Monday, December 19, 2016

Postpartum Life

Well hi there, people! I cannot believe it is December, a week from Christmas, and I'm just now finding the time to update my blog! A lot has happened since labor and delivery post. As mentioned in previous posts, we sold our house in Spring Hill, and moved to Olathe. We love being back here, even though we were just 10 miles away in Spring Hill. Olathe feels like home, and our new home is great! We mostly moved to get my son into a better school and with Olathe school District, we knew we couldn't go wrong, but it truly has been amazing, and refreshing to have found such a great school where he is supported, encouraged to succeed, and where us as parents are part of the team to help him do so!

So I had the baby boy on April 8th, 2016. We closed on our new house on the April 15th, 2016, and then we started renovations on the 17th of April. It was a crazy 2-3 weeks. We moved everything into the new house, but into the garage, just put our mattresses on the floor, and camped out until everything got done. We weren't planning on having to paint the house inside, but once everything from the previous owners was moved, we ended up having to. So every wall surface of the house got painted inside, then the floors went in, and then a week delay for the new carpet to come off the truck, and get installed. Was so worth it, as we love it!!! We moved from a 3bed/2 bath, to a 4 bed/2 bathroom, but we are in the middle of putting in a third bathroom this week! YAY! Brae has settled in nicely at school, Kynlee is closer to her preschool, and I don't spend so much time in the car like before!

Recovery postpartum, took a little longer than I thought it would. Took a while for me to get my overall strength back, and not to feel super winded just going up a small flight of stairs, but slowly, I got there! Once I got cleared to work out again, I added it to my daily routine and that helped with feeling better too! Took me about 6-8 months to feel like I did before getting pregnant this last time. I say not too bad after a 4th pregnancy! Baby boy is doing great! His shoulder from the dystocia recovered within a week or two of the birth, and he didn't require any physical therapy! He's a big boy! Just spoke with Mom about a week ago, and she said that he is in the 90 something percentile for height and 80 something for weight! He's a happy, growing, loved little boy by all of those around him! It feels so great to see them growing as a family of four and hearing that they feel complete finally after years and years of trying!

During my postpartum recovery time, my agency reached out to me and asked if I wanted to be apart of a research project for them, where I would pretend to be a secret surrogate shopper for 23 other agencies. People, I didn't even know there were that many surrogacy agencies! I happily accepted their challenge, and after 320 hours of research done, I can happily say that I picked the right agency!

I can also happily say that I have decided to do one last surrogacy journey. I know, I know, I said that last time. I don't know if it was the research project that gave me the bug again, or if it's how good I feel since recovering from birth, but here I am, ready to do it one last time. I have been matched and am so looking forward to the journey ahead and for parent to get their long awaited baby! My OB cleared me medically, and in about a month, I will probably fly to Connecticut again and go to medical screening appointment!

I hope to get as much support and well wishes as you all have given me in the past, and I will keep updating my blog so you can follow along with me! Can't thank you enough for reading! I will update after medical screening appointment! In the meantime, gonna enjoy Christmas with my family, and a Happy New Year!

Thanks again for reading!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Labor and Delivery

Hi everyone! 

Alright, so my last update was at 37 weeks, and while a whole lot didn't happen between then and delivery, I will update you on my doctor's appointments leading up to labor and delivery. 

At 38 weeks I had my last growth ultrasound done to check fluid levels, and to check on baby's growth. While one of these ultrasounds is the most inaccurate for weight this late in a pregnancy, they still wanted to get a look at baby and try to predict a weight. 

Heartbeat was strong and normal during ultrasound, and everything was measuring at least 2 weeks ahead of what I was. They estimated that he weighs 8 lbs, 15 oz at 38 weeks and 3 days. Yep, was definitely freaking out a little bit! I saw my doctor right after the growth scan. She started talked about inducing me the next day based on my fluid levels during the ultrasound. I had a lot, and with the big baby weight estimate, she could technically get away with it. She decided to check me and then we would go from there. Was still dilated to a 1, and she said it felt different from the first time she had checked me, but not in a good way. As is, she wasn't able to say that the induction wouldn't end up in a c-section and she though that waiting the extra week, and sticking with our original plans would be best. I agreed, because even as uncomfortable and in pain as I was, I wanted the best chance at a vaginal birth as I could get with an induction. 

