Monday, December 20, 2010

First visit with Ali and Logan

We recently returned from our trip to Mexico, but before we left I got the most wonderful gift, a visit with Logan and Ali. He is seriously SOOO sweet. I can't believe he is over 3 1/2 months old now!! I don't think I have ever held a sweeter little guy. I really didn't know what to expect going into it. Would be feel familiar now that it's been a few months?? Would I feel a different connection with him than any of my other friends babies?? Well, I have to say that no, not really. He is only familiar b/c I have seen photo's and b/c he looks so much like his dad. And when I look at Ali he looks like he belongs in those arms so much so that they have become a set in my mind... or a trio I'm sure if I had seen Ben too. I did feel a connection to Ali's family (I met her parents too) in a way that I haven't with anyone else and I think to a certain extent that will always be there for me. We all shared something very special. I honestly can't say how amazing it was to see them. Ali looks like she was made to be Logan's mom, actually I believe she was. Logan's grandparents are so loving and attentive with him. I honestly feel that he couldn't have a better family and if I could of imagined what I hoped and dreamed for him I would have prayed for them. There is a contentedness that comes with seeing such a happy ending, or more appropriately worded, a happy begining. I know that God has a plan for this beautiful little boy. He was masterfully sculpted (by God) and put on this earth, however unconventionally, to be raised by this loving, Godly family and to bless the world with the gifts that he has been given, with the uniqueness that will make him Logan.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

8 weeks after the birth...

8 weeks! 2 whole months!! Time flies...

It doesn't feel like it actually happened. I don't feel like I just gave birth. My body, although still on the heavier side of my normal, feels like nothing ever happened. My hormones are back on track and things seem to be running smoothly. I look at pictures of Ali, Ben and Logan and it feels like I am looking at good friends and their new baby and it makes me smile. There really isn't any lingering feeling of loss. My doula gave me some pictures of the birth at my "Surrogate shower" and I just LOVE to look at them. Although the birth was breathtakingly painful I still remember it with such fondness. It was an experience that I feel so blessed and honored to have gone through. So here are a few of the photo's I have. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


Ali's hands on her son 5 days before we met him.


Me and my mom (who was my nurse for the birth). The is after the second dose of the cintocin gel was administered and we were contemplating whether or not I should leave or stay.

Having a contraction... I was starting to have to concentrate on them. I think I was 4cm's at this point.

We left and came back and had my membranes ruptured and called Ali to come now. This was my second to last non-pushing contraction.

It was hard to keep focus on what we were doing. For me this was the final challenge before the end. It wasn't the same when you are looking forward to meeting your baby. I can remember clearly what I was thinking in this picture... "this sucks" hahaha

And before I knew it, it was all over and Ali was bringing him back in to meet me :)

What hit me the most was how instantly he was hers.

And from the begining it was all about him.

:)

He is pretty darn cute

I had so many of my great friends come to be with me after the birth. They were my lifeline through this whole journey and I couldn't have done it without them.

I feel so blessed

My moms shift ended just after the birth so she got to hang out with us all too :)

And this is my amazing doula. She doted and on me and spent hours upon hours preparing me for this moment.

I can't believe it's over...

Monday, September 13, 2010

4 weeks after the birth

It feels like it has been WAY longer than four weeks since the delivery of Logan, but at the same time I can't believe that we are four weeks away either. It all seems so surreal. I still have to remind myself that I actually delivered a baby! It's amazing how the mind can forget such memorable things. Things that I promised myself I would always remember feel like just a distant memory. I remember when I was pregnant thinking I can't even remember what it's like to be myself again and now I can't remember what it's like to be pregnant! I remember the things that happened during and after the delivery, but I can't remember what the pain felt like or how intense it was. Did this actually happen?? Sometimes it feels like it isn't even real. I love looking at the pictures of Logan with his parents, but I still cannot connect in my mind that he was the one inside me all that time. There's nothing that clicks... it's really weird. To put it simply to me he is Ben and Ali's son. He's adorable and I love sharing in their joy, but I am not part of that equation anymore. He is all theirs!! :)

The recovery has been going really well. Physically I still feel great. It is discouraging that I am not fitting into my old pants yet, mainly b/c I keep forgetting that I was pregnant four weeks ago. When you have a baby at home it's a constant reminder of what just happened, but for me I feel 100% like myself only I'm not really looking like myself. We are going to Mexico in December and I really want to shed the baby weight so that I can at least fit into my usual summer clothes. It feels like I have a deadline for this weight loss and I am really feeling that I need to let that go. It's going to be gradual no matter what I do and I need to remember that.

Emotionally I have been doing okay. I have to say that I am surprised by the feelings that I have been having lately. I think in trying to ward off the feelings of things being very anti-climactic I have completely warn myself out. I have had two days at home since the delivery and it's starting to drain me. I am an extrovert. I LOVE my friends. They are the highlight of my week and I never get sick of seeing them. It's always been hard for me to put the breaks on and slow down my social life, but even more so right now. I feel like I have reverted back to my high school self who needed to see people all the time and my ability to be content in my own home is not there. Knowing these things doesn't make it easier to change them though. I don't want to stay home. My kids love getting out just as much as I do and it's hard to say no when I know there is something funner to do than sitting at home. So I'm working on that... and thinking it through. I can't believe how emotional I have become either. I could honestly say in the past I was not a crier, but now think I would fall under that category a bit more. I am finding emotions just touch me so much more. Be this pregnancy hormones or lack of sleep I don't know, but I think that I am beginning to like it. I love that things can touch me on a deeper level. I still have a head on my shoulders and I'm not going to get swept away by what I'm feeling, but I think that I'm giving myself the freedom to actually feel them and it's freeing. I think this journey has taught me a lot about the freedom in feelings.

I've been keeping in touch with Ali and Ben, mostly over e-mail. Logan is healthy and growing and they are having a blast showing him off. I love looking at the pictures they post of him. It blesses my heart to see that they are enjoying and loving him SO much. They just beam in the photos. He is such a blessing, all our children are and I feel so honored to have carried him.

I was actually catching up on the blogs that I follow today and it hit me... I miss it. I can't say I miss being pregnant at the moment, but I miss the journey. It had it's ups and downs, but wow it was special. I know there were hard days, but overall it was enjoyable. It makes me want to do it again. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

After the birth

I didn't sleep well in the hospital. I was still having major adrenalin rushes and the excitement of the day kept replaying in my mind. My dr had said that he would come in around 8am and release me and so about every 20 minutes throughout the night I would jolt awake and look at the clock thinking oh it's almost 8 o'clock, but then it would be only like 3am ... it was a long night needless to say. I remember hearing Logan crying down the hallway and he sounded so adorable, but the overwhelming feeling for me at that moment was that I was so glad he was with his mom. I had prepared myself to enjoy the recovery without a newborn and I honestly was and still am.

The next morning finally came and my dr released me. My husband came and brought our daughters to meet Logan. I felt like I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I was feeling really great physically and emotionally and I just wanted to get home, rest and spend time with my family. I was curious to see how my girls would respond to Logan, but beyond the usual curiosity of a baby they didn't seem all that fazed by the whole thing. I explained to my 4 year old on the way out that that was the baby that was in my tummy and that it was Ben and Ali's and they were going to take it home. She just responded "I know mom b/c your tummy isn't big anymore." That was it... end of conversation as far as she was concerned. I'm glad she took it so well. My two year old was a bit out of sorts for a couple days, I think mainly from me being gone and messing up our schedule, but she's back to her normal self now. I realized that she is VERY unready to be an older sister and that's just fine with me. haha

Getting home was really nice. I really didn't have a lot of emotions about everything. I had a good cry once I was finally alone, but that was mostly a frp, the feelings of relief and shock that it had finally come to an end. I wasn't sad that I wasn't bringing a baby home or missing the pregnancy. It felt like everything was as it should be.

That same day I got a call from my mom. The blood tests on Logan had come back and he had a positive blood type so I had to come back and get my Rhogam shot (since I was negative). I was more than happy to return. I'm a maternity ward junky haha. I will miss seeing the nurses there and always love catching glimpses of the women coming in to labour or moms with their new babies. It's 'usually' a happy place. So I went back in, got my shot, visited with the nurses for a bit and then went in to see Ben, Ali and baby one more time before they left. I got to hold Logan again and this time I actually felt like I could focus on his face and his little hands and who he looked like. There is no denying the genetics of this baby! He didn't look like any baby that had be born into my family. He wasn't a familiar face. He looked like his dad! :) It was nice to hold him one last time. They were being released the next day and we didn't know if we would get chance to see each other again. I actually prefer "maybe goodbyes" rather than the regular ones. They feel less final and I felt like saying goodbye, maybe we'll see you tomorrow was the perfect kind of closure. It still left us open to seeing each other soon even if it wasn't the next day or even a few months later.

