincing Chloe to put her pajamas on, Aaron referred to them as her ‘Monkeys Jumping on the Bed Jammies’ and she put them on in a hurry.  We haven’t been able to stop singing the song since. 

In case you’re not familiar, it goes something like this: 
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and bumped her head. Mama called the doctor and the doctor said, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!  …  Four little monkeys jumping on the bed…” 

Aaron even found a version on YouTube that’s a bit reggae.  Cute, but very annoying when it’s stuck in your head.

This morning, we had our 14 week check-up for BabyD.  I knew it would be a quick appointment, so we planned on just taking Chloe with us.  When Aaron told her we were going to the doctor this morning, she replied with “No, no monkeys!” and patted herself on the head.  Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen.  My daughter doesn’t equate doctors with shots or anything bad.  She just thinks about those darn little monkeys who jump on the bed!!

How did our appointment for BabyD go??  It was uneventful, always a good sign.  I was informed that all my bloodwork from my first appointment came back in black ink, which is good.  “You don’t want red ink,” according to my doctor.  I had gained 4 pounds in 4 weeks, which is right one track.  I then admitted that I had really gained 4 pounds in 1 week and he said averages were all that mattered.  Whew!!  I just have to make sure I don’t do that every week 🙂  The doctor also measured my stomach for the first time and I’m right on track.  So…uneventful!!  We scheduled our next appointment, with our ultrasound (yay!!) for April 27.   Here’s to hoping the time flies by!!

Just for fun, this is my belly shot at 19 weeks with Chloe Mae.  This is what I looked like at 10 weeks and 14 weeks with BabyD.  I’ve heard it’s common to show earlier with your second child, but, wowzers!!

10 weeks

14 weeks

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You know you’re pregnant when…

There’s the standard, stereotypical answer of, “When you crave pickles and ice cream.” For me, not so much.

My answer would be, “When your house is only 60 degrees and you’re dying of heat with a tank top on!!”

What would your answer be??

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First Appointment

We had our first doctor’s appointment today.  (It just happened to land on our anniversary :-D)  I peed in a cup – and was told to get used to it, because I’d be doing it at every appointment, had blood drawn – and was comforted that I wouldn’t have to do that at every appointment, got some nausea tips from the professionals, had my due date confirmed (June 1st – thanks Google!!) and was told I couldn’t get a flu shot until after 13 weeks – bye-bye free shot at work!!  We didn’t, however, get to hear the heartbeat.

Dr. Leeds clearly stated before he even tried that “in my 17 years of doing this, I think I’ve only heard the heartbeat about 22 times at 9 weeks. It’s much more common at 10 weeks and practically a sure thing at 11.”  So he tried at 2 different times, but couldn’t find it.  He did let me know that the digestion of my lunch almost caused him to go deaf though.  Oops!!  He said not to worry, but of course, in the irrational part of me, I am.

Normally, in early pregnancy, the appointment are every 4 weeks.  I appreciate that Dr. Leeds is having me back in 2.  For the most part, this is comforting, because I should be able to hear the heartbeat and I think I’ll feel more relaxed about everything, but then there’s that slightly irrational side of me that thinks, well maybe he’s having me back sooner to make sure nothings wrong.  *sigh*  Then I just have to take a deep breath and remind myself that he said he can very rarely get the heartbeat on the doppler at 9 weeks.

And if nausea, having to pee a lot, or being cranky are any signs of a healthy pregnancy, then I’m doing alright!!

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Bloat much?

Bloating has a whole new meaning for me these days.  My shape changes so much throughout the day, that I really have to think about what I’m wearing to make sure I have “room to grow.”  For example, before realizing this, I wore a pair of pants that sit up higher on my waist than most and are generally a little snug.  I don’t have to suck in to button them or anything, but I knew they wouldn’t fit once I grew even a little.  After lunch, they were so tight it was uncomfortable, so I had to leave them unbuttoned.  Luckily, I was wearing a belt, so that helped hide the fact that they were unbuttoned.  (It didn’t go un-noticed by my mom though…)

So, this is what I look like in the morning:

And this is what I look at night:

Aaron’s first reaction was that these pictures must have been taken at different angles, but I assure you that there was a control involved to ensure consistency 🙂  And maybe others won’t see as much of a difference as I do, but I sure think (and feel!) there’s a difference.

