I know, right…it has been awhile. I am aware that I suck majorly for not being better with my updates. I promised myself when I started this blog it wouldn’t just be about surrogacy, but it seems I only pop on here or am reminded of it when something surrogacy related is going on with me. I apologize. I’ve set this blog up so it’s very easy to update, takes almost no time at all but I seem to always find excuses of being too busy, maybe not having anything too interesting to share, etc. But that’s bull, we all lead interesting lives even when things are quite comfortable and not reality show worthy.
My oldest has recently begun a project for this school year…her own YouTube channel. She’s challenged herself to put out a weekly video on anything and everything. Regardless of whether she feels the week has been eventful or not she must do a video. She has to film, edit, etc and get it out weekly and I’m having trouble putting out an occasional blog post. Maybe I’ll challenge myself in the same manner. Weekly? Hmmm…
What’s that? How is this surrogacy journey going? Why thank you for asking. I really do hate talking about myself but since you brought it up. Dates are changing constantly. You know how that goes…black out dates with donor, protocol issues, my body acting the fool, etc. But the time will come soon enough. For every time that I become frustrated with another change I have to remind myself that it sucks even more for the intended father. At the moment we’re looking at an embryo transfer date in the middle of November. Crossing my fingers it sticks. (date AND embryo )
Two years ago I was in California that same time for transfer. It was on Viktoria’s birthday, my first little surrobabe. The little munchkin is going to be three in November, how time flies. And I’m super excited to share that her daddies recently married, right around their 20 year anniversary!
And the twins, the two little guys who eagerly entered the world August 2012…they celebrated their one year birthday with their awesome daddy recently. Handsome little guys like to keep dad busy. I’m still amazed at all the beautiful babies my uterus has grown.
I won’t promise to be better with updates. I break that promise way too much and it sounds silly after so many times. But I do…promise…to be better. I love staying connected with friends and family and I’ve seriously been slacking. Is there such a thing as a Halloween resolution? I think that’s what I’m aiming for here. If you know me in “real life” call me out and shame me. It’s okay, I deserve it.
Rain or shine, exciting news or not, I’ll see y’all soon…
It has been forever since I last updated my little blog here. I could come up with tons of excuses, etc., etc. but I decided against that. The truth is I always put it off because I think I can get to it at the end of the day when I’m done with everything else. But I get distracted with some other task, and then slap my forehead at my forgetfulness around midnight when I’m finally down for the night…”Shoot, I forgot again.” So that’s the truth and I apologize.
Since it has been quite awhile I decided to update y’all on what’s been up, Cliff’s Notes version. Here goes:
1. I did my doula training through DONA…yay!! I attended the workshop, am reading and re-reading the required reading and researching every aspect of the field as much as possible and am loving it. I’m currently volunteering through a local group that provides birth support for teens and low-income women and have recently attended my first birth as a doula, post-training. I am so excited to be moving forward with my certification and feel so humbled and honored to be included in such a wonderful group of women (and men, too!).
2. We bought a new house. Yep! Felt like a long search, but I guess looking back it really wasn’t. We each had our own lists of what we were looking for but when we found it we both felt it. We moved in this June and quickly unpacked to make it home. It’s a great neighborhood, double the space (more to clean, ack!), the kids are loving it and we even have a pool (that was on my list LOL).
3. Hawaii, we finally did it. After 17 years of marriage (really, 17?) we visited Kenny’s stomping grounds of the Big Island. He grew up there but it’s been so long since he visited that this was such an important trip for our whole family. Military deployments or training, pregnancies, 3 small children and conflicting schedules seemed to complicate plans throughout the years, but I must say that finally getting out there was a most wonderful experience for us all. And honestly, I think it was the right time with the kids being just the perfect ages to truly appreciate it all.
4. Surrogacy…what? Yes, I’m at it again. I’ve decided on one last journey and it’s on. Well, almost. We did the medical screening this past spring and I’ve been matched since. We’re looking at a late September transfer which falls perfectly into what I was hoping for this pregnancy (a summer delivery would be awesome). I know things can change (been there, done that) but positive thoughts, people.
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen…my Cliff’s Notes version of an update on moi. Did I do good?
