Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Today is Day Three of Meds. I'm feeling a bit foggy and tired, but otherwise great! Looking forward to taking my nuggets Trick-or-Treating tonight!!

Happy Halloween!

Hope you and your family have a great night! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 28th, Baseline Sonogram

The baseline sonogram. Day 3 of my cycle I had to see the reproductive endocrinologist (RE) for a baseline sonogram that basically just checked out my ovaries and uterus. I dragged my mom along so I didn't have to go alone. I admit, I was pretty nervous about it. Not because I thought it would be painful. Just more awkward...

I arrived to an always pleasant staff and was escorted to the same room I waited in the last time I was at their office. This time I was asked to undress from waist down and wait on the exam table. My mom calmly flipped through a magazine (not sure what she was reading) while I nervously sat on the table, checking out the sono machine.

Dr H walked in only a few minutes later and I immediately relaxed. I saw him for my initial appointment; he has a calmness and warmth about him. And gorgeous blue eyes. He explained that the ultrasound would be quick and easy. 

He told no lies. It was less than five minutes. He explained everything he was looking for. Said I had ovaries filled with eggs. I quipped, that's the reason I have a baby every year. And, He said my uterus looked great...


And we were done! He explained that a week later I'd come back in for a saline sonogram and trial transfer. After giving me a prescription for all the meds I'd need and a cheat sheet of what and when to take them, I was sent to see the nurse, Nancy. 

She was just as sweet as the last time, walking me through everything. We made an appointment for the following week and then I was off.

Oh! Did I mention she also gave us a transfer date of November 18th??!! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 26th, It's here!

My "menstrual cycle" (<---that's so formal for me) is HERE!! Now we finally get to move ahead! Yay!! Sending texts to Erin and our midwives was the best feeling! We've been waiting for this for well over a month. Of course I also called and sent texts to my closest friends and family. Stay tuned for the latest updates. We have several appointments over the next few weeks to gear up for the transfer! I'm so excited I may pee! Eeeee!

Here we go......

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October 7, Meeting our Midwives

So, as a student midwife, doula, and birth junkie in general, picking a birth team often comes before or right after pregnancy. I chose to use my doula from Finn's birth because, well, she's awesome. I hired her the day after Erin and I had dinner. She was also the first person I hired for Finn's birth. Hey, doulas are important!

Hiring a midwife was a bit harder. I LOVE my midwives, Sarah and Gina, from Finn's birth. They walked with me through my HBAC journey with so much love and support. It was hard to think about never birthing with them again. However, I also apprentice with another awesome midwife who I also love. And, really, one of her students, Jayme, is mega awesome. Like, watch out DFW, she's going to rock your socks when she's a CPM! Who do I hire? My amazing midwives from my last birth or the amazing ones I work with and learn from??

Erin made the decision easy. She felt most comfortable using the midwives I had with my last HBAC. I agreed that was a great choice (really, I couldn't go wrong either way). Plus, this provided a more middle ground for us all. And, I love my sweet midwives.

I found out that sadly Sarah would still be on maternity leave with her adorable babies, so Gina alone would be my midwife. I love Gina. She was a doula for years and is now an amazing midwife. Besides being insanely skilled, she's emotionally invested in her mommas, and that's especially important in our case.

Gina works closely with a local doula and student midwife, Kaitlyn. After spending a day texting back and forth about all sorts of stuff, I decided she was best as our birth assistant/second midwife. She's the sort of person who radiates warmth and love. If you ever see a photo from a birth she attended you can feel the love through the pictures. She really, really cares. It was a no brainer that she should also be apart of our journey.

Now that we decided on midwives, it was important that Erin meet them in person and that they get to know her, and her story. I wanted her to feel safe with them, to feel loved. To know that they were also invested in this journey we are on.

We sat and talked with them for about an hour. Erin shared her story. Gina and Kaitlyn shared their backgrounds. It truly felt like we had made the best decision.

