Friday, February 29, 2008

Got books?

Like kids? Like books? You might want to get in on this. Come on, do it for the kids. And for the books. And for the kids who need books. And for the books who need kids.


Like most two year olds Elle has developed her own special language. Here are some of my favorite words and sayings of hers complete with translations for those of you not fluent in Ellespeak.

I blowfing it. - I'm blowing on this food to cool it off.

I sound scary. - I heard a sound that scared me.

I look scary. - I see something that scares me.

Maga and Paga - Grandma and Grandpa

I want something hungry. - I'm hungry.

I want something lunch. - I want something to eat.

I toot-tooted. - I passed gas.

I Stinky Pete. - I have a poopy diaper.

I Chickey-poo. - I'm cute.

Mama putting in her eyes. - Mama is putting in her contact lenses.

I want mentals for my hungry. - I would like some lentils for lunch.

Survivor tidbits

1. The funniest thing I have seen on Survivor in a while was Ozzy hiding the immunity idol under his straw hat as he talked to Kathy. The hat was way up high on his head and it appeared to have a flowered scarf on it and it was way funnier looking than I can describe here. Trust me.

2. Tracy is one smart cookie. She knew exactly what to say to get send Joel into a panic and vote out Mike. I'm bummed that they're mixing up the tribes next week (as per the previews) because I would have like to see how she would have done next week with her original tribe. This tribe mix-up is going to screw with an interesting dynamic. Poo.

3. I wonder if anyone will be fooled by Ozzy's "immunity idol". What would you think if you found that stick? I think I would think that someone already found the real idol. If I was Ozzy I would have gotten rid of the cloth the idol was wrapped in and moved that rock to another spot. That's just me though. I don't want to second guess Ozzy though because I do like him when he's not trying to devour Amanda's face.

4. When in the hell did I start to like Eliza? What is happening to me? The world made sense a couple of weeks ago!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Never ask my husband to buy you maxi pads

After A was born and I was still in the hospital I asked Jesse to stop by the store and buy me some pads for after I got home. He looked confused and we had the following conversation:
Jesse: Don't you already have some at home?
Me: Yes, but not enough.
Jesse: Really? Are you sure?
Me: Yeah, I know that I only have a few at home.
Jesse: Hmmmm.
Me: Trust me! I know that I need more!
Jesse: (skeptically) Oooookaaaay.
Me: OH MY GOD! Why are you doubting me on this!?! Wouldn't I know better than you how many pads I have? I think I have a pretty good handle on my current pad inventory! So unless you want me washing out and reusing the few I have then please, for the love of all that is holy, buy me some damned maxi pads!

Ok, I didn't say that last part. I'm sure he got the message from the look I shot him though. The look said "Do you really want to argue over feminine hygiene products with me?"

Last week I asked Jesse to buy me more pads. This time he didn't argue at all. He went right out and got me some. Or, he tried. What was the problem? He brought me bladder leakage protection pads. For people who are incontinent. He went in to a store where he used to work and where I know a good number of the employees and bought me adult diapers. Technically they are pads but they're huge and wearing one (Yes, I tried using them. I was in a pinch) makes you look and feel like you're carrying a rolled up sleeping bag between your legs. What was Jesse's excuse? "They were on the shelf right next to what I bought you last time!" Of course. It's only logical then that you would buy the thing next to what you bought last time. It makes perfect sense.

The moral of this story? Never ask my husband to buy you maxi pads. You just can't count on him for that sort of thing. But, since he really is a pretty good guy most of the time next time I'll tell you a story that shows how you can count on him when it really matters.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mama malk

I think I've turned a corner emotion-wise. I haven't cried in the last two days. Every so often I get a little sad because the whole surrogacy is over (I can't wait to do it again) but otherwise I'm starting to feel more "evened out". As long as I'm not pumping I'm happy.

Because pumping sucks.

Ok, pumping doesn't suck. Blood blisters on your nipples is what sucks. Feeling like you have a rabid weasel attatched to each breast is what sucks. Ending your pumping session and finding that not only are your nipples red and chapped, they're two inches long is what sucks. Washing out the fricken' pumps 100 times a day is what sucks.

But pumping is great! And I'm keeping it up because I want the very best for little A ...... and I want some help with losing this baby weight and pumping is really good for that.

The one thing I really love about pumping is when Elle wants to sit with me while I do it. (Fun fact - I produce a lot more milk when I pump with her in the room.) We have the same conversation every time she sees me pump.