That’s not any particular order, just what’s been up the past couple of weeks. For my birthday my husband treated my sisters and I to a trip to New York City. It’s been a few years since the three of us were together and my birthday was a perfect time to make it happen. We had about a month and a half to plan and I think we did a pretty great job of it. Off to New York we went with my mother and niece joining us as well. Having just recently been there in December with my husband and kiddos, I felt giddy to be able to do some of those things I didn’t get to on my last trip.
I won’t go into boring detail of all the things we did, but will share a few cool moments. Being in NYC I had to obviously go by and visit my cutie pie surrotwins. Adorable little munchkins that they are, we snuggled and loved on them that first evening. My sister and I had dinner with their dad and played with and fed the boys. We had a great evening catching up with my surrofamily.
Aren’t they the cutest? Excuse my disheveled appearance, I don’t travel pretty. Look at my beautiful sister, Alma, though! Kenny & I actually bought those outfits for them. Texas flag and cowboy boot pants…LOL
I also wanted to sing the praises of Big Apple Greeter. It’s a wonderful organization made up of volunteers who will welcome you into their lovely city and show you around for a few hours. The greeters live in NYC and are extremely knowledgeable of the different neighborhoods…and it’s FREE. You sign up on their website, choose a neighborhood you’re interested in visiting and you get assigned a greeter. Seriously, check it out. We were lucky enough to get matched with a great guy, Robert Hartling. So sweet and really just showed so much of the area we never would have even explored. If you have the opportunity to visit NYC, head on over to the Big Apple Greeter website at www.bigapplegreeter.org and sign up to be matched. I sound like a commercial, right? LOL Well, Robert was that great.
I wanted to share this photo of all of us, the only one of the trip, I believe. We rode the Staten Island Ferry (free, yeah ) so that we could get a view of the Statue of Liberty. It was cold and windy but so totally worth it. Quick tip, if you ride the ferry with the sole intent of seeing the Statue of Liberty, head on up the stairs to the top, right side when you’re headed to Staten Island. Left side when you’re coming back to Manhattan. Well, we stood outside snapping our pictures and doing our thing and during all this my sister was busy making googly eyes at some random chic. No, she wasn’t trying to get her number. She was hoping the lady could snap our picture. And that she did. Thanks to the lovely, random stranger this picture exists.
So I did promise I wouldn’t share every moment but I must tell you about our great day in Chinatown. We were very lucky in that we were visiting when the Chinese New Year festivities were happening. When we made our way to the parade route we (lucky again) got some great spots right at the beginning of the route right up against the street barriers…score! So much fun, great amazing energy and super cold and windy. Oh, did I already just say that again? Well, it was and I’ve been living in Texas for a few years now so I’m just not used to it anymore. Thankfully we were standing right next to where the MetLife people were set up and they were giving out free gloves. Yeah, hit us up, MetLife! But yes, fantastic day in Chinatown celebrating the New Year and get this…this is the year of the snake and I was born in the year of the snake. So does that mean it’s going to be an extra special year for me? I think that’s exactly what it means. And while there were great participants all around in the parade, beautiful dragons, adorable little children, etc., I absolutely need to share a nice little surprise along the route.
Yes, a great birthday trip with las Chicas Alvarado. I’m so grateful to my husband for treating us to such an amazing trip and bringing us all together. Great times, funny stories, and wonderful memories…I love my family. Vacaycay!!! (That was just for you, Alma!)
It seems the past few years that besides my own, I have enjoyed helping others grow their families. While the very first surrogacy I did was a very, conscious decision (lots of discussion, self reflection and assessments…can I really do this? etc.) the second surrogacy journey came more natural. I just knew I was ready to help someone else.
In the meantime, though, I have been a stay at home mama. So many things went into that decision. But the main factor was definitely my kids’ school schedules. They’re enrolled in private schools that are nowhere near our home. Every morning we all jump in the car and start the journey to school right around 6:45am and I finally make my way home around 8:15-8:30 depending on traffic. In the afternoon I do the same between 3-5pm. I’m not complaining, I know that’s nothing compared to other people’s commutes. I love my children and we decided that these schools were what was best for them. We’ve all made our own little sacrifices. I keep myself busy at home while they’re at school and the kids have me available to annoy with stupid texts…”Mom, I forgot my gym clothes.” “Mom, my project is still in the car.” Yep, I asked them before they left the house, exited the car, etc if they had remembered all that crap. And how are you texting me right now, shouldn’t you be in class…?
