Tuesday, February 12, 2013


In the days since the twins' birth, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of love and support we have received from friends and family. We have had delicious meals prepared for us, offers to help run errands, sleepovers at Nana's house and countless words of support. It has been humbling to say the least. I know we are super fortunate to have so many people who care about us and more people than I can count have followed this journey from the very beginning. My last entry for this blog is to address a specific issue that has been recurring throughout this surrogacy and has become more frequent in the last week: How I am REALLY doing with going through and entire pregnancy and not having a baby of my own.
I addressed this issue early on, reassuring everyone that I wasn't going to have a hard time at the end of this pregnancy because I wasn't actually "giving up" the babies; they weren't mine. As I stated before, I get why people would be concerned and would feel the need to ask and check on me, but I've been solid in these feelings since Day 1. "But what about the hormones???" people ask. "Won't you be super hormonal and miss having a little one to bond with???".  To be perfectly honest and blunt, NO. I do NOT miss having a newborn in my house. I love my children with every fiber of my being and every sleepless night and every breakdown and every pull-your-hair-out struggle was worth it because they are my heart. But I do not want to go through that again. It was gut-wrenchingly hard both times; I did not have "easy" babies :) Does that matter now-no, I would do it all over for them in a heartbeat. But the key phrase there is "for them"; for MY children. The twins are not my children.
My amazingly insightful midwife Nancy and I had a great conversation the day after the birth, processing the whole experience. She told me that there were some key points during the birth experience that she was watching closely to gauge my emotional state (as is her job). The first was right after the birth, when the baby nurse was putting hospital bracelets on the babies and had one for the "mother". Not knowing the scenario, she naturally reached for my wrist to put the bracelet on and I immediately said "No, no, I'm not their mother, SHE is!" and pointed to the mom, "I'm just the surrogate!" I didn't remember that until she reminded me. The second was when I had the pleasure of handing those babies, one at a time, to their parents. Nancy told me I was beaming, smiling in adoration; but not in yearning. It felt right to pass them on, it felt good. It was the moment I have been anticipating since I met the parents, the absolute joy of giving them the gift they have been working so hard for, for so many years.
Not once have I cried in sadness over the birth. Not once have I regretted my decisions. I am so, so happy to be on this end of the journey, to be done with this incredible experience. "So, REALLY, how are you doing???"  I am so very ready to focus solely on my family and all the fun, exciting things we have on the horizon. I helped someone else complete their family and now I am ready to just be with mine. While I appreciate the concern (after all, those inquiring just want me to know they care) I really hope my loved ones know me enough to know that I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. I am good. I am really, really good. I am happy.  I am blessed with amazing family and friends, and I thank you all for following me through this surrogacy.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Down the rabbit hole: the birth of the twins

So here it is, the final phase of this journey. I don't say the end of the journey, because the lives that were created have joined two families together forever. But it is the long-anticipated birth story of two beautiful girls, so here we go.........

Thursday January 31st I had a regular appointment scheduled with my doctor, and for some reason, I had a feeling something was going to be up. I thought it would be that my dilation had increased, but I was in for a bit of a shock. My blood pressure was elevated through the roof, past the point that the doctor felt comfortable letting me go home. I normally have low blood pressure, so for it to be that elevated was scary. Dr. Fitzhugh sent me immediately to the hospital for monitoring in the hopes that we could get it to come down, and if not, we would decide what to do from there. I wasn't happy, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, after monitoring, my blood pressure kept going higher, and my doctor decided that we had to induce. I was concerned because I knew that would make labor harder (pitocin induced contractions SUCK!) but I was still feeling like we were on the right path. Plus, I had my support team: my amazing hubby, who is a fantastic amateur doula :) and my rock star midwife Nancy. So there I was, hooked up to an IV (which I hate) with antibiotics for Group Strep B, magnesium for my blood pressure, and pitocin to induce my labor. I was already 2cm dilated so I was pretty sure that my body would take over quickly and labor would get going. And it did :) The crappy thing about being hooked to an IV during labor is that is limits your mobility, which makes labor more difficult, especially when you want to do it without pain medication. My plan was to rest as much as possible until the contractions got tough. The next time my cervix was checked, I was 5cm! Woohoo! But now I was really feeling them, so breathing techniques became important. My nurse and midwife adjusted the bed so that I was sitting upright, almost like I was on a throne, to take pressure off my back. Any time I see a woman on tv or in a movie, lying flat on her back during labor, I want to scream. It is the worst position you can be in during labor; it hurts like hell and it slows down your labor. So it was important that I be in a position where gravity could help. I was able to stand up some, but couldn't walk because the blood pressure meds make you dizzy. By now, I was fully in the throes of active labor and everyone knew it because things had gotten more serious. I was agitated by being so limited in my movements, and Russell REALLY knew it cause he knows me so well. So what does he do? Being my hubby, he suggests exactly what I needed: to get my stupid freaking clothes off :) That made a big difference because I felt so much less hindered. ( The first time I talked to the intended parents, I told the father that he probably wouldn't want to be in the delivery room with me because I prefer to labor naked :) )
By this point, things were really serious and I was having some doubts. My team was so reassuring that I could do this naturally, so we kept at it. Nancy checked my dilation at this point for hopes of motivation, and we got it: I was 9cm!!! I had labored through crappy-ass pitocin contractions and was almost at the finish line. The hospital policy at this particular hospital is that all twin deliveries are done in the O.R. just in case there is an emergency and a last minute c-section has to be done. I didn't like that idea, but honestly at that point it didn't really matter to me. So they wheeled me into the OR after throwing a blanket over me (still naked!) and there was an entire surgical team over in the corner all set up "just in case". Well, we knew that baby A was in perfect position and baby B was breech, but we also knew my doctor was very skilled in turning babies AND in breech deliveries. The surgical team was on standby, "in case baby b needed a c-section". Dr. Fitzhugh's comment to them was "Why would she? She is doing just fine."  As we are moving me from my bed to the surgical bed (which is nothing but a skinny metal gurney with a thin mattress) I knew I had to push. I hate the phrase "urge to push" because I just don't think it is an appropriate term: it just doesn't really describe that "unstoppable force" feeling when you need to push. So I quickly get on the table, grab my husband on one side and the nurse on the other and with the first push, baby A's head is out! Second push and she is here!!! I couldn't believe it. We knew B was breech so with the next push Dr. Fitzhugh reached up, grabbed her feet, and she was delivered feet first, with her bag of waters still intact. Absolutely amazing. Unreal that they were born 2 minutes apart, in the OR, with an entire surgical team standing there completely shocked while this crazy naked lady was hooked to an IV that did not include pain medication. I am still shocked myself. The whole labor process, from pitocin induction to delivery, was 6 hours. I was supported and surrounded by the people I wanted there: my hubby, the mother, my midwife and my doctor, plus an awesome nurse who I now adore. The dad then came in, as soon as I was covered, and I got to see these amazing people meet their daughters. I held the babies while the mother cut the cord and then passed them off to their parents. Pure and utter joy! I have never been worried that I would feel sad to hand off the babies and I truly wasn't. It felt amazing to hold and meet them, but it felt like holding my friend's babies, not my own. Despite the bright lights and cold, sterile environment, that was a room overflowing with love and excitement :)

I am honored that I was trusted enough to carry these children for people who wanted them so badly. I am thrilled that pregnancy was a great experience. I am ridiculously happy that despite circumstances, I was able to have a natural, vaginal (breech!!!) delivery. I feel blessed beyond words to have traveled this journey.