The End

20170630_075923The delivery post is always the hardest to write. I feel like I can never find words strong enough to convey how incredible a day it is, but here is my best shot.

The last few weeks of pregnancy were tough. I was exhausted and huge and getting increasingly more uncomfortable. I wasn’t sleeping more than an hour at a time because I either couldn’t get comfortable or had to roll over or had to get up to pee, again. I was emotional and just ready to have this baby.

June 25 I started having some contractions at work. They were nothing exciting and not regular at all but I texted my IM to let her know just to make sure she was packed and ready for sometime that week. I was 37 weeks 2 days pregnant at the time.  I told my IM not to get too excited as they would probably stop once I told her (which they did) but she got worried about missing the big show and jumped on a plane. My IM and her mom arrived June 26 at around 2am.

I worked another two days and then called out for my final shift as I was in so much pain I knew I would be useless at work. It hurt to walk, sit, stand, breathe…I was miserable. I had dinner with my IM and her mom that night. It was so nice to get to catch up and talk about all the excitement that was heading her way. I thought we would have a baby soon as I was approaching 38 weeks and had never made it to 39 weeks in my previous pregnancies.

38 weeks came and went and still no baby. My doctor went out of town and I went from trying to go into labor to trying to delay it. I went from walking a lot to relaxing a lot. It was nice to relax, but it was also very lonely and boring. Pregnancy, for me, has always been very lonely as most of my friends disappear when I’m pregnant. No one came to visit. No one wanted to go do anything with me. It was a very long and lonely nine months.

My doctor came back in town July 3 and we still hadn’t had a baby so it was game time. It was the holiday week and we had a lot of plans with family and neighbors. We got to watch fireworks at the baseball stadium from my brother’s incredible downtown apartment. It was such a great view and my IM and her mom were able to join us for the show. We then had a big neighborhood block party for the 4th and it was so great to hang out with the kids and my husby, but still no baby. I had been hoping all the excitement from the fireworks would cause me to go into labor, but we always forget that these babies have a mind, and plan, all their own. It was looking more and more like I would make it to my induction date of July 7.

I continued to try anything and everything to get labor started naturally as I was a little fearful of having an induction. My IM and her mom kept very busy being tourists and taking in all the sights of Colorado so I didn’t see her much. She would text me in the mornings with where they were going and where I could reach them and then again at night to let me know they were turning off their phones and to call her at the hotel if anything started happening. I walked and walked, had sex, ate spicy food, but all it did was exhaust me further. Finally, the night before induction I gave up and had a massage where she worked some of my pressure points in a final attempt to start labor, but it still did nothing. Baby was happy to stay put. I was just glad to get to relax a little and knew, either way, baby was getting evicted the next day as we had instructions to be at the hospital at 5am for a 7am induction. My husby’s mom had already picked up my kids so my husby and I enjoyed our last night together with the baby. He brought home some Cheesecake Factory for dinner and we enjoyed an at home date night.

39 weeks. The morning of induction and my last pregnant picture.

The next day I received a phone call from the hospital at 3am. My induction had to be pushed back as they were too busy and I was supposed to call back at 8am. I called my IM to let her know she could sleep a little longer and I attempted to go back to sleep, but it was nearly impossible. I think I finally fell back asleep around 6:30 and then woke up at 7:30 to get ready, just in case. I got up, got dressed, made sure my bag was all packed and then called the hospital back at 8. They were still too busy and I was instructed to call back at 10am. I texted my IM to let her know. She decided to call the doctor to see if there was anything we could do to get things started, but the doctor told her the same thing I did, we were a scheduled induction and emergencies would always bump us from the line. There was nothing we could do but wait. The doctor did, however, call a second hospital to get us on the waiting list there as well. They couldn’t get me in until 2pm so it became a waiting game to see which hospital would open up first. I just had to keep calling back and forth until one told me to come on in.

My husby and I took advantage of the added time and went to breakfast. When I called at 10am they still didn’t have an opening but thought they may be able to get us in around noon so to call back at 11am.  My husby and I started walking around different places just waiting to go get induced. We even picked up some card games at Target so we could keep ourselves entertained as we knew induction might be a long process.

At 11am I called the hospital and they said they could get me in at 1:30. I called the doctor and texted my IM. We finally had the official “go ahead.” I was actually a little relieved to be delivering at our originally planned hospital as they were knowledgeable of my being a surrogate, they had the birth orders, they knew my birth plan, and we knew my doctor would be there. My husby and I walked around a few more stores to pass the time and then headed to the hospital.