But seriously, it works for my family at the moment. I have gone to school full time and even ran my own business with this schedule. I’m a bit of a control freak and you throw something in to disrupt my carefully planned day and this lady is very annoyed. Trust me, my family is better off with a calm mama. LOL But I digress…
I promised babies, right? Well, I’ve decided to do one last surrogacy pregnancy. Nope, you’re not going to talk me out of it so don’t even bother. I’m not obsessed, in need of the money, crazy or any of the other negative things you might be thinking. As I mentioned before, while the very first surrogacy required much more introspection, it’s now become natural. So while I’m not obsessed with pregnancy (well, you gotta like it, right?) I am obsessed with helping people grow their families. I’ve begun the process of another surrogacy journey and will be off to California next month for medical screenings. I realize that for some of you it’s no surprise and I thank you so very much for your support.
“But that’s just baby…what’s up with the babies you promised us, huh?” Bet you didn’t realize I could read your mind. Well, I did promise some more babies. Knocking about my head the past couple of years has been the idea of becoming a doula. I’m a licensed massage therapist and I love it. When the kids are a bit older (and I got at least one of them driving) I was planning on going back to doing that full time. However, in the back of my head I knew I needed more. One of my instructors in massage school was a doula and as part of our training we had to do prenatal massage. I thought I’d hate it, I really did. But I didn’t and I was somewhat of a natural. Working with a pregnant client is so very different. During my internship I requested and was sent any and all pregnant ladies that had appointments during my shift.
Then doula got stuck back there in my head. Fast forward to my pregnancy with the twins and I had a doula to help me as I really wanted a vaginal delivery with the boys. Even though the little guys had other plans and I ended up with a c-section, my doula was a wonderful support for me at a time when I was terrified and beating myself up. She was such an important part of that experience for me.
So that leads to today…I’ve decided that I want to be a doula. It was always there but I needed time to process whether I was really up for such an awesome and amazing experience. I remember being with my sister a few years ago during my niece’s birth. I flew from Portugal (where I was living at the time) to San Antonio specifically to be there with her. She had my two nephews and there was no way I was going to allow her to be alone. I was by her side during her c-section and then during her recovery I was in the postpartum room guarding my beautiful brand new baby niece from those horrible nurses who kept trying to put a bottle in her mouth (total tongue in cheek, but true ). My sister’s explicit instruction…do not let them give her a bottle. She was going to breastfeed her. When I retell the story in person, though, you’d think that I was the one who performed the c-section. LOL
As you can see it’s always been there, that desire and need to be a doula. It’s just never really been expressed out loud. But now here I am, ready to embark on a new journey in my life and I am so excited. I cannot wait to get started.
Borrowing from that famous milk campaign, I decided to take my practice of yoga to a higher level. I’m not a milk fan at all…sorry, cows. Or maybe they’re thanking me, I don’t know. I do love yoga, though. I love how how I feel when I do a certain pose, how my body feels when it’s being stretched, how long I feel when my limbs are reaching out to that imaginary goal in my head (I’m five feet tall so this always makes me giggle). But I have a confession…my practice of yoga is quite sporadic.
3-5 times a week always, either in my bedroom or downstairs in the living room. I do 20 minutes to an hour of yoga, depending on that particular day’s schedule. Sometimes I do it right after I do my regular workout, at night before I go to bed, sometimes between loads of laundry. I’ll follow along to one of the many DVDs I have, an iPhone app, or I’ll create a routine in my head depending on what I feel I need that day. Yes, 3-5 times a week I will do yoga and I enjoy it immensely. But I’m starting to not like how it’s sort of become a filler for my day.
So that leads me to the promise I recently made to myself. For the remainder of the kids’ school year (why oh why must I make timetables? subject for another day…) I’ve promised that every MORNING after I have dropped the kiddos off at school, I will come home and do my yoga. Before my morning coffee, before taking care of the daily cleaning, any appointments are to be scheduled for after, no emails will be checked, no reading will be done…well, you get the idea. After the children are off to school (or sleeping in for those school holidays) I will be about ME before I begin the day.
