Q & A: You asked, I’m Answering

Over the months I have received a lot of curious questions from friends and family, which is only natural, and I fully encourage. Several of the questions have been pretty similar so I thought it would be a good idea to anonymously list some of those questions with my answers. If I missed any, please submit them to me and I’ll add them to this post.

Q: I don’t think I could ever do it, how are you able to keep from becoming attached? Won’t it be hard to give away a baby that you’ve carried and birthed?

A: I am a fairly strong willed person, and once I set my mind to a task or a goal I am fully committed. Not to compare humans to animals, but I have fostered in the past. Going into each experience knowing that I was only there to improve the animal and ultimately find them the best forever home I could, helped me keep from becoming emotionally attached. Yes there was some emotion when I handed them over to their new family but I had the added comfort that they were in wonderful hands. This line of thinking is where I mentally put myself when I began the surrogacy process. Granted, I did have eight months to prepare before the embryo transfer took place which only solidified my mindset further. But I did also go through psychological testing and clearance and continue to have monthly phone appointments with a psychologist. I am happy to have the opportunity to help a family grow and live vicariously through their happiness and excitement but I am clear that this is for them, not for me. Seeing their joy upon holding their baby for the first time will be my ultimate reward.

Q: How has the surrogacy affected your marriage so far, if at all?

A: We entered into this journey as a team and it hasn’t affected our marriage. But we’ve also been married for over 10 years so that may be a big contributing factor.

Q: What are you telling your children? How are you explaining the surrogacy to them? Do they understand?

A: I have a post about some wonderful books here. The books really helped us open dialog with our children on their level about what is happening and what to expect. The younger of our two doesn’t really understand what is happening, but she just turned two. Our older daughter is three and a half and has a better grasp on things. When I ask her about the surro baby this is what she says, “You’re growing a baby for the people because the mommy’s tummy is broken.” I think that is a great answer for her age.

Q: Congratulations on the pregnancy! Are you excited/happy?

A: This question caught me a little off guard. I am happy for the IP’s but there was no jumping up and down excitement on my part upon finding out the tests all came back positive, or even when the heartbeat confirmation happened. There was, however, an overwhelming sense of relief that all was well and progressing.

Q: How does this pregnancy compare to your two biological ones? 

A: This pregnancy’s first trimester was much more trying than my two biological ones with extreme exhaustion and nausea. But I think the attributing factor on those was the added hormones I was taking leading up to the transfer and through 10 weeks pregnant. Otherwise the rest of it seems like pretty familiar territory.

Q: How did you first learn about surrogacy? What made you want to become a gestational surrogate?

A: When I was 16 and taking a college course at my local community college the conversation of family came up with a classmate during a break. I learned that she was a two time surrogate in addition to her three biological children. It was the first time I had ever met a surrogate and it blew my mind. I wanted to learn more about it and made the goal of someday becoming an egg donor and/or surrogate. Fast forward several years and I made friends with another surrogate who joined an agency once she was done with surrogacy as a carrier. She confirmed that I would be an ideal surrogate and encouraged me to submit an application when I was ready to do so.

Q: You have/had to do injections how long?! Who gave them to you? Does it hurt?

A: I started Pregesterone in Oil (PIO) intramuscular injections on the day of the embryo transfer and continued through 10 weeks gestation. My cousin who traveled with me for the transfer administered my first two injections and my husband administered the majority of the rest. I did give myself a few injections. It was a little tricky to twist around and get to the right spot but overall not too bad. One injection I tried in my thigh and that was pretty rough so I kept it in the upper outer quadrant of my gluts.

Q: Do you know the parents / IP’s?

A: Because this surrogacy was through an agency I first met the IP’s via a Skype session when we were interviewing each other to see if we were a good match. We do talk weekly through a chat app but I don’t personally know them.

Q: How is your husband handling you carrying somebody else’s child?