So my last appointment with her was scheduled for Wednesday, the 6th, with plans to go in that night, and start cervidil that night, and then they would start pitocin early Thursday morning. At my appointment, my doctor checked me one last time to see if I had made any change in the week, and I did! Was dilated to a 2, and cervix felt better than last week's exam. Good news! 

The parents were officially on a plane to KC, and so I went home and did my last minute stuff, cleaned the house one last time, made sure kids had everything they needed in my absence, and packed my hospital bag. Yeah, I was just then packing my hospital bag. My body likes to hang on to babies, and they aren't in any hurry to come out either, so what was the point? :) 

We met the parents and their daughter at a nearby restaurant, and had dinner together. They were so excited, and anxious for the next day! I was anxious about it too, and was so very excited for them, and to not be pregnant anymore!! 

I checked in to the hospital around 7:30 Wednesday night. Troy and my kids came with me, and the mother came along as well! I got set up in the hospital bed, started an IV, and hooked up to the monitors that show baby's heartbeat, and that show my contractions. 
I sent Troy and the kids home, as well as mother and told them all to get a good night's sleep! Tomorrow could be short, but could also be a long day! After an hour or so on the monitor, the nurse came in and said: you're having contractions, can you feel them?" 
Me: "heck yes, I can feel them. They've been like this for about two months now!"  
Nurse: "okay well, Dr is going to come and check you to see if you're making any change with these contractions and go from there."

Doctor came in, said I hadn't made any change but was concerned that the cervidil we had planned on doing might kickstart my labor and result in me calling people in the middle of the night. None of us really wanted to do that, so doctor decided to do a low low dose of pitocin, and it would do the same thing as the cervidil would do, but could be more controllable should labor actually start overnight. 

So, we started low dose pitocin, and I started feeling more and more, and was starting to get uncomfortable through them and was beginning to wonder if I was going to be able to sleep through them. I updated Troy and the parents on the change of plans, then I tried to fall asleep, and was able to sleep through them, thankfully! I had to get up every few hours to pee, but thankfully I wasn't having any issues with the contractions! The hospital bed was extremely uncomfortable and the nurse kept having to come in and reposition the monitor for the baby because he kept moving too much. The carpal tunnel pain was unbearable and kept me awake most of the night. Ice packs weren't helping either, but by the time morning came, I was ready to get this show on the road! 

My day shift nurse was absolutely fantastic!! So thankful for her. My night shift nurse? Not so much! More on that later! 
Troy came to hospital around 6:45, and the parents arrived around 8:30. My doctor came in at 8:00 to check me and see if the pitocin had done its intended job. I was dilated to a 4 now! Great! So my doctor decided to break my water, and to start upping the pitocin every twenty minutes by 2. I was anxious about her breaking my water, but since I was already dilated to a 4, she was optimistic that I could get the epidural shortly and get some relief if it got too bad. About an hour in, I requested the epidural and so my nurse got things rolling for that! 

Anesthesiologist came in and administered my epidural. It took quite a while for me to go numb, and some of the contractions were pretty uncomfortable. I was thankful he came when he did and was trying to gear up for what was ahead. 

The nurses were checking me every two hours or so, unless I was feeling any pressure, which I wasn't. Went from a 4, to a 5, then a 5 1/2, then 6, then an 8. Contractions were spacing out, not as strong sometimes, and I got stuck at an 8 for 3 hours or so. Me epidural also became worthless around that time too. It was around 6 o'clock when I was stuck at an 8, and I really wanted to deliver with my day nurse but that didn't look like it was going to happen. I kept pushing the button that could give me extra pain medicine through my epidural but it was not helping at all. All the while, the pitocin kept getting increased every twenty minutes. I think I was up to a 18 or 20 by then. I was able to move my legs, and to feel the contractions that I was having. Very frustrating! It's one thing to go into labor with the decision of no pain medicine, but to actually go in, expecting relief through the help of an epidural and not getting it, is beyond frustrating! 

Shift change and my night nurse came back from the previous night. Didn't really care at that point too much, just wanted to be done soon! 7 o'clock, 8 o'clock, 9 o'clock, was crying through contractions, extremely uncomfortable, and had to breath some oxygen in between contractions. The nurse had me trying different positions, with a peanut ball, in between checks to maximize the baby's head coming down naturally. My doctor came in and checked me. I was shaking uncontrollably, had developed a fever, and she could see how uncomfortable I was. She told the nurse to call anesthesia again to come and give me a bolus of pain medicine. I was dilated to a 9 at that point, so hopefully not too much longer, right? I told the parents who had been in the room with me the entire time, to go to their room and get some rest before pushing started. 