So what led to this promise? Well, truthfully it’s been bugging me quite a bit lately. As I said before, I love how I feel when I do my yoga and make sure to fit it into my week, but I hated that I didn’t really take the time to make a real routine of it. 3-5 times a week when I could “fit it in”? Yuck! One might think that I have lots of me time throughout the day but sadly that’s not the case. While I AM technically alone, most of my day revolves around my family. Either actively doing something with or for them, I wouldn’t have it any other way. But come on, you all know we need to take some “sanity moments” that are strictly for ourselves. I spend two hours driving everyday and even that time is spent taking care of phone calls or having my mind preoccupied with planning out the day, week, or catching up with the kids’ day afterschool. So my me time, scheduled me time that is, will have to be my daily yoga. When I am forced to shut out everything and just be for that moment.
I was listening to Sadie Nardini the other day on a podcast (I was paying the bills and needing some background noise, always the multitasker) and she made a fantastic point. That oftentimes we do things (in this case yoga but it can apply to lots of physical activities) mainly for what they do for our bodies. But we forget that we should also do them for our minds, mental clarity, etc. How many times have we heard someone say they take their aggressions out at the gym? Whether it be punching that punching bag a little harder or kicking that exercise routine up a notch, it’s almost therapeutic. So if I like how my body feels after doing yoga, why can’t I also use that time to calm my mind and collect myself before the day begins?
So here I am, making a promise to myself. I really hate that I feel I must announce it, but truthfully I’m one of those people that needs others to force me to stay on track. Not for most things, but for me moments…yeah. Every morning before my day begins it’s yoga time. Wait…I said before my coffee, right? Ugh, what was I thinking?
Let me start by explaining that title real quick for those of you not in the surrogate community. It’s a fun, cheesy little thing we do. A pseudo adjective if you will, that we add before things having to do with our surrogate lives. Yeah, I said cheesy, but I mean it affectionately. I really do like it and truthfully it works best sometimes as there’s no other way to quickly describe whatever the heck it is we’re trying to describe. I have three “surrobabies”, three babies I gave birth to via surrogacy for three awesome and amazing parents. See? Quicker.
So back to my first statement. I love my surro-families. I mean like real love…part of my family, my very close circle of friends, people I cannot imagine not having in my life. It’s funny how that happens in this process. It starts off as a business arrangement and turns into this amazing, beautiful thing. Now I hope that didn’t turn off many of you reading this as I’ll explain it a little bit better. While our hearts are in this from the beginning to help a (sometimes) stranger grow their family, to carry their child with the most absolute care…the truth is it is business at first. I am agreeing and abiding to someone else’s wishes to carry their child. I sign a contract and I promise these people I will do everything in my being to carry their child(ren) as I would my own. These lovely parents to be put all their trust and hopes into us to do this for them. And we do…because we love growing families. Whether they be our own or someone else’s, we love it.
But then it happens, and it happened with me almost immediately with both surrogate journeys. I fell in love with some amazing men. Sounds funny, right? They’re not my husband and I fell in love with them. And not in a creepy stalker way. LOL The matching process we went through matches us up perfectly with the type of journey we want (singleton or twins, lots of contact or little contact, etc etc) but sometimes you have to work at finding other common interests. Not with my guys. And it wasn’t just with me, it happened with my husband as well. We just clicked. For example we share a love of travel and food, silly sitcoms and scary movies, and we all want the same things for our children. Of course these are just a very few of the many things we have in common.
And while we share all the fun things and the good times, we’ve shared the fears and sometimes tragic moments. With my surro-families I’ve shared the extreme highs with them (their babies being born) and then moments that I wish had never happened. We’ve laughed, had moments of silence, cried and held each other. Our hugs and kisses are filled with so much affection and it’s never forced for the sake of the surrogacies. And that’s why I love them.
I’m so very lucky to have been a part of them becoming parents. I am so very lucky to be able to still have relationships with them. I love talking via email, texts, skype with my guys and getting pictures of their beautiful families. And it means the world to me that I’ve had the opportunity to visit them. They’re not nearby at all but they’ve welcomed my family into their lives and have opened their homes to us.