Elle: Mama, you pump-pump again?
Me: Yep, I'm pumping again.
Elle: You make-a the malk?
Me: Yep.
Elle: That malk is for the babies?
Me: Yes, this milk is for the baby.
Elle: Mama, you almost done make-a malk?
Me: Not yet honey.
Elle: Malk is for the babies?
Me: Yes, for the baby.
Elle: Mama, I want that malk! It delicious!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Just call me Toilet Girl

toilet girl biggest shit she ever makes

Thanks Google. You're making the world a better place.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What will make me cry today?

Ugh, I forgot what a kick in the pants post-partum hormones are. I'm so weepy! Poor Jesse keeps coming across me crying and when he asks what's wrong it's always something like "There's a hairball in the shower drain!" or "I forgot to put salt on my corn!" or "Elle stopped using a sippy cup!"

The other day my mom came over to drop off some dinner (because she is the best mom ever and is making dinner for us for every night for a whole week) and I answered the door in tears. She asked what was wrong and the best answer I could give her was "The toilet isn't flushing right!"

I'm a mess.

But I'm not really. Really I'm feeling pretty good. Sometimes I feel so good that that makes me cry. If I start to think too much about the birth I start to get weepy with happiness.

Yesterday I talked on the phone with J and he just went on and on about how much I mean to him and B and how they can never thank me enough for what I've done and how their whole family is so thankful. Finally I had to cut in and say "J, yesterday I cried over a toilet that wouldn't flush right. Do you have any idea what you're doing to me right now?"

I was a big pile of blubbery goo by the time we got off the phone. It was a good kind of blubbery goo. Much better than the pile of goo I was turned into by watching a former porn star/drug addict do ballet. Damn you Celebrity Rehab.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wow, that's neat

You know what feels really great? Walking into the kitchen feeling all big and droopy and post-partumy and finding that your husband's Sports Illustrated has arrived and it's the swimsuit edition.

You know what feels even greater? Finding out that your husband went to high school with the girl on the cover.

Friday, February 15, 2008

It's all good

I was not exepcting to be sitting down and writing out a birth story this soon (I thought I would still be pregnant at this point!) but little A is here and I could not be happier about it. I don't have any pictures to post because I want to respect my IFs privacy but trust me, he is a beautiful boy.

I had to be at the hospital at 5 AM to get the induction going. I got about 2 hours of sleep the night before because I was just a bundle of nerves. Unfortunatly the hospital screwed up the order for my pitocin so they didn't even get hooked up until nearly 8. They hooked me up and I dozed off until around 9 when I was able to start feeling contractions. Jesse and I played cards until my doula (Jen) got there at about 10. Then the three of us played cards for the next half hour or so before my contractions suddenly got a lot more intense.

My doc checked me and decided to go ahead and break my water at that point. Contractions really got a lot stronger then and all of the sudden I couldn't keep still. I would sit on the birthing ball for a minute then I wanted to walk around then I wanted to lean over the bed then I wanted to go back on the ball. My IFs got there just as the nurse was telling me either I had to sit still or they were going to have to put internal monitors on me because they kept losing track of the baby with the external monitor. Also, for some reason the monitor wasn't picking up my contractions even though I was having them big time.

I agreed to the internal monitor and it's a good thing I did. As soon as we got it hooked up we saw that the baby's heartbeat was dropping with each contraction. They turned off the pit thinking that he might not be tolerating it and that might be what was causing the deceleration. Almost right away my contractions were half as painful as they had been on the pit. It was heavenly. Jen had me change positions a few times thinking that maybe the baby's umbilicl cord was getting pinched and that's what was causing the drop in heartrate. She was right because all of the sudden his heartbeat was steady and fine. The bad news was that the pit got turned back on because my contractions were becoming more erratic. As soon as the pit was back on the contractions went back up in intensity.

The next few hours were kind of a blur. I labored in the tub for a bit but I didn't really like that. I spent a lot of time leaning over the bed while my amazing doula rubbed my back and my amazing husband held my hands and kept telling me over and over how proud he was of me. My IFs would pop in every so often to see how I was doing but I think it made them a little nervous to see me in so much pain. I was so glad that they were comfortable enough with letting me labor on my own without feeling the need to check in every three seconds. I think B is a good calming influence on J so it made a big difference that he was there.