The few days after they left I just kept myself busy. There was so much activity going on towards the end of the pregnancy and knowing my feelings after I had my youngest daughter I felt that if I could keep my mind busy and my days filled with friends and family until I got passed the hormonal stage I would be fine. I can say for the most part it worked. There was one evening, I think it was day 4 after Logan was born. My husband had gotten called into work, my kids were in bed, my friends were all with their families and I felt the familiar feelings of "oh no, I have nothing to do!" creeping up on me. Having something to look forward to really helps so sitting their by myself made me feel vulnerable. I don't know if it was God knowing what I needed or if I just happen to have really great friends who call frequently (probably both), but that night and those feelings passed with random, much needed phone calls from friends. We even started planning our Mexico trip in November (with a group of people) so that gave me some homework to do and a much needed distraction. That feeling hasn't returned and I don't think it will. It's the usual hormonal stage that comes when your body has been through such a dramatic change. I knew it would come and I'm happy it's gone. My milk came in with a vengeance that day as well and for two days I was SORE like never before, but thankfully after 48 hours my body took the hint and started to diminish the supplies. haha It's hard for me not to think of it as a waste, but I am really happy to not be breastfeeding right now.

It is now 6 days after the birth. I am feeling completely healed. My body seems to be returning back to normal faster than I had hoped. I have a client (I'm a doula) who was due yesterday and I am looking forward to sharing that birth with her. There are lots of joys in life and I feel like I am ready to experience them as myself again. I can be a mom, a wife, a daughter and a friend the way I was a year ago and it's nice :) I am SOO happy to have gone through this journey and I am happy now to have completed it. I look forward to watching little Logan grow and I know that he will be enjoyed and loved by his family.

Lots of people ask me if this is something that I would do again. It feels like a really complex question now that we are done. I look back on this journey with fondness and appreciation. I feel so blessed that this was something that we were able to do and yes it came with it's sacrifices, but they are hard to remember already. My husband had a harder time than I did with it. Here he had a wife who was pregnant, but it wasn't accompanied with the same type of joy and excitement that it does when it's his. He had a hard time finding ways to share in this journey. So I guess the answer to that question is maybe. I won't actively search for a couple, but if something came up (just like it did this time) than I would pray about it and of course consult my husband and we would have to see if we felt that was where God was leading us. Who knows what life holds :) I'm excited to find out!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Logan's birth story continued...

We arrived at the hospital, did a quick NST before my dr. checked me. I was 4cm and thinned right out! That was good. I had little pain and had made it 1cm more. He administered another half of the gel and I had to wait another hour on the monitors and that horrible bed. The bed feels like a death sentence to me when I'm in labour. I just wanted to get the heck out of there. The contractions started again almost immediately. They were much stronger and probably 3 minutes apart. These ones hurt in all the right places. They wrapped around my back and flowed into the lower part of my uterus. I just realized that I forgot to mention that my mom happened to be working that day!! I loved having her as my nurse. She was such a comfort to me and although I had gotten to know most of the other nurses during my pregnancy and quick visits for NST's I was glad to have her familiar face to see every time we showed up that day. Anyways... back to the story...

They let me off the bed and I was still contracting much stronger. It was starting not to be fun anymore. Walking really brought them on so I sat in the rocking chair in my room for a bit. We waited there for an hour or so and then I decided that I could leave now. We went to my friend Shannon's house for tea and some of our friends met us there. I can not describe to you the comfort of having my close group of friends around me. It feels so natural to have the support of women during labour. I would recommend it to anyone. It took my mind off of what was going on and although I was unable to really visit I was able to just relax and enjoy their company. The pain intensity of the contractions had really picked up and I asked my doula to call my dr and ask when we should come back in for a check. He told us to come in around 6:00pm. I had a goal now. I had to make it until 6:00pm and then we could go. My doula said that she literally watched my eyes glaze over after that. Things had changed. We were in active labour and I finally said I think it's time to go. She says "Ok good!" She was waiting for me to say it and had known it was time.

We arrived at the hospital at around 5:30pm. My dr came up from emerg and checked me. I was 5cm's. Ok that's active labour, but I was thinking I would be more like 6 or 7. Either way we were there to stay. He asked me if I wanted him to rupture my membranes. I said yes, but wasn't very excited about that idea. I knew from my previous births that this would bring the pain on in a whole new way. This was going to get really really painful very soon. We texted Ben and Ali and told them it was time. I called my husband and told him to arrange to get my brother there asap. From the second he broke my water the pain increased DRASTICALLY. We were not messing around anymore. This baby was coming TODAY! I went into the shower right away. The pain was so intense I dreaded each and every contraction. I was surprised how much dialogue I had going on in my head through each contraction. I was trying to use my knowledge to dissect each contraction to see how much more of this I would have to endure.

The feeling behind this birth was obviously different for me than with my own, but I don't think I was prepared for how it would effect me mentally. The motivation was really hard to come by. I knew that I was in this, there was no way out except to walk through this door, but I wasn't feeling joyful about it. It wasn't something I was trying to enjoy like I did with my own babies it was more something I had to endure in order to finish this journey. Honestly I have never felt pain like that before in my life. It had come on SO quickly and SO strong that I didn't have time to adjust and work my way into things. Ali arrived shortly after we texted and she came in and waited with us through each contraction. I had been in the shower for about a half hour when I felt the urge to push. It would go away with each contraction, but it was pretty intense. I didn't want to make the walk to the bed so they tried to check me while I was in the shower. They couldn't feel any cervix left, but once I finally did haul myself out of the shower and to the bed they discovered I was still 8cm. I still had 2 more to go. We were close!! We had gone from 5cm to 8cm in a half hour. I was disappointed b/c I wanted it to all be over, but obviously I had no choice.

I moved to the rocking chair instead of back in the shower. I remember my thoughts through the contractions. I was telling myself "this is as painful as it's going to be. I'm in transition, it won't get worse, I'm almost done..." My husband still hadn't arrived at this point and my mom was on the phone frantically trying to figure out what was going on. My brother still hadn't arrived at our house to watch the girls. He was stuck there!! We really didn't know if he was going to make it. I actually didn't hear a lot of this I was in my own world. I do remember looking up after one contraction and seeing Ali there and she had tears in her eyes. I was happy that I could share this with her, but I hoped she knew that I wasn't sorry we were here. We just had to get through it. We were in the home stretch.

I had about 4 contractions sitting in the rocking chair when all of a sudden things just stopped. I had the most wonderful 8 minute break in between that contraction. I relaxed my whole body and almost fell asleep. I remember thinking "I'm going to pay for this break." Tara (my doula) whispered something to my mom about this being the calm before the pushing. Oh boy was she right! I got the mother of all contractions (which I knew was coming) and an INTENSE urge to push. I could feel the head right there starting to come down. I was scared I wouldn't make it to the bed. I waited for that contraction to end, my mom went and paged my dr over the intercom and rushed around getting the room ready for the delivery. I managed to get on the bed sort of in a hands and knee position. I remember thinking I don't care who is here if I get another contraction I pushing this baby out. My doula had her hands ready (I think she could read my mind) to catch if she had. Thankfully my dr arrived before the next contraction and I laid on my side supporting my body with my arms. I remember saying when I saw him that I didn't want to do this anymore. This is the stage that I always hated. I have no good memories of pushing. Seeing my dr made me realize that this was really happening. CRAP! The next contraction took over my body. My dr had just managed to throw on his gloves and stuff when my body started pushing. He later told me that he had to support the head a bit to stop it from just shooting out my body haha. This is when my husband FINALLY arrived!! I was so relieved to see him. I didn't want him to miss this. I needed to share it with him. The head came out and I had to wait a minute for the next contraction to come and for me to be able to deliver the rest of the baby. That all felt like it took forever, but in actuality from the point that we realized it was time to push to the baby being out was only minutes. That was the BEST BEST BEST feeling in the world!!! We were DONE!! No more pain! No more pushing!! The baby was out!! Ali got the baby handed to her and my dr cut the cord. They wiped the baby down in her arms and my mom announced "It's a boy!!!" They took Ali and baby out to the nursery to meet Ben and check little Logan over.

I can't tell you how much of a relief it was to be done. I have never felt better in my life. I delivered the placenta was told that I had no tares and settled back to rest and wait for Ali and Ben to bond with baby and for Ali to try breastfeeding for the first time. My brother came in to say congratulations and give me a hug and we all just rejoiced in that room together. It was over!