I love my surro-families…three awesome daddies, three adorable little babies.
I received that picture of the beautiful Viktoria the other day when I was out of town visiting these adorable little boys.
Okay, I will admit it…I’m addicted to Starbucks. It’s an addiction I try to keep under control but boy do they make it hard on this girl. Especially when they offer such delicious treats like their Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins. Oh dear lord someone help me. Being that I’m a huge fan of these yummy muffins I decided to try my hand at making them. It would be great to have these on hand here at home instead of having to hop in the car and making a trip everytime I wanted one, plus so much easier on the pocketbook. So off to the internet I went to find the perfect copycat recipe.
I found many, many recipes so I did what many of you all probably do…read the reviews and compared them to each other. I narrowed it down and finally chose the one that to me had the right mix of spices and ingredients. Of course this is all going by just reading the ingredients so what do I know? LOL However, I have been cooking and baking for 30 years (yeah, you read that right) so I’m usually a good judge of knowing what works together without having to taste something first. I baked up a dozen of the muffins and had la familia taste test them. I think the fact that they kept bugging the crap out of me for seconds and thirds immediately afterward says that I found a winner for them. Yes, they tasted amazing, I mean like really freakin’ amazing. But were they a good copycat of the Starbucks muffin?
My answer to that is they are pretty darn close. The spices and flavor is right on, in my opinion. And the cream cheese filling is Oh…My…Gaw…I did make sure my filling extended throughout the center of muffin which I have always wanted the Starbucks muffin to do. Plus I sprinkled with a few more pumpkin seeds, but that’s just my taste. What I noticed with this version I baked up is it’s not as dense or heavy as the Starbucks muffin. Mine were lighter and a bit more moist. And saying the others being more dense or heavy is not a bad thing, I actually love the ones I buy. But the muffins I baked here at home definitely did differ in that respect even a day later. Honestly don’t know how I’d go about changing that and not sure if I would as these came out absolutely perfect for me. If you are looking for a denser, heavier muffin then experiment with this recipe or do a little research and try out a few different recipes.
Here’s my take on the Starbucks Cream Cheese Muffins adapted from Tastebook’s recipe (avec my additions and changes ).
Cream Cheese Filling
8 oz cream cheese
4 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Candied Pumpkin Seeds
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
12 cup muffin pan
Paper muffin cups
Using an electric mixer combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
Cut a piece of plastic wrap about 10 inch square.
Spoon cream cheese filling onto center of plastic forming a log with the circumference of about that of a quarter. Roll and throw in freezer to firm up.
Preheat over to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line 12 cup muffin pan with paper muffin cups.
Candied Pumpkin Seeds
Spray large baking sheet with cooking spray.
Heat seeds in a medium saucepan over medium heat stirring frequently, 5 minutes or until the seeds begin to pop.
Add sugar and stir constantly until sugar begins to liquefy and caramelize, about 5 minutes.
Add cinnamon and salt.
Spread seeds on prepared baking sheet. Spreading and breaking apart with a butter knife helps. Let cool.
Once cooled, break apart the seeds that are stuck together with the butter knife again or toss into a small tupperware dish, cover and shake to separate.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer combine eggs, sugar and vanilla & mix on low speed to combine ingredients.
Add pumpkin and oil and continue to mix about 1 minute.
Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until batter is smooth, about 30-60 seconds.
Scoop batter into paper muffin cups filling about 1/2 to 3/4 full.
Take cream cheese roll out of freezer, unwrap and slice into 12 equal sized pieces.
Place a cream cheese piece into center of each cup of batter.
Using the rest of batter, fill each cup around the cream cheese until batter just pops up over each muffin tin. (see picture)
Sprinkle muffins with candied pumpkin seeds.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until slighly browned on top. To test for doneness insert a toothpick into center of muffin (not cream cheese), should come out clean.
Let cool at least 30 minutes to let cream cheese center cool. If you’re wanting for it to be more like the Starbucks muffin, cool for much longer so that cream cheese center has more time to firm up.
