Monday, October 26, 2015

My little girl - Finally an update on her

I haven't posted a ton about my pregnancy. I guess life has been so focused on the boys at this point, that most everything revolves around them. I take care of myself and I'm enjoying the pregnancy as much as I can, but they are here smiling at me every single day, so it's hard not to talk about them, them and well, more of them.'s a bit of an update on HER. Her name is Liddy Rose. We didn't keep it secret as we did the boys. It's a name we always liked and decided on it as soon as we knew this was a little girl. We wanted something that was an updated version of my mother's name but not the same. Her name was Linda.

I've been monitored very, VERY closely this entire pregnancy. I am or have been at a high risk for placenta issues; placenta previa (don't have), placenta accreta (or percreta), preterm labor and incompetent cervix (don't have). So this entire pregnancy I've had cervical checks, monthly ultrasounds and multiple visits to the MFM. Not that I mind the extra monitoring, I don't, for even a second with all we went through to have this little miracle right here in front of us, and only a few months away from being able to hold her in our arms. 

The issues that have come up are marginal cord insertion, which they aren't concerned about, especially since it can cause growth restrictions, but for her, it has not in the least. So it's just something they watch. 

Echogenic bowel. So if you remember, the boys BOTH had this as well from 20 weeks on. This is supposed to be rare. It also can be a soft marker for downs syndrome, cystic fibrosis or a virus such as Toxoplasmosis or CMV. We've gone through multiple screens for down syndrome and we're at very low risk. Trevor was genetically tested at CCRM and is not a carrier for CF, so again, an extremely low risk there. I was tested for the above mentioned viruses and I was negative. So just like Kelly and the boys we have this fluke that we just watch that it seems will be nothing, just like it was nothing with the boys. I certainly am less freaked out about it after going through this before and knowing it really can mean nothing at all. But so strange that all three of my children have this odd little fluke in utero. 

I also failed my 1-hour glucose test. I was pretty nervous going into the 3-hour but I got word yesterday that I passed! To add that complication to the mix would have been pretty stressful. But because Liddy is measuring at about 75th percentile, I was thinking it really was a good possibility that I would fail. 

I also have regular Braxton Hicks, sometimes every few minutes. However, I was monitored in L&D one night and they aren't effecting my cervix at all. I just need to try and take it easy when I can. Hard to do that with all I have going on, but, I'm doing my best. Luckily, sitting or lying down tends to make them stop. 

Lastly, placenta accreta. They've been monitoring me for this since week 20. I've seen the MFM twice and their is an area of concern, but they aren't ready to call it accreta yet. However, at 34 weeks I'll be seeing him again and they'll be looking for a more concrete decision on that area and how to proceed. If it is an accreta or potential accreta, I'll be having a c-section and most likely a hysterectomy. IF they do the hysterectomy, I've requested that they remove my ovaries as well. My biggest concern obviously, for all of this is the recovery. Not only will I have a newborn, but I'll also have 5 month old twins. To think about how long I'll be down and not able to truly care for them hurts my heart. But, I also want Liddy to be delivered as safely as possible for her and me. I've asked that my ovaries be removed in that instance because of my family history. My mother's ovarian cancer was very aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy. I've also found links to endometriosis and that specific cell type of cancer. If they are in there removing parts, I'd rather go through a bit of menopause vs. risking the chance of my babies having to lose their mother and my husband losing his wife. My mother died only 14 years older than I am right now. This is something I was planning on doing in about 5 years regardless. I've put a lot of thought into this and while I know that it's a big decision, we've been beyond blessed in ways that can not be measured this year. I could not feel more complete with our little family. 

So I'm going into this with no birth plan. I've waited too long and worked too hard to stress over how she comes into the world. The fact that she does in fact come into the world safely is my plan. 
My due date is January 4th. We kinda hope she's born in December just so we can say all our babies were born in 2015. How crazy. But whenever she arrives, we will be over the moon. It's a happiness that I wish for anyone and everyone that wants so badly to hold their child in their arms. We are in a far different place than we were just one year ago. 

How far along:  The above picture was taken today - 30 weeks
Total weight gain?  This is a point of stress for me. I've gained 37 pounds this pregnancy. Seems like an awful lot for a singleton. My doctor doesn't seem to concerned, but with 10 weeks left, I'm a bit nervous!
Maternity clothes?  Yes. I can wear my pre-pregnancy leggings, but everything else is maternity.
Stretch marks?  Still none... just biding my time though.
Sleep:  Ha. This is a funny one. Between 3 month old twins, going pee every hour and being overall uncomfortable, I'm pretty sure sleep is just a thing of my past. And that's okay!
Best moment this week:  Passing my 3-hour glucose test after failing my 1-hour. Whew!!
Miss anything?  Sushi and red wine. But giving it up has been absolutely worth it a million times over.
Movement:  Lots and lots of this! And it's really kicked into high gear these past few weeks. I love every little kick!
Food cravings:  Pasta, french fries, apples and ice cream. Probably why I'm up 37 pounds.
Anything make you queasy or sick?  Haven't felt queasy since the first trimester, thank goodness.
Gender:  A little miss.
Labor Signs:  Braxton Hicks seem to be a regular thing for me. Mostly when I'm up walking around a lot or cleaning, etc. When I sit or lie down, they stop.
Symptoms:  Just back pain and pelvic bone pain. I'm seeing a chiropractor and massage therapist to help. I'm sure it's because not only am I carrying this baby inside me, but also carrying two on the outside, so this is no surprise. Also have a bit of heartburn and I'm stuffy a lot at night.  
Belly button in or out?  It's WAY out. I always had a borderline it's been out since about 20 weeks.
Wedding rings on or off?  Still on
Looking forward to:  My 34 week ultrasound with the MFM to really have an indication of what kind of labor this will be. 

