36 Weeks = 9 Months

IMG_20151118_082554[1]

The GBS Test result came back negative. Woo hoo! No antibiotics during delivery for me. One less reason for an IV and with my speedy track record it is good to not have a need to administer those antibiotics Before baby’s arrival. My OB did joke with me today that I know my body but not to wait until he’s about to fall out to come in to the hospital. Ha!

Speaking of hospital, even though both of my own children were born at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas I have requested information about taking a tour of Labor & Delivery (L&D). When my youngest was born about 2 1/2 years ago the hospital was at the beginning phase of a big construction project and L&D was supposed to receive a facelift in the process. As mentioned, I tend to go pretty quickly once active labor begins so knowing exactly where we need to go would be ideal, especially if that has changed from our previous experiences.

My clothes continue to shrink around surro baby boy’s growing mass in my belly. And I have started to get the “almost there?” pitiful looks and questions about how many are in there anyway. Still just one, thanks. Thankfully though, I was able to cash in on the second half of my spa certificate this past weekend that a group of wonderful friends gifted me before leaving Texas. It was a little challenging maneuvering on the little bed but I’m quite certain there was drool and snoring involved in the appointment as I listed lazily in and out of dream land. The masseuse was absolutely superb and I’m thrilled I got her a second time without requesting her. I may be biased, but Sarah really is amazing and was recommending I come back in after baby too. That sounds like an excellent idea indeed.

Advertisements

Birth Plan – Relearning the process

Yet another thing that I couldn’t find good information for online when searching was for a Surrogate friendly birth plan. All sites showed a full birth plan which extends to the baby’s first care, nursing, skin to skin, and other preferences that might not be applicable depending on your journey and the IP’s wishes as expressed in your contract. I have included the bare bones of my birth plan below to help others searching for a surrogate friendly birth plan. My birth plan is centered around the Bradley Method so it may not be the right plan for you. But you can always use this birth plan as a starting point and fine tune it to your wishes. Just remember to reference your contract, you make decisions for your own body, and that, unless discussed with your IP’s, all of baby’s care is their decision upon birth.

Birth Plan:

Full name: _________________ – Surrogate

Partner’s name: _________________

Today’s date: _____________________

Due date: _________________

Doctor’s name:  _________________

Hospital name:  _________________

__________________________________________________________________

My delivery is planned as: Vaginal un-medicated

I’d like (below)to have the option of being present before AND/OR during labor: Partner: NAME
Intended Parents: NAMES

During labor, I’d like:
Music played
As few vaginal exams as possible
To wear my own clothes
My partner to film take pictures
My partner to be present the entire time
To eat and drink

I’d like to spend the first stage of labor:
Freedom to walk around and/or get in the shower

I’m NOT interested in:
An enema
Shaving of my pubic area
A urinary catheter
An IV, unless I’m dehydrated (a heparin or saline lock is OK)

I’d like fetal monitoring to be:
Intermittent External

I’d like labor augmentation:
Performed only if baby is in distress
Performed by membrane stripping
Performed with prostaglandin gel
Performed by rupture of the membrane

For pain relief, I’d like to use:
Please only offer pain medications if I ask for them.
Minimal Intervention

During delivery, I would like to:
Squat
Semi-recline
Lie on my side

As the baby is delivered, I would like to:
Push spontaneously
Push without time limits, as long as the baby and I are not at risk
Avoid forceps usage
Avoid vacuum extraction

I would like an episiotomy:
Not performed, even if it means risking a tear

Immediately after delivery, I would like:
My partner to cut the umbilical cord
The umbilical cord to be cut only after it stops pulsating
To deliver the placenta spontaneously and without assistance
Not to be given Pitocin/oxytocin

If a C-section is necessary, I would like:
To make sure all other options have been exhausted
To stay conscious
My partner to remain with me the entire time
The screen lowered so I can watch baby come out
My hands left free so I can touch the baby
The surgery explained as it happens
Intended Parents to hold the baby as soon as possible

I would like to hold baby:
Immediately after delivery

I’d like my partner:
To have unlimited visiting To be able to sleep in my room

As needed post-delivery, please give me:
Extra-strength acetaminophen
Stool Softener

After birth, I’d like to stay in the hospital:
As briefly as possible

Questions for IP’s regarding Birth, Hospital, and Postpartum

In an effort to help other Surrogates (and IP’s) I have decided to post my entire list of questions with answers that I went over during my (long anticipated) conference call. Each journey is unique and there may be questions in here that wouldn’t be applicable or you may need to add some questions/details. Either way, I hope this is a helpful jumping off point for any surrogates finding themselves needing to get some answers from their IP(s) regarding birth, hospital, and postpartum care.

Questions for IP’s regarding

Birth, Hospital, and Postpartum

  1. When will you (IP’s) be arriving to the area?

    Beginning of December. IM will arrive first, IP will arrive later.
    They will bring baby home together

  2. Would you like to attend some prenatal appointments? They are currently scheduled out through the estimated due date.

    Yes, IM would like to attend some December appointments. Please email with all December appointment information.