A: I am a gestational surrogate which means the baby doesn’t have my DNA. He is extremely supportive but doesn’t act the same way he did when we were expecting our children because we aren’t planning for the future of our expanding family.

Q: Would you have done anything differently?

A: I have certainly learned a lot through this process and would encourage more communication through each phase. But other than waiting there haven’t been any severely negative situations or experiences.

Q: What are some of the memorable things you’ve heard so far? 

A: One of my favorites came from a young neighbor. “If you don’t find a home for the baby boy, can you give it to our family? I’d really like another brother.” I think this young one was under the impression that we would find a family after achieving pregnancy.

14 Weeks and Growing

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Baby surro boy is growing right along! I definitely feel like the belly “popped” over the past week. For the most part I am enjoying more energy. But because I’ve been excited about the increased energy I’ve overdone it a few days in a row which means I’m a couch potato today. Lots of random cravings lately, including the midnight exclamation of “we need to buy trail mix!”. Thankfully for the most part my cravings are pretty healthy. The only thing that I can’t have that I’ve been dying for is sushi. Oh well, I’ll feast on sushi in December!

  • He’s probably sucking his thumb and wiggling his toes in there!
  • His kidneys are making urine, and his liver and spleen are doing their jobs, too.
  • And he’s growing lanugo, a thin, peach-fuzz-like hair, all over his body — it will help him keep warm!

At week 14, baby is 3.4 inches and 1.5 ounces, he’s almost doubled in weight since last week and keeps on growing.

Hungry much? Now that you’re not feeling so queasy, you’re probably enjoying eating. A lot. Plus, you’re fueling baby’s growth — which is happening at super speed at 14 weeks. Be sure to keep plenty of healthy snacks by your side just in case you get the munchies. It’s important — for you and for baby — that you don’t indulge in too many greasy, fatty foods, so you’re both getting the right nutrients. (Of course, the occasional bowl of ice cream is totally okay.) And we just wanted to remind you: eating for two doesn’t mean doubling your calorie intake. Not only have you gotten your appetite back at week 14, but you’ve probably also gotten some of your energy back, too. If you found yourself shying away from exercise during trimester one, it’s time to get back on track. Go take a walk!

Pregnancy Symptoms at 14 Weeks

  • As you emerge from the nasties of the first trimester, you’re probably getting your energy back.
  • You’re probably feeling some aches and pains, as your muscles and ligaments stretch to accomodate your growing baby.
  • Hungry! Once the queasies of the first trimester subside, you might find your appetite on overdrive.
  • You might notice your hair getting thicker and shinier, one of the (few) attractive side-effects of pregnancy.

http://www.thebump.com/pregnancy-week-by-week/14-weeks-pregnant

Second Trimester

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We made it to another big milestone, the second trimester! My energy level is slowly starting to pick up because I’m not fading to mandatory nap land by 1pm. Nausea is also slowly fading out but I did have a pretty rough day last Saturday. The Texas sun has also been out in full force and I ended up taking three showers yesterday as a result. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I always have a water bottle or tumbler with me full of ice water which also means I keep a homing beacon on all public restrooms because I am a frequent visitor. The other night I ended up trotting down the hall 4 times during one movie. Poor husband has gotten good at punching pause and patiently waiting for me to quickly return.

I’m also in the process of trying to hunt down some good maternity pieces to last through the blazing summer and into some of the winter months. One company that I have heard a lot about is Stitch Fix, who has recently added maternity. They have clothing and accessories hand-selected by a personal stylist, delivered to your door. The pieces are selected after the customer completes a detailed profile, you can even link to a pinterest board. Unfortunately my first fix is a keep 1 out of 5 items fix. I received a pair of boyfriend jeans, two tops, a maxi dress, and a necklace. The boyfriend jeans are a great fit and have side panels which means they’ll be an excellent adjustment piece for post partum use as well. I was really tempted to keep one of the tops, a thin 3/4 sleeved striped shirt. But with the Texas heat I just can’t see myself wearing anything longer than a t-shirt for the next several months, no matter how thin it is. The other top had mesh shoulder panels that were deceptively heavy in comparison to the lightweight body of the shirt, which was unfortunate. As for the maxi dress, it was just not meant for my body and the pattern didn’t align on the back seam which would drive my OCD self insane just knowing it was there. I did really like the style of the necklace they sent me, a combination of leather cords and hammered silver rings, but I’m not wearing very many accessories these days and I’d rather be paying for maternity pieces. Tomorrow I’ll give specific feedback and update my profile as much as possible and hope that the next box will be a success. In the meantime I’ll be checking several local stores for some basic staples.