Ali and Ben then came in and let me hold Logan. It was weird seeing him for the first time. I didn't feel that connection that this was him. He had been inside me this whole time, but he wasn't familiar to me. This was their baby! Ali walked in looking like a mother. She had such peace on her face and it felt like friends introducing me to their baby for the first time. I held him for a few minutes and then handed him back to his mom. I remember Ben was beaming from ear to ear, the vision of a proud father. Everyone said their goodbyes and Ben and Ali went to their room to get settled in. My husband went to get me some food and I had the most amazing shower. From the time they broke my water to baby being out was exactly 1 hour 7 minutes. It had felt like triple that to me, but am so thankful that it wasn't. It was INTENSE and very painful, but fast. I'm glad that everyone was able to make it and SOOO glad that it was over. I got admitted to my room and almost immediately I had groups of my wonderful friends show up. We all just sat in my room talked, shed a few tears, opened gifts. They got to go over and hold Logan quickly and give their congratulations to the parents. It was so amazing to have so many women surrounding me, giving me their love and support and to be able to share with them the events of the day. It just felt so good to be me again!

I will end the story here for now... I will continue with the feelings and events of after the birth in a bit... :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Logan's Birth Story

Wow it felt weird to type that title. It still hasn't hit me that there was a little boy inside my body that whole time and now his name is Logan Dexter and he's happily at home with his parents. This last two weeks have been such a whirlwind it's really taking awhile to absorb it all. This is going to be a long post and I may have to do it in sections. I want to share all the feelings and events that occurred before the actual birth of Logan began.

The last post I shared was the day that Ben and Ali arrived. It felt like a milestone to make it to that day and I was on an emotional high. We had a busy few days of dr's apt's, an ultrasound, NST's and then the big get together for my friends to meet Ben and Ali. I saw my dr. on Friday (5 days before the due date) and he swept my membranes. This gave me mild cramping and spotting all that day and night. I was hoping to go into labour at our "Meet the parents BBQ" but that didn't happen. My dr and I had agreed that we would do one more sweep the next day just to try and get things going if I didn't start labour that night. At this point all the key players were here and we were all anxious to get things going. I went into emerg at 8:00 that morning (where my dr. was working for the day) and he checked and excitingly I had gone from barely 1cm to almost 3cm overnight without any pain! I was so excited. He swept my membranes again and then sent me to maternity for another NST. Baby was happy in there and responding really well to the contractions I was having. The 2nd sweep had really helped the contractions pick up and I was starting to think I was in labour. I called everyone on the way home and invited them to my house to wait and see if we would have a baby that day. By the time I got home I was convinced that yes this was the day. The contractions were coming frequently and were getting more intense. I jumped in the shower while I waited for Ben, Ali and my doula to arrive. Unfortunately the shower really slowed things down. I was still getting contractions, but they weren't very regular or painful. We started to try a few different techniques for getting early labour going. We walked, rocked on the ball, tried some homeopathic remedy's for speeding up labour, but none of those stopped labour nor brought it on any stronger. By this time it was 5:00pm and I was starting to get discouraged. My dr's wife (she's a friend) called to see how things were going and my dr happened to be home for a quick bite to eat as well. I talked to him and we agreed to meet on maternity in a half an hour to get a check and see if we could rupture my membranes. I can't remember the timing of the contractions at that point, but I know emotionally I was starting to get discouraged and wonder if I was actually in labour.

We arrived at the hospital, did a quick NST on baby (who was doing great) and then got checked again. I was so disappointed to hear that I was still not quite 3cm's. I was a little bit more thinned out, but he couldn't rupture my membranes since I wasn't in active labour and we didn't want to risk not going into labour and having to get induced or worse have a c-section. He told us to walk around for an hour and see if things picked up and he would come back to see us. It was during that wait that I realized this was not it. It was around 7:30pm at that point so it had been a long day of waiting and watching. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself and starting to get quite stressed out with the whole thing. I felt responsible to get things going, but I just couldn't, nor would I be able to until my body was ready on it's own. I realized that I did not want to relive this scenario again and I would not call anyone that early again. We would KNOW I was in labour the next time we decided to wait together. We went and hung out with friends that night and relaxed and I continued to have stronger contractions, but felt them getting more and more spaced out. I knew I would be getting sleep that night and I was kind of glad that we could just put this to rest for a bit. I agreed to meet my dr. on maternity the next morning at 8:00am while he was doing his rounds. We wanted to keep an eye on how things were going and make sure baby was tolerating everything that was going on. He checked me again and not only was I still almost 3cm's, but my cervix had actually gotten a bit thicker. Ok great I was going backwards! He did one more sweep of my membranes, but that didn't even give me cramping this time. I felt like it was time to call it quits and just let nature take it's course. The membrane sweeps had done all they could at this point. We agreed to meet at the hospital again the next morning and check progress and baby one more time. I think we were all feeling the pressure and making sure baby was fine with everything going on was really important to us all. We were only 3 days until the due date and in my pregnancy history I had never made it past this point so we were all surprised when not only did we make it past the Monday morning NST, but also to my regular dr's apt on Wednesday. He told me that if he had bet on this delivery he would have lost a lot of money. We were all so sure I was going to deliver early and now it was my due date! I have never made it to my due date let alone past! It was a weird feeling and I couldn't help but feel very conscious of the fact that Ben and Ali had now been here for a week.

That Wednesday morning visit I didn't even bother getting a cervical check. I knew I wasn't dilated any more. I hadn't had a contraction since Monday. My dr excused himself to call the OB and discuss with him about another biophysical and when he came back I was more than a little surprised to hear the words "We would like to induce you tomorrow. How would you feel about that?" I NEVER thought I would have those words spoken to me so it took me a bit to digest that. My mind filled with all the information that I know about induction and I knew that there were places that this could go that I wasn't willing to. He wanted to use the Cintocin gel on my cervix and was very confident that that would be enough to send me into active labour. My cervix was very favorable and this was my third time being pregnant. There was no need to worry that we would be introducing pitocin into the mix. We were all concerned that the stress and pressure (which I was putting on myself) to deliver this baby wasn't helping and since they were thinking it would be a small baby it would be best to deliver now while he was still tolerating things instead of waiting for him to show signs of distress. I agreed and we set the date! September 2nd would be the birthday!! I went up to maternity for one more NST and left knowing that baby was happy in there for one more day. I called Ben and Ali and gave them the news that they would be parents tomorrow! That was a fun call :) I heard the light in Ali's voice and I couldn't help but get excited too.

I have never been induced or known the date of delivery before the actual labour began. I felt calm and good about it for most of the day and then it all just hit me. Oh my goodness I had to go through labour tomorrow!! ACK!!! I wasn't ready all of a sudden. Thankfully I was at our women's book club when this epiphany hit me and I was so grateful to have their support and love. We all held hands and they prayed for me and the safe delivery of this baby. They prayed that angels would surround me and be with me during this event and that God would bring me peace. It still brings tears to my eyes remembering their support and prayer that night. I really needed them. This was never something I knew I could do on my own and my friends are so important to me. They have been through this whole journey with me and were all emotionally invested. I left that night exhausted and ready to go home and have a "good" nights sleep before I had to face my fears. Surprisingly I did sleep very well that night and woke up feeling ready to do this.

My husband agreed to stay home with our kids until I was in active labour and Ben and Ali agreed to come then as well. I met my doula at the hospital at 7:45am to begin the NST and get the gel put in. I didn't know how I was feeling at this point. Scared, but accepting of the inevitable. First the OB checked me (you need to have the agreement of two dr's in order to induce someone in our hospital). He agreed that yes induction was a good choice and recommended that my dr. only use half a thing of the gel since my cervix was so favorable. My dr agreed and went ahead and administered it. It worked within 10-15 minutes and I began contracting stronger than I had in this pregnancy yet. They call these cinto contractions b/c they come on a bit stronger at first (from the cintocin hormone) and then usually slow down and regulate themselves a bit more naturally. I had to lay in that bed getting monitored for an hour and then we were free to leave and told to return in 4 hours to see how things had progressed. My doula and I went for a nice walk outside. It was the first sunny day in days and it was so refreshing and relaxing. We went to her house and invited friends to come for lunch. The time just flew by and before I knew it it was 1:00pm and time to return to the hospital. I was contracting frequently, but knew I wasn't in active labour yet. I could still carry on a normal conversation and was having too much fun for it to be active labour.

I am going to take a break and continue in a bit... this post is getting really long :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

IT'S A BOY!!!

Precious little Logan was born September 2nd (1 day overdue) and weighed in at 6lbs15oz. I know I may be a bit biased, but he is seriously once of the cutest little boys ever!!