 Her sweet profile
It appears our baby girl will hold her own against her brothers. Check out her biceps!

I think she looks like Casey.

Luckily, we got the majority of her nursery done before we left for Texas. Only had a few finishing touches when we got home. Funny. We use her nursery a lot right now when we are both changing or rocking the boys. It comes in pretty handy having two! (Liddy's room is Stella the cat's favorite place to be)

The 4 photos make up the Wizard of Oz Quote:
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Skies are Blue
And Dreams that you Dare to Dream
Really do Come True"

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Casey + Britton

When the boys were born in July, my posts were short and quick. I feel like it's finally time to share the whole story of when they came into this world. My world.

Our plan had been to head down to Texas on July 25th. That would have been between 34-35 weeks pregnant. The average time that twins come is 35 weeks. I figured we were doing good. Especially since Kelly usually went past her due date.

I had one last business trip scheduled for the week of July 13th. I was heading to Portland for a conference. Was excited that I even had a girls night planned with two awesome gals that have supported me through my diminished ovarian reserve and surrogacy. But...a nagging feeling that what if something happened while I was on the other side of the country was there weeks before the trip. It nagged me enough that on that Monday morning, July 13th, when I left the house with my bag packed for Portland, our dining room was completely packed with everything that we would take to Texas. Every. Single. Thing was ready.

Around 10 am I sat in my office (my flight wasn't until later that afternoon) I received a message from Kelly. She was at her regularly scheduled OB appointment and her blood pressure was elevated and she had protein in her urine. The OB wanted her admitted to the hospital and thought we should come to Texas. He said best case scenario the babies would probably come within a week. Worst case, around 3 days. (Did I ever mention this was Kelly's birthday!?) So I went into my super planning mode and within an hour had my flight changed from Portland to Corpus Christi and Trevor was headed home to pack up the car to drive to Texas. (This would be where my proactive planning/packing was REALLY helpful)

I was at the hospital with Kelly by dinner time and stayed on a little cot next to her bed the next few days. My husband's brother was kind enough to fly into an airport on Trevor's journey south so he didn't drive alone. They arrived the following evening.

While Kelly's blood pressure actually stabilized over the next few days, her 24 hour urine collection was extremely high. Like in the 5000's. So we knew that this was definitely pre-eclampsia. We were faced with decisions like do we go home and monitor? Do we transfer to one of the larger hospitals that has a NICU? Do we stay at the hospital with our OB that we adore, that knows us and our situation? We ultimately made the decision that on Wednesday evening we would go home with the plan to go into the MFM's office first thing Thursday for him to make the call as to whether or not she be admitted to his hospital to be monitored for the remainder of the pregnancy, or not. However, as we're packing up to go home, her blood pressure spiked again. The OB decided it would be best to keep her hospitalized and have her transferred. Unfortunately, the other hospital would take her because they were out of beds. So we were kept at the small hospital overnight to be monitored and hopefully would be transferred on Thursday. Trevor had came to visit that day and early evening when knew Kelly and I would be staying another night, he left. An hour or so later, Kelly started to have visual changes. Bright spots, if you will. Our OB had told me that if that happened, he wanted me to text him right away. I did and he came back to our room. He said his concern was that the eclampsia was getting more severe as visual changes typically meant it was getting to her brain. The best option was to deliver the babies.

He explained that while they didn't have a NICU and we were literally hours away from being 33 weeks, and she couldn't be transferred, that he would call in the Children's Hospital and have NICU teams sent for each baby. They would be delivered, stabilized and then transferred. I trusted this doctor completely. There was a reason we chose him and it was the right decision.

Right about that time, Trevor text me a picture of the beer he just ordered, you know, after his very long drive and finally getting settled for the response was "you need to come back". HA!

The doctor did another ultrasound to determine position of the babies. We had still hoped that just maybe she could have them vaginally, but both were transverse and it wasn't an option. They started her on magnesium and began to prep for a c-section. We were only waiting on Trevor and Kelly's husband.

The great thing about this doctor and this small hometown hospital, was that they truly cared about this unique situation and experience. The allowed Kelly's husband, myself and Trevor all to be in the operating room for the birth. No other hospital in Corpus Christi had said they would allow that. I didn't realize how anxious I was until Casey was born and let out that beautiful cry followed by Britton who did the same. They were tiny...but perfect.

They were born at 12:14 am and 12:16 am on Thursday, July 16th. We had made it to 33 weeks by only minutes. Even better, the boys share a birthday with the amazing doctor that delivered them.