Anesthesia came in and gave me that bolus. It took 30 minutes to take the slightest effect, lasted literally 10 minites, then I was back to crying through contractions. Pointless, and I was so frustrated with my pain level with what was supposed to be an epidural delivery. Around 10:15, my doctor came in and checked me and said I was a 10, and baby was far down enough that I could also start pushing. Based on our previous discussions between my doctor and I, I was encouraged that she thought I could start pushing! 

Called the parents back in, and at 10:20 pm, I started pushing. I kept my eyes closed, tried every position they suggested, pulled against a sheet, used a bar, and the good ol' stirrups. All the while in full blown contractions every minute or so, and awful awful pain from them. 

I pushed for 2 full hours with no break. Troy and the mother were trying to be encouraging in telling me that I was getting somewhere but I knew they were lying and that with the very first push that he was bigger than any other baby I had delivered and he was gonna take extra work. The father was up by my head, and would exchange warm wash cloths for cold ones for my forehead upon request. I got a few doses of Tylenol to help my fever, and I think it broke during pushing at some point. 

I was nearing the end of my rope, my pain tolerance, and my strength. At the two hour mark, I said: "Dr. I need help getting him out, I don't think I can do this much longer." She said: "open your eyes and look at me." 
I opened and looked. 
Dr.:"if I do a vacuum, you have to do exactly as I say, and push as hard as you can."
I said: "I can do that, I just need help."
So we prepped for a vacuum and I continued pushing through my contractions. 
The night nurse I had started getting a very stern voice with me and again said: "open your eyes and look at me. You need to stop pushing when your contraction isn't peaking, and save your energy. Stop it! And you need to keep your eyes open and be alert to what the doctor is saying." 

"Yes, ma'am." 

Doctor put the vacuum on baby's head, at 12:30 am, and baby was born at 12:32 am!!!! Once his head was out, they realized his shoulder was stuck on my pubic bone, and so one of the nurses had to get on the bed with me, and push as hard as she could on my stomach, to help dislodge him. That was definitely painful, but was so relieved they got him out!! 

Baby boy, born on 4/8/16, at 12:32 am! 9 lbs, 6 oz. 😳

Baby is healthy! They did x-rays after he was born to check to see if his clavicles were broken, and thankfully they are not. They think his shoulder is sprained. The technical term is shoulder dystocia. It is nerve damage from delivery and will either repair itself or he will need physical therapy and will be fine.

My placenta would not detach from my uterus wall, and I was hemorrhaging so after 28 minutes since baby had been born, my doctor had to go in and scrape it out with her fingers. That was not pleasant, but she said it came out in one piece which is great! The other option would have been emergency surgery! So thankful I didn't need that! 

Recovery is going very slowly for me. Slower than other births. I had a blood draw the morning of birth, just a few hours after I delivered to check my hemoglobin (iron in blood), level. It was 10.8 on admission, and 7.1 that morning. Below 10 is considered severely anemic, from what my doctor said. So, the on call doctor came in and told me that it was dangerously low, and told me we needed to do something about it. His first suggestion was to do a blood transfusion. Said I would feel significantly better almost right away. The other option was an iron infusion. Said it would give me a boost, but would need to take it easy for the next several weeks and let my body recuperate from birth. They needed to start an IV for the infusion. They poked 5 times before they got a good one. Had to have someone from ER come and do it. I was very swollen from all the fluids I had received during labor and delivery so that didn't help matters. 

The iron burned a great deal going in, and I didn't feel any different afterwards. The blood draw the next morning showed change from 7.1 to 7.6. Doctor said I could still go home but needed to be very careful and mindful of my body and how I'm feeling. If I start passing lots of clots, or soaking a pad every hour, I needed to get my butt back to hospital asap. He said if I were to leave the hospital and have a car accident, and was injured, I wouldn't make it because I don't have any reserve! Scary, so I'm taking care of myself as much as possible. Troy has been absolutely fantastic and helping me with everything and letting me rest. 

Parents and baby are home in NYC and are doing well! They have been absolutely fantastic to carry for, and I look forward to many years of updates and friendship with them! 

We close on our houses on Friday! So excited to get moved in and get renovations done, and settled in!! :) I will come back with an update after my 6 week checkup! 

Thank you for following along on this journey with me! Means a lot! 