Exactly what has transpired in the last couple days is just starting to sink in now. It felt so surreal during the delivery and hospital stay and now that I am home and digesting everything I can't seem to do much but sit here completely shocked that it's all over. I'm SOOO relieved that it's done and I have my body back, but at the same time I am sad. Actually at this moment I can't seem to stop crying... it's good. It's tears of relief and joy and peace. It feels cleansing to just let it all out. Everything went so well and it turned out exactly as we all prayed it would and I am so glad that we went through this journey. I feel like I am myself again and it feels SO great, but very strange at the same time.

I am going to write the birth story in a day or two, but for now I just wanted to share the exciting news and let everyone know that mom and dad and baby are doing amazing and I feel really really awesome. I didn't tare so I feel like I don't really have much healing to do. I'm home already and happy to be with my husband and two girls.

Here is a picture taken this morning (Sept. 3rd) of my family visiting with little Logan. This was the first time my girls had met him and I don't know if they knew exactly what to think.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

39 weeks and they are coming TODAY!!!

Today is the day!! Woo! I'm so excited and relieved to have made it to this point. We no longer have to worry about Ben and Ali missing the birth (unless I happen to give birth in the next 4 hours which is not seeming very likely). I feel like I can relax and enjoy the rest of the pregnancy and their visit while they are here. We have a busy rest of the week planned and as ready as I am to get this show going I kind of hope that (s)he waits until Saturday... or at least Friday night. Thursday we have the biophysical which will be fun. I'm so curious what they say about the baby's size. This is the 2nd ultrasound that Ali and Ben have been able to attend. Then right after that my mom, who is a maternity nurse and has also had extra training in breastfeeding, is giving me, Ali, my doula client (who is due 6 days after me) and my doula (who is currently nursing), a crash course in breastfeeding. I am SOO looking forward to this! I love learning! No I won't be breastfeeding this time around, but it will give me some useful tools in helping my doula clients learn to breastfeed and get a good latch in the future. Then Friday we have another dr's apt... hoping to get my membranes stripped, another NST right after and then that evening a party for a few of my friends to meet Ali and Ben for the first time. I REALLY don't want to miss any of those events!! So I'm hoping this baby hangs in there until then. Anyone who knows me knows that I would do anything to attend any sort of social event and this one sounds even funner than usual. :)

I have been feeling some stirrings within my body of things to come. I have been having cramping and some braxton hicks that feel more like real contractions, but so far nothing has changed. I went to the dr. on Monday on the verge of calling Ben and Ali to come only to have him check me and find out that I was not dilating yet and my cervix is still posterior. He was pretty sure I had another 2 days in me. That set my nerves at ease and we agreed that they would wait until the previously agreed upon date. I have found it so nerve wracking knowing that they are so far away. I couldn't help but read into every little twinge that I felt b/c I knew that the only chance they had of not missing the birth if this baby decided to come early, was if I recognized the early signs of labour. Thankfully since yesterday I have had little to no uterine activity (for once) and we have all been able to rest easy and know that they were very likely going to make it. This is our last week (I HOPE) and that means that the baby really could come any time. Both my daughters were early (one 5 days and the other 3 days early) so going overdue would be a new (and somewhat unwelcome) experience haha.

It has finally sunk in that this is actually happening. Feeling the cramping and braxton hicks has really got me excited to experience a labour and delivery again and although my husband and I aren't preparing for a baby we are still preparing for a birth. The waiting game at the end is SOO much fun! :) I'm excited to share this with Ben and Ali when they get here. I hope we can go and do a bit of baby shopping just to get the full experience of the final days. I still can't believe that we are finally here!! Thinking back to the first conversation with Ali and then telling friends and family and actually going through the hormones and transfer just seem so far away. We were looking at this point as a possible future outcome and praying it would happen, but really having no idea if it actually would. It has happened and we are almost done and it really blows my mind. God is so good!! It has been such a blessing to be able to join in this experience and soon welcome Ben and Ali's baby into this world. I have felt since about a year after I delivered my first daughter that this was something that I was called to do. God put the desire in my heart and this whole process has been in his hands from before we even knew it was beginning. From how we were able to meet to the moment Ali receives her little one in her arms and we hear that glorious first cry. It's blessings upon blessings that years cannot forget and I'm so thankful!!

I will keep everyone updated and post one final belly shot the day we go into labour. I can't wait!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

38 1/2 weeks! Only 1 1/2 left to go!

We are in the home stretch!! It literally could be any day from now to 10 days after our due date (which WON'T happen!!!) I am remembering exactly what the last couple weeks entails and it's making me excited. The braxton hicks are a constant companion which I completely expected. They feel really strange b/c the baby's bum sticks out further than anything else so when I get some tightening my belly gets SUPER lopsided. It will be interesting to see what it looks like with real contractions. I think I have been saying to my husband almost everyday for the last 3 or 4 days that I am feeling strange today. I can't seem to pinpoint what it is, but I can just tell my body is priming itself for the major event it's about to undergo. It's really really hard not to read into every little twinge or pain. Is it the baby moving or is that cramping?? I can't tell where one begins and the other ends. Is it my uterus or my bowels?? My whole insides feel like they are all twisted and intertwined with eachother and I can't tell where each sensation is coming from. If the parents were here I really wouldn't be focusing on the little things nearly as much b/c when the baby comes doesn't really matter. Right now if I miss the early warning signs it would very likely mean the difference between them being here for the birth and missing it. They get here in 4 short days so we won't have to worry about that for very much longer.

The busy time of pregnancy has started once again. I enjoy this part :) I have a non-stress test every Friday until the baby is here (unless we go overdue then I have two a week). I have a dr's apt. once a week and we are also having a biophysical done on the baby. A biophysical is really just more of an in depth ultrasound. It gives us a better idea of how my cervix and amniotic fluid are holding up and gives a better estimate for the size of the baby. So far my dr. is still thinking under 7lbs. The NST I just had yesterday wasn't exactly stellar. They like to see lots of fluctuation in the heart rate as well as a good solid baseline. The baby had the baseline, but little to no fluctuations even while it was moving. Finally after turning onto my left side and not having it improve I ate a cookie my doula had brought for me and WOW did that do the trick! Their baby went CRAZY! We could barely get the heart rate it was moving so much. Thankfully the rest of the strip looked good and they sent me home, but it was enough to get me thinking that if we got another flat strip like that they probably wouldn't let us go overdue. Flat NST's can be a sign that baby isn't loving it in there and would probably be happier on the outside. If I could chose the delivery day I would pick August 28th (I no longer want to wait until my birthday on the 30th). We are having a get together with my friends and the baby's parents on Friday the 27th and I have decided that it would be just great to go into labour at the party, but not so intense that I couldn't still enjoy myself. All the key players will be there, my husband, our doula, baby's parents, my dr. (he's a friend of ours)... so we would be set!

It's the most surreal feeling right now. It seems weird to even talk about a delivery. We aren't preparing for a baby to come, our lives really aren't changing along with this major life event, but as I feel my body preparing more and more it has started to feel more real. I am still having a hard time puting feelings to this experience. I think that I am excited, but other than that I don't feel a lot right now. I will be interested myself to see how I am during and afterwards. I really have no idea what it will be like. Right now the experience isn't connecting in my head. Maybe when Ben and Ali get here it will be different. Sorry if that was confusing... I have a hard time understanding it myself.

SO all in all still good :) Pray that this baby waits atleast until it's parents get here on the 25th.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Time is slowing down...

I was hoping this wouldn't happen, but sort of figured it would. I think it's because we are getting so close and I've become a little obsessed with the countdown. It's not that I'm DIEING to be done this pregnancy I think it's more that there is an exciting event on the horizon. There is something to countdown to and now that we are so close the reality is setting in and I'm realizing that it's going to be awesome. Regardless of how the delivery goes (which I think will be beautiful and much like my last two) this is an amazing event! I am starting to feel the effects of being 9 months pregnant. I am fighting a daily battle with water retention and my body can't see to decide if I'm winning or loosing. I seem to go from piglet toes to normal in about 10 minutes and then back again. I actually find swelling to be one of the most uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy. It makes me feel less like myself and more like a whale trying to move around on land. I can hear it in my voice sometimes too. It's the pregnant women voice that some people get. It sounds like swollen lips that cause some sort of a lisp mixed with breathlessness. I'm also getting indigestion and heartburn. Nothing to complain about, but just a reminder of what we've got going on here. If I eat too much I pay for it for about 4 hours. I feel soooo full and can't catch my breath and then I get indigestion and once it's started to digest, the heartburn comes. I try to lay down and stretch my body out as much as I can so that there's more room for my body to do what it needs doing, but that only helps so much and laying down isn't really that awesome since the food tries to make it's way back up. The weird thing is I never know what too much is going to be. Sometimes I can eat a lot and not feel it and then other times I'll indulge in a freezie and that will push me over the edge. It's weird...