Around 4 I finally caved in and asked for some IV pain meds. I'm so glad I did! I was having really, really intense, painful contractions every 3 minutes but I somehow managed to doze off in between them. I would kind of sleep for a couple of minutes then then a contraction would start and right away Jesse would jump up to hold my hand and Jen would rub my back. They did this for every single contraction I had for two hours. I don't think I would have made it through without them. I was so out of it that I kept wanting to tell them stuff but I couldn't really seem to make my mouth work. Several times I wanted to try to describe to them the funky dreams I was having but I couldn't make the words come out.

Remember that this is only my second birth and my first without an epidural so I really didn't know what to expect when it came time to push. All I know is that all of the sudden it went from "Is it ever going to be time to push this baby out?" to "Holy cow! It's time to push this baby out!". My IFs were called into the room and I started pushing. I mostly kept my eyes closed but at one point I looked around and was amazed at how many people were in the room. Me, Jen, Jesse, my doctor, a nurse, a student nurse, my IFs, a baby nurse, a student baby nurse, a student paramedic (maybe two even) and a guy with a mop. Ok, maybe not the guy with a mop but the rest of them were in there.

I pushed for about 20 minutes and holy crap, they are not kidding when they refer to it as "The ring of fire" are they? I was not aware of it at the time but the baby's heartbeat really dropped at the end and the doctor ended up giving me an episeotomy (something I had hoped to avoid) to get the baby out quicker. Little A came out with his cord wrapped around his neck but as soon as it was undone he was ok. The doctor tried to lay him on my tummy but I said no, to give him to his dads. A weighed in at 7 pounds 6 ounces and was 19 inches long.

The doctor started stitching me up and I was watching over his shoulder as my IFs held their new little boy. Jesse was holding my left hand and Jen was holding my right and I just sank back in bed and said "Oh, it's all good". (I'm getting weepy typing this out.) I was so happy to see my IFs with their son, I was so happy to be done with the labor, I was so proud of myself for doing it without the epi, I felt so much love and support from Jesse and Jen. I know it sounds cheesy but at that moment everything was just so good and so wonderful and so right.

The rest of my hospital stay was nice. It was nice to rest and get real sleep at night. I got tons and tons of cuddle time with A. We tried nursing but didn't have much success. J, being his typical nervous self, was worried that he wasn't getting enough to eat so he pretty much stuffed him full of formula around the clock. He would bring him to me to nurse with formula still still on his face. That was a little bit of a let down but it was still nice to hold him and be close to him. He's a really cute baby, looks a lot like his daddy. When it was time to say goodbye I really wasn't sad at all. I was suprised at how "ok" I really was. I was mostly just looking forward to getting back home with my own babies.

I'm so happy with how everything went. I admit I had pretty big expectations but everything really went even better than I could have hoped for. Now I'm just concetrating on resting and recovering (because I really did forget how sore you are after giving birth) and pumping (I'm up to about 5 ounces a session). Jesse has off from work until Monday so I really get to take it easy for a couple more days.

Hormones are making me weepy but I don't want to cry in front of anyone because I don't want anyone to think I'm sad. I'm not sad, I just find myself crying for no reason several times a day. It only lasts a minute or two and then I feel better but I'll be glad once my hormones kind of come back under control. I worry that people are going to think the wrong thing.

Anyway, I suppose this had been long enough. I need to go take a bath. Doctors orders.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Home again

I'm home!

I'm tired and I'm sore and hormones have turned me into a big weepy mess but otherwise I'm really, really good. The past couple of days have been amazing and I can't wait to share more but for now I need to get my butt into the bathtub and then into bed.

Thanks for everyone's kind comments and I hope you're all doing well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Update from Jen

(This is Jesse - Jen asked me to update)

Baby A is here. Born at 6:17pm yesterday. He weighs 7 lbs 6 oz and is 19 in. long. Jen and Baby A are both doing well. We are all proud of Jen - she did it WITHOUT an Epidural!!! She discovered an inner strength she did not know she had.

Jen is feeling good but tired. She is planning on being home on Thursday.

She appreciates everyone's support - this has been a wonderful experience.

She'll update more when she gets back home.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Let's birth us a baby!

So a funny thing happened at the doctors office today. My doctor was checking my cervix and it felt like he was in there up to his elbows. He smiled and me and said "Are you doing anything tomorrow?" For a second I thought that he was so impressed with the condition of my cervix that he was asking me out. Because some guys are really into that. Turns out he was asking if I was available to be induced.

I'm having a baby tomorrow.

