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The day he made me a surrogate mother..

{36 weeks – The day he was born!}

On Wednesday March 7th, My  IM and  I went in for a routine OB check up and my blood pressure was oddly high. I usually have low blood pressure, so they were concerned. I left the appointment and went directly to buy an at home monitor to make sure I could keep an eye on it. IM returned home and planned to come back around the 23rd.
By Saturday afternoon my blood pressure was WAY higher than the doctor considered safe. I was admitted to the hospital for observations and stayed until Sunday. During my stay my OB winced when I told her we had 12 days until I was 37 weeks (full term). I felt fine and was sure we’d make it with no problem. She thought we might have to induce before he was full term.  I was sent home on STRICT bed rest and told to keep monitoring my blood pressure. IM arrived back to Utah after only being home for 15 hours. She checked on me daily and took such good care of me while on bed rest.

We returned for a routine appt on Wednesday the 14th and everything was looking good. We spent over 30 minutes with our favorite ultrasound tech checking the baby out, then another 45 minutes hooked up to monitors during a non stress test. Everything was looking great. I was reassured that we’d easily make it 9 more days to full term. The baby was measuring around 5.1 pounds and I wasn’t ready for him to be born yet. Dr Langer told us we would most likely induce between the 23rd and the 30th. I had other plans and KNEW I’d make it further, I had NO reason to believe I wouldn’t make it all the way to 40 weeks. As long as I was IN BED my blood pressure was normal and great. I wanted  give the baby the best start I could.
I spent Thursday the 15th feeling just kinda yucky. I had been in bed for almost 7 days and just felt blah. My friend Jen (who is also a surrogate and due just 2 days before me) came to visit and I had my first meeting with my Doula, Angie. Jen mentioned how many contractions she was having and I told them I hadn’t felt a single contraction yet. I lamented how emotionally hard it was for me to know I should be preparing my body for labor but had to be stuck in bed. But I knew deep down my body would be ok. I told them how badly I just wanted to go into labor on my own. I told them I wished my water would break early one morning just like it did with Miles. I didn’t want to be induced. I would do whatever I could to not be induced.
I slept HORRIBLY. I was so uncomfortable all night. And just didn’t really feel like sleeping. I couldn’t pin point what was off, I had a little weird pain. But it felt and acted just like gas pain.  I wasn’t concerned; I even spent an hour around 2am just laying awake and feeling the baby move around.
I woke up to my alarm at 7:30am so I could get ready for my doctors appointment. I felt tired, sluggish but had no pain. As we all drove to the doctors appointment I mentioned I was having some kind of weird pain. Maybe just one tiny step up from a Braxton Hicks. But I almost didn’t notice it if I wasnt paying attention.
We arrived at the doctors office and went for our non stress test. We started at the ultrasounds to check his fluid level and got a couple good picture of him then headed to the monitoring part of the NST. 20…30… 40 minutes went by. The nurse finally came in and said she wasn’t getting enough reactions out of him. I joked that we normally wouldn’t even be out of bed yet and that I hadn’t eaten anything today. She brought my juice and a candy bar. My IM’s cousin went to the cafeteria to see what they had to eat. We sat in the NST room and joked and laughed. We talked about restaurants in Utah, visiting park city and most importantly where we wanted to go to lunch. I felt pains, and watched as the babies heart rate reacted to them. I even pointed out to everyone when I felt a pain and saw the babies heart rate react. At one point I even opened up the contraction app on my phone to try to time the pain. But they were so subtle I accidentally skipped over a few, and there was NO duration. Just a short pain that was gone as fast as it came. The machine wasn’t picking up any contractions.  I honestly wasnt sure what the pains were and still chalked it up to braxton hicks. I talked and laughed through each pain.
Thankfully IM’s cousin brought me the yummiest omelet and a giant orange juice, even though we told him I wasn’t hungry and didn’t need anything. I only ate half since we just spent two hours picking the best lunch place to visit when we were done. We FINALLY headed over to the actual doctor’s appointment. I texted my friend Jen that I was having some weird pain but I didn’t want the doctor to check my cervix because I didn’t want to be disappointed. She said she was curious and begged me to have it checked. I told her I’d do it just for her.
When Dr Langer came in I told her I was feeling something weird, but wasn’t concerned. I just didn’t want to be disappointed when I wasn’t dilated. She joked that she was hoping to find me at a 4. Since I was EXACTLY 36 weeks, I was only hoping for a 2! She checked, and looked at me with the biggest eyes. She said “RYLEY, you are a 5 and a half with bulging water!” I shouted at her and told her she was lying. And immediately FREAKED out and started crying. She kept repeating herself and told me I needed to go right now and have this baby. I burst into tears and didn’t know what to think.  She looked at me and said “it’s 11:30am. I have to leave at 2pm, so he will be born by 2.” Hearing that sent me into a tailspin. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I hadn’t packed a bag (even though she told me last week to bring it to every appointment) my IM had NOTHING for the baby. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. It was too early. I wasn’t ready, we weren’t ready.
I texted Jen something to the effect of “HOLY SH!T I’M 5CM”
I called my mom, told her I was going to have the baby, she was at Target getting the things on my hospital bag list. Good timing!  Then I called my doula with a shaky voice, she didn’t answer, and I cried harder, begging her to HURRY.
I walked out of the room as Dr Langer was telling IM that the baby was coming NOW. I looked at her and  we were both in tears and shaking. We hugged and cried and both took a deep breath. The time was NOW, ready or not.
We calmly walked over to L&D. I mentioned how weird it was that I’m walking calmly through the doors, almost 6cm dilated. The babies Uncle (who was also with us), kept commenting how different this was than the movies. Just moments earlier we had joked with him that he could cut the cord at the birth. But we thought that would be in weeks not hours. It hadn’t sank in yet. I was sure she was wrong. There was no baby REALLY coming.
