I’m not giving it away!!

Let me start off by saying people have word vomit issues. This is especially true when you are sporting a growing baby bump. Everyone, and their mothers, will take it upon themselves to ask your business and then proceed to ask even more questions or offer their unwanted (and usually outrageous) advice. As a surrogate, it’s so much worse. Most of them are just curious about the process, and I know they mean well, but most of them forget they are talking to an actual person…with feelings, and HORMONES.

Here are some of the more…frequent….questions and statements I have received as a surrogate.

Isn’t it hard to give the baby away?

This is probably the MOST common question I get, in several different forms. The only fair response I can give is “NO.” It’s not hard, because I’m not giving the baby away, I’m giving it back. I think a lot of people misunderstand this whole process. This baby was NEVER mine. I have known from the very start that I am only a temporary home and I am absolutely on board with that. This baby is 100% genetically related to my IM and her donor, not me. I am a gestational surrogate in that I have no genetic relationship to the baby, which differs from traditional surrogacy were the surrogate may use her own eggs. This baby is not mine, so I can not, in any way, shape, or form, give it away.

But seriously, don’t you get attached?

But seriously….no. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being pregnant. I think it is, by far, the most amazing thing a woman can experience ( I mean besides mind blowing orgasms) in her lifetime. Growing a life inside of you is an indescribable feeling. Yes, there is a feeling of protection over this life inside you, but it’s different. My family and I still treat my belly the same as we would if it was my child. We still all talk to the baby, my kids read the baby stories, my husby likes to rub my belly, and my dog likes to snuggle my belly, but it’s just different. We all know this baby isn’t coming home with us after delivery. Yes, there are emotions involved, but it’s not a “maternal” feeling, it’s more like a fostering feeling. I’m helping grow this baby strong and keep it safe so when it’s time, the baby can go off to a better life and home with its mom.

Doesn’t your husband mind that you’re carrying someone else’s baby?

I’m very lucky in that my husband seems to have a thing for me pregnant. I don’t know if it’s just me or maybe a fetish, I don’t ask and I don’t judge. He likes the caretaker role and is very willing to help out more when I’m pregnant. He doesn’t mind having to deal with the mood swings, the vomiting, the cravings, the crying at every single ASPCA commercial, shaving my legs, or tying my shoes. He is very supportive of the decision to become a surrogate. It is a choice we made together. I can not stress enough how important it is to make sure your family is on board with your decision to become a surrogate. Your spouse and your kids are just as big a part of this process as you. Do not underestimate the sacrifices of your family to make this a possibility.

You must get paid a lot to do that.

This is my least favorite question/statement to get. Yes, there is money involved when becoming a surrogate, but if that is your deciding factor you’re doing it for the wrong reason. “A lot” of money is relative. A homeless person may think $5 is a lot because it will buy them a meal, where as a billionaire can spend $100,000 on a bottle of champagne and not bat an eye. It’s relative. Money is not a motivating factor for me, end of discussion. If you’re really curious about the compensations involved with surrogacy, Google it.

Why don’t they just adopt?

Why didn’t you? You could’ve adopted instead of having biological children of your own, but you made the decision that you thought was best for your family. Some intended parents have considered adoption, as well as every other option available to them in order to have a family. It’s not my business, nor my right, to judge them for their decision to utilize surrogacy. I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to be involved in surrogacy and help provide intended parents with the chance to start a family of their own. That goes for those families trying to have siblings through surrogacy as well.

Are you excited to be a big sister?

My favorite encounter in public is when I have my girls with me and someone will ask my girls if they are excited to be big sisters. This is my second surrogacy so my girls understand the process well, and my oldest, without missing a beat, will respond, “It’s not our baby.” I wish I had a camera every time this happened because people’s reactions are hilarious. Most are confused, some are shocked, some think she’s joking and start laughing, and some are disgusted and give me a judgmental stare-down. I always have to follow up her response with an explanation, but I do enjoy watching people react.

I LOVE talking about surrogacy, when I’m prepared. I love getting emails, texts, Facebook messages, interviewing for other blogs, and comments on my own blog with questions and stories. I love being able to provide insight to those who may not know much about surrogacy. I love hearing how people have overcome their infertility issues through surrogacy. I love talking to people and helping them with anything I can. If I could make a career out of it, I would. I am a surrogacy advocate and will shout it from the rooftops whenever possible. That being said, there are certainly days where someone will notice the bump and make a comment or congratulate me and I will simply say thank you and move on with life. When I have no make up on, I’m in yoga pants, rushing to get my grocery shopping done before I get the kids from school and then take them to dance class, I just don’t have the energy to answer all the follow up questions that come when I explain I am a surrogate. It doesn’t mean I am any less proud of myself, or my fellow surro-sisters, for what we’re helping to do.

Superpower

Feeling 22…

I am 22 weeks pregnant. Wow! When did that happen?? Time is going by so fast and I have so much going on that I feel like I have very little time to enjoy it all. Baby is moving a LOT and kicks are getting stronger and easier to feel from the outside each day.

20170227_154640Since my last post, I had my 20 week appointment, Thursday February 23, and hospital tour the next day. My IM was able to fly out to be there for both and it was so wonderful to get to spend so much time with her. I had very little sleep (like always…#nightshiftproblems) and it was snowing, of course. We had had beautiful seventy degree days leading up to a blizzard the morning she flew in from California. Guys….my IM drove in the snow for the first time!! Like a CHAMP! I, on the other hand, slid in my new jeep with her in the car, lol. At least it convinced my husband to finally get me new tires!

