Following My LDS Surrogate Experience and More!


Following my LDS Surrogate Experience and More! I hope to share my experience and perspective with you. My adventures starts back in September of 2011, and I hope you can follow along and be a part of my journey! I follow one successful and one unsuccessful attempt at gestational surrogacy. Also, make sure to visit my Intended Mother's blogs (with a link to the right) The purpose of my blog is to educate people all over the world about gestational surrogacy and a little about the LDS Church's position regarding surrogacy. If you are somewhere in the process, whether you are an intended parent, a surrogate, or you plan to become one soon, I hope my blog can help put some perspective in your life. Please feel free to leave comments. I have the opportunity to be involved with such a unique and special experience. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I also plan to express my love for the Gospel throughout my scribblings. Thank You for visiting!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Not Really Sure What To Think...

Well a lot has changed in just a small amount of time. My last blog was just a lot of anxiety over what I’m up against for my next few pregnancies. Never meant to sound like I was grumbling about my current discomforts, just meaning to paint a picture of what I will realistically be going through in the near future.

I ended up going to my 36 week appointment a week ago, and they did the Group B Strep test. I still haven’t received the results of that test, but with my 3rd pregnancy, I was positive for Group B Strep, so there’s a good chance I have it again this time. I remember hearing I was positive for Group B Strep the last time around, and was really worried about what that could potentially mean for my baby. My doctor reassured me that they would administer antibiotics through my IV during the labor & delivery, and again after the birth if needed, and all would be fine. We let ourselves be comforted by the doctor’s reassuring words. Not much else to report as far as this subject goes, just waiting to hear the results, which again, are very likely to be positive.

At my 36 week appointment, which was Thursday the 21st, I found out that I was 2 cm dilated and about 60% effaced. I wasn’t surprised at all to hear this. Very common for me to be a few cm in, a little effaced, and have a month to go. I expected to hear just that. I told Hope and she was very excited :)

Then, we got some unexpected news about our insurances. I have a certain insurance that covers me, but the insurance her family has to cover the baby is totally different, and ultimately there were very few hospitals in the area that would accept BOTH insurances. Utah Valley, (where I delivered my 3rd, and also planned to deliver this baby at) was a no go. Timpanogos Hospital and American Fork (the two closest to me) were also not gonna work. They only accepted one insurance or the other, not both. Grrr…

Turns out that we had the choice of delivering at

Heber (a solid 40 minutes away with a drive through the canyon)
Park City (a solid 50 minutes even further through said canyon with a climb up a mountain side)
Or Jordan Valley (a 25 minute drive down the freeway, but in Salt Lake County, mostly inconvenient for the weekly doctors visits, but do-able.)

So that’s where we landed. From my 36 week appointment on Thursday to Tuesday (5 days later) we investigated, confirmed and got the ground work going on a new clinic with a new doctor in West Jordan (25 minutes from home.) I even registered with the hospital. Okee Dokee. I came to terms with the idea of changing doctors at the very last minute. Not the end of the world, mostly I just cared about everyone being covered insurance wise and making sure a doctor would in fact deliver the baby. I’m flexible. I needed to get my records sent over right away though. I went right in to my current clinic to sign the medical release forms. At this point I had been having a fair amount of contractions the last day or so, but at the clinic, I was hurting so bad I wasn’t walking very well. My doctor noticed me and asked if I wanted to be checked out real quick. I figured, what the heck, I’m already here. Let’s have a quick check.

I was 3 cm and 80% effaced. Well okay… I was a little surprised I had effaced that much in just a matter of days. At least this far out from my due date. But hey, I was definitely feeling some contractions, and things seemed to be working down low, so I can’t say I was totally surprised. I had stayed at a 3 or a 4 for a few weeks with all my other pregnancies, so this hopefully wasn’t too different.

I was just a little more uneasy, because I knew that every pregnancy is different for every single woman, and I didn’t need to go into labor with the baby’s family in Illinois. Hope wasn’t scheduled to get here for another 10 days. But I called her to tell her that I had progressed some, and that I was now at 3cm, 80%. I had never been that effaced this far out before. –This was on Wednesday

Hope was a little nervous to hear the news. Nobody really knows what to think…
She blogged that night, and this is what she had to say:

“Vanessa called today.  3cm dilated and 80% effaced.  Having some strong/uncomfortable contractions.

I NEED to know what this means!!!   If she was to tell me right now that she thinks she could possibly be going into labor it would probably take me 12-20 hours to get to her depending on time of day and flights. 
I do NOT want to miss this baby being born. 
Although I would normally want my baby to cook as long as possible, I think I prefer having an earlier induction date just to be on the safe side so everything can be happily in place at the time of birth.  Vanessa sees the doctor again in 2 days.  Waiting for suggestions from someone professional on whether or not I should start heading west.

By Thursday morning (not even 24 hours later) she decided to go ahead and come out early. Hope and her girls are now on a train heading my way….