We walked to a room, it was the same room Miles was born in. It was meant to be. I was getting really nervous. Right when I didn’t think I could hold it together, my doula Angie walked through the door and all the weight lifted from my shoulders. I knew it was going to be ok.
Around 12:15 Dr Langer arrived to break my water. I was in virtually no pain, able to talk and laugh through the contractions.  They weren’t even registering on the monitors. I sat beside the bed on a birth ball, and just talked and laughed with everyone. Sometimes I paused the conversation to take a breath through a contraction but they were short. Came, and went. There were breaks in between. Something I didn’t experience with Miles. It was a short burst of slight pain then I was back to talking.
I was SOOO blessed with a great nurse and great staff, they immediately turned down the lights, talked softly and always asked what I wanted, it was everything I had discussed wanting the night before but we didn’t have time to even discuss with the nurse staff.  My nerves shot up a bit as the NICU staff came in to talk to IM and the guys about what they can expect from a 36 week old. But even with that stress, I was finally calm and coming to grips with the fact he would be born SOON.  Nothing could have been better. As  1:00 approached I was a little over 7cm but time was getting close for Dr Langer needing to leave. She asked the nurse to start pitocin, because I was a little too comfortable. (if anyone else told this part of the story, I’d roll my eyes at the doctor. But in my story, I didn’t mind. I REALLY wasnt in pain, or even felt like I was in labor) The nurse didn’t really feel like giving me Pit so she only turned it on to 1 drip per minute. It wasnt much longer until I had to close my eyes and focus a little more on those short bursts of pain. But still, they didn’t really hurt.
It wasn’t much longer before I thought maybe I felt that urge that everyone talks about. Maybe just maybe there was a little bit of pressure? I couldn’t really tell, but that was enough of a reassurance that they needed to get Dr Langer in. I breathed through some intense moments but could still talk. I closed my eyes but sensed the room fill up with NICU nurses and a whole lot of other people.
Suddenly, there was that urge. I was pretty sure he was coming RIGHT then. I closed my eyes, held Angie’s hand and prayed over and over and over again for him to be okay. Begged for him to be breathing well and to cry. PLEASE just let him cry. I was terrified. I didn’t care what I was about to experience. I was worried about the itty bitty 36 week baby coming into this world when I promised to protect him.
The moment I heard them say that Dr Langer was in the room I BEGGED her to hurry. I just kept begging. My eyes were closed but Angie gave me the play by play telling me she had to get ready. But I was ready NOW. She stood beside and said, “ok, let me check you.” I think I said something to the effect of “BUT HE’S RIGHT THERE.” I was holding him in. Thinking about moments on tv when they tell the mom not to push and just breath through that feeling. I was doing just that. Relaxing, trying not to deliver the baby into the nurses hands.
When she finally sat down ready to deliver I actually felt horrible when she told me he wasn’t right there.
But I KNEW I was a good pusher and he’d be here fast. While I remembered I was a good pusher, I had forgotten what it was actually like.
With Miles, I didn’t even know when his head came out. I pushed this baby’s head out and felt it.  I wouldn’t even constitute it as pain, but it was hard. I must kept whispering to Angie “oh my gosh you guys..oh my gosh you guys..” I could hear his heart rate dropping and knew I couldn’t take my time. I heard the panic in the nurses voice as she asked Angie to hold the monitor tighter and told me I needed to push. And in that spilt second I wanted to say out loud, “just get the vacuum and get him out NOW.” Not because I couldn’t do it, but because I was scared for him. I couldn’t say it, but I wanted to. I pushed so hard. So hard. Harder than I did with my 9 pound baby. Not longer, just harder. I felt like I could pass out. I kept saying, “I’m forgetting to breath. I don’t have time.” I was SOOO thankful when the nurse put the oxygen mask on my face. I always imagined when I saw women on tv like that, that they felt claustrophobic with that mask. I thanked her so many times. It was just the boost I needed and I inhaled like it was my first breath. One push later and I felt every ounce of him wiggle out. I never felt that before. I felt so much. I thought in my head how creepy it felt, I wanted to crawl off the bed. It’s amazing how much you have time to think about in spilt seconds. Dr Langer held him up. He was so tiny. But looked great. I looked at the clock. 2pm. WE DID IT. Not even intentionally, but we did it.
I called his uncle over and asked him to cut the cord. He did and the baby was taken over to be cleaned. I watched and heard him cry. I was so thankful. As quick and the intense moments started they were over. We were back to laughing and talking about how INSANE this day was. 2 hours ago I had no clue I was in labor. And here was a baby. He looked great. 36 weeks and he was so healthy. I hoped he wouldn’t be too little and when they put him on the scale he weighed 5 pounds 6.7 ounces. I was relieved. Everything about him was relieving.
The crew left with the baby and left just my doula, her apprentice, my awesome nurse and Dr Langer to clean me up. My LEAST favorite part. It was horrible and painful. I’d give birth to 10 more babies back to back to not have to deal with the afterbirth pains and cleanup.
As soon as it began it was over. Dr Langer was on her way to run her Marathon in St George and me, Angie and her apprentice just sat around in sheer awe of what just happened and how quickly it happened.
The baby was cleaned up and before long they all came into my room and we spent an amazing evening together.
The day seems like a dream. In all honesty the whole journey seems like a dream. I can’t believe how lucky we all were to have each other. It hasn’t even been a year since I read the profile of the family I fell in love with and tonight we kiss the head of their sweet baby.
At 36 weeks he was (IS) completely healthy. He never stepped foot into the NICU, never required oxygen, never needed extra assistance. We were all so lucly.
I am so blessed to have them as a part of my family and to be a part of their family. Even 2700 words isn’t enough to full express how incredibly amazing this has been. No one could have prepared me for the sheer joy and happiness this journey would (selfishly)
bring ME.
                                      {The day we went home. I hadnt slept in 3 days}