Anyway, the appointment went wonderfully. My IM got to be there for the ultrasound and see baby moving around. She took a video to send to her family and they were all very excited for her. I’m so glad she is feeling confident enough now to tell her family and allow everyone to celebrate and be happy for her! She also got to meet my OB in person, although they’ve talked on the phone several times. My OB is so awesome. She is just very honest and straight forward. My IM was asking about next steps and the process of preparing for baby and asked when we could expect baby to arrive. I had to laugh because it’s such a cute reminder that she is a first time parent. I forget how much you don’t know the first time around and how much I’ve forgotten. It doesn’t help that my IM is very organized and a planner so not being able to even provide a week we can expect baby is probably torture for her. My doctor was very kind in explaining there is no real way to plan. It will happen when it happens and if I start to dilate slowly we will have more of an indication, but seeing as this is my fourth pregnancy I could just start having contractions and have a baby that day. Who knows? She will just need to be prepared to get on a plane when I call. I’m pretty confident I won’t make it to my due date, because I never have in the past, but each pregnancy is completely different. Wouldn’t it be funny (but NOT REALLY) if I go past my due date!!! (…omg I should delete that and totally throw out the idea….that is NOT HAPPENING!!)

After the appointment we let my IM ride home with us to get the girls from the bus. She got to meet our dog, Apollo, and see the house. I kept reminding her that we have room for her to stay when baby arrives so I will get to spend a little time with her, her mom, and baby before she returns to California. Plus I’m planning to pump so milk would be easily accessible. 🙂 I will keep reminding her.

We got the girls from the bus and headed out to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, the girls choice. It was so nice to have the time to just hang out and chat. I got to know a lot more about her and the baby’s father. We talked a little bit more about her disease and why she can’t carry a baby of her own because my youngest asked why she couldn’t carry her own baby. Kids can be quite charming with their lack of filter, but it’s nice for the girls to have a full understanding of why I do what I do. I would love for my girls to grow up and have families of their own and maybe become surrogates and help other families as well. Or if one of them has infertility struggles I want them to know everything about ALL of their options to have a family.

The next morning was the hospital tour. I was excited as this is the first time I will be delivering at a new hospital. All three of my previous deliveries were at Sky Ridge. This time I’m delivering at a smaller, older hospital that is a little further from my house. My doctor likes this hospital and I trust her so I will go where she goes unless some emergency has me going to a closer hospital. I can only imagine the chaos that would ensue if my doctor weren’t able to deliver and some random doctor that I or my IM don’t know has to become involved. So, we will go where my doctor is. Our match manager from ConceiveAbilites was with us. We met with a coordinator, of sorts, and had an hour long conversation of the intake process and paper work needed from both sides prior to delivery. It was very informative and between the coordinator and our match manager, all questions were asked and answered.We then got to do a tour!

It is definitely an older hospital, but it’s nice that it’s smaller because the one thing I noticed was how quiet it was the entire time we were there. It will be a great environment to labor and recover in. They also offer Nitrous Oxide as a pain reliever during labor. I have been reading up on it and tossing around the idea of giving it a try. I’m pretty sure I’m still going to do an epidural so I’m not writhing in pain and will be able to enjoy the experience with my IM, especially because we will have a photographer present, but it would be nice

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21w6d. Baby waving

to be able to allow labor to progress a little more and be more mobile in the beginning stages of labor. I have no set plan, because it’s not a good idea and things happen, but I am open to seeing how things go. I did toss around the idea of having an unmedicated delivery, but I am not a nice person when I am in pain, and I have no problem admitting I am not that strong. The women who deliver naturally with no pain medications are SUPERHEROS in my book. Seriously….those women are BADASSES! But who knows what will happen on the day. We will have a tentative plan, but I will go with the flow.

I was sad to see my IM leave after the tour, but it was nice to have some time with her and get to know her more. I am so so excited to see her at delivery and meet her mom and hear all the questions and finally be able to meet this little baby!!!

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21w6d. THOSE LIPS!! There is a wave a fluid right in front of baby’s face distorting the cheeks and nose, but seriously…those lips!

This past Thursday, March 9, I had my follow up appointment with the doctor who did my amniocentesis. He is so nice and allowed us to take another video for my IM. This appointment was to check the baby’s heart and I am happy to say that baby’s heart looked perfect. It took a bit longer than expected because baby was moving around and laying in a folded over position that made it harder to get a good view, but after a bit and the ultrasound tech repeatedly shaking me up, baby decided to cooperate and we were able to get some pretty amazing views of baby and baby’s little heart. Baby was measuring exactly on track at 21w6d and weighed in at 1lb 2oz.

I have no more scheduled ultrasounds until delivery, unless my IM comes out for another appointment in which case my OB will do one to make the trip worth it. The remainder of appointments will be pretty boring as I’ve been through all of this before and they really

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21 weeks!!

just monitor my belly growth. Now we begin the waiting and growing game. This is the part where I start to get HUGE and waddle and hear comments about looking like a beached whale. Baby will get stronger and hopefully will allow me to get some good videos of baby moving around to send my IM.

We are planning a vacation for spring break with my girls in two weeks. We are meeting my parents and will get to relax and just enjoy the last week of my 2nd trimester and then we will officially be in the home stretch!!