  • Can you believe he’s forming vocal cords and teeth?!
  • And even though he’s still teeny, he already has fingerprints.
  • His intestines are moving from the umbilical cord to their more permanent place, in his tummy.

He’s about 2.9 inches long and weighs about .81 ounces, and — proportion-wise — his head’s now about 1/3 the size of his body (remember? It used to be bigger!).

Pregnancy Symptoms at 13 Weeks

  • Visible veins, thanks to your increased blood flow.
  • Less fatigue and nausea, as you enter the second trimester, which is known to be the least symptomatic.
  • Maybe an increased sex drive — enjoy!

12 weeks

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I officially look pregnant most of the time.

12 Weeks and the size of a Plum

  • Most of his critical systems are fully formed!
  • He’s about to enter the growth and maturation stage, in which his organs and tissues will grow and develop rapidly.
  • He’s now developing his reflexes — if you poke his body, he’ll likely move.
  • He’s opening and closing his fingers and curling his toes, too.
  • His brain is developing fast!

Pregnancy Symptoms at 12 Weeks

  • Your hormones should calm down a bit — if not now, soon. That means less nausea and fatigue (yay!).
  • More vaginal discharge, to protect your, um, lady parts from infection.
  • A noticeably bigger belly. Do you look pregnant now?
  • Headaches and dizziness may start to intensify around this time, which could be caused by hormones, vision changes, drops in blood sugar, dehydration or stress.

http://www.thebump.com/pregnancy-week-by-week/12-weeks-pregnant

First OB/GYN appointment as a pregnant surrogate

Nerves started to hit as I got closer to my OB’s office. Not sure why, I know the routine, this isn’t my first rodeo. But the added new territory of Surrogate left me unsure of what to expect. I’m a planner, big time, and facing unknown is both exhilarating and unnerving at the same time. My first hiccup was while I was sitting in the waiting area with a clipboard full of paperwork. Questions about my partner’s health and mine which I’ve answered several times before were suddenly not applicable. I wasn’t sure what to do so I answered the two out of 17 questions that applied to my situation and left the rest blank while writing “Gestational Surrogate” at the bottom of the page. Hopefully that would do the trick.

Then it was time for the dreaded scale and blood pressure cuff. I’ve always had to tell myself to remain calm while the cuff is on because I tend to focus on it causing my blood pressure to rise, not the effect you are hoping for. There were some chuckles about how to fill out the rest of the paperwork and the nurse said I did the right thing with the questions. The standard question of “when was the first date of your last menstrual period” made me chuckle again and I said oh you don’t need all off that, I know the exact dates, this was an IVF transfer gestational surrogacy. Oh, OK then. I was able to spout off dates and stages with medical certainty that I’ve never had in my previous pregnancies. There were a few more chuckles along the way but the nurses were both wonderful and gave me sweet words of praise and encouragement.

My physical exam with the OB was filled with chatter and questions about my surrogacy and what all to expect of my few visits. Medications were discussed and general timing of tests. There was also some question as to whether or not I should register with the hospital since I will be going to California for the third trimester and delivery. I might end up doing it as a better safe than sorry policy against any possible future emergency.

My appointment ended with a blood draw and I was finally on my way after a nearly 2 hours filled with confusion induces laughter. I’m thankful for a good medical staff to watch over me and surro baby for the next few months.