27 weeks!

How far along? 27 weeks. Officially the 3rd Trimester!!!

Maternity clothes? After some very nice poking an prodding a friend convinced me to try the Motherhood full panel maternity jeans. (I didn’t wear a SINGLE pair of maternity pants last pregnancy.) While I enjoy not having to constantly pull up real waist band jeans, the panel top does bug me a little. But overall, I’m pretty happy with their fit and glad I got them!
Other than that, my wardrobe consist 100% of Old Navy Maternity tops. I just love them SO much. ESPECIALLY the stripes.

Weight Gain? According to my scale I am up 6 lbs from my first doctors appt.

Stretch Marks? Baby Chuck likes to keep his head right under my belly button which has lead to some kind blueish areas around my belly button, but other than that, Miles already made enough to share with this baby!

Sleep? I am sleeping SO well. Probably better than I should. I have some restless times. I wake up a few times a night but I have NEVER yet woken up in the middle of the night because I had to pee. Weird right??? I remember waking up 3 times by this point last time.

I am SOOO thankful for the good sleep. Baby Chuck has his hour before I fall asleep that he gets all comfy and cozy and moves around, then sometimes around 7am I feel him moving just a little bit, but he’ll let me sleep till after 10am (if Miles does!)

Movement? Baby Chuck has been such a calm baby. Even know at 27 weeks when he has his “wild” moments they are FAR less wild than I remember in the past. He HATES tight clothing around my stomach (so do I), and often wakes up for a bit when I get in bed but quickly calms down. I have a routine of waking up in the morning then catching up on my phone and waiting for him to wake up. I say good morning, tell him is mommy and daddy love him and then start my day.

Gender? Hopefully he’s still a boy!

What I Miss? Hmmm.. I kinda love my new clothes and my pregnancy pillows, and being able to eat anything I want. I don’t know if there is too much I miss right now. I get a little winded when I walk up stairs but other than that, it’s been easy peasy.

Symptoms? My heartburn is finally under control. I haven’t had a killer headache in a while. And I don’t feel nauseous at all anymore. Other than the occasional Braxton Hicks I’m feeling pretty good.