  3. Do you want me to receive a fresh TDAP vaccination?

    Yes

  4. Will you be present for the delivery if possible? At the hospital or in the room?

    At the hospital, we will wait outside the room. We will come in after you and baby are ready.

  5. Would you like me to wechat you a message when I go into labor? Or how would you like to be notified?

    Tell the agency and they will alert IP’s.

  6. What is the plan if baby boy is born before IP’s are able to arrive?

    Hoping for a full term delivery but if baby arrives early the agency will help out and IP’s will arrive ASAP.

  7. Would you like to have birth photography?

    They are OK with pictures but prefer no blood or private body parts.

  8. As soon as baby is born do you want him on my chest until placenta is birthed? Or with the nurses?

    Ok with either, it is up to me and my strength level.

  9. If you are at the hospital would you like to cut the umbilical cord? Or do you not have a preference on who cuts it?

    Anybody can cut it. We will wait for baby to be all cleaned up.

  10. Do you want baby to receive vitamin K shot and eye drops after delivery? (On birth plan)

    Yes

  11. Do you want baby to nurse?

    No

  12. Would you like me to pump for baby?

    Yes

  13. Do you have any birth/postpartum wishes?

    No

  14. I would like to email my birth plan to the agency for you. I would like to have you sign off on my birth plan so that the doctor and hospital know we have discussed it (can be digital).

    Email it to coordinator

34 Weeks – Getting my list together

IMG_20151104_073654

Another week marked off on the calendar and I am finally scheduled to have a conference call with my coordinators and IP’s! I have been asking about this for months and thinking about it even longer. Now to get my list of questions typed up so I don’t forget anything important. Hopefully it goes well and there aren’t any misunderstandings, negative reactions to my questions, or things lost in translation.

The Braxton Hicks contractions continue to keep coming so I am purposely taking things easy for the next few weeks. Now that doesn’t mean I’m staying on the couch all day but I won’t be joining my mom on her trail hikes either.

Halloween Fun

19081I fell for the milkman!

This was the first Halloween where I had a bump to dress up. How fun and exciting! It opens up a whole new section of ideas for costumes. There were several clever couple costumes ranging from a baker and an oven with a bun inside to the couple from the movie Juno. And there were also some great bump ideas that could be solo or in a group (pumpkin, wrecking ball, death star, Mike from Monsters, Inc.). But I wanted something that also incorporated this journey of being a carrier in a light hearted manner. Clever costumes are always fun in my book because it take a little brain power from the viewers to put it all together. Seeing as I am carrying a child that isn’t my husband’s I thought the milkman and 50’s housewife was especially witty. We had a great time walking our two young daughters around trick-or-treating and getting “Ah! That’s clever!” from the other parents. 🙂 I hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween too!

Smuggling a Bowling Ball at 33 weeks

20151026_132806IMG_20151028_081744

Life remains to be very active. I had another prenatal appointment this week but at the last moment had to switch to see the Nurse Practitioner because Dr. Langley had to run over to Labor & Delivery. I’m always happy to accommodate those changes though because I hope that I will be on the receiving end of one such run across the parking lot in the near future.

The appointment went well, my weight went down a tiny bit so my overall total gained at 33 weeks is 17 pounds from day of transfer (woot!). Surro baby boy’s heat beat was good and strong galloping away on the Doppler. He is still measuring about three weeks ahead on the fundal measurement but since I had a good growth ultrasound so recently they aren’t sending me back. The next appointment is in two weeks then after that I increase frequency up to weekly appointments until delivery.

I’ve been working on questions for the big meeting but did find out from the IP’s that they plan to arrive at the beginning of December. We are all very excited to see each other in person and even more excited to officially meet surro baby boy. Another big task I started working on is my birth plan. This is a little different than previous birth plans I have written as my decisions are solely for my body, not the baby once he is born. I keep having to remind myself that and eliminating points from the document. It is a little surreal thought that we’ve reached the point that I am working on things like a birth plan and making delivery and postpartum care arrangements. The pregnancy seems to have flown by! Hopefully the final weeks of pregnancy will continue to fly at such a supersonic pace.

8 Months

IMG_20151007_134735[1]

IMG_20151014_091649[1]

IMG_20151021_094415[1]

This past Wednesday marked 32 weeks which means about two months left before surro baby boy goes from my foster womb to his parents’ arms. I continue to wonder just how big I will end up getting but am thankful for a clean bill of health and an active baby. The last prenatal appointment (and all future prenatal appointments) was with my actual OB. What a dream! He is amazing, attentive, remembered me, and cared to sit and talk with me without any pressure. That was the experience I remembered and was so looking forward to receiving. It would be wonderful if he finally gets to be my delivering doctor but it all depends on what happens. My labor track record is a speedy delivery so the reality is more one of whoever can run to the foot of the bed the fastest.