And the last most important step to this recipe is EAT and ENJOY!
So recently I took advantage of Bountiful Baskets. It’s a pretty cool food co-op that is available in cities throughout the US and I’ve heard great things, so why not? One of the yummy additions in the basket of produce we received last week was cherries. While I love cherries and my Collin is a huge fan as well, I wanted to try something different. We had recently bought a box of peaches (someone was over-reaching here thinking he could eat them all…Collin LOL) and I decided instead of waiting until the peaches went bad I’d try my hand at making preserves. Cherry and peach preserves…yeah, I could do this. Off to the internet I went to find some recipes.
Okay, so I must admit the two reasons I’ve never attempted making jams, jellies or preserves. First, I’ve never had an abundance of any fruit for me to work with and second, it really did look kind of intimidating. Everything I saw involved boiling jars or something to seal them up, etc and it just made me back off. But seeing as I only had a little under two pounds of cherries and about 10 peaches, I found I could skip that step. I just simply was not going to make enough preserves to necessitate long term storage of the sweet results. Yay for me!
So I found that all I really needed to make my preserves was sugar, my fruit and some pectin. Lucky for me Kenny was out and about and headed to the grocery store so I just texted him to pick up some pectin for me. Another yay for me, didn’t need to head out for ONE item. A great and easy recipe came across my radar that I could use on both the cherries and peaches. The only difference between the two preserves I made was I added some spices to the peaches to make it into Peach Cobbler Preserves. I also reduced the sugar by half because all the recipes I found called for way too much sugar. Yuck, my teeth were hurting just reading the darned things. So here is my tweaked recipe for the preserves I made…all approximate measurements, of course, because I’m really bad at not measuring ingredients which drives Kenny crazy. LOL I mean he seriously stands there having a fit as he watches me, it’s so funny.
10 peaches, pitted and chopped (I found I like big pieces, about 3/4 inch)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 large lemon
one pkg of pectin
Add peaches to pot with sugar & lemon juice, mix well, cover and let sit for one hour. Did I read up on why…no, should have. LOL But I’m thinking after seeing the results after this step it’s because it helps break down the fruit nicely for the preserves, nice and sweet.
After the one hour, add vanilla and spices and bring peach mixture to boil over medium high heat for about 20-30 minutes.
Get that fruit nice and soft and cooked through. Yummmm…smells amazing. I used my potato masher (or bean squasher as we called it growing up ) to break down the fruit some. Nice and cooked after 20-30 minutes, add your pectin. Let mixture boil for another couple of minutes and remove from heat. I let it cool for about 10 minutes and then transferred to my clean jars. My jars? Recycled from some store bought goodies, of course.
Full disclosure now…we finished off that first smaller jar within a couple of days. And yes, that second jar is already being worked on, it’s that good. You need to try it on some toast. Yum, yum, yum. I am so happy with the finished results. It was so much easier than I thought and happy we didn’t let those peaches go to waste. I used the exact same recipe for my 1 3/4 pounds of fresh cherries. Just pit those suckers and omit the spices. So far we’ve had the cherry preserves on corn bread as a snack and with some jambalaya. Yep, it worked. So I’m definitely keeping this recipe in my personal cookbook to try out and use on any other abundance of fruit I bring into my home.
Five days before delivery.
They sure are. While it happened very fast and ended up in a c-section, the actual labor and delivery story was not as scary and eventful as my night of pre-term labor a few weeks back (Part 1 and Part 2). I went in Sunday night for what I thought were minor issues. However, the doctor on call (my doctor’s partner in practice) decided it was best I go in and get monitored in the hospital. As it turned out I was actually having regular contractions which I really wasn’t feeling much of at all, 5-7 minutes apart. I was in for the night. By the time 3am rolled around my contractions were much stronger and anywhere from 2-7 minutes apart. Once again, it felt like true labor. Bummer.
