Let the Countdown Begin

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35 weeks Still managing to walk around at the dog park

The past two weeks have flown by. At my 35 week appointment, Thursday October 15, babies were doing great but little boy was back to being breech and I was a little sad, but knew my doc would deliver him that way as long as little girl stayed head down. She has been comfy that way the entire pregnancy! He was estimated at 6lbs 3oz and she was at 5lbs 9oz, although that’s probably low because it was hard to get a measurement with as low as she is. She also informed me that I was dilated to 3cm! WOOT! She was certain I would go into labor that weekend.

It was then that she informed me that the hospital I am planning to deliver at is no longer in-network with my insurance. This began a very chaotic afternoon of phone calls, faxes, and another trip back to her office. My IM and I were frantically trying to figure out how to get everything sorted out with the hospital I want to deliver at as there was no way to change hospitals with me so close to delivery. We had done the hospital tour, filed the surrogacy and parentage paperwork with the hospital, and they already have our birthplan on file. With me about to deliver, switching hospitals would be a complete nightmare. My doc does have rights at another hospital, but I know nothing about that hospital and whether or not it is surrogate friendly. Not to mention it’s 45 minutes from my house! So, finally, after about 3 hours of frantically calling insurance and the hospital and the doctor, we were able to file a Continuity of Care form and I received pre-approval to still deliver at my chosen hospital. (After all the chaos, we learned it wasn’t even necessary as I had been approved to deliver there in June, while the hospital was still in network.) Ugh. Whatever. At least we all knew that when I go into labor I have a place to go.

Luckily, despite all the contractions I had that weekend, I did NOT go into labor.

Then, Tuesday comes and I get a phone call from insurance. She informs me they received my Continuity of Care form, but since my doc has rights at another hospital I would most likely need to deliver there, but either way it takes up to 15 days for approval. I was like WTF?? I tried to explain our situation about being a surrogacy and not having any of the paperwork (which took weeks to get filed at the other hospital) filed with the new hospital, plus the drive time from my house. She informed me that according to her maps, it was only a 13 minute drive to the other hospital. I wanted to punch her in the face. I’m pretty sure I know where I live and how long it will take me to get to the hospital and that’s if my husband is home. If he is at work and has to drive home to take me to the hospital that adds an additional 30 minutes to the time. What if it was an emergency and I needed to get there quick? I couldn’t call an ambulance because they would take me to the hospital that is no longer in network (because it’s 10 minutes from my house!) So I asked what happened if I went into labor that night and went to the original hospital. She just said it may not be approved and then we’d be responsible for the bill. She told me she would try to rush the form since we were so close to delivery, but I should plan on going to the other hospital until I had approval. I hung up and instantly started sobbing. I was in shock. I didn’t even know what to do or how to proceed or anything. How can they tell someone who is 36 weeks pregnant to pick a different hospital??

I was trying to catch my breath and calm down to call my case manager when insurance calls me back. She was like oops, just kidding. I read your file and see that it was actually pre-approved back in June. I was so mad hanging up. I knew this was what had happened Thursday as well. If the first person I had called (because I talked to 6 different people between all my calls, not to mention the calls made by my case manager) had just read my file and seen the approval, all the stress could’ve been avoided. I’m lucky all that chaos didn’t put me in labor!

So, the lesson from all of this? DO YOUR RESEARCH! Especially if you are in some sort of customer outreach position. Read the customer’s file. Make sure you know ALL the information BEFORE you call the customer who is 36 weeks pregnant with twins.

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36 weeks

I had another appointment yesterday, October 22. I was 36 weeks 1 day. My doc was surprised I was still pregnant. I was like “you and me both, sister.” I have been waiting and waiting for labor to start as I have been miserable this week. I am so beyond uncomfortable with how low the babies are sitting and I have had a head cold all week. They didn’t do any measurements on the babies, but we did see that little boy is back to being head down with his sister, she really just wanted to check my cervix. It was still at 3cm. I was disappointed. If I get to 4cm, she sends me to the hospital to have babies! I thought for sure it would be at least a 4 because I have been having contractions almost every night but those darn things just won’t get regular. She tried to stretch my cervix a little while doing my physical exam (it’s not a comfortable feeling) but she wasn’t very aggressive with it. She started to tell me that if I made it to my next appointment she could be more aggressive to see if that would help labor, but I must have made a face at her because she immediately revoked her question. She asked “how does Monday sound for a birthday?” My IM and I both agreed it would be perfect. So, if I don’t go into labor on my own this weekend, I will go in for a physical exam on Monday morning and I’ll either be at 4cm and get sent to the hospital or I won’t be 4cm and she will induce me. I am so ready to have these babies though. I have my hospital bag packed (and know which hospital I can go to), I ordered a portable breast pump through insurance, and rented a hospital grade breast pump to keep at home.