I'm really not complaining. I know that these are all symptoms of pregnancy and they really aren't that bad. I can live with them. It's all just part of the experience and again this is exactly what I signed up for. One of my clients (I'm a doula) just went into pre-term labour and delivered a baby at 33 weeks. That has really put everything into perspective for me. We have been so blessed with a healthy pregnancy. We are literally weeks away and everything is pointing to a normal healthy delivery and baby. We really couldn't have asked for a better journey.

Anyways, here are some updated pics. I'm feeling baby in every spot on this belly. It's running out of room in there. Thankfully it won't need much more since we only have 3 weeks to go. I was looking at my pictures from 13 weeks pregnant and I can't even imagine looking like that again!! It blows my mind. I feel so large and round and I really can't see past the belly into the future of normalcy again. It's weird to imagine it... actually I can't imagine it. I'm excited to experience it again though :D


Thursday, August 5, 2010

36 week photo's ... finally :)







No bare belly shots... I think it looks weird on me haha. I think that I am carrying pretty low which is fine. More comfortable than carrying high I think. Less baby in the stomach, ribs and lungs. More room for food and oxygen. I also feel like I have plateaued in belly growth in the last few weeks. I am still growing and baby is still growing, but not at an alarming rate. I have a friend who is due 6 days after me and it feels like every time I see her she has visibly grown whereas I can't tell that I've changed. As long as baby is fine I really don't mind. Less belly to loose afterwards. I have been feeling really good lately as well. Staying cool by eating ice, swimming at the lake and using our fans and the swelling really hasn't been an issue too much yet. Some days are worse than others. I can still wear my rings so that's nice! I have gotten my pregnancy induced carpel tunnel back... which kind of sucks. I had it for the last 3 months with my first pregnancy and it was miserable and very painful, but this time it isn't nearly as bad. I can put my arms above my head when I'm laying down and feel my arms and hands return to normal. Basically it's a farely healthy normal pregnancy. I'm happy with how things are going and I can't wait for things to start happening. I'm no longer feeling scared about the delivery just excited to experience it again. Ali and Ben will be getting here so soon and that's something to look forward to!! :D

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

36 weeks!!!

Sorry for the lack of posts in the last few weeks. Summer is so busy and we have just been on a whole slew of holidays that have kept us having fun and out of the house. We just spent 4 days at a house on the edge of Slave Lake and it was one of the best camping trips I have ever been on. Just such an awesome time spent with my husband, kids and friends. I have come home feeling absolutely rejuvenated and thankful for life. It has hit me lately that the countdown is on! Ali and Ben will be getting her in 3 weeks to await the arrival of their baby which I am hoping will come farely close, if not a tad earlier than the due date. It's only 4 weeks away!! I really can't believe how fast this last 10 weeks has gone. I'm hoping that the last 4 will go by just as fast, but in the same breath I really don't want to wish away the summer. I have been enjoying this pregnancy for the most part and even with the heat of summer I have come to conclusion that summer is an AWESOME time to be pregnant. I never tan as well as I do when I'm pregnant and I with all the family, friends and fun that come along with summer there really hasn't been any time to think about the discomforts of pregnancy. I don't know if it's b/c it's not my baby, but this summer I have felt that the countdown didn't take as excruciatingly long to get through as it did during the winter months. I am a little sad to realize that I may have just returned home from my last camping trip until after their baby is born. I guess it's only a short time and I will be fine, but it kind of feels like summer is being pried from my grips and Autumn is close on my heels.... I'm NOT a fall person and even less of a winter person. Again I ask myself WHY do I live in NORTHERN BC?!?!?!

News on the baby front is good. We have what I am assuming is our last ultrasound on August 5th. This one will be with the OB and act as our final checkup with him before delivering. I am confident that they will find everything is in tip top shape and if there is any surprises to be found we are close enough to the end that delivery would be a safe option. I'm excited to come home with some more photo's for the baby book that his/her mom is making. Next week we begin our weekly dr's visits and I "get" to have the dreaded Group B strep. swab done then as well. This swab is my all time least favorite test out there. It's similar to a pap, but for some reason makes me nauseous with apprehension at the thought of getting it done. For those of you who haven't had this lovely experience basically what they do is swab the area around the rectum and vagina for a bacteria that can be harmful to the baby. If the woman delivering is positive for this bacteria they need to be given antibiotics during labour to help protect the baby from any complications that could arise if they were to get the bacteria transmitted to them during the delivery. 10-30% of pregnant women carry this bacteria and it doesn't effect them. I have been negative with my past two pregnancy's, but that doesn't mean it won't be positive now so I know it's important to get I'm just REALLY not looking forward to it.

Anyways, I'll write another post after my ultrasound and dr's visits to update on the baby's status and I have found my camera so I will really try and remember to take another picture today. I have been forgetting that lately.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

34 weeks!

Sorry I have been slacking on the blogging front. It's summer and we just got back from a week long family holiday so I guess I have a good excuse. I'm actually a little annoyed at myself for not writing last week b/c now I have to catch up.

At week 33 we had a dr's apt. Everything is looking wonderful. Baby looks happy, but small... a healthy small. My dr estimates somewhere between 6 and 7lbs. My mom (the maternity nurse who works with my dr.) laughs b/c he is ALWAYS giving estimates. He'll guess on baby size, on the estimated date of arrival and even the labour and delivery length once it's started, but the nice thing about him is that he is right more often than he's wrong. He is guessing that the baby will be somewhere around 3 days late and I am committed to proving him wrong in any way I can haha. I have never delivered a baby late and it would be nice not to start now. So we'll have to wait and see. Some other great news that we got was that baby is head down!! At our previous apt. the baby was transverse to breach and so for the last 4 weeks I had been thinking I had a round little baby head sticking into my right rib, but as it turns out it was a hard little baby bum instead! Such great news since a c-section would be less than ideal and attempting a breach delivery is just too too dangerous for the baby and not something I'm willing to try. My blood pressure is cooperating as well at a nice and low 96/64. I always have low blood pressure so this is very normal for where I am usually at. I am starting to swell, but that's understood at this stage of the summer and pregnancy. Basically all our fears were put to rest at that apt. Not breach, not a big baby and seemingly very healthy on all fronts. I have an ultrasound and a visit with the OB coming up in the next couple weeks just to double check, but he says that is a formality and probably not necessary since everything is looking very low risk. All those included are relieved and I'm happy b/c I get my summer and there won't be any need to be attending the 3 apt's a week like we had initially thought.

The baby's parents just went through a massive move from one end of one province to the edge of the next one over. This unfortunately doesn't bring us any closer (distance wise) but luckily for us we happened to be holidaying only an hour from their new home! We got to go and see their new house and neighbourhood and I had a blast seeing all the things Ali has ready for the baby. It was so much fun!! I had really been feeling disconnected in the last couple weeks mainly b/c of the move and the difficulty in communicating when there is a major transition like that. I was starting to focus more and more inwardly and less on what we were really doing here and why. It makes a world of difference to be able to communicate again and that visit just really brightened the next few weeks for me. I am really excited to have them come up and await the birth of their baby together. I haven't felt any sadness in thinking about the upcoming delivery. I feel like I am ready to see the end, not necessarily b/c the end of pregnancy has it's own challenges, but mainly b/c I know they are SO excited and I can't wait to share that with them. It feels like the end of this journey and what we have all been working towards has been a long time coming and I am so excited to see this through. I feel like the timing couldn't be better. We have 6 weeks left and I'm ready to watch the weeks fly by as they have been doing so far... at least for me (most of the time). :)

So all in all things are really going great. I am still super hormonal and I my husband is looking forward to not having to deal with that pretty soon, but other than that I don't think we could have asked for a better journey than the one we have gotten so far.

I will post a belly pic later today.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

32 weeks!

I can't believe that we only have 8 weeks left!! We can say that we are now 8 months pregnant and that just sounds insane! haha :) How did we get here.