Friday morning: I went to my new doctor’s appointment this morning. Beautiful clinic, but I didn’t love my experience. My records never showed up, so they wanted to start me at square one. Pee on a pregnancy test. I think not. Then they pulled out their little wheel to determine my due date. Good grief… I didn’t have the patience for this. I had been through a lot this week, between finding a new hospital, a new doctor, and feeling pretty drained from some pretty real contractions. Then the doctor came in and made it clear he was annoyed by not having the records. Thanks dude. I myself was annoyed, and yes it made the visit more difficult, but thanks for making me feel like it was my fault. Your dumb clinic wanted to make it difficult to even get those records, not me. Then he made me feel like I had to give him a run down of my past pregnancies and all of this pregnancy in 30 seconds or less. So I’m spitting out, inductions, deliveries, surrogacy related information, carpal tunnel, acid reflux, contractions, Illinois, 3cm & 80% as of two days ago, all as fast as I could. He seemed uninterested, which annoyed me a little more. The doctor’s I’ve been seeing for the last 8 months were sensational. Kind of disappointing. I wanted to focus on what’s going on with my body now. He seemed uninterested when I asked him to check me again. Well darn it, you know what, when I’m not sure where I’m at, and I’ve got Hope’s hubby still in Illinois, I would sure like to know what my body’s doing. Sorry doc if I’ve inconvenienced you. So he checked me.

I am now 4 cm and 90% effaced. Good heavens… I don’t know if I can take much more of this.

Here’s what I know:

Normally I dilate and sit on it for a few weeks, always needing to be induced. Never really feeling contractions or anything that feels like progress is being made. I’ve certainly never been this effaced this far out from my due date.

So here I am, 4 cm and 90%, and wondering if this will be the time I go into labor on my own. If I keep having contractions throughout my evenings, it’s gonna continue making some sort of progress right? Will I keep a baby in here for another 3 weeks?

I’m not ready to have the baby yet. I am living out of boxes til we move in a week, and I wanted to be settled. We wanted to have professional pictures done with Hope and I. Before and Afters. I am runnin’ outta time. My son will be here in a few days, my husband starts his new job on Monday. I bought a few things to make for the baby! I wanted to have time for my projects dangit… hopefully I still have time. Things are all over the place.

Well I called Hope after my appointment today and told her that we were sitting at 4 cm and 90%. She is a basket case, stuck on a train, being rerouted through Wyoming because of the Colorado fires, and won’t arrive til’ 3am. We got her husband on the phone, and everyone is trying to decide what the best move to make will be. As of an hour ago, he bought a round trip plane ticket and is headed this way tonight. Hope and hubby should both be arriving within hours of each other. He is a dentist, and I feel terrible about the fact that things are so up in the air. He can’t very well hang out here in Utah for a solid 3 weeks just waiting around. Ugh!

My doctor is fine to officially induce me on Saturday, the 14th of July. That’s all fine and dandy, if I make it til’ then. He said he won’t be surprised at all if he sees me this weekend. Who knows what to think anymore. I am a little overwhelmed by it all. I feel like it’s my fault everyone is making new arrangements and possibly jumping the gun, all because my body might be saying one thing, or it might be saying nothing. I wish I just had some sort of control over what’s going on. I feel so helpless, but responsible for all the hustle and bustle. I’ve said before, I would sure like to go into labor on my own just once, but I didn’t want it like this! I wanted to be at my due date, not 3 weeks out. And I wanted my intended family to be here on properly scheduled time. I wanted my hospital to be two minutes down the road. Is that so much to ask? I would also like a pony, a castle, and cotton candy while we’re at it. (I already found Prince Charming) Thank you very much…

So this should be an interesting week. I am 4 cm and 90%, three weeks out from my due date, and feeling contractions throughout my evenings. I am trying to take it easy… What would you make of all this? Hurry Hope & Family, I would sure like you to be here if anything does happen!

You might very well hear from me real soon! :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Pain is Weighing Me Down...

This won't be a long blog post... I have no energy, and my arms are in a lot of pain. 

Today is June 18th, and I should officially be induced on July 19th :) A solid Month to go. My doctor said that date should work out great. We are all getting very excited! IT's the final stretch... and i've got lots on my mind, but one thing in particular. 

This has been, by far, my hardest pregnancy. i say that simply based on the fact that it is my most recent pregnancy. Like I've said before, it seems like I've got every symptom in the book, but I am discovering that the book is ridiculously big. I don't know how much more i can take. With my first pregnancy, I was just sick the entire time, it was hard on my body, and I got those darn Charlie horses quite a bit. With my second, it seemed about the same, only that unbelievably uncomfortable sensation where the baby's head is down and it pinches and you feel like the baby is going to come out was new. At first I thought something was always wrong, but I've had it with every pregnancy since. This is when the sciatic nerve also showed itself. Then with my 3rd, the incredibly severe acid reflux showed up, along with the restless legs. My feet and legs also swelled up for the first time. (it was sexy) With this 4th pregnancy, I have experienced a stretch of severe migraines, followed by what I feel is the worst symptom of all. 