Today was my 38 week check up and for the 4th week in a row my blood pressure was a little high. Not dangerously high or high enough to make my doc think I have pre-eclampsia or anything but s little high. That combined with the facts that I've got a good start on dialating and I'm having tons of contractions made the doctor decide to just go ahead and induce me tomrrow.


I have to go in at 5 in the morning tomorrow. The doctor said to expect a good 8-10 hours on the pitocin and then he'll break my water. It'll probably be a bit of a long haul tomorrow but I'm ok with that. Jesse will be there and my wonderful doula will be there and even though I'm a little bit nervous I'm feeling really, really good about this.

J is nervous as can be. I was talking to one of the nurses as I was getting ready to leave the clinc and she asked if he (J) was excited and I said I think that he's too nervous to be excited. I'm hopeful that once he talks to B he'll calm down and for once in this entire pregnancy, enjoy part of the whole process.

So, I'll have Jesse update once this bugger is born. If you've got a second tomorrow, think a good thought for me. I'm gonna have a baby! Ack!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The trouble with in-laws

So I don't think we'll be seeing my father-in-law and his wife for a little while. There are a couple of issues with them that's making me less than eager to spend time with them.

The first and more important issue is the way they are with the kids. They really favor Elle. I don't know if it's because they don't get Joseph or don't understand him or just plain old don't like him but whatever it is, that shit ain't cool. I myself grew up with a grandma who favored certain grandkids over others so I know how much that can sting. (Oh, don't get me wrong. I knew my grandma loved me. I also knew that she seemed to like some of my cousins more than me.)

So that's the more important issue and it's one that will have to be dealt with at some point. Jesse and I aren't real sure how to handle it though because really, how do you make someone like your kid more? Or at least act like they do?

The less important issue (but the one that's more pressing right now) is the way my MIL is reacting to the surrogacy. From the very first time we brought it up to her to the most recent time we saw her (sometime after Christmas) she has done the exact same thing with me every time. She looks me right in the eye, shakes her head sadly and says "It's going to be so hard for you to give that baby up. You're going to be heartbroken."

Oh, that pisses me off. It makes me angry just thinking about it.

Maybe that sounds like I'm over-reacting. Maybe you would say that she's just expressing concern for me. I would have to disagree. Concern would be if she said, once or twice (or even thre times) something like "I'm worried about how this is going to be for you. Do you think it will be hard for you to give up the baby?" This is something else. I'm not sure what. A need to be right? An attempt to set herself up for a great big "I told you so!" when I come crying to her about how much I miss the baby? A complete inability to hear the response I have given her over and over and over?

Every time she does it I explain why I am confident that I will ok with it and how I have gone into this with a clear head, knowing what my goal is and that "giving the baby up" is the ultimate goal and that it's something I'm eager to achive.

And every time she shakes her head and says "But it's going to be so hard for you." Every time.

Imagine if every time you saw someone they looked you right in the eye and said "You know that major life decision you're making? You'll be sorry! What's that? You say you won't? Well, you're wrong!"

She's not basing what she's saying on what she knows about me because she doesn't even know me that well. Maybe she's basing it on how she feel like she would react.

You know what? I get it. I get that not everyone could be (or would want to be) a surrogate. I even get that not everyone can understand how someone else can do it. I get it, I really do. But I don't think her lack of understanding of the situation makes it ok for her to be all doom and gloom with me every time she sees me.

So we won't see the in-laws for a little while. I really don't want to have to deal with that. Am I over-reacting? (I don't think I am but I acknowledge that I am somewhat hormonal vulnerable to occasional episodes of over-reaction.)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Womb for rent - the matter of bonding

So here it is, the absolute number one question I am asked by people about my surrogacy: Will it be hard to give up the baby?

My standard answer is pretty much that I can't give up something that's not mine to begin with. I explain to people that a) I have no biological link to the baby and b) this baby was planned, created and conceived entirely for someone else. I never had to make the choice to "give the baby up" (as one would have to with an adoption) because this was never my baby to start with.

Most people seem to get it after that but I do get a lot of "I could never do that! I would bond with the baby and it would be to hard!" I get that. I do. I understand that a lot of people would (or at least feel they would) bond too much during the pregnancy to be able to hand the baby over and say goodbye at the end of it all.

I'm not one of those people. I haven't bonded with this baby at all during this pregnancy. I have no maternal feelings whatsoever for the baby. I feel sort of like a caretaker, a babysitter. I'm doing a job and I want to do the very best at it that I can but for me loving and bonding has not been part of the job.