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The Best

I thought (quite naively I’m sure) that since I was 7.5 weeks along, and not really experiencing any morning sickness, that I was good to go!!  I noticed that when I was hungry, man I was hungry and you better get some food in me, but I’ve always kind of been like that, so I wasn’t too surprised.  But Friday I felt pretty crummy.  I thought (hoped that) maybe I just didn’t get enough for breakfast and it had sort of thrown my whole day out of whack.  No such luck!!  I felt bad all weekend and still do.  Sooo….looks like I’ve got a pesky case of morning sickness.

Lucky for me, I have the best husband!!  Here’s what he’s done for me over the last few days:

  • Ate some form of pizza with me for 4 out of 5 5 out of 6 meals, because it was the only thing that sounded even remotely good.
  • Went grocery shopping alone, because I didn’t want to drag myself out of my pj’s and out into the real world.  He even got me quick, easy snacks and peppermints to help soothe my stomach while he was there.
  • Slaved in the kitchen Sunday afternoon making muffins for this week’s breakfasts, chicken cassoulet and baked macaroni and cheese that we can pop into the oven for quick dinners this week and chicken and noodles for Sunday’s dinner.  This is especially significant, because football was on!!  He did take the 13″ TV and rabbit ears from the spare bedroom and set it up on the kitchen counter so he could watch, but that’s a big downgrade from the 42″ High Definition that was available downstairs.
  • Cleaned up the dog puke that Nick was nice enough to provide and steam cleaned all the basement carpets, instead of just the puke-spots.
  • Washed, dryed, folded and put away several loads of laundry.
  • Cleaned out the dog’s room – washing the bedding, sweeping and mopping their floor, vacuuming the hair off their futon – so that there’d be less of a smell to nauseate me when I went in there.
  • Got up a few minutes early the past couple mornings to bring me a bowl of cereal in bed.
  • Took me to Target Monday night after work to look at baby things.  He told me there was something he wanted to buy with his 3rd quarter bonus from work and he just wanted to check it out.  Then he walked me to the baby section and ooh-ed and aah-ed with me over everything.  He said he thought that I could use a little cheering up since I’d been feeling so crummy.
  • Stopped at the library over his lunch hour to check out a couple new books for me.  I read both books that I had on Sunday and he wanted to make sure I had some more fun, relaxing reading to keep me busy.
  • Made me laugh!!  When I thanked him for everything he’d been doing, told him how much I appreciated it and how I was feeling a little guilty, he said, “Don’t worry about it.  It’s my job.  You make us a baby and I’ll do everything else while you’re feeling bad.  You’d do the same for me if I was growing a baby, right?!?”  I laughed and promised that if he was ever growing a baby inside him, that I’d do all he’d done and more!!

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I apologize in advance.

I feel like they should have some sort of support group for pregnant mamas.  I’d walk in and start with something like, “Hi, my name is Blakely and I experience mood swings.”  I think the worst part one of the frustrating aspects is that I’m generally aware that I’m experiencing a mood swing and being irrational, but there’s really nothing I can do to stop it.  Generally, my poor husband is on the receiving end when my mood ‘swings’ from good to bad (or bad to worse as the case may be) in a split second.  I try to bite my tongue sometimes, and just let it slide, because, again, I realize I’m being irrational, but it’s a strong force, one that I just can’t control sometimes.

 

In general, if I’m in a bad mood, I eat chocolate.  I realize that studies have shown that sweets don’t actually elevate mood, they actually just cause a high followed by a crash, but my life isn’t a study and it works for me.  BUT, if you can believe this, I just haven’t felt like eating many sweets for the last few weeks.  A couple days after we found out, my husband offered me a cookie, which I turned down, and it was then that he finally realized, “Whoa!!  You really are pregnant!!”  So the old chocolate/candy/cookie standby isn’t effective right now.

Alas, I apologize in advance to my husband, and anyone else who might be affected, for my changing moods.

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