Labor & Birth of Precious Surro Baby

I tried so hard to get some sleep to be well rested for the big day but there was a beeping sound going off all night long in a neighboring condo unit that led to some bizarre hospital dreams and sleepless night. Boo! My eyes opened for the day around 5 am. At 6 am I called over to L&D to see if they still had room for my induction and they said my room was all ready. So my husband and I gathered up our toiletries, got dressed, and stopped by Starbucks for breakfast and coffee (just for him on the coffee though) on our way to the hospital. We forgot to factor in rush hour traffic on a very busy freeway/interstate so it took a little longer to get to the hospital than we had anticipated.

Once we got to L&D I saw my OB already at the station plugging away on a computer. It was such a welcome and calming site to see him there. He wasn’t able to actually deliver either of my girls and it made me hopeful that this would be the time. My wonderful RN, Dorthe (dort-a) showed us to our room and started all of the check-in paperwork and got me ready. We also discovered through conversation that she was also our nurse when I delivered Rose. Unfortunately I was told I have very “valvey” veins and had to have two RN’s attempt to start an IV on me. Third try was the charm but it had to go in the top of my hand (less than ideal spot for labor). Once we were all set Dr. Langley came in to check my cervix and break my water. He had to double check that the bag broke because almost no water came out but it had indeed broken, baby’s head was just so low that it was blocking the fluids. I was 2-3 cm dilated and 70% effaced. Everybody was prepared for a speedy process and was on high alert to get the green flag for go time at a moment’s notice.

I stood up right away and labored along quite nicely from 8:30 am to 11 am. Around that time the IM, her sister, and translator arrived to the hospital eager for good news. My husband played liaison for me as I continued to labor with minimal distraction. Contractions creeped towards 2 minutes apart and continued to grow in strength. My wonderful friend arrived around noon to provide some additional support and take some pictures for us. My contractions stayed around 2 minutes apart but grew much stronger. I was so thankful for my wonderful RN and the mobile fetal monitoring system that allowed me to move around the room and get in different positions. At 12:15 pm I had another cervical check and I was 3-4 cm dilated.  Not nearly as much improvement as I was expecting but at least things were happening and I knew from previous experience that my dilation could go from a 7 to baby in the blink of an eye.

My lovely friend had to leave around 3pm for other obligations and just after she left I entered into transitional labor. Contractions came on very hard. I pulled out all of the positions I could think of to work through it with the internal comfort knowing this is supposed to be the quickest stage and has been for me in the past. I did side laying with a small ball between my knees, kneeling while hugging a small ball, sitting on the edge of the bed, on the ball, standing with my back against my husband, standing facing my husband while holding his arms, standing… I continued for three and a half hours at this level of intensity when transition in the past for me was less than an hour until baby. I got to the point of exhaustion that parts of my body started to convulse. When Dr. Langley came in to check me around 6 pm and I was still only at 5-6 cm with 95% effacement I knew I needed a break in order to keep going so I asked for my first (ever!) epidural. About 30 minutes later I was plugged into the tap and receiving some rest and relief. I had to have an oxygen mask, internal fetal monitor, intrauterine pressure catheter (IUPC), and a urinary catheter. I had tubes taped all over the place.

It was determined that baby was coming at a weird angle and had gotten himself stuck. We had to get him to adjust his approach. I knew that meant I was at risk for an emergency c section and wanted to do what I could to avoid it and keep baby safe at the same time. I alternated between laying on each side over rotated to encourage baby to reposition while still receiving oxygen. It did the trick! I started to feel some serious pressure and when Dr. Langley checked me again at 7:50 pm I was 100% effaced and 9 cm but very soft.  Dr. said based on how much thinning was happening during each contraction that he was sure that baby would deliver on the next contraction.  Extra nurses were called to prepare and help for delivery.  Everything was prepped and we all waited for the next contraction. Dr. Langley coached me through it wonderfully and after one big and one little push, baby’s head was out followed by one more big push to deliver the rest of his body. *No tears!* He was placed right up on my chest. Full head of hair with a hearty deep cry, and a good grip.

8:04 pm – James Hongtao Lu  – 8 lb, 18 3/4

One of the awesome things about Dr. Langley is that his shift was over at 7 pm but he stayed and saw me through to the end. I am so thankful that he was there and that things ended the way they did. It could have so easily gone in a different direction.

