Tag Archives: Surrogacy

Oh Heeyy!

It’s been a while since I updated. I’ve just been over here having someone else’s baby. No big deal 😉 Ok, that’s a lie. It was a big deal, but I’ve been hesitant to share a whole lot of information like I did with my own kids (here and here) because parts of this experience feel like they aren’t really mine to share. However, this has been a big part of my life and my family’s for over a year, so I wanted to share an update.

Just over a month ago, I very quickly delivered my surro-baby (this is a popular term for a baby you have delivered via a surrogacy.) I had attended my prenatal swimming class as usual, but when I got home at about 7:30, I felt like I was having more frequent contractions. They didn’t hurt, but they were coming more often than my Braxton Hicks normally did. I sat down to rest for a while to see if they’d space out, and when they didn’t, we decided to go to the hospital to get checked out. About 45 minutes after arriving at the hospital (the hospital that is a half mile from my house) the baby was born and placed in the arms of his parents.

From the first time I thought, “Hmmm…Is something happening here?” to the time the baby was born was only a few hours long. Only about the last half hour was painful – although wo-man was it painful to go from 6cm to a baby being born in 45 minutes. The short duration was probably the only thing that allowed me to do another med-free birth, but I did it!

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With 3 of us hanging out in my hospital bed post-delivery, I decided to leave the hospital after less than 24 hours so we could hang out in a bigger bed!

The most frequent question I heard during and after this pregnancy was: Won’t it be hard (wasn’t it hard) to give up the baby? But here’s the thing – this was never my baby to give up. This baby was his parents’ from the start. I was just babysitting. So the official answer: No. 🙂

The last month or so, a lot of people have asked: What’s it like to come home without a baby? or What is postpartum like without a newborn at home? The official answer here: It’s different. It’s hard to classify it as harder or easier, because it’s just different. Yes, there isn’t another little life to care for. That’s certainly easier. But my body still had to recover, physically, from growing another little human and delivering him into the world and there are still crazy hormones to deal with. That’s a constant. I’m pumping every few hours and waking up once overnight to pump, and there’s no cute baby to snuggle to go with all the work. I won’t say that makes it harder, but it’s certainly a challenge.

And speaking of pumping and breastmilk… After I started pumping, the parents decided they didn’t want to use my breastmilk, so our freezer looks like this.

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This is just over a week’s worth of milk. I’ve given the rest away to local moms. According to the app I use to track my output, I’ve spent over 130 hours pumping and gotten over 17 gallons of milk. That’s over a day a week spent pumping and about 4 gallons a week. I feel a bit like a cow 😛

 

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Spring and other things…

Right now, my kids are in the backyard playing. They’re wearing bicycle helmets and are alternately battling each other with giant sticks or sliding down the slide head first, upside down and every which way. (They’ve done both of these activities before and I’ve thought about stopping them, but they’re wearing helmets and haven’t sustained any major injuries, so they continue!) They are barefoot and D has taken his shirt off, because he was just soooo hot. It’s 59 degrees and gloriously sunny.

At this time yesterday, my kiddos were sitting at the kitchen table drawing pictures and making books. They asked for hot chocolate and were wearing their slippers. It was raining, windy and the real feel was in the 30’s. We’d had at least 4 days in a row with the same, dreary weather.

This is springtime in Iowa, or maybe just Iowa weather in general 😉  At times, I find it to be almost more trying than winter, and I hate winter! It’s always tough when you get a taste of something great – sunshine and wonderful, warm weather – only to go back to something less desirable – the cold, rainy weather. My kids certainly don’t like the days when I insist that they wear socks and shoes, after running around barefoot the days before.

However, I try to keep reminding myself that spring is a sign that summer, and all the things we love about summer are on their way. Soon, we’ll be able to have playdates at the park and spend hours at the pool. We will be able to enjoy picnics, evening walks and bike rides on a regular basis. As the weather improves, we happen to be finishing up some of the curriculum we chose for this year, so we’ll be able to wind down and spend less time on schoolwork – which means more time playing!

I’m so very thankful for days like today that remind me that the sun will come out again, regardless of how many cloudy days we have in a row. And in case you missed it, I’m not just talking about the weather. There’s a deeper meaning to all this too 🙂

Although, seriously, I much prefer the sunshine! Oh, and I’m also singing “Tomorrow” from Annie – the 1980’s version…

On a side note: I’m also so very thankful that summer is on its way, because summer is flip-flop season and baby-time! At almost 34 weeks, I’m just done tying shoes. Even boots that I have to pull on are just too much some days. And 34 weeks means that in a month or two, this baby will get to be in its parent’s arms. How awesome is that?!?

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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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