Everything has been going pretty well so far. I have still managed to avoid starting the NST's, ultrasounds and frequent dr's visits, but I think that will all change as of next week. As far as I can tell the baby is pretty much consistently in the breach position now (although yesterday (s)he reverted back to the tranverse position for the afternoon). This is most of the time really comfortable, but every once in awhile the baby floats high enough to have it's head sit underneath my right rib and rib and baby contact isn't ever an awesome thing. If I had to guess I would say that the baby is probably in the complete breach position with the knees bent and the legs pointed down. I say this b/c I feel the majority of kicks down in my pelvis, but they are mostly fluttering and only if I lay on my side (giving him/her a little more room) are the kicks strong enough to hurt. My youngest daughter was breach until 33 1/2 weeks so I'm not worried. This baby still has lots of time to turn. Fingers crossed :)

My hormones are going insane. They are by far stronger than I have had in my previous pregnancy's. Not sure if this is b/c we started this process using hormone supplements and thus triggering my body to stay at a higher level or if it's just b/c every pregnancy is different, but either way I am feeling them. I have never been a crazy pregnant woman before so this is all new territory for me haha. Recognizing that my feelings can not be trusted has really helped in my day to day management of them, but it doesn't really help those feelings go away. I find myself irritable and weepy over the most ridiculous things. Thankfully I have more days of normal me than I do of crazy me and our summer is booking up fast so I'm sure the last 8 weeks will just fly by. I'm realizing that summer is a great time to be pregnant. Yes it's hot, but there is so much to do and so little time to dwell on the time that's ticking by. I'm hoping that before we all know it Ali and Ben will have their baby in their arms :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Baby moving!

I have been trying to get a video of the baby moving for SOO long and today I think I finally got a good enough one to post. Look to the direct right of my belly button and you'll see part of the baby kind of pop out. :)
video

Sorry for the noisey background. I was just laying there watching tv when it started to move and all I could think is GRAB THE CAMERA! haha

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hormones do funny things.

After my last post, which turned out to be a really long rendition of how emotionally unstable I was that week, I discovered something. My hormones have changed!! I should have seen it! I feel like I am pretty intune with my body, but hindsight is 50/50 right. The tears, the body image issues, the hot flashes (which I thought was the hot summer getting to me), the complete lack of control over my emotions, the nausea (which felt like morning sickness starting all over again and I forgot to include in my last post) all add up now. I should have seen it and thanks to my doula I am now on the same page as my body. It honestly felt like I was on birth control and now that my body has adjusted I can look back and see the changes that I was going through. I am less of a bear (which I'm sure my family is thankful for), the nausea is gone, I was cold today(!!!), I am totally and completely fine being pregnant again and my hips have started to hurt. The hip ache is actually what convinced me. My body is starting to get ready to give birth. I'm not sure what hormones changed, but my bet is that amongst the other female hormones flowing through my body, the relaxin has definately increased. When I lay or sit for too long it takes a bit to get up and get those hips moving. I was wondering when this was going to begin.

This is such welcome news! I feel like myself again and I can go back to looking at life through rose coloured glasses. If there is one thing that this pregnancy has taught me it is that hormones control EVERYTHING! And when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING!! From appetite, to sleep cycles, to emotions to body temp. It's ridiculous haha. So the next time I start sounding like a lunatic on here please someone remind me that I am a complete utter mess of hormones and I should probably just go have a nap.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

30 weeks!

I know I have said it again and again so I'm sorry if I sound like a broken record. I really want this blog to be real. I don't want to sugar coat my feelings b/c I'm worried about who might read it. There is never any question in my mind that I am more than glad about where we all are right now, but I do have my days and in this instance, my week of struggles. For some reason week 29 was a difficult one and I am quite relieved that we have reached week 30 and I don't have to relive it ever again. I don't know what set me off, but it pushed me over the edge and I had sort of a mini meltdown. I'm not a crier in the least so to push me to the point of tears is not something that happens often.

I think there were probably a few things that just seemed to pile up all at once. I started to feel uncomfortable in this pregnancy for the first time and although I knew it was coming I guess I still wasn't prepared when it did. It was so hot and it was making my feet and hands start to swell. I couldn't help but feel discouraged that this is what my summer was going to be like. I LOVE summer and I was bummed that I wasn't going to enjoy it this year and that I would be wishing it away, especially since we get so few summer months here in Northern BC. Then there was the growing belly and the baby's position. I have carried a child every which way before, but never transverse and this is a whole nother ball game. It actually defy's logic. Why would a baby chose to lay along the smallest possible area in there when there is so much more room if "she" would just stretch out lengthwise with my body. There was baby where I didn't even know baby could be. Is there even uterus that far towards my sides??? Apparently there is b/c I'm feeling a head. I was just feeling very very full of baby. Every once in awhile "his" head will float into a breach position and it gives me a little reprieve and surprisingly it always happens when I am driving... not sure why. I feel like this baby is trying to bust out my sides. I guess "she" is very anxious to be home with "her" parents, but hopefully "he" decides to a. not bust out of anything and b. stay in there a little while longer.

I have also been having a difficult time accepting that I am "loosing" my body to pregnancy. I haven't been as attached to this pregnancy for obvious reasons and so I have found that I have been really holding onto what part is still me. Looking at my body right now what I see is all the work that I have ahead of me to get myself back to where I want to be. It's not just the belly that grows, it's the love handles, the thighs, the butt, the arms, the face... basically anything that can grow will grow. I can try to ignore it right now, but that doesn't take it away. This is normal for me in pregnancy and I expected it, but I guess I didn't quite realize how much harder it would be to except this time. I am not a "momma to be" I am still just Brandi. It's very different. I have ordered a colourful hospital gown to wear while I am in labour and for a lot of people that seemed like a waste of money, but for me it kind of symbolized how I feel. This will be me as a women in labour not a mother. And when this baby no longer inhabits my body I will still just be me. I won't have a life altering position to play for this child. I will be going back to life as usual and unfortunately I will be bringing my over sized body and jelly belly with me. I'm well within the boundaries of healthy weight gain during this pregnancy, but it's still weight gain and it still changes how I look.

All of those things just seemed to pile on top of me at once and I was feeling like this last 10 weeks was going to last FOREVER. I was ready to be done and I knew that I wouldn't be for another 2 1/2 months. I wanted to jump into my skinny jeans or put on a cute summer dress and go to the beach. I wanted to feel like me again.

Laying there in bed I finally succumbed to these feelings that had been plaguing me all week and I had a good cry. My poor husband didn't know what to do with me, but thankfully he just hugged me and reminded me of how beautiful he thinks I am and reminded me of all the fun things we are going to do this summer that will make time just whiz by. I was not wishing away the pregnancy, but wishing away the time and he reminded me that these next few weeks are going to be awesome and that I really didn't want to do that.

I woke up the next morning feeling SOOO much better. Yes the baby is still transverse, but I have decided to enjoy feeling that little head poking out my side instead of groan and I am just going to dip my feet in cool water (or my whole body if need be) when I'm too warm or extra swollen. I'm going to get lots of foot rubs from my hubby and just enjoy knowing that I don't have to do anything to fix my body right now. I will get back to my normal self. I've done it two other times. I am eating healthy and doing everything I can right now to make my job easier when I'm done and that's all I can do. I can't obsess about what I look like right now. I need to be thankful that God has decided to allow us to grow this precious life and remember that this really isn't about me. Yes I have thoughts and feelings and they are important, but there is a bigger picture and I can't forget that. I feel much much better about things. I am back to my usual self and I am enjoying this heat (and the breeze haha) and this journey. It was just a little bump in the road. I never even for a second regretted this decision. I never will! But I did for a few days wish that it didn't take so long. I know growing human beings (optimally) takes 9 months and that's what we all signed up for and once again I am excited that we are officially at 30 weeks and wow what a great point to reach. :) 30 weeks is a blessing beyond words. There are people who don't make it to this stage and it's so scary and can be so devastating. I'm so greatful that neither us nor Ali and Ben have to face that reality. I am thankful for where we are :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

29 weeks!

We are almost to the 30 week landmark!! 30 weeks is when we can (pretty much) start counting down in single digits. It's also when things most likely begin to get uncomfortable, but that just means baby is getting bigger and preparing for his/her arrival.

I had a dream about their baby last night. I remember it perfectly. It was a boy, dark hair, really small, but he was wearing overalls and a green shirt... not sure where that outfit came from. I've never seen a baby come into the world fully clothed before haha. I also got told that our due date was pushed to September 28th instead of September 1st which makes me really question the validity of this dream haha. This is coming from the women who dreamt that my oldest daughter was an Eskimo boy and I kept forgetting her everywhere around town. It was quite inaccurate considering I had a little blond hair, blue eyed baby girl.

So we had a dr's apt. yesterday and everything looks absolutely wonderful with their baby. The baby is laying transverse across my belly which I didn't realize, but now that I know of course I'm feeling like my sides are busting out. I'm thinking it's all in my head and am trying to ignore it. "He" is more head down than head up so hopefully "she" just steadily moves head down more and more as the weeks progress. It's still early so we aren't worried about baby's positioning quite yet. The transverse position has however made me measure at about 24 weeks gestation instead of the 29 that we are. This is nothing to be alarmed about. He isn't worried, it's normal. I'm sure the fundal height will balance out once "he" is head down and if it doesn't that's actually farely normal for me. I measured 4 weeks too small for my dates with my last pregnancy and she was exactly the same size as her sister who measured normally. Fundal height isn't very accurate.