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

37 Weeks!

Hey all,
Well, I have made it to officially full term! I'm so looking forward to not being pregnant anymore, and am so thankful this pregnancy has gone smoothly, minus a few hiccups!

Hasn't really been anything eventful since the last update pregnancy wise! We are going to have a little bit of change come our way shortly after this baby does come. Right now, we are looking at a April 7th induction date. If I make it that long! At my 35 weeks appointment, my OB did the group B strep test, which came out negative, and she also checked me. I about fell off the table. She said I was dilated to a 1, 60% effaced, and anterior. You guys. I have never been dilated this early, or effaced for that matter! But, as most of us know, I could be dilated to a 1 for weeks before labor actually starts. But because of this, I probably won't have to go in the night before for cervadil like last time. Yay for that! I will have to be at hospital crazy early, at 5 or 6 am, so they can start the induction before shift change at 7 am in the morning! The couple will be flying in on the 6th, the night before, and will stay at a hotel across the street from the hospital, and will join me in the morning! It's getting exciting now, folks!

On april 15th, we close on our house that we are selling, and also on the house that we have bought! We sold our house in 4 days, and there was a little bit of time there when we didn't have a house to live in after closing date, but after 4 offers on 4 different houses, we finally got one! It's in a great neighborhood in South Olathe, and even has a neighborhood pool! The kids are going to love that this summer! It's been a little bit stressful with that experience but now that the house hunting is over, I have been able to concentrate on other things!

At the beginning of March, I officially applied to nursing school! Yay!! I'm not holding my breath, but will also be really disappointed if I don't get into the program. I've spent the last year preparing for admission, so hopefully it pays off!

I have not been this uncomfortable for this long in a pregnancy before. My body is finally saying its had enough, and while it is doing the job it has been asked to do, she is saying enough is enough, don't do this to me again! Okay, okay, body. I got it. No more baby making will be asked of you! I've heard people say it before, but now I can definitely attest to this. My first pregnancy with Brae in my early 20's, is very different than my 4th pregnancy in my early 30's. And maybe it's just because it's a 4th pregnancy, but either way, I am done after this! Helping two families has been so awesome, and in a perfect world, I would have a baby for everyone who can't, but that's just not realistic, and so I'm cutting myself off at helping two!

The next time I come back with an update, it will probably be the birth story, so stay tuned! Thank you all for following along with me on this journey! If you have any questions, or comments, I would love to hear them!

Talk to you all soon, not pregnant!!! WOOHOO!!


Monday, February 8, 2016

30 Weeks!

Hey there everybody,

I truly don't know where the time has gone and how I've managed to let 7 weeks go by without updating this blog! So sorry about that! I'm sure you've all been waiting on pins and needles for an update! For those of you that did not detect the tone of sarcasm in that last sentence, I again apologize! :)