And just in case that wasn’t interesting enough, Baby B was now presenting alternating his foot and bum over my cervix. Really little guy? Baby A was head down Sunday night but ended up flipping again (as he often did) once more right before delivery so he, too, was breech. These little guys seriously need to start their gymnastics training ASAP as they’re absolute naturals. I was able to see my doctor (who I love and was glad to see) first thing Monday morning. After discussion and review of all my tests, etc a decision was made. C-section it was and scheduled so quickly. I was told around 7am we were scheduled for 12:30pm. Being that this was my 5th pregnancy and I’ve been known to progress rather quickly in labor this was unfortunately the smartest decision. I’d been keeping their daddy updated but did not expect this. I had really thought I was going home when I went in Sunday night. What did this mean for their dad? He was going to miss the birth of his little boys. There was no way he could make it until after 6pm. I felt horrible. Luckily, though, we’d planned for this and were ready for this possibility.
Note to surrogates…we all hope for the best. We stay positive and we know, we just know that we will have the perfect delivery and that our intended parents will be present for their baby’s birth. However, it is imperative that you plan for the “just in case”. Have all your IP’s insurance info ready to go for the baby. I’d had all this info and it made this portion easy peasy (as things were moving quickly) when they needed it. Also be sure you know what the parents want as far as feeding issues go, breast milk or formula. Have your bag packed with copies of all those important legal papers we surrogates need in there as well. Birth plan? Of course we have our lovely wish list of what a perfect delivery will be like, but do not forget to include the other unique circumstances in our surrogacy journeys. Discuss, discuss, discuss with your intended parents ahead of time, surrogates. Please…it is very important. Okay, I’ll stop rambling on that subject.
So off to the OR I went at 12:30. Okay, so I’m not complaining and I will not get into a vaginal vs. c-section debate but I will say this…I always “knew” I’d have a vaginal delivery with these boys. I thought I was doing everything right. I was a spinning babies queen, learning and practicing as much as I could. I was active up to the point of my pre-term labor. I felt I did everything I was supposed to do. But these little guys had another plan. I did not want a c-section, I hated this. I absolutely hated this. But here is where I needed to let it all go. I was having a c-section and I needed to accept it. Once again, my doula was amazing with this. I was scared, I felt like a failure, and I hated that these little guys were coming early. I still feel that way. But the most important thing is and was that these boys came into this world healthy and I needed to let my own personal fears and feelings aside. My lovely doula, April, was with me in the OR and she was absolutely amazing. She kept me focused on all the positive and important things. I cannot say how much I am extremely grateful to her for this.
And then they were born. At 1313 and 1314 on 6 August 2012 both little boys made their grand entrance into our lovely world and officially made their daddy a Dad. 5lb 7oz each…how cool! Hearing their cries (wow, the lungs on those boys ) was an amazing sound. And when I was finally greeted with their lovely little faces…words cannot describe. Aren’t these little guys amazing?
Daddy finally made it to the hospital shortly after 6pm. My husband, Kenny, of course being the amazing support he has always been, rushed him right over from the airpot. Let me just real quick brag on Kenny. Amazing, just freakin’ amazing. He’s done so much throughout the whole pregnancy, helping me, helping daddy to twins, playing taxi, rushing around running last minute errands, etc…seriously, to me and to twins’ daddy Kenny has been not only what we needed but peace of mind as we knew with him we were well taken care of. I love that man. Alright, I’m done gushing. LOL
Daddy and twins finally met and he could not be happier. He’s fallen in love and seeing them together has been beyond words. I’ve been lucky and blessed to be part of this wonderful journey in their lives. I am humbled and honored to have been included, even in a small way, in helping to build this family. Seeing daddy and twins together has truly made (besides having my own children, of course) my life more complete.
A little update on the boys…while the first two days of the twins’ lives they needed no NICU, Baby B has had to go to NICU afterall. A week at the shortest, 2 weeks at most, for feeding and heating issues. Although he continues to thrive and look better each day, he still needs some extra time to catch up. We are very lucky and relieved, though, to know he is in one of the best NICUs. Daddy took Baby A back home to get him settled and started on his new schedule at home. He will be returning in a few days to be with little man in NICU. Kenny & I have been given privileges of visiting Baby B in the NICU and for that I am extremely thankful. It makes me sad that he is there, but I feel better knowing we can see him as much as we want and need. While they both continue to do well and thrive, please keep these little boys in your thoughts so their time apart and away from their dad is short lived. Thank you all so much.