The boys were both stabilized and I requested that they be wheeled into Kelly's room where she was recovering before they be transferred. I knew it would be a while before Kelly would be able to see them again. I hope it meant as much to her those moments as it did to me. She was absolutely amazing. So strong, brave and quite literally my hero. Her recovery was hard. She had complications and had to have multiple blood transfusions over the next few days. I'm in awe that I was lucky enough to have THIS woman care for my babies in the most beautiful way possible.

And care for them she did. Because while small at 3 lbs 12 oz and 3lbs 15 oz, they were mighty. Their entire stay at the NICU was one of growth and progress. Not one setback the entire 23 and 26 days of our stay there. Those boys are healthy and happy because of her.

It makes me sad that I don't know if Kelly can be a surrogate again. I know CCRM would disqualify her because of the severe eclampsia. I know that even if there was an RE somewhere that did allow her to be a carrier, she shouldn't carry twins again. I will always feel guilty for this. Whether or not she hoped to do another surrogate journey or not, I would hate that we took that decision away from her. Because truly, she's amazing. Her whole family is amazing. And I'm so blessed to have her and them in my life always.

Nervous but excited!!! 

In the OR...and super anxious

Britton's first moment

Kelly meeting one of the twins as he's about to be transferred

My handsome little chunkers

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sometimes things go horribly wrong

Last week in a few of my surrogacy Facebook groups I learned that a gestational carrier had a placenta abruption the day before her scheduled c-section and died. I don't know for certain the outcome with the twins she carried, but I know from a few posts, that things looked dire for them as well. This has been on my mind constantly since I heard the news.

As an infertility blogger, I've come across many women who like myself, have had to go to extremes to make our family. Donor eggs and surrogacy, while something that may not roll off the average person's tongue in day to day conversation, is a huge reality for me. And here I think about the two women that so selflessly put themselves at risk for our family and it hits me deep in my heart.

What if that had been us? What if something had happened to Kelly? How would I have lived with that? Death during childbirth isn't something you hear of often, but it does happen. And to think it happened to someone that wanted so badly to help another family that she paid the ultimate sacrifice.

I stare at my boys daily in wonder and awe. They are my light and they have my whole heart. It's never mattered to me that they don't share my DNA or that I didn't carry them. They are mine and I couldn't love another human more than I love those two little guys. So this tragic story makes me that much more grateful and thankful for what Kelly did for me. For us. She has a heart of gold. In more ways that you possibly imagine. My life is better because of her and her family...and not just in the sense of the boys that hold my heart in their tiny little hands. Because true honest and good people like that are hard to find, and the good in their souls reaches out and grabs you. Makes you want to always be that good.

I also read on some of the threads a few people talking about how you shouldn't be able to have a surrogate unless it's absolutely medically necessary. This also has sat with me. It was medically necessary for me. My doctors, not just at CCRM, but locally as well, all told need a carrier. But here I am, 28 weeks pregnant. And I feel guilty. Guilty because I wouldn't change a thing. Because knowing what I know now, I would still choose these boys. They are part of my world and were meant to be mine. I hope that Kelly never, ever feels like my pregnancy diminishes her and what she has done for me.

My infertile mind still struggles daily that this pregnancy is real. That the little girl is really growing inside of me. I'm along way from holding her in my arms, so I'll remain a wee bit cautious if it's all the same. But her dad, brothers and I are so very, very hopeful.

So yes, to sum up this post...I'm thankful on so many levels that Kelly was able to safely deliver our boys. While there were complications that I'll be posting about later this week, I can say that her and our boys are all healthy and happy. I wouldn't, couldn't have it any other way.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Hardest Goodbye

After almost 12 weeks of spending every minute with my little guys, today was my first day back at work. I'll admit, the anticipation of today over the past week, was probably harder than this morning actually was. Every time I thought about leaving, I cried. This morning, I made it out of the door with just watery eyes and my lip poking out. I'm almost through the day and counting down the minutes to head home.

Our little guys are doing amazing. Growing like crazy, seriously, these guys are some major chubba wubs. See for yourself. We have arm rolls, chubby cheeks and chins for days. I sometimes can't believe they are the same 3 plus pounders we first met in July.

I hope that one day they understand the reasons I had to return to work vs. staying home with them...which I would prefer. Right now I just have a bit of guilt and jealousy. Guilt because I wonder if they are confused by my absence. Jealousy because someone else gets to see their cute smiles and little daily progress of developmental changes. I want that to be me. But for them and for my family, I work. Luckily, my job has agreed to allow me to work from home on Friday's. Once our little girl arrives, I will work from home two days a week. This does help. (a little)

I realized recently that something I haven't blogged about was their birth story. I'm sorry for that. I think it's important that you all here about it. Not just because it's part of our story, but for others that read about the generosity of Kelly. I want everyone to know what she went through to give us these most precious little boys. So stay tuned for that. Expect my blog updates to be a bit more frequent now that I'm officially back on a computer 5 days a week. Forgive me for putting that aside for so long while I enjoyed my time at home with my Casey & Britton. :)