Well, not much has happened in the last 7 weeks. I've just been chugging along, inching closer and closer to my due date! At around 26 weeks, I did have a little bit of a scare. It was a Thursday, and I noticed from the time I woke up that morning that I was having lots and lots of Braxton Hicks contractions. Was having trouble walking through them, and would just have to pause until it passed, and then keep going until another one hit. I was somewhat distracted in the early morning, making breakfast for the kids, and making their lunches for school that day, dropping off one, and then the other. I came home around 9:30, and just wanted to sit down and do nothing, so I did. I sat on the couch for 4 hours straight! Let me tell you, it was heaven...well sort of. The darn contractions were coming every minute or two as soon as I sat down, and even though I was sitting, I couldn't move through them, like my legs were paralyzed, but not really. The not being able to move part was mostly because it hurt to move, so I just wanted until it passed, but when they kept coming and coming and were very strong, I started to get worried. I called my OB right before I had to go pick up my daughter, and left a message for the nurse, and waited for a call back. She called back about 35 minutes later, and after describing more in detail what I was feeling, she wanted to see me. Even though I was staying well hydrated that day, she wanted to test my urine for a urinary tract infection (UTI). That could very well be the cause of the contractions since everything would be irritated and inflamed down there, and could be spreading to my kidneys. With the contractions, I also had a constant ache in my lower back and hips. I was just very very uncomfortable that day. So, I picked up my daughter, then my son, and then my husband, and then went to my OB office and saw the nurse, and she dipped my urine to check for the UTI. That was negative. All this time, contractions are still coming, having to pause in my walk through them. My stomach would get rock hard, and moving anything other than my hands, would make it worse. My doctor had just been called to the labor and delivery floor for a delivery and so the nurse asked me to hang tight and she would see if my doctor wanted to see me or do anything else. Whoever was delivering was speedy fast because my doctor was back in the office 15 minutes later! She decided to see me, and she checked baby's heartbeat, and then she checked my cervix to see if I was dilating at all with the contractions. She said I was open a little bit on the outside but that was to be expected since this was my 4th pregnancy, and that she wasn't worried about that necessarily. After watching me through a few contractions, she decided to send me upstairs to labor and delivery for observation. Troy and the kids came with me, and while they insisted I ride in a wheelchair (hospital policy), we made our way to the labor and delivery floor. They hooked me up to the monitor that tracks the baby's heart rate, and to one that also picks up contractions. I was told to sit tight for a little while, so they could just observe what my body was doing. The kids were tired, and hungry, and so Troy took them home after I made sure had a ride back to the house after they were done with the observation. My doctor came in about an hour or so later, and said that the baby's heart rate sounded great, so no problems there, and that the contractions that I was having were not picking up on their monitor. Well, that's just fantastic! She was a little surprised since she palpated my belly during a few contractions and thought for sure they would pick up. She checked me again to make sure I hadn't dilated at all in the hour I had been there, and then got ready to discharge me. She told me the only explanation for the discomfort I was having was that I was "just having a bad pregnancy day." Alright then! I guess I'll take a bad pregnancy day over pre term labor or anything else that might result in this baby making a very early appearance. She told me to take it easy for a few days and to drink lots of water, and just try to relax. I resisted the urge to ask her what "relax" meant and just nodded and smiled. So far, I haven't had another "bad pregnancy day" like that, and while the contractions are still there, they aren't right on top of each other like they were  that day, and while I still have to pause if I'm walking or sit still until they pass, it's just par for the course at this point, I guess!

At 30 weeks, the intended mother flew in, and we set up to have a 3D ultrasound done, as well as my regular check up with my OB. Everything went great! We did a growth ultrasound at my OB office, and they are estimating that this baby is already 4 lbs 4 oz!!! All I can say is yikes, this baby might be a big boy! I've gained about 12 pounds so far, and while the doctor is pleased with that, I can't help but wonder how big this boy is going to be at birth! Not gonna lie, I'm a little freaked out! Maybe he will chill out on the growth when he runs out of room in the next few weeks! Hey, an oven can hope! :) He has long arms and legs, and is very flexible as he likes to put his foot to his forehead all curled up inside! Heartbeat is nice and strong, and it was great to see the intended mother's face as she looked at her baby on the screen! We grabbed a quick bite, and then headed to the 3D ultrasound! I've never done one of those before, so it was something I was excited about. I was instructed to eat about an hour before the appointment, and to drink some caffeine, so I did both, and then off we were. It was a fun experience. They don't do anything diagnostic, they just do things like try to get facial expressions, and just give you a look inside to see what baby is up to. It was very cute, and again so nice to see mom's face and excitement as she anticipates her new arrival.

Found out a few weeks ago that I don't have gestational diabetes, phew, but that I am anemic. My level was a 10.3, and they want it above 12. I've been extremely tired lately, but that seems to be my only symptom related to being anemic. She said they typically see people with my level of 10.3 right after they've delivered the baby and lost all the blood, so the fact that I'm low like this before giving birth is a little bit scary, but she gave me a prescription for Iron supplements, and so I've been taking those every night. I would much rather take the supplement than have to get a blood transfusion after birth! I'm also trying to get more iron in my every day diet as well. My doc also prescribed something for the extreme heartburn I was having, and would just like to take a moment and thank God for whomever came up with this medicine. It's been great! I'm no longer waking up with my whole chest on fire in the middle of the night, and I can eat pretty much anything again! The list of things I couldn't eat was getting longer and longer every day!

I am currently 31 weeks, and starting to really look forward to the end! Been having some crazy weird dreams lately, with last night's dream being that I gained 110 pounds in the last week of pregnancy and was horrified! lol wouldn't that be something!

I haven't applied to nursing school for those of you wondering about that, as the deadline is April 1st, but my goal is to have everything submitted my the second week of March so that I don't have to worry about anything like that as my due date will be just a few weeks away. I have to take a special test and so I am in the process of studying for it! For those of you praying, I ask that you keep me in mind for the testing, and for the pregnancy of course! The timer on the oven doesn't need to run out yet, as much as I'm ready for it to!

Thanks for reading!