The IP’s are getting really excited and love hearing little updates from me about his activity level and reaction to music. I was able to get a video of baby boy having a party and moving my belly all over the place. They loved it!

There was a little bit of a shift at my agency because my coordinator is now on maternity leave which means I now have a new coordinator. One of the things that has been really forefront on my mind is setting up a meeting with the IP’s, coordinators, and a translator to discuss the end. Some of the things I will be asking about include:
* When will the IP’s be arriving to the area?
* Do they want me to receive a fresh TDAP vaccination?
* Will they be present for the delivery if possible?
* Would they like to have birth photography?
* Do they have any birth/postpartum wishes?
* Would they like me to pump for them?

I have several other questions as well but those are some of the big ones. My new coordinator will be contacting the IP’s about setting up an appointment next week. Hopefully we are able to get something on the books soon as this is something I have been wanting to do for quite some time.

Growth Ultrasound (30 weeks)

20151007_194411[1]

What do you know, the growth ultrasound went really well! The tech was very nice and took all of the key measurements three times (midwife only took one fundal measurement…). Surro boy measured at 31 weeks and 2 days, just barely a week ahead and that put him in the 59th percentile. The tech went on the say that normal range would have been anything between 27 weeks and 32 weeks. She also got several great images for the IP’s. As with all of the more recent ultrasounds surro baby boy was more than happy to give a clear view to confirm his gender. We also saw that he has enough hair to pick up on the ultrasound as a fuzzy line. The parents were thrilled to see him again and are getting more excited with each update.

Upgrade!

20151007_141930[1]

20151008_184037[1]Here are a couple pictures of the wonderful new surroundings we find ourselves in. We are now in a condo complex with controlled access, assigned parking by permit, wonderfully kept lush grounds, amenities, and short walks to various ocean views. We have been a lot more active since being here too as the girls LOVE feeding the giant koi fish that are in the center of the complex then go walk on the beach. There are also a few restaurants on the harbor a short walk away which we have taken advantage of. Not to mention the actual unit is more in line with what I had envisioned when we initially agreed to this temporary move. There is an actual full kitchen, separate bedroom, huge shower, and comfortable lay out for our family. We have raved about the complex so much that my parents have started to look into it. I am so thankful that we were able to make this change! The reduced stress alone is huge but being comfortable where we are has put a stop to me dreading the remaining weeks to come.

Natural Birth is like a Unicorn in an Intervention World

IMG_20150923_141610[1]

IMG_20150930_160138[1]

Doctors and midwives have an uncanny power to turn your day upside down with a few remarks. My first appointment in CA was with the Midwife instead of my OB that I used with both of my previous pregnancies. One would think that a Nurse Midwife would be the preferential option between the two when you agree with the Bradley Method because you associate a more natural approach with a Midwife, or at least I did. After waiting in the exam room with my two young children for over an hour the Midwife came in and proceeded to use that opportunity to update my chart by asking me all of the information that I had previously had faxed over weeks ago. Then within the span of a few breaths she threw out several interventions, said I shouldn’t gain anymore weight for the rest of the pregnancy, and kept referencing to my previous births as though going sans epidural was an accident. I left the appointment dumbfounded and seething.

A quick blurb on my weight first. I have PCOS which wasn’t diagnosed until I was 26. From the age of puberty until diagnosis I had a serious battle with weight. I would work like crazy at the gym, hike trails, everything and still the mirror would refuse to reflect my efforts. After diagnosis and medication I was able to loose the baby weight from my first pregnancy plus get 10 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight before becoming pregnant with my second child. To me, that was a HUGE accomplishment. Then after baby number two and a move across the country I was able to once again tackle the monster and loose baby weight plus get 15 pounds below my second baby pre-pregnancy weight. That weight loss journey brought my total loss to over 40 pounds. Now, here I am in my third trimester having made it through two rounds of bed rest plus one round of modified bed rest with only having gained 15 pounds from transfer to 28 weeks pregnant. I was patting myself of the back for great numbers until the midwife said that. It felt like all of that hard work over the past three years had just been kicked in the teeth and the wind had disappeared from my sails.

After some therapeutic venting to my dear friends I was able to charge on with my daily routine and pull up my big girl pants with the attitude that I wasn’t going to let this person push me around or dictate my mood. It took a day or so, hormones really like to blow things out of proportion, but I did it. I pushed back on one of the interventions already and am prepared to stand for my birthing rights if any others come to head. Thankfully I did have a great experience previously with my OB so I am just going to ensure my remaining appointments are with him or the nurse practitioner that I remember loving as well, no more madame midwife.

Speaking of remaining appointments, I am now on every other week prenatal check ups (already?!) and have to go for a growth ultrasound because Surro Baby is measuring ahead by three weeks (maybe snooty pants should have taken that into account too? sorry, sorry, I’ll stop).