So am I cold? Particularly good at shutting of my emotions? In denial? I don't think any of those are the case. I just think that I'm wired in a way that allows me to maintain the emotional distance required for something like this. I don't feel like it's something I have to work at, it just comes naturally to me. If someone said to me "You have to love this baby! You have to bond with it!" then that would be hard for me. That wouldn't feel natural at all.

Will I be sad when all this is done? I'm sure I will be. I've enjoyed most aspects of the surrogacy. It will be strange to be so emeshed in something like this and then just have it be done all of the sudden. Saying goodbye to the baby won't be the hard part. The hard part will be saying goodbye to this whole crazy, amazing process. I'll just have to remind myself that after some recovery time I can go ahead and do it all again.

So, to sum up: Handing over the baby is not going to be hard. It's not the result of a heartbreaking choice that I had to make. It was the goal and the aim from the very start. I got into this knowing what the final result was and if there's one thing about me that's true it's that I know myself very well. If I say "No, it won't be hard for me" then it's a pretty good bet that it won't be hard for me.

Let's get this show on the road

I'm ready for this baby to be born now. I'm over 37 weeks so any time would be good.

I've been having contractions since Monday evening. I'll have several in an hour and then have a couple of hours with none at all.

This morning I lost my mucus plug. I'm sorry, but if I had to see it then you have to hear about it.

It's not that I feel a huge urgency to have this baby right now but if I'm going to have all the contractions and discomfort anyway then I would just as soon have it happen now. I don't want to do this labor on/labor off thing for a few days or weeks. Either let me be in labor and let it be real or let me be comfortable and able to sleep at night.

Nothing else to report right now.

Monday, February 04, 2008

How I lost 6 pounds in one day

Remember when Elle "spilled out her mouth" on Wednesday? Well, by Friday afternoon I caught whatever it was that she had.

Mine started out a little differently. Around noon on Friday everything in my intestines turned to liquid and started shooting out of me at a high rate of speed. Attractive image, I know. This kept up at a rate of every 15-30 minutes or so. I was pretty amazed since I really hadn't had anything to eat or drink all day.

Around eight o'clock I started throwing up. A lot. I would drink a sip of water and throw up several cups worth. It just wouldn't stop and I didn't know where it was all coming from.

As a side note, here's how you know you married a good guy: You find youself sitting on the toilet ..... doing what people do on the toilet when they're sick and you're throwing up at the same time. If your husband is a good guy, like mine, he doesn't even flinch. He just stands there and helps you hold your throw-up bucket and brushes your hair out of your face. That's a good guy.

I finally had Jesse take me in to the hospital around 11 because I was so dehydrated that I was starting to have contractions. You know I'm all set to give birth any time now but I did not want to have to give birth while I was in the midst of a stomach flu.

I was wheeled right up to the labor and delivery floor but I don't even remember much of what went on there because at that point I was so out of it. I do know that when they first got me into a room they weighed me and I had lost over 6 pounds from when I had been weighed at my OB check up the day before.

They decided to keep me overnight to get me rehydrated. After a couple of bags of fluid the contractions stopped, thank goodness. It wasnt't until I had been given four bags of IV fluids that I was able to pee. The kind of freaky thing was that I was so dehydrated that all the swelling in my fingers and ankles went away. So I guess we know where all that extra liquid was coming from.

Thankfully this just seemed to be a 24 hour bug and on Saturday afternoon I was able to keep down a "lunch" of toast, rice, applesauce and banana. I was sent home where I pretty much slept for the next 24 hours.

Not to say that the adventure ends there. Joseph was at my parent's house while I was in the hospital on Saturday afternoon he started to throw up too. Now Joseph is a peanut to start with and he just doesn't have much weight to lose so it's a problem when he starts throwing up. Poor Jesse had just barely gotten me home and settled before he was off to my parent's house to drop off Elle, pick up Joseph and run him into the ER. (Thank goodness for parents!)

I guess Jesse and Joseph had a long wait in the ER because the place was just filled with people who were dealing with the same bug. Thank goodness Joseph only needed half a bag of fluids and some tylenol and he was able to come home. He was pretty much his regular self by Sunday.

All in all, a pretty crummy weekend. I would not reccomend it. But if you do decide to try something like this, try to have a guy like Jesse around to see you though it all. The guy is a life saver.