We left with lots of hugs and a promise of a group text when my next cycle starts! haha

September 30th, meeting the Reproductive Endocrinologist...

To say I was dreading meeting the RE is an understatement. A very big understatement. I mean, I was beyond thrilled to be starting the journey. I was just less than thrilled to have a doctor in my, ya know, lady parts. It's been years since I've had a male doctor. In fact, since Christian was born, 12 years ago. But I did the necessary tasks when going in for a pap/transvaginal ultrasound/uterine check! Eek! I even put on makeup!

I emailed Erin that I was feeling BLEH about what the RE had in store at that first appointment. Small step and mild sacrifice in the grand scheme of things, this I know. But I was going to hold tight to my girlish ways and bitch in moan the whole morning.

I went alone because Erin couldn't get out of work and Chris was watching the littlest nuggets. On the way I did think I should have dragged, Jayme, a fellow student and good friend, along. She is training to be a midwife, so vaginas are right up her alley. But, I didn't think of it until I was well on my way. *sigh*

Anyway, I finally got called back to see the doctor. They stuck me in a room that had a single gyno table in the center, ultrasound machine beside it (probe latched on the side!!), and several tv screens. The nurse didn't ask me to undress from waist down and so I sat in the lone chair in the room. I debated on and off if I was to remain clothed or not and figured it would be best to do so. Having to shed my skirt and leggings quickly due to failed communication would be far less embarrassing than putting them on.

I flipped through TIME while waiting, debating on the skirt and leggings... something about honey bees? Finally Dr. Haas came in the room and immediately brought me to his office. (thank you all things rainbow colored I did not take off my clothes!!)

We talked about the transfer process, the meds I'd have to take, the time frame, when to call, all the labs Chris and I needed done, the different appointments. Thankfully he made an actual time line/cheat sheet and then sent me on to the nurse, Nancy, who also vomited information that she too wrote down so my mommy brain would not forget.

I was then sent on my way with instructions of what I needed to get back to them and when to call to start the meds! Um, the transfer was going to happen sooner than we had expected. Like, MONTHS sooner! I was giddy and excited and could not wait to go to Wal-Mart and buy another car charger for my almost dead phone so that I could text Erin!

I admit I did feel a pang of WTF when I was walking out and the doctor had not done any cervical/vaginal/uterine checks of any kind. Dude, I shaved my legs....and some other stuff.

Eh, I left unscathed and beyond excited about the road that lies ahead...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

This is our story...

It wasn't long after my fourth baby was born that surrogacy was laid on my heart. It's true that my last pregnancy was easy "ish" and his birth, a home VBAC, was life changing. It was the sort of birth you want to do over and over again. Problem was, our family was complete. We knew we were done growing our own babies when we all sat in bed admiring our newest addition last March.

I spent many months battling my longing uterus and the reality that our family was ready to move on to the next chapter. I desperately wanted to do that day again, the day Baby Finn peacefully and calmly joined our family. The day that my Mom, Mother-in-law, and our three older children watched sweet Finn come Earthside in a birth tub filled with water in the center of our bedroom. I wanted to be in the center of all the love again. Surrounded by my birth team who walked my HBAC journey with me. The women who shed tears with me as his chubby body emerged from the water and I held him tight exclaiming, "I did it!". Ahh....just thinking about that day makes me smile. It makes me cry. It makes my heart full; overflowing. How could I ever not experience that again?

In the months that followed Finn's birth, my life changed. My passion for natural birth and for serving women during pregnancy and birth deepened. The flame in my heart burned brighter than ever before. That day, and really the care I received throughout my pregnancy with him, lead me to midwifery. I wanted to help women believe in their bodies, trust birth, experience that "I did it" moment, just like I had. But there was something else being laid on my heart. Surrogacy. Yes, I wanted to birth again; but not for myself.

I wanted to help another woman become a mom, just like I am. In the same way I had; through natural birth. I wanted to walk the journey through pregnancy and birth with a woman, just like me. Only one who could not bear her own child, one who is far stronger than I could ever hope to be. One who would bless my life and leave me changed.