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My awesome husby shaving my legs because I can no longer reach

On top of all the pregnancy chaos, we are trying to prep our condo to get listed next week because our new house may be done a little earlier and we need to make sure the condo is sold before we can close on the new house. All the cleaning and organizing we have to get done this weekend may be just the ticket to put me into labor. I’m trying not to think too much about it because we now have an official end date in sight, although I would much prefer to go into labor on my own, but I haven’t had any contractions since my last appointment. T-minus 4 days!

Measuring 42

We got our maternity photos back and they are gorgeous!! I am beyond happy with how well they turned out and I want to give a special thanks to Lora and Ted with Swinson Studios (http://www.swinsonstudios.com/)  for taking them for us. They do such amazing work! We are planning to have them present for the birth to capture all the incredible moments, so hopefully these babies stay cooperative and we have an easy (and photogenic) delivery that we can capture on film.

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This is my absolute favorite from the shoot!

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Last weekend was the baby shower for my IPs and it was beautiful. I got to meet so much (more) of our extended family. It really makes this journey so much more special that we are all related. She got so many cute baby clothes and necessities, and I got to see the ADORABLE nursery they have set up for the twins! It is so incredible how much love will be surrounding these babies!

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My IM and I at the baby shower

It is still a little uncomfortable to me how thankful everyone is. They all tell me what an incredible gift I’m giving and how amazing I am for sacrificing so much, but honestly, it’s not a sacrifice at all. I am so thankful that I am able to help grow another family and I would never think twice about it. I have the ability to help, and I really want to help, so I am. That is the end of the story.

I had another doctor’s appointment on Thursday, October 8. I was 34 weeks, 1 day pregnant with these twins. Both babies are still doing phenomenal and growing so fast! They were both measuring about a week ahead, and little boy was estimated at 5lbs 7oz, and little girl was estimated at 5lbs 9oz. That is 11lbs of baby already! I am going to the doctor weekly now and although little boy was head up at my last appointment, he appears to be making his way back to being head down as his head was right in the center of my belly this time. I’m just so glad that little girl is staying put in a head down position and we are still able to plan on a vaginal delivery!

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34 weeks

I also had the culture done for Strep B and the nice doc measured my cervix. On the ultrasound it was still holding steady around 4cm long with no movement when she pushed on my belly (cervix of steel). She did a physical exam also and said little girl’s head is pushing my cervix back, but if the doc pulled it forward I was measuring about 1cm dilated. That means absolutely nothing, however. I could stay 1cm until I go into actual labor. She kept asking if I’ve been having contractions, but I really haven’t had many Braxton Hicks contractions and she said it is most likely because my uterus is stretched so large that it’s actually difficult for it to produce contractions. She thinks I will just go into one of my appointments and she’ll inform me that I’m dilated to 4cm and send me over to the hospital. She said she could be wrong, but she doesn’t think it will be anything dramatic and she doesn’t like women to “walk into the hospital and have the baby fall out.” She still wants those babies to cook until at least 36 weeks, but then she said she could be a little more “aggressive” with my cervical exams to see if that helps things along as she wants me to go into labor and not have to be induced. She then measured my tummy, with her handy measuring tape, and informed me that I’m measuring 42 weeks. Yep. My belly is measuring nearly 8 weeks ahead.

I have definitely reached the uncomfortable stage of pregnancy. Walking, standing, sitting, lying down, getting dressed (especially tying my shoes), shaving my legs….all of these have become extremely difficult, if not impossible. I’m still having pain in my upper left leg and frontal pelvis area. I can barely lift my left leg to get dressed, get in/out of the bathtub, get into the car, or go up the stairs to our condo. The pain is the worst when I’m lying in bed and have to roll over or change positions. My right rib pain is also near constant now and I walk around with an ice pack most of the time. It has gone from a dull ache to more of a tight muscle that spasms when I move a certain way. The ice helps though, and it’s only a few short weeks until these babies arrive!! My AMAZING husby has been so incredible. He has been doing so much around the house and helping with the girls and cooking. I’m very lucky to have him!

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34 weeks, 1 day with twins

One of the other surrogates posted a picture of her gorgeous belly at 27 weeks pregnant and a lot of the girls were jealous that she doesn’t have any stretch marks, myself included. I have TONS of stretch marks from my girls, but thankfully they haven’t gotten any worse with this pregnancy. They are mostly due to genetics, but I have been using cocoa butter religiously and it seems to be working. If nothing else, I haven’t had any itchiness due to my skin stretching! I used to be really ashamed of them, and I still won’t wear a bikini in public, but I have learned to embrace them like battle wounds. They remind me that I got to grow two beautiful daughters, and I know there are many women out there who would kill to be able to be pregnant and earn some stripes. I am so lucky to have mine. 20151008_194406