The mom was so excited to come in the room. They were standing in the hallway when baby James was born so they could hear him crying. As soon as the placenta was passed and my legs were covered she came in and admired her beautiful baby boy on my chest. I beamed while watching her see his face for the first time and the amount of love and admiration that was so plainly written all over her face. This was the special moment I had so many dreams about and it did not disappoint. After some quick initial vitals from baby, the mom was finally able to sit down and hold her precious baby boy. He stared at her face soaking her in and she was smitten. I couldn’t stop smiling! It was such a special moment to witness.

Once some of the initial excitement leveled out a little bit I was able to ask for some Passion Guava juice and a Tuna salad sandwich. I don’t know why but that has become my post birth ritual and it was delicious!!! Especially since at that point it had been over 15 hours since I had eaten.

There are a lot of pictures to be gathered and cleaned up but I will post a little gallery once I have it all together.

One question that a few people have asked now that I have given birth is how did I actually process the situation and respond to having this precious baby on my chest then go to his mom. With the same love and adoration I have for my niece I smiled down on his sweet face and was filled with joy for his parents. There was and is no sense of entitlement or motherly bond because he isn’t my baby. I will forever be grateful for this experience and to be a part of their lives.



When are you due? Today!


The most satisfying part of today was answering the “when are you due?!” question with “today!” and watch their facial reaction. I walked all over the place with my brother and two daughters. But the day quickly came to a close with surro baby still happily camping out in my foster womb. My husband and I gathered our daughters’ things and delivered them to my mom (who changed her trip plans to help while I was having the baby) in the evening. Then we went for a little dinner and hoped to get some sleep before our big day. Tomorrow is induction day. I will be calling L&D at 6am to make sure they have a bed ready for me and if they do we’ll be heading in to the hospital.

39 Weeks and still hanging on


It looks like the lady’s prediction at In-In-Out was wrong because I am still pregnant. I wouldn’t be feeling so ready if it weren’t for all the prodromal labor on top of two young girls running circles around my feet.

Sunday I had contractions that would be every five minutes or so for at least an hour then take a two hour break. Rinse and repeat all day long. One stint was during church. Not a fun seat for that. In the early evening they kicked it up a big notch. I ended up in a hot shower with my husband’s help for about 45 minutes in a variety of positions to help alleviate the discomfort. Both my husband and I were thinking it was time but neither wanted to burst the bubble and say it out loud. With the contractions not getting any closer or stronger I decided to attempt sleeping in bed. They stayed at 5 minutes apart and lasting at least a minute long all night. I asked my husband to stay home from work so we could go for a walk. Wouldn’t you know those pesky contractions that robbed my sleep decided to stop once we got going. And they stayed gone so I released my wonderful husband to the office.

My prenatal appointment went well. My weight has stayed pretty even for a few weeks now keeping my current total gained since transfer at 17 pounds. I went ahead with another cervical check and had progressed to 1-2 cm and soft but the cervix is still long. Otherwise it was a pretty quick appointment. We were both on the same thought that surro baby boy would be here pretty soon and to keep active. And active I have been!

Wednesday night was a really rough night full of contractions that were all over the place and very little sleep. I “woke” for the day exhausted, dreading facing the day, and emotional. My husband asked if I was doing ok and I said not really while unwanted tears started to stream down my face. He decided to stay home from work and after taking care of a few things we took a nice long family walk to a restaurant for brunch. Contractions were random and taunting me.

I started to realize that if surro baby boy didn’t come close to his due date my healing time before our big trip home was going to start shrinking away. Ideally I should get at least two weeks of healing time before taking on that big of a task. Thoughts and discussion about possibly requesting induction came up. Then I found out that my parents, who were supposed to be the ones to watch my daughters, will be out of state starting this coming Monday morning for just over a week. Another complication to add to the list. So I made the call to my OB to ask about inducing before Monday. After some back and forth phone tag it was agreed that I could call to check in to L&D the day after my due date, this Thursday. Not what I was hoping for but now we have some sort of a time line. I really didn’t want another induction but that healing time is too important. All fingers crossed that these contractions amount to something this weekend because I don’t see any sleep in my near future and nearly two weeks without sleep leading into an induction would be brutal.