We got checked into our room and I got all hooked up to monitors. My IM and her mom arrived around 2pm and had their own room in labor and delivery to hang out in. The doctor arrived around 3:15 to try to break my water and get things started. Unfortunately, baby still had plans of its own and kept reaching a hand up every time my doctor tried to break my water. She didn’t want the baby’s arm to get stuck in the birth canal so she decided to start me on pitocin instead. The hope was that pitocin would start my contractions and push baby’s head into the canal so then my doctor would be able to break my water. The unfortunate part was that I would be hooked up to a pump and that meant I would have to stay in bed. I wouldn’t be able to walk or move around to help labor progress like I had wanted. I was really bummed because I had wanted to try to labor on my own more this time than with my previous pregnancies. It just goes to show that when planning for labor, you should always be willing to change your birth plan because really there is a whole other person involved.

I decided to go ahead and get an epidural as I knew pitocin would bring on contractions fast and hard so I figured I would avoid as much pain as possible. The anesthesiologist was AMAZING! She was so kind and bubbly and did a great job with my epidural!!

We then just waited….and waited. My IM and her mom spent a lot of time in their own room and we hung out in my room with our photographer. We played some card games and caught up. Our photographer had recently had twins of her own and it was fun to get to talk babies and life with her. She is truly amazing!!

Time seemed to go so slowly but I was making progress. I was starting to feel more and more of the contractions, but they weren’t really painful, I could just feel the pressure building. My doc came back around 10pm and was finally able to break my water shortly after. My contractions started getting stronger and stronger and it seemed like breaking my water had really gotten things moving. The pain was increasing with each contraction and I was so glad to have my husband there to hold my hand and help me breathe through each one.

By 11:40, or so, I was really starting to feel some pressure and called the nurse in to check me. We were ready to have a baby! From then on it is all kind of a blur. My contractions continued to increase in intensity and pain and I struggled to roll onto my back to prepare for labor as my epidural had made my legs completely numb and they were basically dead weight. I began pushing sometime around 11:55 and baby came quick. I pushed through 3, maybe 4, contractions and baby was born at midnight on July 8. My IM and her mom were able to watch the whole birth and my IM even got to help deliver the baby and set it on my chest while she cut the cord. We were all so shocked to learn it was a GIRL! I couldn’t believe it. I had been so sure I was carrying a boy. There were tears and hugs and incredible photographs taken by our photographer.

My IM and her mom were overwhelmed with joy and love for their beautiful baby girl. She was a very healthy 8lbs 8oz, 20.5in long and she had a full head of very dark hair. It was, by far, my easiest delivery. I could never explain the feelings you have when giving someone else a child. The entire journey is worth every ache and pain in that single moment. You have such an overwhelming sense of pride in yourself and your family, you are overjoyed and elated. I was also so grateful in that moment. I consider myself so lucky to have been a part of a second journey.

That night I was able to spend a lot of time with baby girl. I nursed her for the first 12 hours to help her get the very important colostrum. I enjoyed every second of snuggles I got as I knew my IM was only planning to stay in town for a few days. I went home 19 hours after delivery as I just wanted to sleep in my own bed. I was exhausted from delivery and sleep deprivation from having my vitals checked and feeding the baby. Baby girl went home to the hotel the next afternoon.

Sunday we went up to Fort Collins for a baby shower, which I probably should have skipped because I was so tired, but we picked up our girls from my husby’s mom and got to spend some time with his family. We then headed to my IM’s hotel as they were leaving early the next morning and I knew it was important for my girls to meet the baby. It was nice to get to hold her one last time and say our goodbyes. I also gave her the little bit of milk I had produced.

Getting ready for my first shipment

It was a little surreal to head home without a newborn, but it was nice to have some time with my family and I knew baby girl was being loved. I get updates almost daily on how she is doing now that she has returned home. I am pumping and shipping my breastmilk and am so glad I’m able to still help out for a bit. So far I have shipped nearly 400oz and hope I am able to pump for another few months.

The end to any journey is bittersweet. The emotions you experience during labor and delivery are what make everything worth it. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending for my second journey but I’m already missing being pregnant. Carrying a child inside of you is also such an amazing experience. I’ll admit I got a little bit of baby fever this time around and have had the conversation with my husby about whether or not we want more of our own. He’s not too keen on the idea, but he would be willing to go through another surrogacy so that may be an option in the future as well. It’s very addicting to help people, especially when you’re helping them have families.

I will continue to pump for the next several weeks and await pictures of baby girl growing up. We have discussed a trip out to see her, possibly for spring break next year, so I have that to look forward to. Now I just readjust to my normal life (as normal as it can be while pumping every 3 hours) and try to get back into a regular routine.