The next morning I’m greeted to the same news. Contractions are now more regular at about every 4 minutes and they’re intense. I’ve begun to feel them in my back now and I’m now 3cm, 80% effaced. Again, we all know that’s not bad by itself. However, we are talking contractions on top of a progression. The night before I’d been given a steroid shot for the babies lungs and procardia to relax my uterus. Another dose of procardia and I finally get to see my doctor face to face. We’re planning on delivery today. Why so fast, you wonder. Those of you who have experienced labor just know that feeling, right? Everything I was feeling, seeing, experiencing felt like the real thing. Hour by hour things picked up and there was no let up. Cutie pie little twins, though, were getting along great in there. Ultrasound showed them playing along just fine, heart rates nice and strong.
I called up my IF and let him know the news…it looked like the day had come. He quickly started to arrange travel. I called Kenny and let him know and gave him a list of things I needed from home. We speak with the head doctor of NICU next and he explains how babies will be cared for. Outcome sounds great for babies, of course, but the reality would be at least a month in NICU.
Of course the next call was my doula. She’s wonderful, I just want to get that part said right now. Amazing lady. She had been up with a client all night before and when I called her she came right over. She stayed with me, helped me through coming to terms with a c-section (I’ve never had one), forced me to relax when I felt like I should be calling/texting family updates. Her gentle touch (not aggressive in forcing me to do anything) and her company was beyond helpful. I honestly don’t feel I would have done well all alone there at all. She is amazing and I’m telling you right now…if you have never thought of having a doula for yourself, I strongly encourage you to put some real thought into it. 4 prior births I’ve never had one and now on my fifth pregnancy I can only say why not always…LOL Seriously, I love her. Thank you, April!
So here’s where it starts to get weird. We’re holding off for 6:30pm so we can get another steroid shot in for the babies’ lungs. Contractions strong (procardia, why aren’t you working?!) and still very regular but no more progression. Woohoo! I’m happy about that. My doctor had said we’d be going by that so that’s wonderful news. We can wait longer. But it’s a waiting game which makes it that much more nerve-wracking. A few hours later and again nothing’s going on as far as progression but these damn contractions just will not let up. Procardia and steroids again and then it happens…finally. Contractions begin to ease up. Oh, procardia…I’m so sorry I doubted you. Although I was still getting contractions 4-7 minutes apart, their intensity had definitely eased up. I mean seriously eased up. There were times the machine picked them up and I felt nothing. Irregular contractions began, 4-10 minutes apart, I was only actually feeling a very few intense ones. It was all so surreal. From so much to almost nothing now. We finally got the news that things were okay for me to go home. Now remember, this was all over a full day so it really wasn’t all that quick. LOL So I’m going home? Really? It just didn’t feel real.
So again, I’m sure (just like me) you’re left wondering what happened. I don’t know. LOL These babies I guess decided to put us all through a trial run. I wish I could truly explain how very much I felt it was going to happen. It all came on so quick and so intense I felt from past labors that this was real. There was no denying at the time the babies were going to be born. And now I sit here feeling ecstatic that babies stayed put, but completely and totally paranoid now. Up until Monday my pregnancy has been a normal twin pregnancy. A little more tired and achy from the normal pregnancy toll on the body, but otherwise perfectly healthy with no restrictions. I take it easy when needed, but I still continued on with normal life, resting when fatigue or aches told me to stop. I was active, still enjoying the gym and family fun with the kiddos during the summer. Now I’m on modified bed rest with a nice list of restrictions. Thankfully the kids are being super helpful and Kenny has just been amazing, of course. He deserves a medal for all the rushing, planning and support he’s given me.
So what now? Twins’ daddy is back in NY and I take it easy, be lazy (which is hard but of course I’m doing it), and I see my doctor on Monday. I am still having contractions but they’re no longer regular. My doctor says that could keep up until the babies decide to come (again? ). That is just something I’ll have to relax about (so as not to stress) but at the same time be sure to pay special attention to. So if you made it through all that I applaud you. LOL But seriously, thank you all so much for your support. You have no idea how great it felt that if babies were meant to come that they were in a fabulous hospital and that so many people were thinking of these little guys in my tummy. Thank you!!