And so this is how our story goes....

Late last year I contacted a surrogacy agency for information. Finn wasn't even a year yet and we were in the thick of nursing, I knew I wasn't ready. I just needed information. I needed to feel like I was working towards meeting the woman who was waiting for me. The woman I'd be honored to walk this journey with. Surrogacy and this woman, who I didn't know yet, tugged at my heart daily. The agency shut me down at midwifery care. I shrugged it off, held on to faith, and went about enjoying my baby.... I'd come back to this.

Finn turned one earlier this year, in March. I knew I was closer to meeting her. I posted in a local birth networking group, asking for advice. Had anyone known of someone having had a home surrogate birth? Was this even possible? The posts were positive, they gave me hope. And then I got a private message on facebook from a doula. She told me about her wonderful friend, Erin. Erin had experienced loss. Disappointment. Pain. She had experienced cancer in a way that left her unable to bear children. Her loving friend shared their blog with me.

I read Erin and Jose's blog that night. Every single word. I looked at every single picture posted, in tears. It was her. I messaged her friend back and told her I would love to talk with them. I knew that the last blog post, the one filled with happiness as they prepared for a transfer, was never realized. I knew they had just experienced another loss. A family acquaintance had offered to help Erin and Jose discover their dream of parenthood. They were thrilled. Erin's amazing sister donated her eggs! Yes, she donated her eggs to her sister to help her realize her dream of motherhood, before she was yet a mother herself. (that still leaves me with goose bumps) And then the night before the egg retrieval and the transfer, the to-be surrogate left. She left in the middle of the night, without word. She left behind sadness and questions, false hope. She left an almost discovered dream a distant memory.

I didn't hear back from the super sweet friend and I didn't hear from Erin. Months passed. I busied myself with my family and my midwifery apprenticeship, always thinking about her. I watched beautiful, natural, out of hospital births weekly. I loved on beautiful mommas and adorably squishy newborns. I talked about my surrogacy. I talked about how amazing it was going to be. How it would be filled with love. How it would bond two families forever.

During this past Summer my mind could no longer convince my heart (and my uterus) to wait. I started actively "looking". I called another agency and again was shut down at home birth. I didn't really want to use an agency. I hated that it didn't seem warm and personal. I didn't like the fees associated with it. It seemed unfair to charge a couple who has experienced such pain and loss that kind of money. I'm not judging those who do go through an agency. It is a safe and effective way to go about surrogacy. I just wanted something different. Something more. But, at the same time, I didn't know how to do it independently.

I posted once more in the same birth networking group. I was feeling discouraged.... Several doulas commented, giving suggestions, people to talk to. My doula (from Finn's birth), Maria, suggested I join a Texas surrogacy group. And so I did. I immediately posted a bit about myself and what I was hoping to do. I got several responses, one from a woman who worked for an agency. She commented that she had sent me a message. I checked and found nothing. I remembered hearing about an "others" folder on facebook and so I fired up my laptop to check it out. Sure enough it was there. And under it was another message. One that had been sitting in there for weeks and weeks... My heart dropped. It was her.

I messaged Erin back as fast as my fingers would type. Yes! I'm still interested in being a surrogate. No! I haven't found anyone yet. What about you? Where are you at in this journey? It had been over six weeks. I felt a twinge of excitement, but it was layered in disappointment. How could this message be sitting here for so long?? The next day she replied and we decided to talk on the phone that evening. That conversation went on for hours. We talked and laughed and cried. She was on board, even if a bit hesitant, with a home birth. It felt so right.

From there we messaged on facebook, we sent texts back and forth. The following weekend we went to dinner with Jose and Chris, to meet in person. We spent hours talking, getting to know each other. Their story, our story, their expectations and ours. It was one of my favorite dinners ever. It was easy and fun and full of so much hope.

It was clear that I had found her.