We got good variability with the heartbeat again this time. It was an average of about 152 beats per minute which is a good healthy number and the dr. even felt some nice strong movements from "her". Since everything is going so well he has decided to postpone the onslaught of NST's, ultrasounds and dr's apt's. He will see how the next 4 weeks go and then decide what course of action to take. I haven't had any more cramping and the braxton hicks are very irregular. I can go a day without getting a single one so it looks like my uterus is pretty inactive which is nice to see. So all in all a great apt and one the parents can be happy with. :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Early bird braxton hicks and 28 weeks

Oh the braxton hicks! They're back! I feel like I have to share at least a portion of my last experience with these suckers for people to understand why I am somewhat dreading their return.
I never had any with my first pregnancy, or at least none that I could tell. The close personal relationship with these things came with my second pregnancy. I started getting them at about 34 weeks. They started infrequently and not very regular, but by 36 weeks they had started to come every second day, 5 minutes apart like clock work. I know 36 weeks is too early to have a baby, but it's not unheard of so I was a little worried that this was a sign that I was starting to get ready for the delivery, especially since with my first birth my body didn't mess around. When I had uterine activity it was b/c I was in labour. After about a week of sitting there timing "contractions" day after day I asked (begged) my dr. to do a cervical check. Thankfully he reported that no there was no change in my cervix, but did request weekly NST's (non stress tests) at the hospital from that point on. He wanted to make sure baby was still happy in there with all the activity going on. The news that no I wasn't delivering this child yet allowed me to go another couple weeks not focusing on these annoying, but useless contractions and just live my life. Ignoring them was easier said then done since they were still coming every 5 minutes apart 12 hours at a time and would take my breath away with every one. Finally at about 38 1/2 weeks I thought for sure I was in labour. The braxton hicks were getting stronger and they were so frequent that I figured they HAD to be doing something. My mom works in maternity so that evening when she was working I slipped into the hospital to get her to check everything out. They started out with the NST and based on the contractions it looked like I was in the early stages of labour. There was a lot of activity, but after getting her co-worker to check my cervix they gave me the news that not only was I not softened, dilated or effaced, but they couldn't even reach my cervix yet! It was still posterior!! I couldn't believe it!! I only had 1 1/2 weeks until my due date and although I was still enjoying being pregnant, sleeping well, completely comfortable, I was just flabbergasted that nothing was happening! To make a long story short I continued to have these braxton hicks until the day my dr. stripped my membranes. I was barely even one cm. dilated at that point, but at least my body was getting something done. That membrane strip put an end to the braxton hicks for a whole day and at 7pm I got my first real contraction of the pregnancy. I went into the hospital at about 12:30am and delivered my 2nd baby girl at 3:25am (3 days early!). I have to say it was a beautiful labour and delivery. I remember it with such fondness and I honestly can't wait to do it again.

I felt like those braxton hicks had pestered me on a daily basis. They were a constant reminder that I was close to my due date and that it could happen any day and I literally sat on the edge of my birthing ball for the last 5 weeks of my pregnancy wondering when it would be. (I had swapped out my computer chair for my birthing ball to help open my pelvis and hopefully get my cervix ripening)

Thankfully I haven't had them anywhere near as regular yet, but this is by far the earliest they have ever started. The good thing that I can tell you is that at least we know these contractions do ABSOLUTELY nothing to my cervix. This is in no way a sign that this baby is going to come early. I hope that I have learned a few things about my body and that I won't be such a sucker this time around. I really never thought I would know the difference between false and real labour, but when I had that first real contraction I knew without a doubt. Here are some of the things I have learned about my braxton hicks.
1) Real contractions start out slower (10, 15, 20 mins or more apart) and get closer together. My braxton hicks start out close together (5 mins apart), but don't get more frequent. I never had one closer than 3 minutes apart.
2) My braxton hicks DO get stronger. I would put the ones I'm getting now on a strength scale of 2, but they did get up to a 10 with pregnancy #2. The main difference is that real contractions hurt. Even the first one I had caused a small amount of pain. My braxton hicks tighten, but they don't ever hurt. It's not like cramping for me at all. Labour however, can start out like cramping.
3) Braxton hicks (for me) feel like a sneeze that I never quite get out. It wraps around my belly and makes it hard as a rock, but just when I'm waiting for it to peak and maybe hurt it starts receding instead. I also feel like the baby is pushing out with it's whole body so it's not the pushing down sensation that comes with labour. My real contractions start in my hips and/or back and wrap around my whole belly and then no matter what stage of labour they will reach a peak and recede. Both contractions feel like waves rushing through my body, but the braxton hicks never reach my back or hips.
4) Lastly braxton hicks can usually be stopped or slowed down based on what sort of activity you are doing. Mine would almost completely go away if I had a bath or laid down whereas when real labour is here you can slow down the contractions, but no matter what you do that baby is coming and as long as baby is in the right position and things are happening properly you can only slow it down for so long. The braxton hicks I'm getting now stop when I walk around. Sitting is what brings them on... so that's a little different than last time.

I think that's the end of my rant on braxton hicks. I'm kind of sick of typing those two words as I'm sure you are of reading them. I was mainly trying to remind myself that yes I do know the difference between real and false labour, these are not doing anything and I should ignore them. They are easy to ignore right now, but I'm expecting in the weeks to come they will get stronger and more frequent. I am going to have to have a mantra to myself saying "ignore them, they aren't doing anything, do not time them Brandi!" I tend to have a bit of OCD and like to have things organized and on paper, but I will not time them!! haha :)

Here are some updated pics on the growing belly.





Oh side note: I just visited my friend and her brand new tiny 5lbs 12oz baby girl. Looking at the baby I couldn't imagine how she fit in her momma's belly. She was SO tiny and yet it still looked incomprehensible to me. My children weren't even that small! God really is the ultimate designer. The whole process really blows my mind!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The third trimester begins!! 27 weeks :)

I'm a happy woman today!! We officially have entered the 3rd trimester. We have been so fortunate with an easy pregnancy so far and I know that if it is going to get tougher ,the next few months will be the time for that. I welcome it all with open arms b/c I know it only gets us one step closer to welcoming baby. I have been really enjoying this pregnancy since about 17 weeks when I really started showing and I still am, however I can't help but look forward to the special differences the end of this pregnancy will bring for me. I can't wait to start being able to loose weight instead of gain it. I am looking forward to remembering what I look like without a baby inside my body. I seriously can't remember anymore! I'm going to welcome my hugely engorged breasts b/c that means no middle of the night feedings and although I hate to see the milk go to waste I am really glad that I don't have to breastfeed this time around. I can't wait to go to Mexico two months after the baby is born and not have to worry about keeping a newborn cool in that crazy heat. I can't wait to wrap my arms all the way around my husband and give him a big kiss without first maneuvering around the belly. I'm ready to go into labour and know that the next day I can go home and sleep for as long as I want! My parents have offered to take my girls for a day or two after the birth so I am planning on resting lots and going for tea at friends houses. I am a little bit of a social butterfly and we wouldn't want something like giving birth to get in the way of that haha ;) Oh the list could go on and on ,but I don't want to sound too excited at not becoming a mother for the 3rd time. I do believe that if I need to think of these things and look forward to them to not miss all the joys that come with bringing a baby home than that's okay and it's what I am going to do. I want to enjoy this experience to the fullest and I think that controlling my thoughts is huge in how this will turn out for me. I am going to allow myself to feel what I need to feel and work through it, but I won't allow myself to wallow in what I don't have at the end. I don't feel like I will be "missing" something, but I have heard of surrogates who took it very hard and I can't let myself go there. I have protected my thoughts and feelings this whole time by always remembering our #1 goal which is to have a healthy baby, but most importantly that this is NOT my child. It never was, it never will be and that's more than okay, that's awesome! It's one of the main reasons why I just don't feel okay with people believing that this is my pregnancy b/c every time I look in the mirror I see it as someone elses. I know that Ali and Ben will have blessings piling up to the sky with this precious bundle and it's okay for me to be happy with the blessings I can find coming out of this too. Don't get me wrong this is all worth it, I am really enjoying it and I would do it all over again. I believe that these experiences in life help shape us to be the people we will become.