Food cravings? Oh goodness, this one could go on and on and on! Lately I have been on a sandwich kick. Any kind of sandwich but specifically this DELICIOUS cheesesteak from a local place. Mexican food is ALWAYS #1 in my book. And I’ve started eating cereal like it’s going out of style.

Food aversion? Thankfully these have calmed down a TON! For the longest time I couldn’t stand monochromatic food. If there was no color on a plate I couldn’t even look at it without gagging.

Labor signs? Thank goodness, nothing yet.

Belly button in or out?  It never popped out last time, so I’m not expecting it to this time.

What I’m Looking Forward to? Getting a nice round belly. It’s still not very big, but he sure is.

Weekly Wisdom?  Eat smaller portions. Gosh I don’t know why I cant get the hang of this concept. I think I’m STARVING so I eat a ton of food then I am sooo full the rest of the day.

Milestones? I’ve been able to actually watch him move in my tummy lately. Every time I get camera out he STOPS! Hopefully I’ll be able to record it soon to send to his parents.


26 weeks in picture form

I’m not going to lie.

The evolution of the bump cracks me up. I felt HUGE at 9 weeks and tiny now. It sure gets bigger and smaller and bigger and smaller.

I CAN’T WAIT until it’s big and round and Chuck’s mom can feel him kicking from the outside. I’ve tried a couple times to get his big movements recorded for them, but the second I get my phone turned on he stops. Silly kid.

I cant wait to add (at least) 14 more pictures to this!
(maybe then I’ll just pick one for each month)

26 weeks…

26 weeks.

I can’t believe we’re here.

I’ve been feeling like this is almost over for probably 10 weeks now. But now it really feels almost over.

This has been the most amazing journey.

(I am already DYING to do this again..)

I have been SO blessed by the family I am working with. They have been so amazing. (I’m already worried about how the next family is going to stack up to them. (but not really.))

I call him Chuck.  (it won’t be his real name, but I don’t talk real names here for the family..)

He has been a JOY to share these 26 weeks with.

I had my moments of INTOLERABLE morning sickness, EXCRUSITATING heartburn, & KILLER headaches.

But it’s all been SO amazing.

Baby Chuck is growing fantastically. He’s a wiggly little worm who prefers to be head up.

He sleeps at convenient times and he’s awake at (mostly) convenient times.

My tummy is still TINY. I’ve gained 3.8 lbs (if we don’t talk about how much weight I gained with the fertility meds before becoming pregnant.) But there is no getting around the fact that even though it doesn’t look like it, there is still a 1 and a half pound 26 week baby boy in my tummy. Things (like bending) aren’t as easy as they used to be.


You guys? I wish there was a way to effectively tell you how AMAZING this whole thing has been. I feel like a “surrogacy pusher.” I want EVERYONE to do it. I want EVERYONE to experience this. (I’ve even gotten to the point where I’ve considered printing business cards with information about my agency to pass out to people who ask questions..) I don’t even know what to compare it to. It’s just… amazing.

I wish I could break of little pieces of the joy it brings me and give it to others so they can experience it..

I feel so lucky this family chose me, and this baby chose to me too!

{Woosh Woosh Woosh}

The past 3 months have been filled with so much anticipation and so much joy.  For the first time in 3 months I felt shear panic. The nerves shook my hands as they gripped the steering wheel. I could hear my heart beating. For a moment I thought I might hyperventilate. I considered pulling the car over. At the next stop light I sent an SOS to my closest friends to let them know I could use all the prayers they could spare.

I was driving to my monitoring clinic for the very first ultrasound. Hoping and praying to at least see one heartbeat from the 3 embryos we transferred 5 weeks earlier.

My mind had been so full of positives. Mantras I repeated over and over for 3 months. Today, I couldn’t remember any of them. My mind was suddenly filled with “What Ifs.” My mind couldn’t let them go.

Suddenly the radio went silent. My mind switched the daunting task of reaching allll the way to the radio to change it. When just as quickly as it went silent..

“My heart’s a radio, it beats for you so listen close..”

I chuckled a little. Of course. Turned the radio up WAY louder than it should have been and listened to every word. And there I was, driving down the road crying to a Gym Class Heroes song. (That thoughts made me chuckle too.)

My worries lifted like a big black cloud. Of course, this heart will beat  and it will beat for me.  It will beat so I can call the parents and tell them they are about to be parents. It will beat so they will hold their baby in 8 months. It will beat and I will listen close.

It was less than 30 minutes until I was laying on the table ready. Immediately one little black circle appeared on the screen.  Then.. there it was. That flicker. The baby is so small right now. But there was a flicker.

It amazes me how little the baby can be and how strong that little teeny tiny heart can beat. The doctor turned up the sound and there it  was.
I listened close.

We are all so excited to welcome this baby into the world.