Nice to meet you

There are some limitations to what all I can say in this post for the sake of the IP’s privacy. They are international and we don’t speak each other’s language so there was a translator present. It was nice though because he was like the built in ice breaker.

Due to the length of the stay and some urgent business requiring his attention, IF was not able to make the trip to California. IM arrived safely with her sister though and reached out to me through the translator to set up our first ever face to face meeting. We have had skype calls before and chat using an app called WeChat on a regular basis but this was the first in the flesh meeting.

IM is staying in the Irvine area and we are staying in the north coastal San Diego county area (near Oceanside harbor and pier) so I suggested a midway point of downtown San Clemente for dinner.

The nerves started to go a little crazy as we were walking down the street to Port Brewing Co. (my initial pick) and went into full gear as we walked toward our group. It turned out that I didn’t take into consideration that it was a Saturday evening and a place like Port was going to be packed and loud. We ended up trying a place across the street instead and I am so glad that we stumbled across it! It was called Brick Pizzeria and they were able to squeeze us in without a reservation. The atmosphere was much more ideal and the food was all amazing. We might be driving back up again for a meal before heading to Texas at the end of the month.

Once we settled into the restaurant the translator helped us start some conversation and gifts were exchanged. It was so sweet, IM brought a Lego set for  each of my daughters and they were over the moon! I received some wonderful tea that I can’t wait to try (I love all tea) once I get it home. And I gifted a hand knit fluffy cream blanket with red trim, red crochet baby hat, and a light blue knit baby hat. The blanket was a pretty good size so she kept it all in the bag but I did make sure she opened one of my gifts in person. I used a Moleskine cashier journal and gathered notes, test results, and ultrasound images in it since the transfer back at the end of March this year. There was also a DVD from one of the ultrasounds that I attached the paper case for inside the cover. IM loved it all and was thoroughly surprised which made me really happy. The translator also asked me to tell my fellow surros about my project because he has been working with IP’s for over three years now and had never seen anything like it. I believe that as I had searched for a book or template to fill before deciding to make my own because I couldn’t find any. Our dinner came out shortly after our gift exchange and everything looked amazing and tasted even better. We took some group pictures which led to my four year old daughter ending up in IM’s lap and taking a series of selfies and giggling away without having any concept of a language barrier. The innocence of the youth is a wonderful thing to observe. We were all a little reluctant to part ways but we were approaching the girls’ bed time and I wanted to keep the visit as pleasant as possible.

Overall I couldn’t have asked for a more smooth and pleasant visit. The only thing I was hoping for that didn’t happen was for surro baby boy to show off his skills for his mom. I had plenty of contractions but no dance moves. Oh well, she’ll experience him soon enough.

The next time we see each other will be in Labor and Delivery at the hospital to meet surro baby boy.

38 Weeks and Prodromal Labor


This was a long week. I had an episode of prodromal labor that lasted from early Saturday evening through early Sunday afternoon, over 18 hours. Then another episode Monday night, all night long. Thankfully I knew what it was this time and didn’t end up in the hospital both times like I did with my second pregnancy. It is hard to not become a little disappointed when the contractions finally start to spread back out and drop off. But at the same time it gives me enough relief to rest.

Thankfully IM has arrived to the area so if anything does happen she is here to meet her son immediately and not have to travel first. Another plus to the Saturday/Sunday episode is that it lit a fire under my husband to finally gather the bags for all of us and get them in the car, just in case. My breast pump also arrived this week. Things are falling into place for surro baby boy’s arrival.

At my 38 week appointment I had my first cervical check and even after all that work I’m sitting at fingertip and soft. Silly hormones really hit me with a sad disappointment that I didn’t have more to show for all that work but I know in the long run (once logic returned to my brain and stomped on those hormones a bit) my body is making preparations and it will show when it counts the most, active labor and birth.

Interestingly enough, today I was walking by a lady assisting her elderly mother and after looking at me she told her mother, “she’s going to have that baby this weekend.” I’ve never had something like that happen before. It would be wonderful but I also won’t be holding my breath either.

Tomorrow I get to meet my IM face to face for the first time. Nervous, excited, and a world of emotions between is about how I am and will be feeling all the way up to the big moment. I’ve made some gifts over the months that I will be bringing with me to the big moment. I can’t wait and I hope it goes well! Ah!


mid-contraction toward the end of the episode on Sunday