It's so much fun to be able to look towards the birth. Now is about the time I start watching an onslaught of baby story and maternity ward shows on TLC. I love to relive the memory of my two previous delivery's and it really helps me to visualize what I am going to do during the pain. I know every delivery is different, but this is birth #3 for my body so the chances of things going well are pretty good. If it doesn't I'm okay with that b/c the goal always is a healthy baby. The birth being wonderful and enjoyable is all in what you make of the circumstances that present themselves. I will avoid intervention as much as possible, but if it comes to baby being safe and me having to have a c-section or even induction (please no) than that's what we will do.

I feel like I am going to be talking a lot about the birth in the next few months and I really hope I don't bore you all. It's just part of my preparation and excitement. Bare with me please :)

I didn't take a picture yet this week, but hopefully I will get to it later on. The way I look today is not something I want to document haha :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

26 weeks

We are officially beginning the viability stages. Baby now has a small chance of surviving outside the womb, not that we want it out quite yet. It is welcome to stay in there for another 14 weeks.

We had the best visit with Ali and Ben. They came up to go camping with us, but since we got over a foot of snow we kiboshed that idea and just hung out at home. The first day did feel somewhat like camping since our power went out for two nights and one full day and for us that means no water, no power, no heat (except for our wood stove which we are so thankful for) and no water means no toilet and no power means no cooking. Thankfully my parents fed us that night. The snow has now melted and we can have our warm weather back. I love Northern BC, but if you could strangle a province I might have tried this weekend.

One of the things we got to discuss this weekend was our birth plan. I'm so relieved to have that finally set out for us. There was a little bit of stress for me trying to plan it out and somehow try to predict how we might all be feeling and what we might want and that's just not possible since none of us have ever been here before. I think we are all happy with the plan we have come up with and knowing that we are all flexible easy going people helps. This is a birth plan and like any plan in life it can change.

I was really feeling guilty about how much participation Ben was going to have. I was struggling with the fact that this is his baby, but obviously not his wife so where do we go from there. We decided that there would be more of an "open door" policy during labour. Ben and his and Ali's moms (if they can make it) are welcome to come and get updates (obviously depending on how things are going) sit and chat if we are all feeling up for it, but during the actual delivery the only people who will be in the room is Ali (baby's mom), Andrew (my husband, my rock) and my mom (who is a maternity nurse and my coach during my delivery's). Ali would cut the cord and then be the first to hold it once baby is ready and then she can take the baby out to meet his/her very excited father and Grandma's. Once I'm done getting stitched up (hopefully that won't be necessary) and delivering the placenta then they can all come in and we can oooh and awww over the baby together and I will get a chance to hold him/her. I think this is a lovely compromise and one we can all live with. When we are all finished meeting the baby for the first time then Ben and Ali will go have some private time with their baby and I will go have the most wonderful shower of my life. :)

Figuring out the details of after the birth and while we are in the hospital was a little trickier since a lot of that will depend on a. how long I'm in there for and b. if there is enough space for Ben and Ali and baby to have their own room. September is supposed to be a busy month so lets hope we beat the rush and have this baby in August. We want to all be very open to discussing how we feel and be honest about what we need. We all have the same goal and that is making this a great experience for everyone involved so I feel that it will work out just fine. For me my main goal is to help Ben and Ali enjoy their first few days as parents. It's a unique situation to have someone else involved and I want to help make it feel like it's all theirs. I have had my moments with my babies, holding them and getting to know them, studying their faces for the first time and I want them to have that same opportunity. My most special moment with my girls was after everyone else left me and I was truly alone with them for the first time. Babies are so alert the first couple hours after birth and we just sat there staring at each other. I couldn't help but cry with all the love that I felt for that little person. I can remember it like it was yesterday and it still brings tears to my eyes.

Ali and Ben are kind enough to give Andrew and I a chance to be alone with the baby before they leave and say goodbye. I know we will be seeing this little one again, but it will be nice to have that moment since we will have been on quite a journey together. I am actually hoping for a nighttime delivery so that I can leave the next afternoon. I'm not a fan of trying to sleep in hospitals and since the hospital will want to keep the baby for at least 24 hours if I can leave early Ben and Ali will get to be on their own with their baby there.

I'm really excited for them! Just imagining them finally getting to take their baby home makes me smile. I remember the drive home and the first day as parents on our own and there was a sense of everything being right in the world. I don't think I ever felt more at peace. I hope Ben and Ali get to experience that to the fullest and that they can look back on this whole experience fondly.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Another beautiful birth

My dear friend Tara just delivered a beautiful baby girl and was fortunate enough to have our friend Laura there to capture the birth on camera. I wanted to add this video to my blog b/c I think it was just such a beautiful birth and Laura captured it perfectly. I truely hope my birth goes as well as this one. I love how the feeling of the birth was captured so well. Since our birth will be coming up in 14 weeks I have been thinking a lot about what it could be like and I hope that it goes as well as my first two. I hop it can be mellow and peaceful and a great experience for the parents as well as for me :) I'm excited!!

So I hope you enjoy this video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE6nv6Gch-E
This is my friend Laura's website. She does amazing pictures and is such a beautiful soul.
http://lauradyckphoto.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Just had to share this.

I have been following a few different surrogate blogs and just recently one of the surrogates delivered the IP's sweet baby girl. They had a photographer in there for the birth and posted the slide show on her blog. I just had to share this with you guys b/c it really hit me with the reality we will be facing in 15 short weeks. I watched it probably 4 times and cried the whole time. It was so beautiful!! What stuck with me the most was what a great welcome party that little girl had coming into this world. In the movie the photographer quoted a verse from the Bible that says " Every good and perfect gift is from above" James 1:17 and that truth just resonated with me. I am so thankful for my children, I don't know what my life would be like without them and getting to be a part of this opportunity for God to bless another family's life is such a honor. I can't thank Ali and Ben enough for trusting me with their precious cargo it's a "job" I don't take lightly. Watching this movie made me that much more excited to share in their special day with them.

Here are the sites for both the photographers website and surrogates blog. Watch it and enjoy!!
http://www.kdloftisphotography.com/blog/2010/05/15/the-greatest-gift-birth
http://asurrodiary.blogspot.com/
(I tried attaching the links, but they weren't working so copy and paste)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

25 weeks!! Only 15 to go??!!?!?

How can it be that we only have 15 weeks left!!?!?! The days are becoming warmer and we leave for our first camping trip this weekend. Not only does that mean summer is coming which is just glorious, but also that baby will be born soon. I find myself calling it HE all the time. I think this is my way of not having to call him an it, but also since I have two girls and no boys, it separates the familiarity that much more. Ali and Ben are coming camping with us this weekend and I couldn't be more thrilled. I'm excited to chat about our "birth plan", although it is more of a "baby plan" since most of it will be our preferences for after the baby is born or newly arrived. It will be nice to have some more concrete ideas on what we all want.

I had a dr's apt. today. It went very well. I drank that awful orange drink (last week), which I usually love, but really didn't this time and found out that my blood sugar is perfect. My hemoglobin is a tad on the low side so I'm back on iron supplements every second day. We heard baby's heartbeat and it gave us some nice variables so that is a good sign that 'he' is doing well. My dr advised me that they still consider this a high risk pregnancy soley for the fact that this is an unusual situation and although everything has been going perfectly come 32 weeks they will be monitoring the baby very closely. This is my last 4 week stint in between dr's visits b/c after that it will go down to two weeks in between and then at 36 weeks I'll go in every week. I will have an ultrasound at 32 weeks and then possibly another two after that and then again starting at 32 weeks I will go in for regular NST's (non stress tests) which checks the baby's heart rate and movements and also monitors any contractions. My life is going to get VERY busy in the next few months, but that's really okay b/c it's nice to know that we are all getting taken care of and that there are people on our side who are doing their absolute best to help Ali and Ben welcome their healthy baby into this world. Not to mention we will have a lot of nice pictures for their baby book :) My dr. also mentioned that his estimate for their baby's weight is between 6 and 7lbs which is a nice size and right now the belly is growing perfectly with the dates.

I asked him if IVF babies are known for coming early or right on their dates since conception is not a guessing game. He said no the statistics are similar to a 'regular' pregnancy, but that usually when people use IVF it is b/c of complications getting pregnant which may effect either the embryo itself or the mothers body and ability to carry children so this may point to higher risk more complicated pregnancy's and sometimes preterm babies. In our case there is no way to guess when the baby is coming since there aren't really any of the usual complications. Both 'his' parents are young and healthy and my body has carried two babies to full term already so our chances of making it close to the end or even past are pretty good. I'm still hoping for August 30th (which is my birthday), but as we all know we don't get to chose. :)

Here is another set of pictures of "the belly" at 25 weeks.