In the last few weeks, I have developed what appears to be "Carpal Tunnel During Pregnancy." Everyone's gonna have a different opinion, or a different name for it, but ultimately my arms from the shoulder to my fingertips ache and throb at all times, and if I don't baby my arms, the go insanely tingly, like when your foot  falls into that painful sleep. The pain is constant, the tingly numbness is just an afterthought. My knuckles throb, and doing anything with my hands hurts like hell. It hurts to text, hold a sandwich, hold onto the steering wheel, type, hold my camera, edit my pictures, hold a phone up to my ear,  change my baby's diapers, do my/my girls' hair, and so on. I could probably go on forever. One of the hardest things right now is the fact that it hurts to drive, but if I don't drive, I get incredibly car sick. I've had to choose my poison, and for the last 72 hours, my husband has driven and I've opted  for carsickness. We were driving back from Heber on Father's day, and I had to have him pull over 3 times so I could ralph on the side of the road. I can hardly believe i've chosen the carsickness over the pain in my arms. Does that give you some idea of how bad it is right now? I can't handle it. THe very worst part of this is sleeping at night. That's when it's the worst. I spend the night in tears, and i've been getting about 2 hours of sleep a night. I start dreading bedtime around 3 in the afternoon. I've figured out that it's the worst when I sleep lying down, so now I sleep in a chair. How much sleep can a person get sleeping sitting up, with a big belly, restless legs, and extreme pain in their arms all night long. It was so bad two nights ago that I almost went to the emergency room around 3am. I almost woke Clark up and told him I was leaving. I almost called hope. But i always end up with that voice in my head that says, if you're not gushing blood and dying, you don't need to go to the emergency room. That voice always says, there's really nothing they can do. They'll tell you to drink lots of water and rest. At least that's all I ever get from the ER. Anyway, I almost went in. But i didn't. And I'm still here, i haven't died I guess. So this whole pain in the arms business... reared it's ugly head in the 3rd trimester. 

But the thing that's been on my mind lately is how much I'm not looking forward to my next couple of pregnancies. There is officially a pattern of symptoms getting worse with each new pregnancy, followed by another couple of miserable symptoms. That book just keeps getting bigger. My doctor confirmed my worries about harder pregnancies after this one. My husband is worried, and feels like we should maybe wait a bit before having another baby. I can't shake the feeling that we need to continue our family and not put anything on hold. I would rather have my body back permanently when we are all finished having kids than just delay the inevitable misery a few months. My mom thinks I should be done having kids altogether. I'm not finished having children, I'm just so discouraged right now at what's ahead for me.  It's all I can think about. 

When we started this whole surrogacy process, I knew I hated being pregnant. I didn't go into this naive or uninformed. I knew I could get through 9 months. I feel the same way about the pregnancies I have ahead of me. The sacrifice of putting my body through all this is worth it to me. There is nothing more important I could be doing than bringing these beautiful children into the world. Especially when I see how many women out there struggle with having children on their own. If I can, then by golly I'm gonna. It seems selfish to let these hard symptoms stop me. I remember qualifying to be a surrogate because "I had good pregnancies." That meant, I didn't have anything dangerous or life threatening. That is still the case. If "miserable pregnancies" disqualified me, then I wouldn't be here now. 

Man I don't mean to sound so negative. I have never once regretted carrying Hope's baby. This whole experience has been once in a lifetime. I mean being a part of something so special. Something bigger than your average every other day. I am able to take so much away from this. I am so grateful for the entire experience. My thoughts above are simply the thoughts that have been weighing me down about my own situation and what I still have to go through in my own life. It's a lot to think about. 

Other than the pain and discomfort I've been in, I have been unbelievably busy. Going a hundred miles a minute doesn't seem to carry enough weight behind it. I am almost all packed and ready to move. I will just have to pack up my kitchen and the bathrooms when moving day comes. We are moving to another apartment within our complex, which I'm excited about. The timing just kinda sucks. We are scheduled to move the first week of July... and I am scheduled to induce the end of the second week of July. I am hoping to be all settled before the induction. I really don't want to be surrounded by chaos and living out of boxes during my recovery. I don't think that's too much to ask... although the management around here doesn't seem to think so. It'll be interesting. 

Other than the pregnancy and moving, we have been busy with birthdays, father's day, job interviews, finances, photo shoots, school, our family, and life in general. It's been a little crazy around here. July only promises to be more insane. I think I'm looking forward to a quiet August.

I am down to having my Doctor's appointments once a week. They will check my cervix on Thursday. With all of my pregnancies, I usually dilate to a 3 or 4 for a good week or two before all my inductions. Contractions are slowly starting. That's pretty normal for me. When I was pregnant with my 3rd, we tried everything to send me into labor. Longs walks on a nightly basis, jumping on trampolines, massages and acupuncture that were supposed to induce labor, and I even drank castor oil. That last one sent me into insane contractions and i went to the hospital, but my body just wouldn't progress. I just can't seem to go into labor on my own. Just once I want to experience waking up at 3 am and saying to Clark, "It's time!" But i'm not holding my breath. So I'm not too worried about moving up 3 flights of stairs a week before my due date. If I blog about being dilated and effaced, don't get too excited ;)

That's really all that I have going on right now. I am looking forward to Hope's arrival in 3 weeks, along with my son who comes to stay with me for the summer :) Lots to do! I'll be in touch!